Wednesday, 28 April 2010

bucket of blue

Some results from yesterday's indigo dyeing session

The soya wax experiment.    Great - indigo and mid blue, no white.

Japanese Larch

Large spirals

Pole wrapping - very 'watery' looking

And, finally....

The 'corset'  Love the marks on this piece.
More experiments I think.  Meanwhile, the forecast
for the weekend is colder with rain.  Fine for the garden
and me.  I feel an indigo quilt coming on.

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Too nice to be indoors

Wouldn't you know it, I needed more indigo cloth with different marks.
The weather perfect, so a small bucket this time.  Apart from binding 
and stitching, which will not reveal results until washed, here are a
couple of pieces which might be interesting.

It reminds me of a strange corset

An experiment with soya wax

And now for something completely different

Colour. Dyed pre-felts

Time for a few more indigo dips in the sunshine.

Monday, 19 April 2010

Something Boro'd

My April Journal Quilt

Bits of silk at the bottom of the laundry 
baskets, some of the overdyed Indian
cotton, and a piece of red silk found on
on a floor (unspecified).  Stitched with
cream silk thread, a gift from a friend,
and indigo dyed cotton thread.

It is seriously raggy - seams on the outside
shredding in a delightful manner!

Sunday, 18 April 2010

The Laundry Basket

This is what it looks like now.  There are bits of silk,
plain dyed cotton, and other bits awaiting ironing.
The sun became warmer and I just had to do
some gardening.

I did iron these pieces before escaping.

Pole wrapped, clamped, stitched and bound cotton

Folded silk/cotton linen - the one on the left
has rust dyed stripes

Overdyed Indian cotton prints

Now to tackle the jungle

After waiting ages for Spring to happen, the
plants in the 'wood garden' have gone mad.
There is wild garlic everywhere, blue bells
still in bud, but soon will be a sea of blue.
The ferns are slowing uncoiling.

Time enough for ironing in the morning.

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Glorious Quilts

Time out from the vat, a bit of a scrub up, and out with the posh 'frock'.  A visit to the V&A, London to see the exhibiions "Quilts - 1700-2010".

No photos, but you can go to the website, find the link to "Blogs".  Plenty of pix there and interesting information.

The queue was out of the door.  Fortunately I booked online - top tip if you are thinking of visiting.   The exhibition was crowded, a lot of standing and waiting a for a space to get up close, and listening to interesting conversations!

An amazing collection, all beautiful.  Some from rich families made with fabrics brought from India in the 18th century, to utilitarian quilts, commemorative quilts, funky applique quilts, and contemporary quilts.

I should have made more notes, however a few thoughts on quilts which impressed me for one reason or another.

A cot quilt made by Priscilla Redding from Deal, Kent 1690-1720, together with her notebook.  See blog.  
Finecell Work by prisoners in Wandsworth Prison.   There is a video of inmates explaining what stitching, quiltmaking meant to them.  One remark 'sewing helps me to be more in control of myself'.  

The Raja Quilt - named after the ship taking women convicts to Australia.  They were given bags of fabric and sewing materials to make quilts, not only to occupy themselves, but with the hope they would be able gain a living in their new land.   

The quilt made in Changi Prison by young girls, Brownies and Guides, from their frocks, away from the eyes of the prison guards, and given as a present to the Guide Leader.

Finally, Tracey Emin's Bed.   Now I must admit I was a bit 'sniffy' over this!    Wrong, it is a beautiful bed, drapes, cushions etc, with appliqued messages.  Strong stuff.  Made you think.

Many of the quilts on exhibit appear in quilting books, but there is nothing quite like seeing them in the 'flesh'. 

                A bouquet for quilters past and present

Saturday, 10 April 2010

I'm an indigo slave!

My experiment with an early indigo vat is far exceeding my 
expectations.  I had a few stitched pieces to hand, fabric to
over dye, old shirts and jeans to refresh, some old embroidered 
linen etc. At the end of the  day a basketful of blue.

Today was going to be the big test.  Could I revive the vat
 with a heating element?  Well yes I could!  The sun is still
shining, the temperature slightly cooler than yesterday.
So whilst waiting, I frantically stitched more lengths of
cloth, very time consuming - out with the clamps.

The view from my workroom

The two dark pieces are mokume shibori 
and bandhani spots.  The long length
is clamped cotton

Soft linen found in a cupboard!  You see how desperate
I have become!  Previously dyed, a bit pale so back
into the vat.

For today I am indigoed out.  Lessons learnt.
1. All is possible.    2.  Always have to hand prepared
fabric.  I believe the Japanese spend all winter stitching
ready to go in the spring,   

Guess it's time for a tea ceremony and back to 
stitching.  The vat still has plenty of life in it.  
Tomorrow maybe another hard day serving the
indigo spirit.

Friday, 9 April 2010

It looks like a greenhouse.....


which it is, although now harbouring secrets.

An indigo vat

The weather is unbelievably perfect.   The greenhouse 
is sort of redundant - why not set up a vat methinks.

Testing testing - yes, under that metallic purple is
the yellow/green I am looking for.  Ready to go.

First dip - yes, it is looking good. there is still a little more
oxidation to go.  Ten minutes on, as I look out of my 
window this napkin is a really dark blue.

My prepared cloth has been soaking, now ready 
for dipping.  I'm off to have fun in the Bluehouse.

Friday, 2 April 2010

Is it Spring yet?

The title for the March Journal Quilt

I used the dyed fabric I couldn't cut into last month
The colours are a zillion times brighter, for instance
the leaf is emerald green, and the flowers a deep
violet blue.    It's fused, the flowers and leaf
free cut.  Free machine stitched.

It certainly cheered up yet another grey wet day.