Stitching on rust dyed fabric.

The brief for the rust dyed fabric was to stitch into the surface of the fabric, remembering to let the fabric do the talking. Often I have found myself in the stitchbook imposing myself on the material with some pre-conceived ideas. This time I wanted the fabric and the rust marks to really speak to me.

The piece will be stitched onto a calico page , so my first thought was to find a backing fabric which complemented the rust dyed fabric. I had a piece of black denim left over from my single attempt to make dungarees for a grandson which did the trick. I frayed it a bit and trapped the pulled threads with some fabric and netting left over from the Texture box.

I choose some floss to stitch with.

I began to stitch with  simple running stitch around the marks. I loved the negative space  which I hadn’t noticed before.

As I stitched up the fabric I noticed that the rusty screws from our garage had left not vertical lines like the nails but horizontal ones, my stitching changed direction.

As I looked at my piece I began to think that the fabric looked like an industrial landscape,one that had been abandoned, left to rust and decay.

Big Pit in Wales- now a museum, once a thriving pit. I thought of the lost lives, the unfinished working lives, the forgotten dreams and aspirations, the broken communities.

All in tatters. I added the off cuts from the rust dyed fabric, and some gathers.

If we forget the past , we will repeat the mistakes, remembering the past is the key to the future.

When to stop stitching , when is a piece finished?  I don’t know if more stitches would be good or bad , so I stopped, just as the miners did at Big Pit. Unfinished? Maybe.

I call it Tattered Lives.


Staining and Dyeing Fabric

So it is onto staining with rusty objects and dyeing with Procion MX dyes for the Stitchbook Collective. Just for the record I am now totally out of my comfort zone. The moment  instructions say measure and mix I have had it. Total panic for a few days, followed by hours of watching the amazing video which comes with the pack and reading the written instructions. Then copious notes and working out in what order to do everything, and where in our small kitchen. Eventually I bit the bullit and got on with it.

Pre soaking in vinegar followed by making a wonderful rusty parcel.

Pre soaking fabric while the dyeing of another piece happens in the old saucepan. I used an old tray covered in plastic and kitchen towel and managed to contain spills with no mishaps.

Drying the fabric by the kitchen door.

Before ironing it all.

Honestly I am so thrilled with myself.

But it wasn’t till I wound the dyed floss

That I was so overwhelmed by things that I cried at success.

Next stage is to start stitching. For once I have absolutely no ideas and so will be slow stitching mindfully as I let the fabric dictate what happens.