Friday, May 23, 2008

A Different Kind of Quilt

It all started with this:

It's the hem of a linen skirt I found on one of my thrift store forays a couple of years ago, right around the time I started collecting linen---another piece of fabric that was calling out "Take me home!" 

As they come in, the clothes get washed, then cut apart and put away, awaiting critical mass and enough time. The first linen quilt to come together was the one I'm currently hand quilting, and ideas for a second one are percolating around a set of reds that needs a few more members. A few weeks ago, I was playing with the linens again and another idea came together. 

I've been wanting to try out the fancy stitches on my new machine, and the embroidered linen skirt was a starting point. Here are a few trials:

I decided to not get complicated, and stuck to straight lines of programmed stitches. Even that, though, has plenty of scope for variation. I had a lot of fun with the entredeux foot, too.

I also looked through my linens and put together a nice collection:

I have a couple of other colors in small scraps, too. Printed 100% linen is not all that common, and I'm lucky that the floral goes so well with the solids. (That print at the bottom is 50/50 linen/cotton, and while the colors are good, I'm not sure it will stay here.)

And what to do with this little treasure trove? This past winter, I discovered Spirit Cloth. Jude's work is amazing and mesmerizing, and I spent many happy hours with her blog and photo collections. (Do take a look, if you haven't visited there yet!) In particular, I was entranced by her  Treehouse Quilt. Weaving fabric strips together was a whole new direction. And raw-edged fabric strips, too! I don't expect to ever come close to her artistry, but I've been very much wanting to try a woven fabric quilt project. 

I decided to stay small, which is certainly not my usual inclination, but seemed the best approach with a new technique and limited time. The finished size will be a little more than 24 in by 24 in. The strips will be embellished with machine embroidery, then woven with each other and also into the border. (I'll cut little slits in the border to thread the strips though.) All the strips will have raw edges, with a few threads removed to form a narrow fringe. 

Since this is my first attempt, I'm not sure how I'll handle the rest of the steps.  I will probably build the woven layer on top of a thin muslin, then layer with batting and backing. I'll hand quilt. I haven't decided exactly how to finish the edges, but I'd like to avoid a separate binding.

Fortunately, even though I'm really busy with work right now, it's work that doesn't drain my brain as much as indexing does. Here's hoping I can keep making progress on this. 


Lazy Gal Tonya said...

you do have a lovely collection of soft linens. yes, Jude is incredibly amazing - I'm completely in awe of her work. have fun with the weaving.

Mim said...

This looks like a really interesting project, with beautiful soft linens and the woven portion. I'll be interested to see how it works out.

jude said...

hi! thanks for the nice words. linen is the best. can i send you some scraps? the weaving technique is very addictive. have fun!

Kristin L said...

This is looking very intriguing. I imagine it will turn out wonderful :-). Enjoy the process.

Chris' Greetings from the Shady Grove said...

I've been enjoying your blog. I'd like to add a link to your page on my blog. Please let me know if you have objections. I'm a quilter from Richland County, WI

m said...

Chris--It's fine to install that link. I'm so glad you've been enjoying my posts!

Marit said...

I would love to see the progress on this quilt. Also inspired by Spirith Cloth Jude, I have become interested in a bigger variety of fabrics. I am now working on a quilt that mixes thrifted linen trousers, men's cotton shirts with more traditional quilt fabrics, my "cat quilt". I am so happy to discover your blog trough Lazy Gal Tonya's links. I love all your work, your what if thinking and extention of fabric choices. Lots of inspiration....