On How One Thing Leads to Another

It was my intention to take a blogging break this week. But a series of happy coincidences got me thinking about material for yet another post about scraps. The clincher was when Facebook showed me that I had posted this photograph a year ago:

Honky-Tonk Blues (90 x 90 cm) made for the 2019 Fynarts Festival’s textile art exhibition, Shades and Tones

You’ve guessed, I am going to tell you about the scraps that came from the making of this quilt. It’s a long story, which also has its genesis in the wonderful tutorials and inspiration being offered by TextileArtist.org. This week’s Stitch Club tutor Susie Vickery urged us to embroider in the Jacobean style using plastic. Yes, she did. And hundreds of us have done just that and been surprised and delighted by the results. I decided the time had come to cut up the Liberty of London bag that I accepted against my better judgement (it being plastic) when I bought a roll of fat quarters from that iconic shop. The fabrics were then used to make Honky-Tonk Blues and I stored the scraps in the Liberty Bag. These offcuts were dumped on my cutting table while I stitched Susie Vickery’s challenge.

After that bit of plastic fun was finished, the fabric scraps started talking to me. The previous week, Stitch Club tutor and artist, Merill Cormeau had shown us the trick of stitching small pieces of fabric onto netting in order to make a collage. Given this newly learnt technique, the pile of scraps, and half a metre of newly purchased grey netting in petticoat weight, this is what happened :

An assemblage of strips, from the scraps, between two layers of netting

The next step will be to stitch down all the bits and then to applique on top of the background (there are still the tiny squares and slivers of scraps waiting to be used up!). I know this will means hours with a threaded needle. I also know that any non-quilters reading this will think I am a little crazy. So be it.

Finishing Line

While Liberty Lily was a quick stitch, the piece I did from Merill Cormeau’s prompt took a lot longer. The brief was to create a collage as a background for a flower of significance. I chose a plant called Crassula perfoliata (aka falcata) which is endemic to South Africa. It occurs on rocky outcrops in grassland and on inaccessible cliffs. In the wilder parts of the botanical gardens near to where I live it blooms spectacularly every February. Its common names include airplane plant, Buddha’s temple, propeller plant, scarlet paintbrush and sekelblaarplakkie. I could not find any reference to its significance in our personal plant books or on google, but feel sure it has folklore behind it.

17 thoughts on “On How One Thing Leads to Another

  1. I remember the red-red of Crassula perfoliata —captured so beautifully in your quilting. It’s led me on a search for folklore about it. Nothing on the web — so now Im (re)turning to my small collection of African fireside tales.
    How one thing leads to another!

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  2. Well, I’d say you nailed those challenges! Who’d have thought to embroider with plastic? What a fun thing to play with, and your Liberty Lily looks great. I have never worked with netting; does it shift around much while you sew with it? Your piece looks so well done!

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    1. What a lovely string of compliments, thank you Wendy.
      Because the netting is pliable it is in fact easy to work with when stitching down all those small pieces. The final piece did curl, though. That was because the weight of the netting was too light. So I am now trying out petticoat weight netting, as advised by Merill Comrau

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  3. Eye opening! Mariss, you always pop up with unique applications!
    …curious, was the effort involved in re-purposing plastic into textiles/thread rewarding in the actual ‘doing of it’? I mean to say, did it ‘feel’ good in your hands while sewing?
    BTW: I remember that purple quilt! Good to see it again, I do like it.

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    1. Surprisingly, yes, it was rewarding once I got going. That said, I am not planning on making more plastic flowers 😂. It was also a quick exercise, so a case of instant gratification.
      Thanks for remembering the Honky-Tonk quilt. I remember your reassuring comments about the original post.

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  4. Hi Mariss, As a non-quilter I find the insights your posts provide into the intricacies of quilting fascinating. I do get the feeling that once bitten by the quilting bug one can get quite addicted? How wonderful to spend time doing what one loves though and developing a creative spirit – many of us get bogged down by unrewarding chores and such like and never find a way to break out and be more creative.

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    1. Quite addictive ?! There are even jokes about how all-consuming quilting can be. Yes, it is wonderful (and fortunate) to be so engrossed.
      I think your photographs and writing are highly creative.
      As for chores, I try to lump mine all together on one day of the week

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