Mad In Pursuit Notebook


Patchwork Scarf: Roses and Other Mysteries (Work In Progress)

7.13.2014. My grandmother Kitty Mom wore flowered dresses. I remember falling in love with the dark rose-filled fabric of a housedress she had delivered back in the Fifties, when she was in her sixties. I coveted it and wished she would give it to me to play with -- to wrap myself in. But I stayed quiet, resigning myself to cutting pictures of roses out of her rose-bush catalogs.

Now, despite all good judgment and taste I find I keep buying floral print remnants in thrift shops -- especially roses. About a week ago I decided to face this compulsion. In the mood to make something magical -- a fabric book or prayer shawl -- I pulled the whole flowery stash out onto my work table.

I don't mind saying that I felt a powerful presence there. Maybe there were ghosts lingering in the previously owned fabric. Or maybe the roses attracted Kitty Mom.

I decided to make a long scarf -- a flower patch. I wound up with a false start -- trying to speed up the making with fusible applique cut-outs and machine embroidery. The results were too stiff for a drapey scarf. Blah. Slow is me. Start over...

Long story short, the scarf-in-progress now involves four 9-patch squares, hand sewn with red thread. The 4-inch square patches alternate light and dark backgrounds, for a checkerboard effect. Checkerboards symbolize a balance, between day and night or between good and evil. Balance and contrast. Like flowers collected into a squared-off grid.

In between the big squares are 2-inch strips of my indigo-dyed blue roses -- "tone-on-tone" is the term I hear used. I'm debating what to do with the ends -- maybe add the indigo-dyed eyelet lace?

I will quilt the patchwork to a backing -- a long strip of indigo-dyed linen, upcycled from a thrift-store damask table cloth. This was just a happy coincidence -- my scrappy scarf intersecting with my vat of indigo.

But before I do that, I need to add some applique to the patchwork. One "sketch" involved an embroidered face (also using that dark-light motif, shown here appliqued to a cotton napkin):

Last night I started another little thingie -- an embroidered star-cross -- first time using silk floss and first time doing satin stitch. I like it.

Continued 7.29.14