WIP CHECK: Bellows Cardigan (SOS!) + Sewing Waves of Pleasure/Work

The last few posts have glanced backwards, toward the historical: Cary Grant and WWII, sheep in the White House’s early days, the arousing side effects of the 19th-century sewing machine. But behind the scenes I’ve been stitching away and planning summer projects, so it’s time for a little DIY check-in—and a cry for help. Continue reading WIP CHECK: Bellows Cardigan (SOS!) + Sewing Waves of Pleasure/Work


MAKING IT, OURSELVES: The Alice Footstool


Centered Petit Point Needlework DIY Upholstery StoolBehold! The first Fiber Archive DIY project is officially finished! Inspired by Alice B. Toklas and Pablo Picasso’s upholstery collaboration in the late 1920s, our new embroidered footstool is a testament to both Toklas’s steadfastness and Picasso’s whimsicality.

As discussed in the Toklas X Picasso HISTORY PROJECT post, our gal Toklas attended to her domestic tasks, many of which involved fiber craft, with the same care and vigor that Picasso or Gertrude Stein, her partner, devoted to their art. (Toklas was even known to stitch Stein’s famous line “Rose is a rose is a rose” onto Stein’s handkerchiefs). This particular collaboration between the artists began with Toklas’s desire to transfer an avant-garde masterpiece—Picasso’s guitar painting—into a petit-point footstool. Clearly viewing her and Stein’s everyday living space as an extension of their artistic life, Toklas transformed a lowly footstool into high art. The stool was soon followed by the even more ambitious Louis XV upholstered chairs, one covered in the playful floral/hand design and the other in bold lines and color blocking. Continue reading MAKING IT, OURSELVES: The Alice Footstool


Happy Friday! Our fingers have been busy over here, and not just with blogging. Half of Fiber Archive’s mission is to showcase inspirational projects from the annals of textile history*, but the OTHER half is to put our own hands to work—to re-make those historical objects into inspired new pieces.

In that spirit, we will follow up many of our History Project entries with DIY projects of our own making—some, from original designs; others, based on existing patterns that we think capture the essence of the historical object. So, with a couple of History Project posts under our belt now, it’s a good time for a check-in of sorts, a little sneak peek at two of the history-inspired projects currently underway. Continue reading WIP CHECK

HISTORY PROJECT: Toklas X Picasso Petit Point

Alice B. Toklas (1877–1967)—wife of literary avant-gardist Gertrude Stein (1874–1946) and subject of Stein’s tongue-in-cheek Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas—is not much celebrated in her own right. To literary scholars, she is the wifely support system that made Stein’s genius possible; to the broader public, she is the author of a cookbook once famous for its “hashish fudge” recipe. We think Toklas should be touted far and wide as a needlework goddess with a taste for whimsy (beyond just the fudge).

You’ll definitely see Toklas’s name pop up again here at the Fiber Archive—she was a prolific crafter —but today we’ll focus on the real showstopper of her oeuvre: her embroidery collaborations with cubist artist Pablo Picasso (1881–1973).

Continue reading HISTORY PROJECT: Toklas X Picasso Petit Point