Tuesday, December 28, 2010

merging cloth with cloth

the midwinter long cloth has been resting in its work box these past couple days while i've been cavorting with cloth strips and jude hill's cloth to cloth workshop and am thoroughly enamored by the process!  i can so hardly wait for her contemporary woven boro workshop to commence.

now, i have a background in weaving (i studied zapotec weaving with an 8th generation weaving friend and family in oaxaca (mexico) and have woven rugs, tapestries, rag rugs and bobbin lace for many years. however, i'd not even entertained the idea of weaving cloth to beget cloth! it's been one long continuous "duh!" experience and i am completely under its influence now...

the snow has all melted in the rain these past few days here in boise, idaho and even the rain has quieted down to a light drizzle, so it was good to get outside by the waterfall and pond, if even for only a few minutes before getting soaked.  this first woven cloth that i did (as well as the other two experiments) delves deeply into the madness which i have come to know while exploring this workshop.  why madness?  could it be because i did not bring any fabrics with me (aside from the midwinter long cloth, which was started before leaving for idaho) and i did not long to go out and purchase new cloth to use knowing that i have two rooms full to overflowing with cloth, both new and repurposed?  perhaps.  but madness probably more because of the manner in which i chose to feed the addiction that jude has introduced me to...

i arrived at the folks' nest with an overstuffed suitcase, not being one who knows how to pack lightly because i can't bear to leave behind too many of my favorite clothes. not having any other source of cloth at my disposal (save for a couple stray fat quarters and the odd cloth napkin found in the job box of my truck) my gaze turned toward the overabundance of cloth that nestled safely in the old leather suitcase at the foot of my bed.  "hmmmm...do i dare?"  without further further contemplation, scissors were flashing and cloth was ripping and before i knew it, i had an enticing heap of cloth strips to dabble about with! yes, by this i quite intend to convey that i have cut up several several shirts and even a pair or two of boxers with which to weave cloth.  are you able to wrap your mind around this idea? i perpetrated this carnage against my own wardrobe, quite joyfully i might add, and i'm still uncertain if i can get mine wrapped securely around it! hence, the reference to madness...

in any case, here is the result of that manic insanity.  this is the first cloth.  it has been stitched alongside every raw edge thus far.  i am quite certain it will get much more kantha stitching...but am allowing it to rest a bit until it reveals what it wishes to become...

and here is a close up (still with the inadequate droid cam)...

i suppose in this manner, i will have these clothes around much longer than if i continued to wear them...

the stitching on this first cloth has taken several hours as it is a rather large cloth (the strips are about 2 inches wide).  i thought about tearing them narrower, but didn't want to lose the print on some of them...  the stitching itself is done with various hand dyed variegated pearl cotton threads. some are lost in the prints and are more subtle, others stand out in a bit more contrast...

next, i pulled from my weaving background and wove to more cloths...one in a basketweave pattern (over 2, under 1):

and a freeform woven cloth, primarily because i wanted to see more of the central horizontal strip of fabric. the darker strip running vertically through the center of the cloth is begging to be embroidered or to become the background for applique' or some other work (either that, or will be replaced before basting so as not to detract from the mudcloth strip):

i have several other ideas roaming around in my skull but will need to tear narrower strips to allow for more complicated weave structures without having to create cloths that are larger than the approximate 16" x 22" format of these cloths.

for now, the weather soothsayers are predicting a massive snowstorm headed our way.  just in time for my journey home to montana tomorrow, how very special!  the rest of this day shall be spent in preparations for that journey, time with the folks, and perhaps a little basting this evening...



  1. reading this, grinning...
    it's a very singular kind of
    Exhilaration, isn't it!?!

  2. most certainly! i don't even miss the clothing that has now been rendered unwearable! woohoo!

  3. yup. it's a real woohoo thing....i'm not
    over it yet and am guessing i might never be
    ...your weaving is very wonder Full.

  4. Hi Joe, you have great shirts and underwear !!!!
    Love what you did with the mix of colours. Lucky you that you packed up sooo many cloths
    (I take it you won't go naked in this cold wintertime .... ;-) )
    I know the cloth weaving is kind of addictive!!!

  5. yes, it's a good thing that i'm a terrible clothes horse and have more than any small village should own! i'm thinking i shall be wardrobe quilting for quite some years to come...


  6. Once you start using clothes for fabric you will realize it is an unlimited resource. Thrift stores become dangerous territory. You will never have to go into a fabric store again. Your work will become ever more unique.

  7. true, heather...though, fortunately, i am a clothes horse and have many, many to choose from without having to raid any of the thrift stores... thank you for the congrats!


  8. It's very addictive, I can't even stop doing just checkerboards...

  9. You made me laugh-I can relate-cutting up my
    linen pants for sewing. Using a cotton shirt
    because I found some great beastie eyes.

  10. i'm thinking, deb, that you are quite right!

    patty, i love it!! it's just what i'm feeling when looking at my clothes!

  11. Having just moved and as yet to unpack boxes and bins of fabric, fibers, and beads...this year is the year of using what I have on hand (Maybe this next decade). Can't see myself using underwear though, boxers are so much more interesting.Maybe I should switch ;) Working on setting up my little studio this week in preparation of Jude's next class offering. Can't wait!!!

  12. hahahaha, gilli! it's true...boxers do come in a fun variety of prints and can be quite amusing to work with, though you are limited in strip length!

    when it comes to jude's next class, i'm feeling rather like that lady in the j c penny's commercial, with my nose pressed up against the proverbial window and chanting, "open, open, open"!!

  13. a weaving background is a good thing going into this next class....

  14. It's a whole new world...you start to look at all of your clothes (and others!!!!) in a different light.

    As Grace said...Wonder full weaving.

    Jacky xox

    p.s. Beautiful moon in the cloth below. Looking forward to taking part in the the next C2C3.

  15. joe... you are dangerous with a pair of scissors! what a hoot, you are one wild man!!! i think you will be quite the delight in advanced boro... your new woven wardrobe pieces are quite delightful and telling. mine would be boring as i tend to wear all solids. you on the other hand are anything but! thanks for an entertaining post.

  16. Hope you missed the snow and are home safe & sound. I am finally done with Christmas traveling and looking forward to hiding out in my sewing room tomorrow. I have a lovely soft bleached denim shirt that is worn through in several places - I might just work up the courage to tear some strips...(she said hopefully) and add some indigo that I dyed this summer... and maybe add a moon...
    Namaste, Cat

  17. I like your creative resourcefulness here, great mix of colour. Where will it end up.....


  18. OK, Joe, fess up - what article of clothing had the moons on it?? Fabulous!
    I'm signed up for the next Spirit class, too, and 'bout as excited as you! Namaste.

  19. *yawn* -- attempting to wake up after a very late night driving through blizzards, avalanche areas, and on icy roads to finally arrive safely at home...

    thank you, everyone, for your thought sharing!

    nandas, solids don't have to be boring...just think of the wonderful field for kantha stitching, or other embellishment techniques!!

    jacky, so true...i have been known to ask friends for their specific garments when they are done with them to use in quilting...they all know i'm nuts and just quietly smile, nod and hand them over...hahaha

    cat, just keep telling yourself, "it's only fabric, it's only fabric" and start cutting!

    t, who knows where it will end up...though a thought keeps tip toeing in and suggesting a buddha for that particular wardrobe cloth. i may work on it some more when i finish waking up and unpacking today...

    woman with wings, the moons were on a pair of boxers that i had made several years ago! so was the blue with rows of tiny circles and printed polka dots. the almost island looking strip with the big orange flower that shows up in a square was an old napkin set, the brown strip with the stars and little candlesticks was the found fat quarter from the job box on the back of the truck (yes, more often than not, the tools share space back there with fabrics and other unexpected items), and the rest of the fabrics were from shirts, some cotton, some silk, that i brought along with me to wear during the holidays...

    i suppose it really helps having three closets and four dressers overstuffed with clothing! it kind of skews your view as to what their value and use is for!