Shadow Play

Printed on gauze

Printed on gauze

I decided, as I stared at the printing of this blocky pattern onto gauze, that I wanted to use the transparency of the gauze as part of the finished effect.

I don’t have a destination in mind for this piece which will give me a theme, so I decided that, in order to highlight that one quality, I would use a single thread (as it happened, a variegated silk), and design a fragment that would allow me to experiment with the effect of stitch cover and openness.



I leafed through books about pattern, saw nothing that gave me the combination I wanted, and then evolved the fragmentary organic sketch on the far left to give me the balance of line and form I was looking for. Incidentally, this is quite possibly the swiftest and shortest progression of any sketched design I’ve ever come up with!

Finished Fragment

Finished Fragment

It’s astonishingly difficult to trace a design onto a fabric which is essentially invisible, and still harder, I might add, to follow the lines when you have finally put them there!

I used Hungarian Braided Chain Stitch for the stem, satin stitch for the solid side of the leaf, and Jacobean trellis for the flower-head. Clearly that gives me a solid coverage, and a firm line; I was hoping that the Jacobean trellis might offer a sort of half-shade.

Shadow Play

Shadow Play


A qualified success, I’d say. The printed pattern doesn’t create a shadow, and the Jacobean trellis shadow isn’t a sort of half-depth.

But, my goodness, the shadow of the stem and the leaf work exactly as I hoped! The gauze itself almost disappears, leaving the printed pattern floating above the surface, and the leaf and flower thrown forward by their shadows.


  1. jenclair says:

    The shadow makes all the difference!

  2. Penny Baugh says:

    What a marvelous discovery! The shadow is absolutely perfect.

  3. Lady Fi says:

    Wow – amazing. And I love the orange background pattern.

  4. Catherine says:

    What a clever idea! It looks wonderful and the shadow makes all the difference.

  5. Mam says:

    As a good friend of mine would say – Cool!

  6. Carolyn Foley says:

    I love the way it floats. Well done.

  7. wendy says:

    wow, what a fabulous effect!

  8. Meredithe says:

    Wow! That looks sensational. Love the design and the throw of the shadow is stunning.

  9. Sandy says:

    That’s a fantastic effect – the last picture looks like the block printing is actually the background, behind the gauze – it almost has no connection to the flower! Wild!

  10. Wow!! You’re awesome!! I am wordless!!

  11. Sue Jones says:

    It really does float off the background. Very clever. And the variegated thread gives it enough interest on the surface.

  12. Terrie says:

    Very artistic ! You are brilliant.

  13. Susan says:

    I really like these. You have such wonderful experiments that work out so well.