Wednesday, December 21, 2016
You can see the sprocket, lower right, which is adjusted to advance the fabric through the machine in increments exactly the length of the pattern repeat. For most motifs, the fabric advances 4 to 5 inches after each time the print block is applied to the fabric, thus revealing the next short stretch of un-printed cloth.
The cloth is dyed in a vat with the indigo dye-bath at 85 degrees C., then washed to remove the wax and rinsed to remove the excess dye. After rinsing, the cloth is looped over racks to dry outdoors, which completes the dying process. Sadly, he did no dying while we were there, so I don't have pictures or first-hand experience with precisely how it is done to share with you.
However the fabric is not yet ready to use. It must be starched, dried, and then pressed using both steam and steel rollers with heavy pressure, in order to create the traditionally desirable shiny finish on the cloth. Finally, the fabric is folded onto bolts for distribution to shops and end-users.
What a totally delightful experience we had! Mr. and Mrs. Kovács are as friendly and nice as can be! If you ever get to Hungary, you can find their fabrics and finished products in the picturesque town of Szentendre, just a short drive or train ride north of Budapest on the Danube River. Here is a website link.
Like his father, the younger Mr. Kovács has trained his daughters to continue when he retires, although I'm sure he has many more years to go, probably well into his 90s..
My last two photos in this post are a little surprise for you. Before falling in love with beading and quilting, my main passion was Hungarian folk dancing. I danced in a performance group for 10 years (and later became one of the group's choreographers), performing at many events in the Seattle area, including Bumbershoot and the Folklife Festival. We also performed at the World's Fair when it was in Vancouver, British Columbia. I and several of the other dancers in the group made most of our costumes using Hungarian fabrics and original costumes as patterns.
It was folk music and dance that first called my heart and soul into Hungary, where I have since spent a cumulative total of well over a year of my life, spaced over 14 different visits so far.
So you see... Kékfestö and I go back a long way. Next, I'll be quilting with it!
My apologies to Hungarians for not using the correct accent mark for the last letter of the Hungarian word Kékfestö. I spent 4 hours trying to do it, but could not get Blogger to accept anything I tried.
Tuesday, December 06, 2016
One evening, as I noticed the challenge kit from the La Conner Quilt Museum on top of my quilting to-do pile, a flicker of an idea passed through my brain. Then, as I awoke the next morning, the flicker became a small flame, which in turn lead me to accept an invitation to spend an afternoon quilting with some friends, which (in order to have something to work on) got me rooting through my fabric stash.
Now, quilters, beaders, and artists of all types, will recognize the phenomenon caused by physically touching your materials, supplies, and tools. Suddenly your wearisome thoughts of the election (or whatever else got you down) are gone! You fondle your stuff lovingly, and with great anticipation, you make the first cuts, fanning the flame, turning it into a nice warm fire. Ah, saved from the chilly fog, at last!
Every year the Museum has a challenge as a fundraiser, showcasing the entries at the annual Quilt Festival. For 2017, the challenge theme is "Time" and the material provided in the kit is one of the vintage blocks from their collection. The block above is the one I picked. It is just so cheerful... how could I resist? Hand pieced, it wasn't perfectly sewn, but still I fell instantly in love with it. Mine for a $10 contribution!
Of course, it was just the block. In the photo above, I have already layered it with backing and batting, and then hand quilted it.
My idea is two-fold. (1) Since the "time" theme can be portrayed by a transition from these early fabrics to modern fabrics, I decided to repeat the block using Kaffe Fassett fabric scraps left over from my shimmer quilt. (2) Feeling powerless in the face of impending doom after the election, I had to find some ways to assert my beliefs, and this quilt was to be one of them. I've long been concerned about the ever-increasing world population, about all the small, yet constant ways overpopulation is damaging and destroying the natural systems of the planet. So the title will be: Under the Quilts, Time Flies, and Population GROWS. My idea is to illustrate this concept using both color and beads. You'll see.
First though, a few words about making the modern block. At first I tried to make a pattern for the "flower/star" by tracing one of the triangles from the back side. I hand-stitched the required 16 pieces together FOUR different times, varying the seam allowances each time, trying to get it to lie down flat. Obviously, I did not correctly copy the original, because when I finally sewed it so it was nice and flat, it was also too small. Grrr.
A smart quilt friend (thanks Tori) suggested I trace a section from the right side of the block and add 1/4 inch seam allowances all around. Good idea, but there were small differences between the sections... which one to trace? Trying to answer that question, looking at the block, I finally saw how the pattern was derived! (Light bulb!!!)
Here is how they look with the binding.
Thus, the quilt also becomes darker as the eye travels from top to bottom. Here is how it looks with the two blocks on the background quilt, the transitioning colors from light to dark, representing about 70 years in time passing (estimating the date of the fabrics in the vintage block at approximately 1946). This is an extremely tiny period of world history, but one in which world population sky-rocketed from 2.3 billion to 7.4 billion.
Now, here's a question for you loyal readers who have come so far with me on this thing. The quilt looks really pretty the way it is. But originally, I had planned to do more beading on it. I planned to bead several vines circling the outer border of the quilt (not the binding). Across the top of the quilt, the vines would be light green, with many green leaves, bright-colored flowers, and some critter beads/charms (bees, birds, bears, fish). As the vines trailed down the sides, they would become darker, until at the bottom they would be beaded with dark brown, black, and darkest greens, with no critters, and only a few dark flowers. The visual message (I hope) would be, "this is what happens when we overpopulate the world." What do you think... leave it like it is now or bead the borders?
Global Population InformationThink of it this way. Every single month increasing world population adds another Los Angeles AND another Chicago to the planet. That's 24 gigantic cities worth of people added EVERY year; more than 240 giant cities every 10 years. Imagine how many cities full of people will be added in your life time. Crunch the numbers and see what you think.
Evidence of heavy population demand on resources is all around us. Global aquifers are being pumped 3.5 times faster than rainfall can naturally recharge them. Eventually they will run dry, perhaps as soon as 75 years. Topsoil is being lost 10-40 times faster than it is formed. Feeding all 7+ billion of us is increasingly difficult, impossible actually.
There is no technology solution to accommodate the increasing demand of uncontrolled global population growth. The only solution is voluntary one child per couple for a couple of generations, on a Global participation level. If all countries followed the lead of countries with the lowest birth rates (Taiwan, Spain, Portugal, South Korea, and Poland), we could reach a more sustainable Global population of 3 billion by 2100!
Please, talk about this with your child-bearing-aged kids, grand kids, students, etc. We teach environmentally sound practices in most schools, write books and make documentary films about issues like clean water, over-fishing, fracking, etc. But rarely does the topic center on overpopulation. Be proactive. Make it happen.
If you are willing to read (or listen to an audio book) to learn more about Global population, Count Down is an excellent read.
Here is a link to the previous bead embroidery pieces (and poems) I've made concerning population growth.Thank you for reading all the way to the end, and for anything you can do to help people understand what we need to do.