Saturday, 26 July 2008

Peacock kantha

I guess a couple of years ago or so, I participated in a round robin quilting project with an on-line textile art group, and found some wonderfully harmonious fabrics amid my material stash. The starting point for this kantha'd cloth was some of the left-overs from this project, which were too delicious to discard.

The finished piece is very roughly 18" square. The pieces include dupion silk, Liberty lawn in one of their iconic peacock feather prints, calico (US muslin) and
some patchwork prints. I searched hard for toning threads, and came up trumps with an assortment purchased via the Magic Armchair from my friend Dale in Australia. I pieced the fabrics, backed by two layers of buttermuslin(US cheesecloth?) and bound the edges with calico/US muslin. Then I started the kantha dance, using the stitch to blur the lines of the seams and to emphasize some areas of pattern and colour.

The stitching was a delight, like an act of meditation, intuitive, relaxing, centring. My father was very ill during his final illness as I worked this, and in working it I found a place of peace.

The back is also rather pleasing, showing the stitching without the distraction of the pieced and patterned fabrics.

Returning to this piece in the heat and humidity of summer, I realise I would like to work more in this way. It feeds the soul and creative spirit, is lovely to work and would make a great summer-weight bedspread, were I to choose to work that large.

This stitched cloth makes me smile.

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Rusty stitches


Stitching with rusty threads on rusty cloth.

Rusty Hands



The rust play continues. I've obtained some henna stencils, which are wonderful to use because they have slightly adhesive qualities. Yesterday I used reactive iron paint on the fabrics I previously dyed with ferrous sulphate, including the overdyed indigo cotton and this morning I applied rust activator.

The results are somewhat camera-shy, but effective, and I'm very pleased with these experiments.
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Wednesday, 2 July 2008

More rusting

I've been playing with the ferrous sulphate again. I've been dyeing an assortment of threads, cotton velvet, scrim and turban cotton.


I've also been experimenting with some of the fabrics I dyed last week, but pictures of those will come later.


I've been trying to find a good contrast to these rusty orange shades, and it'a interesting to see how poorly these hand-dyed fabrics, coloured with natural dyes, go with their commercial cousins. However,
Magie Relph sells plain cotton which is indigo dyed, so I invested in a metre of this and it goes really well. I think the colours are too subtle to capture with my photography in terms of what goes and what doesn't but I might try a photo shoot on a non-raining day to see if I can demonstrate what I mean regarding natural hand-dyed vs commercially printed fabrics. Meanwhile, the cloths are busy oxidising on the line prior to a dip in soda solution, and they can do this in the rain as well as the dry.

My son is intrigued by these fabrics. His comment was that they look dirty, used and worn. I told him that was intentional, which has given him food for thought. He can sort of see the point of this. I'll be curious to see what he thinks of what I make with them, in due course.