The Mending Table
I purchased these handwoven cotton Dosa Khadi pants around 10 years ago. They began to wear thin and holes formed, unable to let them go without a fight I began looking through my scraps of finely woven cotton and old handkerchiefs and began making patches. I liked that the whites were all slightly different and the patches started to make their own lyrical story. The whole backside was ripped so I applied a handkerchief over the whole seat to reinforce it and stitched as invisibly as possible to create a layered collage of white patches. I intend to keep patching them and eventually the original pants will be covered completely.
Eco dyeing is a great way to revive old materials. I love that it is so connected to the seasons and involves foraging and finding what is local and available to us. It reminds us of the bounty we often discard like the skins of fruits, pits of avocados and old leaves. Some of the projects pictured here use avocado pits to revive a child’s stained eyelet dress, rendering it a deep dusty rose. Old family monogrammed napkins are given a new life when wrapped and steamed with Scabiosa and onion skins. Some dyes have tannin and do not need mordants such as Eucalyptus but others need to have an alum mordant to render the dye be more permanent. The beauty of this kind of dyeing is that you can keep adding layers and over dyeing the same materials for interesting effects.
A Vest as Travel Journal
There are stories in all our clothes as well as resources and someone’s handwork. That is why I often feel compelled to transform things that still have value to be able to be used, rejuvenated and reimagined. Twenty years ago our dear friend in Milan gifted my daughter a vest that was made (I believe) in Indonesia. It had intricate cut work and indigo dyed. I was going through old clothes, sorting and saving and deciding what to do with certain items. It was faded and needed reviving, but the basic fabric and cut was lovely. The vest was in decent shape.
I began by dyeing the whole thing in an onion skin bath which gave the paler indigo areas an olive-green tone but kept the darker indigo accents. I then appliqued eco printed silk over the front, and pieces of an old torn embroidered Spanish shawl on the back. I integrated the fabrics with quilting stitching and embroidery. I was traveling in Hawaii, working on it at the end of long days of walking and swimming, I had no plan, I just let it be my traveling stitch journal that I still keep adding to.
There are so many resources in a pair of jeans that we must all begin saving and repairing them (as well as all textiles) as the landfills can no longer absorb all we are dumping into them. Jeans are a wonderful canvas for creative stitching, patching and reinventing. The examples shown here include jeans that have had the seams opened so they could be covered in Sashiko threads while others have been patched with machine embroidery. There are endless ways to mend and repair jeans and the ones that are really beyond repair can be used as patch materials for other repairs.
Samples of patching, mending, mixed media and tools
Samples of some work with grain sacks
baby Quilt made with found rice sack
This baby quilt was made for our soon to be born grand baby. The materials have special significance as the rice sack was a gift from my daughter and her husband years ago. I lined the back with Japanese fabric from the now closed Craft Museum in Portland. Both pieces of fabric were obtained long before they moved to Portland. Also of significance is the words Los Angeles on the bag. Making quilts for special babies in our lives has been a long tradition.
Baby Quilt for caroline
Another quilt made from a grain sack. This one is accented by an old printed hop-sack material and quilted in concentric circles.