March 8, 2012
Seasonal Palette - Update 5
Making Seminole patchwork strips to use in the Seasonal Palette piece proceeds methodically. After picking the fabrics, cutting strips, and sewing sets of strips together, the next step is to slice up the strips into short lengths. The cuts are made either at right angles or a 45 degree angle, depending on the type of patchwork desired. There’s dozens and dozens of ways to combine and assemble these, but over the years I’ve developed my favorite sets and can proceed with relative confidence as I assemble them. The short strips are pinned together precisely, two by two, with an offset that will create the pattern, and sewn together. These pairs are then offset, pinned and precisely stitched, and so on, as I build long strips.
The white fabrics you are seeing in these top two photos are the backs of the silk fabrics I’m using. I love working with silk, but some of them are lightweight, and all of them are slippery. One strategy is to fuse them to non-woven stabilizers, but I dislike using fusibles, partly because of concerns about their long term stability, but mostly because they give a flat visual effect to the silk. So I take the extra step of machine basting the strips of silk onto a cotton muslin beforehand. It’s fiddly and time consuming, but in the end, after the work has been quilted, the silk will ripple just a bit and have wonderful dimension and sheen, so it’s worthwhile for me.
Once the strips are sewn together, they are pressed and ready to combine with the cyanotype panels on the design wall as I work out the design. The edges will be trimmed and evened up as I go along.
I enjoy making and using Seminole patchwork and revisit the technique from time to time. The concept was originated by the Seminole Indians, who used it for stunningly graphic and wonderful garments, as they made the best of a bad situation. Here I’ve used it in White Mulberry:
Tall Blue Lettuce:
and Five Days Last Fall:
You can click on the links and read more about each of these quilts on my website.
On another note, my friend and fellow fiber artist Franki Kohler has done me the honor of including me in her post on the Leibster Blog awards. Thank you Franki, I really appreciate the recognition and your kind words. One of the best aspects of blogging is the sense of community it builds, and the friendships that develop between bloggers, and I have been very fortunate in that regard! As part of the deal I am to pass along the award to five of my favorite blogs--a challenging task, as my blog reader list is extensive and I am continually amazed and inspired by the artists I follow. While I work on that, you can always see many of my favorites by touring through one of the blog rolls featured in the right side bar.