Sunday, February 23, 2014

Year of the Horse Cloth Update

I've been slow to update progress, mostly because it is kind of hard to update this cloth. I have been working on three of the nine sections, two of the woven sections and the pieced corner between them.  Below, the central panel (the Windhorse) is the top right corner, the pieced corner is to the bottom left, and on either side are the woven panels.

Here's a reminder of how the elements are organized, as nine distinct areas with the Windhorse in the centre.
Here's how these first four elements are coming together, with the pieced element basted down.
The woven section in the photo below is partially stitched, held together with masses of running stitch. Despite being three layers- a cotton backing, two layers of linen woven together- it is easy to sew. The linen strips that are woven into the top (the linen table cloth I showed last time) are linen napkins. The three layers together are sturdy, heavy, but still supple, draping. Old linen stitched together like this is like nothing else. I'm thinking a lot about how this cloth is from a plant, a plant that grew maybe fifty years ago, maybe a hundred.

The corner elements on this cloth are each pieced separately, and I'm stitching each on to the whole piece. This is the first one I've placed. These elements are made up entirely of found cloth. And there is an overall pattern or design for each of these elements: nine small scraps suspended in bands of identical cloth. The nine small scraps here are all pieces of lining from pants pockets, and each pulled out of the river bank over the past couple of years.

The bands surrounding these small scraps are all from this cloth below, a pink pyjama top featured in an earlier Rag of the Day post. Yes, it once was pink.

Now, pink wasn't going to work for this cloth (I'll explain that later), and so I dyed it, with a last little bit of walnut I had sitting on the stove. And it did the trick; the pink is gone, replaced with a perfectly neutral brown, which complements the stains and marks on the scraps and rags they surround. I am pleased with this.

So that is the update. I still have to explain the colour choices I am making, not to mention why there is no horse on the year of the horse cloth. But for now, this is what it looks like, this is how it is coming along. Thank you for stopping by.


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