I have a confession to make. During my darkest days towards the end of 2018 whilst I was reorganizing my studio, yet again, and sorting through my fabric stash, again: giving away, sending away and, dare I admit it, even throwing away, the fabric I felt no connection with, I was in fact making up my mind to stop working with cloth, at least for the foreseeable future. Who knows, maybe I thought I was preparing self for never holding needle and thread ever again.
I had saved my favourite bits of cloth and decided I would go out with a bang: a full-sized completely hand-sewn, patchwork quilt, thinking it would last me months and I'ld manage to work out what it was I wanted to be doing and/or making. Why I thought a life without cloth would be good for me, I cannot for the life of me remember....Anyhow I boldly began the quilt at the end of January, see post, and a month later, not only had I finished the quilt I had fallen completely, madly and utterly in love with cloth again! Ha, life has a habit of playing funny tricks on one.....I have since received beautiful fabric from 2 kind ladies and feel most fortunate to remain involved in the cloth world and will continue joining in in Jude's latest - and alas last - class over at Spirit Cloth.
I am even attempting to sew a pair of polka dot trousers, from a pattern, although I am struggling with the pattern part, as I'm not very good at being precise when it comes to measuring, so I will have to try at least 9 times I guess
After several botched attempts at making a present for Catharina-of-the-linen-cloth, after having learned a few things about sewing with linen and linen/cotton mix I finally found a way to make it work, for me.
Couple of things I hadn’t noticed before working with linen and/or cotton-linen mix: it frays easily. I realized I would need the chintz cotton (or maybe it's really sateen/satin) fabrics for the edges, to prevent fraying.
It’s very soft and easy to stitch through, like a hot knife through butter.
It’s very light.
It smells nice.
the colours are amazing.....
The first linen patchwork I made, I backed with a bit of an old cotton sheet, as I thought this would give it ‘support’; this was a mistake: the supple, soft linen became rigid, which okay if that’s what you want but I didn’t, so I learned something there.
With the next square patchwork I used a more loosely woven cotton backing; this was slightly better but still not ideal for what I had in mind: I wanted to keep the subtle quality of linen looseness, especially as I intended on making a Small Pillow, for fondling and holding.
So I had my two halves for the pillow cover, which I wasn’t happy with and still I stubbornly plod on and sewed the two parts together into a pillow cover. I had also made a separate small cotton pillow stuffed with the usual fabrics bits. Thank goodness for that, it’s what I started doing after the first series of Small Pillows: make separate pillows and loose covers.
There was something else that irked: the fabrics, beautiful as they are, just didn’t quite feel like me. I wasn’t happy with the result, it didn’t feel like a Small Pillow made by me.
I started afresh with different strips sewn together and I can’t quite remember why or how it happened but I said to self: use one of your lino’s to print on the fabric (with fabric paint of course!) and then it all started to make sense for me. Suddenly there was another layer and with the running stitch yet another layer was added. This time I chose a very loosely woven thin cotton fabric as backing and it feels and looks so much better now.
|the white/silvery leaves on the left are part of a lino cut by my dad, many many years ago!|
the two sides are connected by thin strips of cotton, in the 2 images above there are 2 strips with the 'wrong' side showing, which have both been lino-printed; below you can just see a strip with the 'right' side showing
|I sent it off 2 days ago to Catharina|
|birthday present for my mum, who turned 85 last Saturday|
she loves it and wore it with pride, showing it off to her 35 birthday guests, she's rather brilliant like that
addendum 8 July:
what the fabrics looked like before my special treatment