My local quilting group often runs workshops and invites other quilters and artists to come along and teach us new techniques and ideas to broaden our skills. We have done a few on dyeing and eco-dyeing, painting fabric and using stencils and stamps to create ‘new’ fabric. We therefore end up with quite a few bits of fabric that we then have to utilise in our projects in some way.
Another challenge that I have completed this year was to use fabric from one of these workshops and produce a completed work for display in our current exhibition. After much deliberation, I picked this piece:
When I stencilled and painted it, I did so with no thought on what it could be used for- it was basically just experimenting and playing. The first thing that came to mind was to just cut it up because there wasn’t any cohesion between the different areas. But then I decided that I could make it into a sampler of sorts, a piece to incorporate little bits of stitching I had experimented with over the years. Pieces I had stitched when experimenting with stitches and threads and scraps…
I decided to add them all with large visible stitching.
Once all the scraps were on, I stitched the whole piece with parallel lines of sashiko-style stitching in different directions using all manners of thread.
…contemplating how to finish it off…
and here is the finished piece:
I have a little story cloth to show, that even though it was started as a Christmas cloth, I’ve only just finished. At least it will be ready for this December!
I showed some progress photos of this along the way, the most recent time being here. I am very inspired by Jude Hill on Spirit Cloth, and while mine doesn’t look nearly as good as her work, I can keep trying!
I started with some bleach-discharged fabric for the night sky, which conveniently had a moon-shape in one corner. That was sewed into a nine-patch background with the addition of some eco-dyed cloth for the lower third. Both of these were done in some of our Art Group workshops last year.
The little patchwork beasts resemble some friendly pets I know and love! and I added some old cheesecloth for some mountains.
I also did lots of hand sewing all over. As it’s made from these soft pieces of cloth, it was enjoyable to sit and stitch with it in my lap.
To finish it off, I added some fabric to the back and then attached an old pre-loved zip as a border around all edges.
I’ve named it the Three Wise Critters
At long last I’m starting to think about Christmas, and in particular what sewing-related projects I want to make – either as Christmas gifts or for our own home. I like to make something different each year to put up on the wall or on the tree. I should have started before now, but the last week or so I have been fairly productive and had a good start. I really love Christmas and all that goes with it, but by the same token its hard to get into gear!
I have started a little Christmas cloth, in which I’m utilising techniques I’ve learnt from following Jude Hill on Spiritcloth. The ground is a nine-patch, made out of two different fabrics.
The dark blue is some cloth made when I did some bleach discharging earlier in the year. The top-left right corner looks like a moon, don’t you think?
The light squares at the bottom are some fabric from our eco-dyeing workshop. As it is a fine knit, I’ve backed it with some light iron-on interfacing to give some body. The gauze, or cheesecloth, has been sewn on and resembles some hills.
When I got to thinking about what else to do with it and started rummaging through my scraps bucket, a triangle-shaped piece just fell out. I picked it up and thought- hah! this resembles a tree. Put it on and spur-of-the-moment decision has given me a Christmas tree. Serendipity I’ll show you more as I work on it leading up to Christmas.
I also have some photos here of a quilt-top I recently long-arm quilted for Alison. Alison left the quilting decision up to me so I experimented and made up some new designs. The lantern-shapes have large diamond-shapes quilted on them
and there are some feather-like flourishes (don’t know what to call them!) up through the mid-sections- the negative-space parts of the quilt.
Here are some pictures of the back which might show the quilting a little better.
It is quite an unusual backing fabric. I’m always curious on what people choose for their backs!
Overall, a lovely modern quilt in nice fresh colours.
Talk to you next week!
We had a great workshop on eco-dyeing here in Gatton on the weekend, with Nat Billing. Nat is an eco-dyer, using leaves and fruit and vegetables and, well anything really, to make beautifull naturally-dyed and printed fabric. You can find out a little bit about her here and she is also on Facebook.
We were able to dye a number of pieces using a variety of methods, all utilising naturally-found ‘dyes’. We used leaves – each tree leaf with its own properties and resultant effects, onion skins, grapes, purple carrots and seeds.
The fabrics we used were a wool knit, raw silk, silk satin and paper. The leaves were placed on the fabric and then rolled around pieces of pipe, sticks, rusted metal, seed pods etc
and placed in a brew – this first one used iron as the mordant, set at a high simmer.
My first two pieces: wool with leaves wrapped around a rusted pipe which gave the dimpled look through the middle but you can also clearly notice the outlines of the leaves:
This is raw silk with a softer look, but still showing the leaves with muted greens:
This silk satin had leaves, and red onions for the pink and grapes to give the purple colour:
Meryl showing one of her pieces:
I also tried using some watercolour paper- folded and layered with leaves and onion skins and carrot then clamped between tiles like this:
When I first opened it, with the leaves still on it – such beautiful rich colours:
The paper once it had dried:
Opening up each piece to see what had happened was just like Christmas morning- a surprise when you saw what was there!
We had a great time, and I think there are a few converts amongst us who will be trying it again in future. Thanks Nat for a fantastic day.