Sunday, January 16, 2011
Making From Rags
I pieced this together from pieces mined from an old quilt top (it fell apart in the previous post...) The big diamonds that made up the final, exposed 'top' on this old quilt were about 30% intact, though all had heavily worn and abraded areas.
I picked out the ones with white dots on navy, and recomposed them on a base made of a double layer of yet another garbage-found quilt. (Again, two layers worn down to the cotton batting).
And then I washed it- and lots more fabric was lost. It kept falling apart.
But it still felt like something. So. I added new scraps, found the tails that fit the gaps and added them. And I kind of 'channel quilted' it- with the machine, rows and rows to laminate the old parts onto the backing. Now it's a kind of folding pouch, with a zippered part inside. It feels sturdy now.
For me this has been a study in making things with rags- I left all of the seams open, some I even snipped to encourage yet more fraying and obvious wear. This is shamelessly made from rags held together in defiance of any convention about 'how' to sew, the kind in books or that I learned in Home Economics, or that even my beloved mother tried to teach me when making clothes. Shamelessly made from rags that belong, after all, in the garbage.
More accurately, this has been a study in transcending some of the rules, but also testing my skills. I made a list for myself of the skills I needed to do this, skills that I tested making 'regular' things like clothes and meticulous (though admittedly screw ball) quilts. Things that had to be near reflections of some ideal.
I think I might be free of that. (Insert long interpretive article about Jude Hill's work here!) I may be learning how to sew with the proper level of spontaneity and adaptability to make it a real reflection of the skills I admire in others, that are my inheritance, that I treasure.