Thursday, June 17, 2010

Friends are the fabric of life

I am so lucky to have some truely wonderful friends, and I do appreciate them very much.
I love to hear what is happening for them, which, thanks to the internet means I feel like I am just over the fence from [except for good old hugs!!] even though we all live many miles distant.
The first thing I wanted to do when I got our new blockprints back was to share them around and get an honest evaluation of them as well.
All very well to have a good idea- needs to be an excellent product as well.
So I asked a friend or two who are real stitchy if they would take on a challenge for me- use my fabrics in something wonderful.
Anne, who hales from England but has also spent a lot of time here in India with me was all fired up,
she is fun and perky but also very clear and truthful so I knew I would get a complete assessment from her as well.
A big thank you Anne.
These are her emails [isn't she delightful in the way she writes?- her emails always carry sunshine in them for me!]

Hi there Fiona

It is Monday and at eight o'clock this morning a little red van pulled up at our house. A man in a fluorescent yellow safety vest came to the door clutching in one hand a tricky little electronic machine and in the other a small parcel, carefully wrapped in cotton and sewn together. Having signed on the electronic device I was presented with the cloth cushion - a fair exchange I thought.

After carefully unpicking the seam on the cushion I found inside a carrier bag covered in magic lettering. Not being able to read the instructions printed on it and chant the appropriate mantra I risked all and opened the bag. I was in luck - the charm had been set by the sender - and out tumbled a magical rainbow of fabric.

Time was made to stand still.

I was under its spell.

No breakfast and no setting out on journeys until I had carefully hand washed and put to dry the fabric. Then time was restarted and off for a morning's chores with the promised reward of cloth ready and daring me to find the pattern hidden within to show off its beauty.

And now I can hear its silent song calling to me to gather together the tools of my craft: pencil, paper, scissors, pins, needles, thread, and go to the sewing machine and begin the adventure.
Thank you Alchemist!
God bless,
Next a request for pics of ripe mangoes and stepwells??? a mystery but I supplied them

Then a few days later these lovely pics arrived along with complete instructions.
Anne is happy for me to forward the instructions onto anyone buying our blockprint fabrics see Our Pukka Place or Etsy [I will pay her a commission for her efforts in more fabric!]
Mango Masala

The layout was inspired by Dowry Bags, and can be used flat as a wall hanging or buttoned or sewn up as a pillow cover. Note the little sparkles in the centres of the stars- very Indian touch.
I was so pleased that you liked the cushion cover designs. I really enjoyed the challenge of working with a colour palette that was outside my safety zone – that was why I chose them. The ladies at the patchwork group thought they looked vibrant but complicated – they are not, well maybe the triangle border on the Mango Masala adds a little complexity but that can always be substituted by a plain band. I like designs which look complicated but when you truly analyse them you see the simplicity.

The fabric was a dream to work with.

I always hand wash in hot mild soapy water and drip dry fabric before using it (common practice) to avoid any possible shrinkage and dye bleed. There was some excess dye released but quite within the acceptable range, however I did have a few colourful puddles in the bath afterwards!

It retained enough stiffness to make cutting out easy (I use a rotary cutter and some fabric is a real pain) but yet was not a hard fabric.

Sewing was also good with even the bias behaving well. There was some build up of lint on the machine – to be expected when sewing and quilting two covers.

The colours were wonderful. The combination of shades made the finished covers glow. One suggestion, though, is to change the red that was in the red/black/gold/white pack to a shade more like the sparkles as it would have dominated the mix too much if used with the ripe mango pack.

I hope the instruction leaflets are useful to you. They are in pdf format so that you can email them to anyone who might want to buy your kits and then they can print them out at home.
 I thoroughly enjoyed the making and have now ideas for either another cushion cover or a bag using Holi colours and black in a ‘splash’ design. Where will all this inspiration end! If the designs sell commission in fabric would be an excellent pay back.
Aren't they brilliant? I am inspired to have a go making them myself but do suspect I will be begging or working on a swap to have some from her fair hands- just sending her more fabric as well to see what else she has up her sleeve.
I feel comfortable about our quality as I know Anne is very thorough. Thank dear friend :)

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