Thursday, November 20, 2014

- Back stories: Cloth and stone projects come together

The woven cloth base for the pillow is finally stitched together and ready for the embellishment phase. I decided to hang it in the window for this picture, which clearly shows where I did and did not get the cloth strips close together ...


Live and learn ... next time I will try working smaller pieces of woven cloth and then join them together into a larger piece. Of course, that's what Jude Hill  suggests in Cloth to Cloth, but there's nothing like doing it "wrong" to learn it "right."

I also discovered that the running stitch was not nearly as effective as backstitch in stabilizing the cloth ...

Close-up detail of back ...
note that I'm not too concerned about cutting off thread ends
which I realized about a quarter of the way through ...

The lower quarter worked in running stitch,
the upper three-quarters worked in back stitch

I also found myself more comfortable doing back stitch, which you can see here was discontinuous, so it actually resembles a running stitch ...

The square shown here is about 2" to a side ...
the stitches are worked with 2 strands of floss, not necessarily the same color

Next up: I have some "opportunities" in the form of those gaps between some of the cloth strips ... it will be interesting to see how stabilizing them becomes part of the cloth's story.

However, now that it's cooler we are in prime landscaping season (which hopefully means we're somewhat less apt to encounter snakes ... or that they'll move a bit slower if we do). So there will be more time spent outside cutting scrubby brush (acacia, Yaupon, persimmon, and agarita) and whacking prickly pear cactus to encourage growth of our prairie grasses (little bluestem, yellow indiangrass, side-oats grama, and buffalo grass, among others).

Don has also started another rock garden bed out back by the burn pit ...


using home-grown compost and some decomposed granite (from the walkway project) to enrich the clay soil ... limestone and chert nodules "harvested" from the side yard ... red yuccas rescued from a nearby neighborhood garden renovation ... and leftover landscape cloth. Which means the total project will require no current out-of-pocket expenditure ... just a little (ha) effort to get everything together ...


And while Don places each stone by hand, I'm working on covering the ugly composite concrete in the burn pit (see yesterday's post) with bucket-loads of floodplain stones. Final pictures pending ...

14 comments:

Saskia van Herwaarden said...

that first photo of the cloth against the light: I absolutely adore how the light shines through the slits where the weaving doesn't exactly match up!
Yes I understand how running stitch would offer less stability as opposed to back stitch, discontinuous or not; I guess it depends on what kind of feel you want: looser or more sturdy, I suppose that also depends on what you might want to use it for.....the result so far is excellent and whatever evolves, you have already learnt so much from this experience (as have I!)

boy you sure have a lot of acres to look after, I have a piece of paper on my cork board in the kitchen and another one in my desk drawer in the studio with the European and American measurements, so 5 acres is the equivalent of 2 hectare = 20.000 square metres, which makes for a Big Garden, nice to have an idea of what you're up against. Also interesting to read about the completely different natural surroundings, you're faced with drought and we have to deal with copious amounts of water. Even more exotic is the mention of snakes, we hardly ever encounter those over here, there are native ones, but few and far between; I have never stumbled upon one in our garden and would be extremely uneasy if that did occur!

Dana said...

Me too...I'm with Saskia in loving the uneven quality of the light shining through the roughness of the weaving. That is what gives it real life.

Saskia van Herwaarden said...

......and I hasten to add, or rather not so quick as it's a day later, I too love seeing the flip side!

Mo Crow said...

that's a big garden Liz! hmmm... I work as a gardener & really don't like landscape cloth (aka weed mat here in Australia ) especially the one that is made of woven black plastic that doesn't break down because it stops the natural percolation of air and water through the soil which is helped by the worms and microbial action. To suppress weeds we use a thick layer of mulch that is made from tree clippings put through a giant shredder at the local recycle station where all the gardeners take their clippings and then we buy it back as mulch.
love the new cloth and the journey it is taking you on!

Liz Ackert said...

I figured I can hardly keep asking others to show the back if I don't do it myself. Btw, after I started embellishing I cut off all the loose ends because they obscured the view of the new stitching

Liz Ackert said...

I'm a great imitator ... after seeing so many of my cloth-cohorts hand cloth in the sunlight, I wanted to try it too

Liz Ackert said...

That would be "hang"

Liz Ackert said...

Your point about landscape cloth is well-taken ... I'm wondering if Grace's hugelkultur suggestion may be the answer

Mo Crow said...

in a dry climate you want to keep the moisture in, here in Sydney we have very thin sandy soil on a free draining sandstone base so to increase the moisture holding capacity we never make raise beds, we just lay the mulch on 4 inches thick throughout the garden & have a space for creating compost from kitchen scraps & garden trimmings either with worm farms for the tiny courtyard gardens or a dedicated space where the decaying materials can be turned regularly & we add cow or horse manure every spring to help increase the worm activity in the soil

jude said...

as you work on the cloth it will become more and more stable.
big land there!

Liz Ackert said...

Our best garden ever got an infusion of fresh cow manure every year ... my all-time favorite Valentine gift was the pitchfork Don got me one year. We grew three foot high impatiens with stems bigger around than my thumb!
These days we're more about propagating native plants. We do put food compost out on one of our compost heaps, but it's really more of a wildlife feeding station ... which is to say, the deer eat it then they leave manure in their wake ... works for us!

Liz Ackert said...

I'm really glad I didn't bail out after the first quarter of the cloth was basted ... it's a true sampler as I'm learning as I go. My next post will show some significant progress in stitch and story ...

beth from still life pond said...

Hey Liz, I'm wandering in late, as usual… I really like this woven cloth. But I am utterly captivated by that view of the backside with stitch defining the weave and the subtle color variations showing through the thin cloth. I'm thinking something like that might make a wonderful base cloth...

Liz Ackert said...

I know what you mean ... Saskia had a post recently where she commented later on much the same thing http://www.saskiavanherwaarden.com/2014/11/the-unlikely-pilgrimage-of-harold-fry.html?m=1