Sunday 17 February 2013

Finished project: quilt from Guatemalan pillow cases

Well, I have a bandage on my thumb from some over enthusiastic pinning, but I finally finished the quilt:
finished quilt featuring Guatemalan  throw pillow covers

The good: It isn't a perfect example of the quilting arts, but it feels good and is full of jolly colours! I'm happy with the mix of fabrics and I like how they work with the bright weaving patterns in the old pillow covers. Also, my P likes the colour mix, too, which is important to me; I don't want to put something on our sofa that he doesn't like.

Also, I need to confess to my previous mistake in saying that the pillow covers were South American. When I actually looked on the label, it read "Hand Made in Guatemala". Oops. The original work was done by the Aj Quen association of artisans, which still seems to be going. I can definitely recommend their work.

The back of the quilt is pieced with a strip down the centre because the cloth wasn't wide enough. In my quilting heritage, the backs are always plain white fabric, but after seeing other  quilt styles with colourful, simply pieced backs, it was almost liberating to put together strongly coloured fabrics for the underside of the quilt.
back of quilt

The bad: It is lumpy, very lumpy. Because  I was using up old synthetic yarn for the batting, and particularly because the yarn was different weights, the quilt is never going to be flat. It's an experiment, and I am interested in how it will wear. At the moment, if asked my opinion on using knitting as batting, I'd advise only do it if you have enough yarn of the same type to use for the whole quilt. Or don't worry about lumps.

The ugly: Though the start stitch ties worked fairly well on the front:
detail of star stitch
And some on the back look quite good:

star stitch from back
Others are just a bit random:
not so stary stitch

The quilt needs to be washed before it goes on the sofa, but I'm a bit scared that it will fall apart or turn strange colours. Must be brave. If the worst happens, it can always go back into the scrap pile.

Tuesday 5 February 2013

Review of Redesigning Fashion at the Hat Works

The flyer for this show had a lot to appeal to me, what with mentioning make do and mend, sustainable fashion and ethical principals; and I'm happy to report that I really liked the exhibit. The re-use of materials is what really stood out to me, and I'm especially taken with this hat by Sue Daniels:
Detail of In a Stew by Sue Daniels
It's called Stew, and yes, those are the plastic bags onions come in. I've often wondered if those bags could be used in some way (two are sitting on my desk at work, sadly empty of the chocolate coins that came in them for Christmas). I can't say I'll be making something as nice as this hat, but I am feeling inspired to look at those bags again.

I also really liked the 3 minute film on the Eyesiga Mukama Craft Group in Uganda (I didn't watch the other videos, as I was on my lunch break and another 15 mins watching them seemed too long, so I just chose the shortest). The project produces 'artisan plaits' which look delightful, though what I liked best in the video is the women's dresses, the two buttons on the collars just look so sweet!

Redesigning Fashion is just in the small exhibit area at the Hat Works, but it is full of stuff. Like a lot of their exhibits, there's plenty of stuff demonstrating ideas that could be applied to other textile crafts, so it's not just for hat enthusiasts.