So far, I have worked on sketching all of my patterns. I used graph paper with 1/4 inch squares so it was easy to add on seam allowance. I started to make some test pieces of the cat, but after doing that I feel like the head is too wide / the body is too small so I am going to work on adjusting the pattern. I think I will just make the body slightly wider so it is more proportional to the head. I had a little bit of trouble figuring out if I should sew the head and body together before or after stuffing, and decided that it would be easiest to sew together after it’s stuffed since it is an abnormal shape.
I’ve gotten a good portion of the main body of my sweater done. It is taking longer than I expected – especially with the neckline and figuring out/counting stitches. I am getting a pretty uniform look which is great but I’ve learned that my yarn is varying thickness sometimes which is another challenge.
I’m currently working on building the back panel up and then the other front panel (folded over chunk on the right). Then I can move onto sleeves and details!
This is the stage where my independent project is at currently. This last week I’ve been able to do a couple of dye sessions with my indigo vat to produce these 16 squares thats Ive been able to sew together.
I have found difficulty in the dyeing process. I had planned to do a specific pattern using the rod dye and have that pattern surround the work I’ve done as a border, however I’ve struggled to get the pattern to take along the entire cloth. Ive decided to abandon that idea and go for a simple dyed cloth that doesn’t have any pattern. I will be doing that soon and then then sewing the border on. Until then I am not going to focus on the embroidery aspect I would like to include in this piece.
In each corner I will be using a couple of different embroidery techniques to create a leaf like shape. The color of the thread will stand out from the the indigo blue of the fabric but won’t be so different that the colors seem to fight and argue for control.
After the border and embroidery I will begin the quilting process which I hope to start by the end of this weekend or early next week.
Update to timeline:
12/03- Finish Dyeing process
12/04- Sew on border
12/05- Complete Embroidery
12/06- Begin Quilting
12/08- Complete Quilting.
As I wait for my wool fabric to arrive, I am gathering dye ingredients. I have also secured cream of tartar to use as a mordant to prep the wool for dyeing. I looked to family recipes for dye inspiration, and found common natural dye ingredients in my abuelita’s famous spanish rice (onion, chili peppers). The rice also calls for cumin, so I’m excited to experiment with it as a pigment.
I intend on tracking my dye experiments and observations with a table. I will also be taking notes throughout the process to reference later. I should have enough fabric for a couple extra squares for more trial and error. A yard of 45″ wide wool will give me about 10-20 squares (9-10″). I will most likely scale the size of the quilt down, however, to make it more of a manageable wall hanging art piece.
I’ve had a lot of great conversations with my family and heard a lot of crazy stories over the past few days. I’m excited to tell an interpretive story about my family through history. I’m working on creating these symbols to use as appliqué and considering using embroidery techniques to embellish the final quilt. I like that I’ll be able to expand and continuously add on to this quilt if I choose to do.
As of today, I have mostly finished the design on the back of the jacket. I first embroidered flame patterns on a red piece of felt, and appliqued that to the jacket. I made chain stiches along certain parts of the flame to give a feeling of depth.
I then embroidered the other parts of the jacket, eyeballing it as I went down since it was difficult to mark the dark jacket. I tried to change the thickness of the markings by using varying strands of embroidery floss. About the point of the first picture, I noticed that I was running out of embroidery floss and started mixing colors. I also made some rows of 2 chains to
For the “eyes” of the flame pattern, I decided to create a lazy daisy flower and weave through it, creating a bunched up effect. there are still some pieces of the jacket I’m not satisfied with, namely some of the strokes. I’m thinking of going in and adding more thickness to make some of the strokes seem more “full.”
My next steps are to fix some parts on the back of the jacket and work on the sleeves and potentially add a front design. This design didn’t curve around the front as much as I wanted it to, so I might add something small in the front to bring the entire jacket together.
Feeling a little behind because I did not bring any sewing materials home last week, but I was able to find some fabrics while thrifting. I bought a couple of XL dress shirts to crop for fabrics for the quilt. I chose this red one because it reminded me of the brick houses in Pittsburgh. I checkered it with my old bedsheet from my freshman year, which I no longer use because I don’t have a Twin XL bed anymore.
So far, I have cut the fabric into 5″x5″ squares and started sewing them together with a 3/8″ seam. My next step would be to finish the piecework and start embroidering the white squares with memories from my life in college.
Over thanksgiving break, I spent many hours working on my weavings and setting up frames for my shadow boxes. With the help of Ideate, I got 4 of the below shadow boxes ordered, and they will come in soon:
The next aspect of this project is the miniature weavings. I spent time over thanksgiving break working on two different ones, and progress is shown below:
It was really rewarding to spend time doing this! I also spent some time getting familiarized with the rigid heddle loom and adding progress there as well, but unfortunately I do not have any photos of that yet! Also, over break I attempted to make my own custom frame, but to no avail. However, I show progress updates here as it was informative to try! If I have the time to make more shadow boxes from scratch I definitely will.
Finally, the last piece of the puzzle is the things, the memorabilia from my life that I am adding to these shadow boxes. I spent some time over break collecting important items to me from home, including polaroids of special moments with friends.
The core concept behind this project is discovering my family’s history and presenting pride in my Mexican heritage through textiles. I want to also use this as an opportunity to experiment with natural dyes. I specifically want to experiment with natural dyes traditional to Mexico such as cochineal insects (carmine/red) and osage tree shreds (yellow) and different mordant techniques. This will give me a better understanding of how the practices of ancient civilizations continue to influence textiles today. I’m also interested in exploring the dyeing process with ingredients used in Mexican cuisine that are familiar to me. I will be dyeing ~9 squares of fabric made with fibers conducive to the natural dyes I choose, and then I will be sewing them together to make a quilt.
In terms of composition, I am thinking about pulling inspiration from La Loteria to arrange images/patterns that represent my family and our history. My abuelita gave me the dramatic and thrilling story of La Hacienda Soledad de la Mota which I’m excited to dive into. I had no idea that I was in any way connected to it, and the imagery I choose will reflect these types of discovered symbols. I’m still trying to decide how I should create these designs, but I might be able to use ap·pli·qué.
11/29- Dyeing Ingredients Gathered/Prepped
12/4- Dyeing Process Complete
12/6- Quilting/Assembly Finished
12/8 – Final Stitching & Details
12/10- Final Presentations
I would like to use the expandable cloth I created to make a tote bag that can become a purse. I was inspired by Issey Miyake’s pleated bags and I think that I can create a similar experience of a bag that moves according to the object inside it with my adjustable cloth.
I will probably create the straps with the extra string on the side so when the bag is a tote bag, the straps are longer, and when the bag is condensed, the strap is quite long. This matches with the conventional way bags are currently made so my goal would be to emulate both of those styles with one product.
The project idea I decided to go with is a “Good Luck” sweater, building on my previous idea of making a sweater for myself. I plan to use delicate embroidery on the cuffs of the neck, waist, and sleeves to depict “pastoral” scenes made of different good luck symbols as a charm for myself. Bunnies represent my birth year in the chinese zodiac, and different symbols are mixed in. Narcissus and green-leaf clovers are symbols of good luck themselves, and groups of 3 or 8 are also symbols of “life” and “prosperity.” While the neck and waist cuffs are more pastoral scenes, the sleeves will depict a water scene with fish and lilies in groups of three and eight as well. The fish will be in colors such as bright orange and gold, another symbol of prosperity and luck, while lilies and lilypads represent “enlightenment” and “birth.” I hope that this sweater will be a source of comfort and joy when I wear it, and the silhouette choice and embroidery details arebased on that idea.