Saturday, September 24, 2011

Handwork at a Rural Fall Fair

Last year I posted the picture above, of a spectacular mend- a patch on a sheet being used as the background for the cabinets where the annual Fair competition entries are displayed. Like this (note that everyone who entered the Maple Syrup competition has the same last name):

Well, here is the same sheet this year! It must wait in the Agricultural Society barn all year.

And Jude's students might love to see these woven paper entries in the 'paper placemat' competition:

It surprises me how little handwork there is on display, and how little variety there is in the canning and produce competitions. Fifty years ago women and their kids canned a much greater diversity of fruits and vegetables than today. Even ten years ago there were stacks of quilts, though most machine sewn. Fifty years ago women would have displayed much more- tatting, crocheting, even garments. And hand sewn quilts. I talked for a minute with a woman who used to show her "quilts and things".

Things change, of course, and trends to 'saving time' sweep away hand work. But things can also change in response to all of the pressures that force us to 'save time'. Maybe we can just have the time to go slow.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Magic Diaries, Big and Little

I was supposed to be setting the table for a Birthday Party under the arbor, and discovered that the Magic Diaries cloth is now just about the same size as the Birthday Party table. It might be the right size, then. It is still two sections made up of four individual panels, each a double woven or mosaiced base. This is the windblown star:

Along one edge there is a long 'continuous nine patch' or checkerboard border.

I see little nine patches in here, and find myself treating them as little parts of the bigger whole.

And, I'm loving where the once separate panels meet. They are nice places to sew- I can use heavy stitches, or make the seams less visible. But it changes everything when they come together.

As Jude has been teaching us in Magic Diaries, when working on a cloth like this, which doesn't have a fixed model, only a modeller, you notice and insert small details. In the space of the cloth you hold in your hands, you find a whole cloth to work. I thought to take some photos of those I like the most. Here are bits of the same old silk sari, part sun faded, part still vibrant, they are patching each other here.

Where a square became a triangle in a funny way.

Where a set of little blocks clustered.

Where a former Rag of Day, a painter's rag, covered in paint, appears to have a print as the colours pop out because of the colour in the base cloth.

And, as Jude has also taught us, when you fold it up, you see other cloths all together. Here, kind of like the pattern I love, 'Flying Geese'.

And the relationships between triangles and squares.

How the shapes travel over the curves when it is bundled.

So that's what I'm noticing about the Magic Diaries cloth today. I think there is one more border to add, a different kind of checkerboard, one that creates rectangles instead of squares.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Rag of the Day August 25, 2011

-maybe nylon or rayon? I started pinning it on another cloth before I remembered to take a picture. Found on the beach on the north shore of Lake Erie at Clearville Ontario. About 2" x 6".

Translucent feather found the same day on the same beach.

Dog I take to the beach to swim with.