It is hard to think about anything but the election or the Nor ‘Easter rambling up the coast, but before too much more time goes by, I wanted to catch up my dear readers on the the Middle Passage quilt experiments. You may recall “Middle Passage I” after its first dunk in the indigo vat:
It looked more like blue fog than rising water, so I dunked the entire bottom half. But first, I used corn syrup as a resist. I slathered it on with a paint brush, hoping to preserve some of the color of the floral green shapes, the green hut, the turtle, and a few of the red stripes of the batik.
The corn syrup worked as a resist, but it will take some quilting to make it ‘work’ as a visual treatment. And maybe it won’t. We’ll see. Not sure what the sugars did, if anything, to the indigo vat.
The back shows how much dye the quilt has absorbed. Some dye landed on the upper green/white linen area by accident, so with a paint brush I applied more dye just to the surface (techniques learned in Glennis Dolce’s Indigo Class). I also shadowed the edge of the moon with indigo.
Last week my fingers turned blue while quilting those floral green areas and the turtle. And, I was disappointed with what the stitching accomplished. Between the transfer of dye to my fingers and the presence of batik (notoriously difficult to poke a needle through), I may opt to draw with thread on one of my machines.
Also, it occurred to me that if this quilt is to live on someone’s wall in the future, it will need to be backed with fresh cloth, because I think the dye would transfer to the wall as well. Maybe I could rinse in vinegar? Then wash in soap and water? I did this for the first time with one of the rectangular pieces of linen that I hemmed into a scarf. Not a trace of blue came out in the rinse, which means success – I think!
I am prepared to be disappointed with these experiments. It is the very nature of an experiment that the outcome is unknown. In a way, every quilt is an experiment. But, sometimes we add new techniques or color choices that scramble things more than usual. If this one bombs, I will cut it up and try to use the pieces in another way.
What do YOU do with failed experiments? And, how do you talk to yourself while trying something utterly new and possibly terrible looking?