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Friday, December 14, 2012

Being Green

Our word theme for the most recent challenge for Art 1016 was "green."  I was going to choose the obvious and do another monochromatic quilt that I really enjoyed for the my local challenge group, but then I got to thinking about the "save the earth" kind of green and set out to make an earth friendly quilt.

The fabrics had to be recycled, of course, and what leaped to mind were pieces of silk from parts of Japanese kimonos I had bought several years ago, mainly sleeves.  A morning's search uncovered where I had stashed them away, after carefully taking out the hand stitching. One of them just happened to be green--a very complex green with a hint of dark shadowing and small regular dots that appeared and disappeared in different lights.  But even more important were the delicate leaves hand painted on the fabric with a surface sprinkling of tiny light green dashes.  I had discovered this fabric in the lining of one of the sleeves I bought, supposedly a bit of beauty that only the wearer would know about. I finally screwed up my courage to cut into this fabric and I began to lay out my challenge quilt:
Usually I use some kind of iron-on stabilizer when I work with silk, but this time in keeping with the green theme, I gave up the additional chemicals and electricity and worked only with the fabric. I love the way the silk drapes and flows anyway.  I also did all the piecing, appliqueing and quilting by hand, although I did cheat and use the machine to attach the facing since I was running out time and wanted a sturdier edge to the piece than my hand stitching would give it.

Although I love my hand-dyes, I have to say that working with fabrics with a history adds another dimension.  At one point when I was quilting the bottom right black square I noticed a tiny white mark on it and thought, Oh, no--the fabric has a flaw in it.  But it turned out to be a tiny white thread from the hand stitching someone else had done on this same piece of fabric.

And if you are still reading, thanks for the company!




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