Saturday, February 25, 2012

Fabric manipulation : Ragamuffin cat

Kathrin of invited crafters to manipulate some fabric and post something about it on their blogs. Although I usually feel more comfortable manipulating different kinds of paper, not fabric,  I decided to give this a go in a moment of madness. Somehow the words "fabric manipulation" sounded so much more exciting than just working with fabric, or needlework or ...whatever.

And since I was already out of my comfort zone...I decided to plunge in fully and take up some kind of needlework. Needlework? If there was a person who could be called all thumbs it would be me. Just sewing on a button takes me longer than the average person because either the thread would snag on another button or get knotted up or...really anything could happen. This is strange because I have done my share of cross-stitch and crochet when I was very young. I guess it just means needing  regular practice at this.

Anyway, on to my tiny little contribution to the cause.

First I wrote the lyrics for a song "Let's manipulate" to get into the spirit! 

I've written earlier about some of the drawings my son, now eleven, made when he was younger. In particular a simple crayon sketch of a cat that he made when he was about four, enthrals me every time I look at it. I think that it embodies both simplicity and character in such few strokes.

I decided to convert this sketch of his into a small embroidered cat. I just decided to run with what I had at home, and used a piece of thin cotton fabric, onto which I traced the design. I used four strands of really thin white cotton thread because I did not have white embroidery thread.

My original plan was to do white on white embroidery and have the cat peep out from beneath some translucent fabric.  I tried placing it beneath some fabric I had  and realised that it really wasn't visible and as mysterious and dramatic as I intended it to be.

So I changed plans a bit. I felt the cat needed some character in fabric and decided to snip around the outline leaving a small margin, and frayed it. I deliberately left the thread uneven so it ended up looking a bit like a friendly ragamuffin of a cat. Placed against a hot pink fabric I thought it looked quite cute. If you'd shown me something like this a few days ago and asked me if I could make something like this I'd have dug in my heels and refused to do so.  Of course, the chain stitch is pretty ragged, the blue of the outlining pen shows through...  if I had to do it again, I would have planned better and definitely done better.

I tried combining it with furoshiki, and this is how it looks.

The point of this though is essentially going out of comfort zones, examining things, looking at them in a new light, deconstructing what you see around you...and doing what is possible with the materials you have around. Suddenly something falls into place, and new directions emerge. It's always about potential.

Thanks Kathrin for the inspiration!

Please visit Kathrin's website for a post on her fabric manipulation project as well as links to the posts of the crafters who participated.

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1 comment:

  1. What a sweet little furry cat you made! I love the frayed edge and especially how you describe your process in creating. Oh, it's going to be fun to see all the other outcomes, don't you think? I'll post names and links in my blog as well. Lots of them will be in German, but then, there are always images and google translator.


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