three wise critters

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!
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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.
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The little patchwork beasts resemble some friendly pets I know and love! and I added some old cheesecloth for some mountains.
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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.
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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.
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I’ve named it the Three Wise Critters :)
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looking towards Christmas

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.
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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?
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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.
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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.

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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
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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.
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Here are some pictures of the back which might show the quilting a little better.
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It is quite an unusual backing fabric. I’m always curious on what people choose for their backs!
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Overall, a lovely modern quilt in nice fresh colours.
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Talk to you next week!

eco dyeing

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
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and placed in a brew – this first one used iron as the mordant, set at a high simmer.
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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:
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This is raw silk with a softer look, but still showing the leaves with muted greens:
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This silk satin had leaves, and red onions for the pink and grapes to give the purple colour:
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Meryl showing one of her pieces:
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I also tried using some watercolour paper- folded and layered with leaves and onion skins and carrot then clamped between tiles like this:
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When I first opened it, with the leaves still on it – such beautiful rich colours:
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The paper once it had dried:
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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. :)