August 4, 2008

Quilting and Needle Work...

Today's entire post is about Quilting and Needle Work - I am going to showcase some traditional quilting and needle work from around the world - and then throw in some contemporary work at the end...and I don't mean traditional as in quilting patterns like 'The Flying Geese' or 'The Window Pane' or the like, I mean traditional as in Tivaevae and Suzani. - have a look...


I want a Tivaevae. A real one. I would LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to have one made for me. I have looked longingly at the ones available online, but unfortunately my wallet doesn't appreciate them quite the same...but this IS something I am working on!!

Tivaevae is an art form from the Cook Islands. Situated in the heart of the Pacific Ocean, the Cook Islands are made up of a group of 15 islands, the main one being Rarotonga.

Tivaevae is a form of needlework; in particular the making of patchwork quilts by hand. The beautiful designs are intricate works of art and the quilts themselves hold great value and become family heirlooms.

The making of Tivaevae is a communal activity, and several women will work on a quilt together. The group give the finished quilt away as a gift of love and friendship, or they will make a quilt for a specific occasion such as a wedding or the traditional hair cutting ceremony for boys when they come of age.

Embroidery, needlework, sewing and crochet were introduced to the islands by the wives of English missionaries, and the Nuns from Tahiti. Despite it's European origin, patterns and techniques used to make Tivaevae are distinctly 'Pacific', reflecting the creators' surroundings of flowers, leaves, birds, fish, insects and animals.

(images from Bella Pacific and the Alexander Turnbull Library - Woman sewing a tivaevae, Rarotonga, 1960Photographer: John Colles Burland Reference number: PA12-0503-2035mm colour slide Photographic Archive.)

find out more about the art of Tivaevae
buy Tivaevae from Bella Pacific


I would like a Suzani too! Maybe not as much as a Tivaevae, but I do have a weakness for them!

The word 'Suzani' comes from the Persian word for needle - 'sozan', and it is the fine embroidery and skillful use of contrasting colours that make Suzani the bold, vibrant and sort after textile they are today.

Traditionally made by women, the now very successful Suzani cottage industry in Uzbekistan supports both male and female artisans. These modern artisans are returning to the traditional methods including the hand dying of threads and hand embroidery.

Suzani were traditionally sewn together in pieces, with women working on individual segments simultaneously. When all the embroidery was finished, the pieces were sewn together again.

These beautiful detailed textiles are embellished with carnations, pomegranates, tulips, mallow, and other presentations of flowering plants, and form an amazing trellis work of embroidery.

(images from One World Textiles and Domino)

find out more about Suzani

Moroccan Wedding Blankets

These beautiful white and cream women's Wedding Blankets were traditionally woven for special events, such as weddings or as a gift. Woven in natural, un-dyed sheep (and sometimes camel) wool and cotton, and often decorated with small metal sequins.

Because of their soft creamy white colouring, these wedding blankets add warmth and simmer to any modern decor, and can be used as throws, blankets, wall hangings and light-use rugs.

Here is a wedding quilt used in a guest suite at the Parker Palm Springs. The room is designed by Jonathan Adler and is a great example of the versatility of this textile.

(images from decor8 and viva terra)

thanks to decor8 for introducing me to Moroccan Wedding Blankets!
shop at viva terra for your own Moroccan Wedding Blanket


I thought I'd keep it simple with images and links - enjoy!

Above: The Rocky Rolling Down. By Fabbiz

Above: Jody Ross Pillows

Above: Quilt. From Amy Butler

Above: Flying Across the Land. By Fabbiz

Above: Concentric Squares Patchwork Quilt from Urban Outfitters

I hope you enjoyed a glimpse into the world of quilting and needlework! Are you RRRRRReady for the R's? See you tomorrow!

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