Neighbourhood Whimsy

This little wall hanging is made from a piece I started in an online class with Jude Hill from the Spirit Cloth website about 2 years ago. Jude does such beautiful work, creating story cloths and mainly utilising old fabrics that she has collected over the years or been gifted. I love the tactile nature of her cloths and the simple but expressive stitching. I have taken a number of her classes where we have explored cloth weaving, on which this one was based, the theme of hearts or the moon, contemporary boro cloths, and others I haven’t done. I’ve enrolled in a new class with her as I just find her work so irrisistable.
For some reason I am drawn to work that is utilising old soft cloth, fraying edges, re-purposing cottons and linen, making something that already has some history and creating my own stories with it.

Having said that, creating a story is the part I’ve found the hardest. I generally just start and hope some story will come to mind as I progress! I named this little piece ‘Neighbourhood Whimsy’ well after it was finished. I started with the background and just added different stitches and tried different ways of embellishing each square. Some squares had other fabric underneath which peaked out when cut away; I cut up an old piece of cotton lace to add to it and tried out a few different stitches.

The cat was the simplest little animal shape I could think of so I did that first, and my sister suggested a mouse when I was wondering what else could be added.

The other thing that is interesting to me is that when I am making larger quilts, I invariably use bright coloured and patterned fabric, a la Kaffe Fassett-style, which is really the opposite end of the spectrum to these works. In this I can indulge my other love of the texture you get from a monochrome scheme, like stitching with a cream coloured thread on a similar-toned background.

The linen that is used in the background is cut up from a linen jacket I bought from a local St Vinnies for about $3 and a lot of the other bits and pieces were the same or had been given to me.
I used a striped fabric from an old shirt of mine to frame it; the sleeve seams can be seen on the side border.

I’m looking forward to the inspiration from the new class!

2 thoughts on “Neighbourhood Whimsy

  1. Karen – that is gorgeous. Absolutely stunning. Oh, I can only hope that with some time with Jude and all the rest of you, that I’ll create something like this.

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