On Waiting for the Rain

This week has brought days of soft and gentle rain, interspersed with a few summer thunder storms. We are slowly breathing out as we breathe in the moist air and dare to hope that this may be the end of a long drought in the Eastern Cape. The vegetation has responded by turning green, almost overnight. Today I put the final stitches to my latest work, Waiting for the Rain.

Waiting for the Rain (50 x 93 cm)

The quilt got its name a few days ago when I spontaneously began making another small quilt of houses, this time with vertical lines of quilting in the brightest blue thread to represent the rain. It was then that I realised why I had hesitated to stitch grass and trees onto the background of this set of spotted houses — vegetation did not match the outside world, or my mood. For me, the quilt reflects the dry days of these past months.

The maroon brick road in front of the houses suggested itself after trees and plants refused to materialise. I used the Kantha stitch called bricking to create the effect. Janet Haigh’s work has inspired me. She creates magical effects using Kantha stitch. Click on this link for some examples https://janethaighherwork.com/gallery/kantha-stitched-skies/

Here is a close up of a portion of the maroon brick road. It is stitched in no. 12 hand dyed perle thread. (I bought a hank of it from House of Embroidery and will be sorry when the thread is all used up as it is a joy to stitch with it. If you would like to take a peak at their range of threads, the website is https://www.houseofembroidery.com/ )

The houses are from a set of Kaffe Fassett spotted fabrics, which are machine appliqued onto the whole cloth background. The spotted fabric frayed easily and it took a few rows of small machine stitches to “seal” the edges. The doors are pieced into the houses, but the windows are also machine appliqued. The advantage of having “free standing” houses (stabilised onto a backing called tear-away) is that they can be placed one in front of the other onto the background, to create a stacked effect. Once the houses were in place the hand quilting began. I used a range of embroidery threads in soft greens and blues to stitch the land and the sky. Before appliqueing the houses I painted the sky, using a diluted wash of fabric paint. Here are some in-process pictures to show the effects of the painted sky and of the close rows of horizontal stitching.

And so I have written my first post of the year, despite being rusty. Excuse the jerky style and the poor quality of the photographs.

This self-imposed weekly blogging date does have the advantage of spurring me on to finish a project so that I can write about it. Last night I stitched until late to get to the end of that road! Next week I will write about my happy discovery of using ink instead of fabric paint to create the background. How’s that for a self-imposed prompt?

16 thoughts on “On Waiting for the Rain

  1. What a pleasing quilt! Yes it appears like the raining about to fall on this sweet town. With your self imposed weekly blogging I look forward to seeing all the wonderful things you are creating this year šŸ™‚

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  2. What I notice most is that while Kaffe fabric is being used, the quilt doesn’t look Kaffe-esque…it speaks, ‘This is Mariss’. There’s a big difference IMHO and while I love love love Kaffe fabrics, often they overshadow a quilter’s style rather than enhance it…
    Just sayin’…

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  3. Oh, I so love your “houses” quilts! The colours and textures in this one are beautiful, too. And every question I had about it as I was reading was answered when I next scrolled down, so your blogging style can’t have got too rusty šŸ˜‚
    Enjoy the rain and the re-greening of your surroundings… Maybe we’ll see some trees in your next piece now!

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