On Celebrating the Rain

Celebrating the Rain (29 x 24 cm)

Last week I mentioned a new small quilt that I had spontaneously made to celebrate the soft rain that was falling at the time and promised to write about my discovery of using ink to colour the background of the fabric for a quilt. This is the quilt, with only traces of the inky background. Once again, there is a story to how that happened.

A while ago the textile artist Pam Holland posted an article on the process of making a quilt depicting a delightful giraffe, and how she used pigment ink to colour the background. (https://iampamholland.com/2020/01/06/working-through-the-process-2/) I always read her posts with great interest and marvel at her beautiful photographs. This post particularly piqued my interest when I read the sentence “I don’t ever use paint on fabric“. In the past I have used diluted fabric paint to colour the background sky and earth for some of my house quilts, but after reading this I decided to try using ink instead. What a pleasure it was to work with ink instead of lumpy paint.

I painted the background after I had constructed a small village by appliqueing a set of squares and triangles. These were offcuts from zipper pouches and fabric wallets that I had made at the end of last year.

First the scraps of squares and triangles suggested they would like to become a village. Then when I flipped the piece the “shadow” village on the reverse side seemed more pleasing to the eye and also suggested that the blotchy effect from the ink that had bled through matched the rainy day. Then another idea struck — vertical lines of matchstick machine quilting would accentuate the rainy feeling. So I found two spools of turquoise thread, inserted a twin needle in my sewing machine and attached the little-used walking foot. Then I sandwiched the village scene onto a backing, added batting, and started stitching.

Halfway through the process of machine quilting vertical lines to give the effect of falling rain

The third step in the making of this piece was to add more rain, using metallic embroidery thread. This was the most difficult part of the process as all that machine quilting had made the piece non-pliable and so the needle did not glide smoothly through the fabric. Metallic thread snaps and snags and shreds easily. But it was worth the effort and the regular re-threading of the needle. In the end I used very short lengths of threads. There is also a happy connection associated with this particular skein of DMC metallic embroidery thread. I had used some of it in the quilted lines in the sky of my previous quilt Waiting for the Rain, to brighten things up a little.

Another Celebration

This time it’s a celebration of friendship. One of the happy consequences of writing a blog is that one makes friends with like-minded people who share the same interests. One of these people generously sent me a package after she had read a post I wrote about putting a zip on the outside of a pouch or bag. She wrote to say she had some novelty zippers that she would like to send me. The package arrived this week and it was like Christmas all over again. So here’s a public thank you, Laura, for sending not only a pair of quirky zippers, but a selection of fascinating fabrics. (The cd of your beautiful music is not in the photograph because it was in the player, playing, as I took the photograph.)

Sewing adventures await when I decide what to make with this treasure trove of vintage and interesting fabrics

14 thoughts on “On Celebrating the Rain

  1. Oooh, lovely work! Isn’t it amazing how projects will sometimes lead us off in new, exciting directions as if by accident?
    I’m also interested to know – is the ink you work with only suitable for decorative projects, or could it be used in things that might occasionally have to be washed as well?
    Hope you’re still enjoying that lovely rainy weather!


    1. Yes, the connections and coincidences that lurk in the background are truly amazing.
      The ink I used is acylic drawing ink. The label says it dries to a “permanent, waterproof film”, but I don’t know if it would be suitable for utility items. It is a SAfrican product called Dala.
      We are hoping for more rain


      1. We seem to have a group of us who all follow each others blogs, perhaps this year for the holidays we should do some sort of fun drawing of names and exchange little handmade gifts, just a thought…

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Just got online…fun to see what was sent as I couldn’t remember it all exactly!
    And I am especially pleased that I sent a swatch of my fav vintage curly, rainbow like fabric (the first in the photo).
    Will catch up with you soon – meanwhile thanks for such kind words concerning my scrappy gifts!


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