Saturday, April 11, 2015

- Talking through the process: Potholder take 1

I've been enjoying the detailed process posts contributed by some of the KINDRED SPIRITS of late. So here's a detailed look at the first of the potholder trials (now the Table Series) promised in yesterday's post ... laundered, air-dried and trimmed ...


As usual, there were some learning opportunities. I began with a piece of felted wool skirt sandwiched in muslin, which I would modify in the future by enclosing the wool completely in the muslin to keep it from muddling the edge ...


Since I intended to add layers, invisible baste wasn't needed from a visual perspective, but I like the stability of a small backstitch so I worked a row of Jude's invisible baste on one side and then, because I also like to work from right to left, flipped the cloth over to stitch the return row, with this result (which reminds me of the handwriting practice paper from elementary school days) ...


I added a layer of lichen-dyed linen (it started out orange, the lichen contributed the rusty brown spots that are more visible further down) ...


and basted it down perpendicular to the first basting pass, making all the invisible baste stitches on the linen side, with the long basting stitches visible on the muslin side ...  


The final layer of rust-dyed muslin was invisibly basted into the middle layers so the stitches wouldn't show on the linen. Then I trimmed down the cloth to the desired size, although now I know to be more careful with measuring next time so I can leave the torn edges as is ...


I had a decision to make since the pattern in the rust-dyed cloth wasn't in line with the selvedges. I chose to do a discontinuous back stitch with two strands of floss following the rust lines rather than the grain of the fabric. And because I was working through five layers of cloth, I began to appreciate that the Japanese term "sashiko" translates as "little stabs" ...


It was at this point I discovered that the linen was curling along the edges ...


so I invisibly basted down the edge on the linen side, stitching only into the middle layers, then did a discontinuous backstitch with two strands of floss through all five layers around the edge of the cloth, also on the linen side ...



The cloth steadily became firmer with each additional layer and stitching pass, so I decided to stop at five layers. Since the hard-trimmed edges weren't very pleasing, I pinked them, thinking that would rough them up more than snipping through the edges might have ...


Then I ran the potholder through a blue jeans wash cycle to be sure it got plenty of agitation, with the final result pictured at the beginning of the post.

It's a bit thin and more puckery than I had hoped. And I suppose I could try adding more layers, but I want to see if the cotton diaper gives a better result before investing more time in this trial.

The good news is the potholder does fold nicely in half, so the plan at this point is to give it some real life testing. On the menu tonight: fresh asparagus from the farmers market, rotisserie chicken, and homemade bread.

Life is good.

13 comments:

Mo Crow said...

it looks like an excellent pot holder Liz but just wondering why you don't want to bind the edge?

Liz Ackert said...

Two reasons ... one is that I have found that bound edges tend to pull the center of a cloth out of alignment after many launderings. My other motive is seeing how the edges hold up after many launderings ... and the only way is to try. I also just like the wildness of a raw edge after a lifetime of precise hems (wink)

Mo Crow said...

just thinking some sort of decorative edge ie blanket stitch or satin stitch would hold the fraying from getting into the food!

Liz Ackert said...

Good thought ... I'm already less than thrilled with the wool in the edging ... I will ponder

grace Forrest~Maestas said...

such deliberation on a pot holder. love being taken along through your process like you do..
a Conversation. a true exchange. you are Great!

Liz Ackert said...

Lucky for me that Mo gets up early ... her good questions have gotten me a step further along

patricia said...

oh Liz. this feels downright biblical to me. or sacred perhaps. giving such value and importance to something we so often take for granted. and turning it into a work of beauty as well.

Liz Ackert said...

I blush ... while grinning ear to ear. A new post awaits publication momentarily ...

Marti said...

Liz, I so get your attention to detail on this; it has me thinking that this is such a fine way to used eco dyed cloths. So I've been thinking about my pot holders but since stitching is not my strength, I will just rely on my old worn pretty yuck, loaded with scorched bits pot holders. I am however my mother's child so as she had bathroom towels only for guests, I have a set of pristine pot holders that I use when guests are over for dinner...

Liz Ackert said...

I hooted when I read this ... some habits die hard. In fact, as I was weeding the driveway yesterday I said to Don, "Why exactly am I doing this? I guess I still have some East Coast aesthetic left."

Susan said...

All these stitches are beautiful. I love the grids.

Liz Ackert said...

Thank you ... I was really pleased that I was able to make the stitches look similar whichever side I worked on, which was a good think since the front ended up being the back, but still visible.
I'm also gratified that all the practice on Triangulation has made it possible to stitch evenly in a straight line ... something that always scared me away from quilting in the past.

Liz Ackert said...

Oy vey ... "thing" not "think"