Monday, August 31, 2009

Fabric Gardens

Usually when I do something like dye fabric, the product sits around for months or sometimes years before I actually use it.  Not because the fabric isn’t beautiful, but because I am afraid that once I use it all up, it will be gone, and where will I get more?  This is especially true of colors that I don’t know how to duplicate (like the inadvertent rust fabric of earlier this month), or just love so much that I can’t decide which *one* project it will go into.

This month has been somewhat different.  I realized that I can buy more dye when it is time.  I also was not able to run out and buy yardage at the quilt shop, and had to use what was on hand.  This is both scary and exhilarating at the same time.  There was a time when I would use the lack of being able to buy new stuff as an excuse to not make anything, and I am really amazed and grateful at how far I’ve been able to come from that old unhealthy pattern.

So far, with my new hand-dyed fabrics, I have made purses:

octopus sun and snail one

A sample for the private class I taught:


And an embroidery piece inspired by the ink paintings I’ve been doing in my journal:

inspired by ink paintings

I had, however, been putting off the most frightening project of all, an art quilt made using the fabrics.  I wasn’t sure I had enough commercial prints in my stash to make a larger piece, and I wasn’t sure the colors I’d made were right. 

I finally did get off my fence, and started to put together this:

green towers process one

Untitled as of yet, though it reminds me of  the early spring greens of the local cornfields, and of the verdant growth of the plants at the Franklin Park Conservatory.

green tower process two

Pinning the appliqued pieced to a base of the new hand-dyed fabric.  I also used some fabric I painted using Setacolour Paints on another fabric day this month. 

green towers process three

Three of the towers appliqued to the backing, one to go!

green tower process four

Sewing the fourth tower to the background.  I use a basic zigzag with a darning foot so I can make curves easily.  I love the needle down function on my Pfaff 2054 most of all, I don’t know how I made these pieces without it.

All of the fabric used either came from stash or was the new hand-dyed fabric I made earlier this month (which also was stash, I just needed to put the stashed dye onto the stashed fabric).  The finished piece will measure somewhere around 44” square, and I am in the process of quilting it.  I really love the richness of the browns and greens together, and I am so happy that I stood up to those fears and started the work.


Sonja said...

The water towers look great on the handdyed fabrics. Organic somehow, despite being an engineering structure. You did a great job on the hand-dying too.

Susan Nash said...

Looks awesome....are those towers full of green peas? (I said peas first and thought I'd better add the green:)) Sometimes you just have to "dive in" and not think too much about it...I'm finding that true anyway. I can totally relate to the "afraid to use fabric" thing. Rock on!

Andi Stern said...

@Sonja, yeah they feel like old statues that have been in a garden a long time and have moss growing on them. Thank you!

@Susan Yeah, the fabric is left over from my pea skirt. It makes me giggle. Thanks!

Vicki Schroeder said...

Hurray for you! I still have to master my fear of using my dyed and painted fabrics - I love what you've done with the watertowers!

When I was a kid, I was afraid of watertowers - I'd imagine being inside and going down the drain. Still gives me the willies! But seeing them filled with peas, makes me smile and feel more comfortable!

Gayle Pritchard said...

I love your new art piece! The repetition of the towers really adds to the imagery in the way you use it. I have spent my life using what I have on hand, and that creates a challenge in and of itself. Nice work!

Andi Stern said...

@Vicki, I always liked laying in the back seat of my mom's Camaro and stare at the water towers, they looked like space ships to me. I don't think I knew enough about what they really were to worry about the drain, glad the peas help make them more friendly for you! :)

@Gayle, thank you! I know that I have what I need, but I seem to keep re-learning that particular lesson :)