Posts Tagged ‘linen’

stepping back a bit

May 17, 2013

on mother’s day
Originally uploaded by SOFennell

I diverted just a bit from the rabbit quilt last week to work on a small Mothers Day gift for my mom. I’d meant to work on a piece with the image of my great-grandmother for longer than I’d like to admit. Sometimes it takes years….

I thought I didn’t know what I was going to do with the image, when in fact, I really did. I’ve probably known that for some time too, just hadn’t pulled all of the pieces together.

While the central piece is a transfer image, the rest of the fabrics are hand dyed. The top layer is linen in kakishibu and so is the cotton thread I used to quilt it together. The back layer (flannel in the middle) is tea dyed muslin.

It’s simple, but a helpful exercise in furthering my understanding of quilting, – more to it than meets the eye. I know how I could have better approached the indigo rabbit piece and will have to make some “adjustments.” In spite of that though, it’s turning out the way I’d hoped.

At any rate those “lessons” aren’t in either of these pieces, but they’ll be useful  later.  It didn’t take long to complete this piece and mailed it in time for “the” day and I just learned today that she likes it.


Indigo & Henna vat

October 26, 2012

Indigo & Henna vat results
Originally uploaded by SOFennell

The image is of small samples, results from a henna/indigo vat – something I’ve been wanting to experiment with since this earlier this summer. I’m finally able to focus on it and am enjoying the results.

I had in mind the coming workshop for classroom teachers, upcoming at Artspace – thinking of presenting a vat that would be safe and approachable for the classroom.  In this case, I was thinking more of the younger set – the elementary group.  Of course, it’s really beyond that, but they were my focus since I’ve had some experience with presenting the vat to that age group (and higher).

I don’t know if at this point, if the workshop is going to come off (there’s still room…), but I’ve gained something just by the experiment. It’s a healthy direction and as I said earlier, I like the results and look forward to further work with it.

What’s the deal about Linen?

June 8, 2012

To answer that one you need to read this informative article about it featuring several TAFA craftspeople (including yours truly).

I do love working with linen.  It responds so well to the work I do in shibori as well as indigo (and other dyes).  It’s also fast becoming the only fiber I want to wear in the warmer seasons.

Having said that, be sure to watch those videos on processing the fiber.  Watching them brought to mind the stories my grandmother told about her grandmother who grew flax, processed it and then wove with it (and also may have dyed it).  I am humbled to see the labor involved.

My only (but fortunate) connection to my ancestry is simply that I also work with fibers, but not nearly on that level of involvement.  This small piece (above & no longer in my possession) is a wall hanging featuring a longtime and well-loved theme in Asia, but more specifically Japan – my lens and heartland.  In Japanese it would be called 兎と月(usagi to tsuki), Rabbit and Moon.

hand stitching

January 25, 2012

top stitching

Originally uploaded by SOFennell

It’s not that I don’t work by hand, I do most of the time. It doesn’t reveal itself though, as most of what I do is pulled out.

On this piece, I’m simply enjoying the aspect of stitching- knowing it’s going to stay – pulling a strong, thick thread through the woven linen fibers. I like the feel of it and it’s calming.

The fabric is hand dyed linen – varying shades of indigo.

The Women: Polly James Stidum

December 11, 2011

Polly James Stidum with grandchildren

“It takes a village” is a phrase that often comes to mind when thinking about personal development. Where would anyone be without his or her family or community? We need it apparently and I feel like in my case, it has taken just that to reach only my place of authenticity. Sometimes it even takes a lifetime of “raising,” supporting or nurturing to get there, just so that you can continue to do or be that person.

It begins with immediate family and then you realize that there were people before them, and so not only is it immediate family, but ancestry that also participates. So ultimately, it’s an ongoing flow. One can only select what seems to be influence, but then again, you can’t really be sure. On looking back though, there do seem to be roots whether they were really meant to be or not. Perhaps it doesn’t matter, just that they lived and in doing so taught, influenced and handed down.

One of my ancestors was Polly James Stidum. My paternal grandmother often told stories of her and finally one day when her sister visited (during college days) we sat and recorded their stories. It’s all I have and it’s limited. The rest I have to imagine from researching her  environment and history of the times. I’ll never really have the complete story.

The above shows her with my grandmother (the little girl at her knee) and her other grandchildren (my great uncle and aunt).

At any rate, my grandmother says that my great-great grandmother was a “very pioneering woman” in that she grew her own flax and wool, carded and spun them for weaving. She had a loom in her kitchen-living room from which she wove clothing for her family.

What intrigues me most is that she wove a coverlet and the colors she used are the same as the ones that I put in my own work.

I don’t know where her deep blues came from. It seems to me though, that when I look deeply into her threads, they are as deep and rich as any indigo.

Burnt Orange

July 24, 2010
Burnt Orange

Burnt Orange Linen napins

UT (Univ. of Tennessee) colors are orange and white.  My brother’s kids were immersed, saturated or inundated with these colors in their growing up (and my brother didn’t go there).  I think it had more to do with one of their granddaddies.


The bridal invitation reflects these colors and I know we’ll be seeing more of them during the celebration weekend.  When I asked what colors I should use for a project, I was told “orange.”  I went with more of a burnt orange as opposed to a tangerine or other intense oranges.  The dye mix did contain orange and on closer examination, it shows in some areas of the fabric.

in progress…

At this point, I’m pulling out threads, the pieces need to be pressed and I’m thinking of adding some stenciling.  If this wasn’t made for fairly practical purposes, I think I would had approached it differently.  This is what happens when I’m in the middle of it – I see things.  There’s opportunity to explore these ideas further in other pieces.  At any rate, this is still in progress obviously…slow cloth.

summer shibori

July 16, 2010

Table runner

Originally uploaded by SOFennell

A family wedding is in the offing, August actually, and another opportunity to make a gift. The last 2 nieces received tablecloths. This time I thought a linen table runner and a set of matching napkins might be the thing.

I’ve just finished mokume stitching on the runner and can’t wait to get it all “scrunched” before beginning some small quick patterns on the napkins.

I hope to get it in the dye pot this weekend, but it may be Monday before it actually gets there. The weather could play a part in this as well. We’re due for much needed showers and thunderstorms.

%d bloggers like this: