making ground

I finished preparing all twenty-five crone cloth blocks and laid them out on the floor to see what was the best arrangement. These are each 12″ square, made from fabrics layered onto a foundation of fine cotton lawn or muslin. After they’ve been joined and layered with the backing, I’ll quilt (roughly) one block at a time. I plan to let some of the quilting and applique overlap onto neighbouring squares so it won’t – I hope – look quite so ‘blocky’ at the end.

I’m surprised it’s turned out to be so colourful: not really what I planned, given my feeling of impending doom at the thought of growing older. It’s much more cheerful and vibrant than I expected, which turns out to be no bad thing. It suggests that maybe the process won’t be as bad as I fear. As a rite-of-passage cloth, it confronts endings and beginnings and the passage of time; the metamorphosis of youth into wisdom. ‘Metamorphosis’ actually might have been a better name than ‘the crone cloth’.

I’m now not sure about whether to give it batting. Originally that was the plan, but given that each block is made of at least two layers of fabric, I wonder if batting might make it too bulky and unwieldy, as well as difficult to quilt.  This is not necessarily a cloth to sleep under, so it doesn’t have to be warm. I’ll think about this when I have the blocks stitched together.

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26 Responses to making ground

  1. Jennie says:

    Karen this looks wonderful, hope u are well x

  2. Jeannie says:

    Gorgeous! I love the different fabric bits and the colors all play so nicely together. I have used a very thin wool batt in some cloths and it is a dream to sew on, plus not a lot of loft. Have fun!

    • Karen Turner says:

      Yes, I’m thinking about a very fine, very low-loft batting – any advice on types, brands, etc would be welcome. I’m thinking about Hobbs wool batting, which I’ve used before.

  3. Chris Gray says:

    Those fabrics are wonderful….

    …and would like a little teeny-weeny bit of wadding to add a bit more dimension…

    as Jeannie says…thin wool may just do the job.

  4. Loralei says:

    I agree that a very thin batting should be added, for stability and dimension. Personally, I use Warm and Natural, which is a cotton/poly blend (80/20).. I will admit that my very limited hand work has been on Hobbs wool though.

    This piece is looking beautiful; I am sure that once it is completed, any current reservations you have regarding colour and “blockiness” will be allayed…

  5. lacativad says:

    It’s beautiful. I made the decision to go batt-less with a series of what I called “flings” – just two or three layers of cloth stitched together without batting. Turns out there’s a tradition of Summer quilts here in the south..just enough to keep off an evening’s chill.

    • Karen Turner says:

      I made a cloth very similar to this a while ago – the friendship cloth – which has no batting and which was foundation-pieced in a similar way to this. It feels OK – substantial in its own way – but it feels as if this one needs something a little more fortifying. I do like the idea of battless flings though.

  6. connie rose says:

    I’m going to have to try wool batting, haven’t as of yet. I’ve used very thin 100% cotton for handstitching, that works well. It bearded when I basted the silk it was under, but not during the actual stitching.
    Re: aging — life really does get better with age. Simpler, more peaceful. Letting go of more and more stuff (material and psychic) as you age is the way to go.
    Be well.

    • Karen Turner says:

      I’ve used 100% cotton batting for hand quilting in the past and found that it bearded a lot. I think wool is probably my favourite, closely followed by silk. Simple and peaceful sounds good to me.

  7. Rachel says:

    Clearly the sense of doom was only on the surface – somewhere underneath you were much more optimistic!

  8. annie! says:

    I love the way it’s looking!

  9. tina says:

    A very thin wool wadding would be nice, the stitchs would have contours and the wadding gives the quilt strength,,, love it, its greatlook forward to the stitching

  10. Karen Turner says:

    Post script: wool batting on order. Waiting for the postman 🙂

  11. Sweetpea says:

    K, these images are fantastic when clicked to enlarge. I especially love the second one where I can see your stitiching & pins. And you know what thought came to me when I first opened up that first one? ” Ahh, look at that…you can see all of her canyons & sunsets, ebbs and flows and seasons of her life!” So whatever you initially intended, I think the truth is coming out.

    Stitch on ~ this is going to be a treasure,

    • Karen Turner says:

      C, as usual, you put into words precisely what I’m trying to do here, and I thank you for it. So often the thing that I mean to say doesn’t exist in words – in my head, at least – it just exists in colour and shape. It’s a moment of pure delight for me when someone takes the trouble to name it in a way that I can say ‘yes, that’s it, that’s exactly it’. Thank you x

  12. Janice says:

    Karen, it is very ‘You’ and whether it represents your life in general, your current metamorphosis or anything else I don’t feel qualified to say! But I’m astonished at how quickly you’ve got it to this stage and I’ll be interested to see how you’ll use the applique and the quilting to ‘override’ some of the block structure. I know the end result will be highly personal and very beautiful.
    Tell me – where do you buy wool and silk batting? Locally I can only get polyester or cotton or a mix of the two. And I only found the shop that seels the cotton batting yesterday!

  13. Janice says:

    That’s sells, not seels. Although maybe they seel cotton batting too, and this is something I don’t yet know about…

  14. Dot says:

    Hi Karen. I have been visiting your blog for a while but this is the first time I have left a comment. Your fabric art is so beautiful. I love the depth and colors you use. And am suffering extreme fabric envy for your fabric stash :). This piece is incredible.

  15. Dot says:

    P.S If this piece represents you it shows you are a woman of color, depth and dimension tooxx

  16. One thing that struck me: colours of dawn and sunset. Gateway places. Beginnings and endings.

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