Tuesday, January 20, 2015

What comes next?

I've just about finished the indigo quilt (photos to come), so the question was, "What comes next?"  I have all sorts of plans for other quilts with indigo dyed fabrics, and also quilts without indigo dyed fabrics, not to mention plenty of UFOs.  Did I decide to work on any of them?

Why do that, when I can pursue yet another idea?  On Sunday, while I was poking around in the Maiwa Supply store on Granville Island, I started rummaging around in the scrap bin there.  Now, I'm supposed to be on a fabric embargo, since I already have more than enough fabric to quilt for the rest of my life.  But as with any embargo, a little smuggling gets through here and there. 

In the Maiwa scrap bin, I found long strips of beautifully dyed, mostly solid cotton fabric, and I immediately thought, "Log Cabin quilt!"  I figured I could fill a small paper bag ($3) with these scraps, take them home, and just see what I could make from them.  Of course, I kept pulling out fabrics and digging down to the bottom of the barrel, literally, and in the end had to get a medium bag ($6).

The bag wasn't actually that large, but it weighed close to five pounds, and after I ran the fabrics through the dryer to remove some lint, I had an enormous pile.  I folded and sorted everything to see what I had:

Although there are only about seven or eight main colors, there are lots of subtle differences.  For example, I think the dark browns amount to five or six different shades.  Since all of the cottons are dyed with natural dyes, they also go together beautifully.

But what kind of log cabin quilt to make?  I want to try for something understated and sophisticated, in which the quiet differences in tone will add up to a powerful visual effect.  I looked at a lot of photos of quilts by Emiko Toda Loeb and Shizuko Kuroha, two quilters whose work I've admired over the years, for inspiration.  Both of them incorporate a lot of traditional Japanese aizome (indigo dyed) cottons into their work, and Kuroha's indigo quilts have a particularly wonderful luminosity to them.

I had originally thought I would use only the Maiwa fabrics, but I settled on a log cabin block with a large center cut from my own shibori indigo dyes.  Here's the first block:

Will this work, or will it just be kind of boring and monotonous?  We shall see!

Linking up to WIP Wednesday on Freshly Pieced and The Needle and Thread Network.  Cheers!


  1. Both of these quilters do lovely work... it looks like you are off to a good start. I think the center square gives your block interest.

    Greetings from Germany!

  2. You can't go wrong with Indigo - that first block is beautiful.

  3. It will be stunning! Love the indigo!

  4. That's lovely Jessica. I think it will be really interesting when you've done more.

  5. Love the blues - it's going to be really pretty.

  6. That is great Jessica! I'm looking forward to seeing the rest of those colours put together

  7. Love your block! I think it will be wonderful.

  8. This block forces us to look closer and really appreciate the subtle differences between the fabrics. Could be a meditation quilt....?