Monday, April 28, 2008

Ironing and Used Fabric

Well, the goal *was* to post here a lot more regularly but man I have been busy. Some of this busy-ness is courtesy of working on my new book, Quiltng Art, featuring cutting edge quilters who push the art form to new places. I had the honor of interviewing Loretta Bennett recently. She's a Gee's Bend quilter. And last week I talked to Boo Davis, who does heavy metal quilts. Both talked about how they enjoy using old fabric in their works.

My last fabric purchase was fairly expensive. I went to the Quilt Store in Austin and picked up a lot of khaki colored material to use as sort of a canvas, upon which I planned to use some randomly cut pieces of deep red and equally deep turquoise. I'm not a huge fan of khakis and beiges, but on that day, the quilt spirit moved me to get it. I still have mixed feelings about it.

I then washed and dried this fabric and put it in a heap on the ironing board, where it sat for a month or so. During this time, I was over at Warren's one day, and I had on a house dress I picked up at a thrift store. It's really pretty-- at least I think so. But Warren took one look at it and said, "WHAT are you wearing?"

Warren doesn't really care if I dress in trash bags. He was just surprised to see me in this atypical ensemble. Usually I'm a Levi's and flannel shirt kind of girl. I got defensive. Then we both looked closer at the garment. The pattern is pretty. But really, the style isn't me at all. So I decided that I'll cut it up and use it in this new quilt.

Thus inspired, I went through the closet and found another pretty article of clothing. This, too, I got at the thrift store. And it also is not exactly my style. But the deep red flowers match the solid red new fabric I got. And so out it went, to the ironing board, designated to become part of a quilt. Now a part of me is inspired to only work with used fabric from here on out.

Meanwhile, yesterday, as I often do on Sundays, I hung out with my friend, Will. Will is nineteen and has autism. For many years, I was his part time attendant, taking him on adventures and just hanging out with him. We lost touch for awhile and reconnected this year. As it happens, Will LOVES to iron. One year, for Christmas, I got him a teeny tiny seam iron-- it looks like a little spade on a long handle.

So Will came over and we listened to music and I swept and mopped and he busied himself ironing some of the fabric. He did an excellent job and I am finally feeling motivated to start cutting pieces.

Here are some pictures of the the house dress, and the red print blouse:


woolywoman said...

A friend who loves to iron? Keep him around! I like the red print. What are you making?

SewAmy said...

just read about your lovely "heart" shaped rocks in "quilter's Home". They are wonderful.

jan in nagasaki said...

hello, me again. i have this habit of buying shirts at garage sales that don't fi because the design on the fabric is so tempting and i have plans to cut them up and use them in quilts. there are a lot of really fabulous quilts hanging around out there posing as shirts.