Sunday, 20 March 2016

I am Not a Fabric Snob

If you look at all of the fabrics in an old feed-sack quilt you will notice that the maker simply used a selection of whatever fabric they could lay her hands on. I have some old quilts that include pieces of shirting, linen and even crimpelene. When I decided to make Freya a quilt using my Grumpy Gertie/Bloody Mabel block I was getting all enthusiastic looking at bundles of lovely reproduction fabrics even though I already own all sorts of suitable materials. I reined myself in and made up my mind to use up stash fabric (mostly). I confess that I happened to find a bundle of rather nice plaids on Ebay which were very inexpensive because they are POLY-cotton. I was really pleased when they arrived as they are great colours and don’t feel horrible. I might wash them - but probably won’t - and I certainly won’t worry about the quilt disintegrating after I am dead because it is not meant to be an heirloom!

Black wool suiting arrived in the post which declared on its selvage that it had been “Woven in England Specially for the Ministry of the Interior of Kuwait”. This is an intriguing provenance - perhaps it was destined to be made into uniforms? It is very fine and silky; riskily, I decided to cut out the felted shawl and appliqué it onto the fine black wool. I attached tiny strips of bondaweb onto the reverse of the felted wool and used a lot of steam to try and get it to stick . Some of it adhered quite well but other areas just would not! The Bernina 710 did a great job of neatly machine blanket stitching the felted wool onto the suiting. It took many hours to stitch around all of the cut-out hexagons and triangles which I might embellish further with some simple hand stitching. There is also a possibility that I may attempt to print some black motifs down the edges to look like a sort of jacquard border.

I was invited by Aberdeen Patchwork and Quilting Group to a day class with Edwina Mackinnon to experiment with printing on fabric. We were generously provided with 2 metres of soda-ash treated fabric and guided through various processes. A day just was not long enough to try everything out! I decided that I was pretty useless at sticking pieces of masking tape to a screen to create a negative image for screen printing but at least I found out how to use a silk screen frame with stencils. I loved messing about with thickened dyes and thermofax screens and I could probably become as hooked on them as I seem to have become on Indian wood-blocks.

Edwina had to step in and command me to stop printing more detail on my blue fish  which everyone found highly amusing. It would seem that I have a reputation for not knowing when to stop;)

I must say that I really enjoyed a day out experimenting with new-to-me creative techniques and learning how to use some of the dyes and kits that I may have purchased at at show and have not looked at since. It could easily lead to a new idea…

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