Monthly Archives: March 2016

Fabric Oddities

As I was organizing my fabric, I came across some pieces I had meant to do something with, yet never had.

I love the basket embroidery on this 39 by 39 inch piece of stamped muslin I bought at a thrift shop.  Only one corner is completed and it’s beautifully stitched.

muslin cloth with stamped corners

embroidered basket corner

What puzzles me about this piece is what was it intended to be used for.  The placement of the design in the four corners brings to mind a tablecloth, but the crinkly muslin with unfinished edges doesn’t seem like an appropriate fabric.  I’ve seen other pieces of embroidery where only one of each motif is finished as if the embroiderer wanted only the novelty of each stitched design but avoided the repetition needed to complete the piece.  I wonder if this is the case with this  piece or if the embroiderer decided this wasn’t the look she was envisioning using this muslin so she stopped.

I was thinking of embroidering the other three corners and then cutting them into quilt blocks, but then I had the idea to keep the fabric intact and applique baskets in the center, and then add borders to make a quilt.

I have plenty of embroidery floss, so I looked for matching colors, and tentatively started stitching, but it didn’t look as pretty.

trying to match

I put on my glasses to look at the original stitching and saw that it was done in perle cotton, which is a twisted, lustrous and indivisible thread. I tried to match the colors, and bought some #5 perle cotton, which comes in skeins, and again attempted some stitches.

perle cotton #5

Again,  I wasn’t happy with how it was looking. This time it was too thick. I didn’t realize #5 perle cotton is about the thickness of 5 strands. Next I will try #8 which I will have to order online.  I’m having a tough time matching these threads! Especially that vibrant green.

I got these fabric panels at a fundraising sale for free.

French Colonial Panels 2

French Colonial Panels

These unusual panels feature scenes that remind me of French ladies at court from the 18th Century. What can I do with them?  I am thinking of pairing them with big blocks of toile fabric and an accent fabric. Toile Fabric Swan Lake

Then I noticed the toile fabric is a heavier weight and dry clean only!  I’m not really interested in getting started on this.

Have you ever noticed patchwork fabrics known as “cheater” fabrics? I’ve seen them sold as a fabric for quick quilts.cheater hexagon fabric

The pretty, pre-quilted, ‘crazy quilt” patchwork fabric in spring colors pictured below is another thrift store find.  It just needs a border or finished edges and will work as a coverlet –  no layers or quilting needed.

Crazy Quilt Fabric (800x600)

In the hippie and bohemian late 60’s and early 70’s these fabrics were even worn as apparel – that’s me in 1973 in a patchwork maxi dress.

Hexagon Granny Dress 1973 - Copy (522x611)

Looking over my fabric, and thinking about possible projects, leads me to reflect on the creative process.  Do you like to be involved in the creative process or do you like to follow a pattern to the letter?  Quilting magazines sell kits for some of the featured quilts, and the quilter can replicate the quilt exactly.  I can see how using a kit can be convenient, and a real time saver.  I’ve copied things I’ve seen or used others’ work for inspiration.  But oftentimes, making my own decisions about fabric and details, envisioning the end result, and creating something unique is a hugely enjoyable part of the process.

Would you agree?