this weekend while taking a day to just hang out, we ended up at the beach which, for me, is always a good place to think about things like direction. too many directions? not enough direction? just being ok to flow with the tide and be without it for awhile.
now there is such a thing as taking this idea a little too far. maybe the captain of this vessel was practicing this when he/she ran aground recently in El Porto. it did make for an interesting conversation piece on the beach this weekend and was attracting lots of interest- kids, beachcombers, photographers and the like. i only had my iphone with me but in the afternoon LA light, still hazy from ash and smoke it has a certain quality that is appealing.
so we sat down in the sand to watch the sunset and were left to wonder about the events that led up to such a stranding on the beach…..perhaps some lovers out for a sail got carried away, lost in each other and in their passion lost track of the shore until jolted back to the reality of their geographical location.
well, a change of scenery is always good to recharge the batteries and now it’s Thanksgiving Week and there is SO much to BE thankful for-though you wouldn’t know it from reading the news- so let’s just skip the news this week- why not?
milo, on the other hand, is thankful for Hobbs silk batting as he settles into a snooze to test the loft as i start in on a silk shibori baby blanket for some friends about to begin a new journey themselves.
as maggie says on her website, the silk batting can be split in half forming two thin layers-which is how i like it, especially for silk habotai. i have just finished splitting a one yard cut of it. i have found all sorts of useful ways to use this batting including stuffing it in between layers of pleated silk shibori to add more loft to some of the silk shibori ribbon flowers i make. maybe you remember some of the experiments i did applying the arashi technique to it and dyeing it with the colorhue dyes?
HD over at Hobbs was very generous in providing me with some samples to work with-thanks HD!
now, i am not a quilter, let me repeat: I-Am-Not-A-Quilter. but i do read lots of quilters blogs and interact with many as well so i get the basic idea. but if you know me at all you know that when i start out to make a quilt several things may happen.
1. it may not end up looking like a quilt
2. you may hate it and i will love it (masterpiece or disaterpiece? sounds like a new reality show)
3. i may get fed up with it and cut it into scraps where you can purchase it in pieces in my silk shibori scrap bags at a show.
so following along, it’s not gonna be normal. and a baby might appreciate that at some future point.
i’m reminded of a story i tell on occasion about how when i was in college as a ceramics major we were told over and over (and over) that you CANNOT single fire glazed porcelain-especially cast ware. so, being the glennis my parents were so fond of (and often infuriated with) , i proceeded to build a 30 year career producing just that. (told ya so) i’m just stubborn like that.
back to shibori…i’ve much admired all the small journal quilts i see at the quilt festival-for lots of reasons- small size (not overwhelming to approach), the stories and ideas behind them, the experimental techniques many of them utilize.
i thought that a little baby journey quilt was in order.
and using the things i have at hand, silk, dyes etc. i dove in. imagined it in my minds eye….a landscape seemed in order, hmmmm…some stars to wish upon, some hills to climb and explore, a moon to light the way, and the sea to calm and take you to distant places. i sketched a little outline and colored it with some pencils as a reference. i loosely drew it out on some silk. i thought out the order of the dyeing and the stitching. i decided to start by handpainting some of the elements onto the silk first. this is something i did in some earlier experiments and something i teach in my shibori workshops. it’s not traditional but it allows for some results that are unique to the method.
so next i spent a couple of hours stitching and gathering the threads. my design was very loose and simple. in the gathering up process, i noticed i had missed something in the design of the land feature so i went back and tried to stitch it even though all the threads had been gathered. i lost my way and ended up going in a circle-no matter, sometimes we do that in life. what was intended as a hill became a path on a hillside.
next, i dyed the various areas, capping (blocking) off certain parts to preserve colors as i dyed.
after a vinegar soak, i wrapped it in cloth and not wanting to get my big outside steamer going this late in the evening i did a quick microwave steam for the very first time! being further lazy (having had a glass of wine while making dinner) i unwrapped the whole thing and threw it in the dryer.
when it was dry, i cut the threads and fortunately, didn’t snip or tear any holes in the silk. if i had though, i would have just incorporated them into the stitching i plan to do to quilt the layers together.
so this is what we have so far. i have the front pinned to the batting and i’m contemplating how i will dye the backing which is soaking in a bucket outside right now. i plan to keep the texture that remains and NOT iron out any wrinkles. in fact, i think i will stitch In and Around some of the texture to preserve it. of course the texture will soften as it gets washed- but it will be able to be hand washed and thrown in the dryer.