Friday, 14 April 2006

My Class Block

This is a post that has been coming for a long time - the thinking things about my class block. What did it all mean? What did I learn?

Just as a reminder, this is the block:


and all stages of creation can be seen HERE. I have just watched it as a slide show (blue link top right) and that is fun.

The block is a twelve inch one, and right now is extremely heavy. I think I will have to have it professionally framed, under glass.

Some of these points I talked about as I was making it, but I thought I would bring them all in again, in the one place. (In passing, I am working on copying and saving my whole blog, just in case. Will write about that soon).

When I started, I wasn't going to make this block at all - I was going for rusts and olives (remember the tomato sauce on the kitchen bench?), but then I found this print, and decided it was finally time to make the "Homage to my Sewing Machine" block I had been thinking about for years.

The print is one saved from the net, found via Meggiecat. There are more out there in that series. After looking at it for a long time, I think it is a hand-coloured sepia print. So that gave me the colours.

I decided that I wanted to add sections from doilies as I pieced, so there are four: the half a Hairpin lace doiley behind the woman, the whitework one of acorns below her, the crochet piece below the rose and the corner above the rose.

After that I proceeded along through the class process - seams and embellishments, button clusters etc. From fairly early on I knew I wanted to add a pair of scissors that had belonged to my later mother-in-law - she died aged 92 last December, and had sewed all her life. Before her marriage she was a sample-maker in the garment trade - not the fastest at the machine, but the best. I couldn't find the tiny pair of scissors I wanted, so chose the next best. They beautifully framed the figure in the centre.

Some time during this process I added my trade-marks - tatting, waste-canvas-work (rose and machine) and chicken scratch (the pink on the blue behind the scissors). The block was getting pretty full when I remembered bead flowers - so one is in the centre of the hairpin lace doiley, the other in a button cluster.

It was then, and only then, that I realised just how much the woman at the machine looked like my m-i-l (her name is Flo), would have looked at that age. This is a photograph of her in the early 1930s.


Finally, having decided that the block had intended to be about Flo all along, I went looking for a threepence from her year of birth - 1913. Only to discover that none were minted that year - nor were sixpences. So I settled on one from 1914, which is in the Hairpin Lace doiley - and that was the block finished.

And I still haven't signed it.

So, what have I learned in the class?

I am better at colour theory, and ready to take more risks with it. I think I am planning better, but will still change plans as the block develops. And I know that if I concentrate, with a realistic deadline, that I produce a better result. The stronger focus from the class really shows in this block, which is, I think, the best piece I have done.

The technical bits? Use more French Knots. Go and make myself deal with Bullions (I haven't yet). And go make samplers - more on that soon.

(And, having said that posts will be sparse in the next few days, I now have a few lined up. Then it will get busy again. Explain soon - but it includes things like snakebone necklaces and old sewing machines and dressmaker's shops ...... )


Blogger Marty52 said...

This is truly a work of art, Linda. Quite a tribute to your MIL... the center print really does look like her!

1:54 am  
Blogger Susan said...

Linda, I absolutely adore this block. It sings to my soul in so many ways...there is just so much to love about it. Even without the story behind the block, it speaks to me as a work of art personally. You deserve to be proud. I also think it's smart to document your process. You have inspired me to start a blog. It's been great getting to know you...

P.S. I did much better in this class with deadlines myself ;)...

7:55 am  

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