Detail from “Simple Squared Symmetry Sampler”
How long did it take the artist to design and stitch this?
This blackwork sampler is pretty much the most intricate and deeply mathematical thing I’ve stitched. It showcases all the possible symmetries that can be stitched on Aida/evenweave fabric.
The outline is the smallest simple perfect squared square, which is 112 stitches on each side and divided into 21 smaller squares. The largest square is filled by patterns representing the 7 frieze groups. The 2 smallest squares contain the empty set and a point (a French knot). The last 18 squares contain the 12 wallpaper groups and 6 rosette groups without 3-fold symmetry (because 3-fold symmetry can’t be accomplished on a square lattice). Some of the patterns are traditional but most were original. It turns out that historically people don’t tend to stitch things with very little symmetry.
This piece was originally conceived after reading Susan Goldstine’s chapter on simple perfect squared blankets in Crafting by Concepts (which is a must-own if you like fiber arts and math). It’s done on 18 count Aida using both perle cotton and embroidery floss, and the frame is a hand painted 8″ Mill Hill square frame. Before you ask: it took about 150 hours to design, chart, and stitch the whole thing.
Acrylic paint and fiber dye on wood
Blackwork embroidery (in green)
Cascadian Star was a quilt star pattern that I came up with while sitting in the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, waiting for a flight that was delayed by three hours, and having a song named Cascadia stuck in my head. It’s a combination of the Washington and Oregon state quilt blocks, which I guess makes it the Cascadia quilt block? (Sorry BC, but your quilt block is a mess and impossible to work with!)
Since I still adamantly refuse to start quilting, this became the basis of a blackwork pattern instead. The filling stitches come mostly from natural inspirations, and while there are only four filling stitches thanks to the magic of variations and symmetry there are actually seven different patterns in the piece. Without even a drop of intention, the four filling stitches ended up having four different symmetry groups and the outside leaves form the complete elements of D_4. It’s fun how many just creep in.
Given that the entire idea behind the piece is a celebration of the Pacific Northwest (and I had a ball of green perle cotton lying around) it had to be done in green.
My Pride Will Be…
This was inspired by a Vixy and Tony concert in the summer of 2015 where Vixy described one of her songs as her “my geek pride will be intersectional or it will be bullsh*t” anthem.