Tuesday, May 27, 2014

- Back to the Homestead: What if ... ?

I finished my stitch sampler and it is now serving its intended purpose as a kitchen towel. The three layers of cloth make it a bit bulky when folded, so I'll probably change the format to "single-wide" the next time around. I'm also becoming a two-threads of floss convert, finding it works up less tediously and shows up so much better.

Now I'm back to the Homestead towel, which needs to have trees added to it. So I'm wondering: 

What if I baste a piece of green fabric (from a finely-woven linen shirt that never did fit quite right) onto the top of the cloth and then cut away everything but the treeline and appliqué the edges?

To be continued ...

And now a bedtime story (2)

The bed in our guest room came from my father's parents: Gertrude Elizabeth Snow and Arthur Snyder Barnett. My dad was their second son (third child) born fifteen years after his brother Ken (who never got over his younger brother being named Arthur Junior).

It made its way to my childhood bedroom at 141 Wellington Road in Mineola, where a monster took up residence underneath it each night. When we moved to East Williston the bed was relegated to basement storage where it gathered dust for a decade until Don and I rescued it along with an eclectic mix of attic-down cast-offs, taking them all in a U-Haul truck to our first home Virginia.

It moved from the master bedroom to the guest room at 127 Wilson Circle, from the garage at 260 Nina Lane to Meghan's room at 303 Hempstead Road. It survived a cross-country trek from Williamsburg to Wimberley, arriving at last in the guest room at Cascade Trail.  When we don't have any company I use it to store my growing collection of repurposed cloth for future quilting projects.

Mom's quilt fits the bed perfectly and her father's painting hangs over them both. But that's another story. 

- What if ... NOT: Inkjet printing on premounted cloth

One of the (many) things I like about Jude Hill is her "What if ...?" approach to creativity. So I had a thought:
What if I created a kitchen towel cloth that combined a polygonal map of our property with the topo contours of the neighborhood swirling around it?

It was a pretty good idea, but it went wrong when I took it one step further to:
What if I print our property map on the cotton cloth I bought and appliqué that onto a tea-dyed linen napkin?

Then stitch over the lines of elevation?

Except ... the cotton was so white (maybe some tea dye?) ... and so stiff (maybe my thumb will callous?) ... and there were so many extraneous marks (maybe they'll wash out?). There were just too many maybes.

In fact, the only thing I really liked was the back:

So it has been undone.

Lesson learned: this thing was stitched to stay on forever. Now it's back to the drawing board.

What if I use some packing tape to clean up all those loose threads?


And now a story (1) ... the first of many I hope. Because it occurred to me that the things that give us the most pleasure are meaningful because of the stories behind them. 

So I'm going to try to end each post with a story about something I love, beginning with my mother's quilt. 

The story begins at the Williamsburg Soap and Candle Factory quilt shop, where Mom picked out fabrics during a Christmas visit before our girls were even born. She worked on the quilt blocks in-between many smaller quilting projects over the course of two decades.

It actually has a part of its story inscribed on the back by the woman who ultimately quilted it:

The sad part of the story is that my mom never saw the quilt completed. Instead, the blocks that she pieced sat in a box until after her death. And after it was quilted and returned to Shelter Island, it ended up in a linen closet.

Happily, it now rests on the bed in which I slept as a child. But that's another story.