Stitching Sashiko in a Series

Stitching in a series is always an enjoyable project for me.  I like the underlying theme of sameness but not the same.  I like the feeling of a numbered start and finish.  And I like working on small pieces.  With my bum leg giving me a good reason to stay inside and work small, I set out to use my vintage Japanese plaid (Shima) cotton for my Sashiko series.

Recently I have discovered that I really do not enjoy stitching someone else’s pattern.  I have used a few stencils but became impatient with the precision required to complete a standard, fixed template.  So armed with my Omnigrid square, I proceeded to draw lines in no particular pattern.

And so, here is my Sashiko stitching in a series, a total of 6 pieces–all a bit larger than a six inch quilting square.


My Left Foot, Lemon Leaves Sashiko and Monarch Butterflies

You may be wondering how the title phrases are connected, and so I have a story for you, a true story, that is.  Subtitle:  Stitches and more Stitches

A week ago, I was clearing my deck and bringing plants inside in preparation for our deck renovation.  Unfortunately, I slipped on a stupid throw rug between the deck and my house.  Luckily my brother was here to call 911–and a few hours later I was given 19 stitches in my left lower leg, somewhere between my shin and my ankle.  I won’t go into the pain and tears, but the good news is:  no broken bones.

The lemon leaves refer to the Katazome stencil I purchased, an authentic antique Japanese stencil I used to create the outline of the leaves on vintage Japanese indigo cotton.  All the rest is sashiko stitches (little stabs).  Everything is backed by a vintage white dresser cloth.



And then there is the monarch butterfly, which was snapped by my friend, Marilyn, who lives in a rural area.  She planted milkweed for the monarchs, which is such a sweet and lovely thought.IMG_6423

So I will leave you there with lemon leaves, monarch butterflies and milkweed flowers.  No sense dwelling on my left foot.

Busy Bee Sews and Embroiders

My kitchen counter is filled with scraps!

It seems like I have been sewing and embroidering and very little else these days.  And playing with cloth in general.  Mostly scraps.  Recycling is on my mind.

Very little time for cooking when you are submerged in cloth.  And then my sister sent me some wonderful ribbon treasures, further burying me in fun.  So what to do?

Make stuff:  boro repair patches, birds and needle cases/books.

Colleen’s gifted ribbon and trim stash!
Just a few pics for now:
She needs legs.
Run rabbit, Run!
Boro repair patch for clothing or bags. Tiny, just 3 x 3 inches.

“Collage It” with Naturally Dyed Cloth

I’ve been trying to reconstruct in my head how I go about the process of making a cloth collage.  The slow-stitch, hand-dyed kind.  It’s always more about the process than the product, but what is the process?

Disclaimer:  This is not meant to be a “how-to-collage primer.”

So yes, I begin with scraps or patches of hand-dyed cloth, in this case, Bengala dyes, natural mineral dyes from Japan.  If I am making a 9-patch as the basis for the collage, then there’s re-arranging of cloth, pinning, then stitching seams.  Sometimes the background cloth is chosen first, and sometimes not.

Indigo dyed linen. Just right for the 9-patch backing. Ready now for SunMoonStars.  
Playing with hand-dyed cloth for a 9-patch

The stitching could be by hand or by machine, depending on my mood.  Once the patch is placed on the backing, I use the Jude Hill glue-stitch.  (See SpiritCloth Blog for details).  In looking back, at some point I decided to add suns, moons and stars for Jude Hill’s challenge.  But I do not have a photo of the in-between process from sewn 9-patch to decorated 9-patch with hand-embroidery.  Sometimes you get wrapped up in the process and forget about photos.

9-Patch Growing
Pinning, stitching seams…

The final results:  Is a piece ever complete?

Global Warming “Art Quilt” Completed, but not really…

Project Cinq: Global Warming Complete ?

The stitching on my global warming panel is complete, but I am debating whether or not to add a title.  Global Warming?  Overused?  Getting stale? I don’t know.  What do you think?

Project Cinq: Global Warming…to Title or not?
Detail for Project Cinq: Global Warming Panel

Today I am making a WOAD vat.  Not easy to find information, although I have found a bit here and there.  I don’t have Woad leaves, which makes it a bit trickier.  Many resources give instructions for Woad leaves, but not so many for Woad powder, which is what I have to work with.  I’ve followed those instructions and the vat is ready.

Next time:  Woad results and Collage It.

Hope to hear from those of you who might suggest a title for Project Cinq.  Or not.

Project Quatre & Solar Eclipse & Global Warming

Happy to announce that Project Quatre is complete!  Or possibly near completion.  It isn’t until I actually photograph my work that I can begin to see the flaws.  You can’t really see the title clearly, so I may add some couching with a dark thread OR stitch alongside letters with partial accents of thread in a darker color.  Any thoughts on that? And then there is the very special event coming tomorrow:  the Solar Eclipse.  I won’t be watching because I didn’t think about the glasses until too late, but I have a vivid imagination.  So I will embroider my own Solar eclipse.  Finally, I am beginning to collect my thoughts on Global Warming and will make that the subject of my forthcoming posts.  All of these naturally-dyed cloths are collecting; and while they began as outreach for the Sun Moon Stars circle of stitchers (Jude Hill), they are evolving into a treatise on Global Warming.  Stay tuned.

Project Trois & Hidden Cloth

Although this cloth was completed a few months ago, I totally forgot about posting it here until now.  Yes, this was Project Trois, or the Interstellar Hand. You may remember it was among my WIPS.

In the meantime, I found what I call “hidden cloth.”  Really misplaced cloth.  This was cloth I dyed with Quebracho Red, a natural dye which produces lovely shades of red, raspberry, etc.  My cloth was natural linen–white and natural–which accounts for the mixed shades.

One of the pieces was stitched shibori style before dyeing.  I am glad I finally located these panels as I contemplate stitching another piece.