Friday, May 30, 2008

Colorful Quilting with Rayon

Do you have a box of rayon and other colorful threads?
There are so many new threads on the market now, like wonderful new polyester ones that behave nicely and are strong to hold up for embroidery machines.
But maybe you have been collecting threads for a long time. I realized I have owned some of this thread for over 20 years:

The spools in the cup and basket are Natesh, a beautiful rayon from India. I thought they would be all dried up and unusable,but I was delightfully suprized to find all but one were in good condition! And the one that wasn't was just suffering from slipping off the spool...when that happens, you save it for crafty purposes (tassel making or stuff-between-fusible-sheets fabric).
Does anyone remember a great business in California called Aardvark? Jerry Zarbaugh published the best newsletter ever (more like a newspaper!), along with the mythical country of Aardvarkia, in which all the readers could claim a title (I was the Countess of Clutter...and still am!). I know there are still some Aardvarks out there who still miss her after her tragic death in 1988.
That's where the Natesh came from.

I had the perfect project to give some of the vintage threads a try out. Since it is also a UFO on "the list", this turned into a win-win for me!

Say, that reminds me of a Dianne Hire quilt! Because it was started in a class with her at the SSQA Symposium in 2005.....where I also met the mysterious Ms. E and her squid, but that is another story!
"Quilters Playtime: Games with Fabrics" (Dianne S. Hire, AQS, 2004) is a good book to get you started in free-style piecing. You can see some of her work and classes

I was planning to use complementary (opposites on the color wheel) threads in each section, but then thought if they made a visual blend it would just dull the colors. So I went with same-color choices and had a ball just doodling with my sewing lines, no templates, no stencils.
These are small blocks (approx. 6"sections) and didn't need a lot of thought.
I tried some shapes and designs I'd seen on other quilts, and also let some fabrics tell me what to do. This was really a good playtime!

By the time I got to the purple sashing-like parts, I was all thought-out and just went for a nice outline! But the back looks pretty cool:

Sometimes I must remind myself to GO FOR IT! Just do it...who cares, nobody is watching! And if they were, they would be hard up for entertainment!
Most of us are not making quilts for competition, yet we seem to worry about an unseen judge.
If you spin around really fast, you might see that's you!

So go make some quilts the way you like them, and even though "the judge" knows all the problem areas, she (he) will like it, too!


mainstreetpolitics said...

My Dear Countess of Clutter,

Once or twice a year I find myself nostalgic and will do an internet search to see where and when posts like this pop up. Thank you for the kind words about Aardvark, my Grandmother, and her newspaper/catalog/mish-mash/thing.

I have to agree with you that of all the rayon threads I have had the pleasure to play with in the past Natesh has a stunning ability to stay viable. We recently just cleaned out my mothers basement and found a stash of maybe 500 spools plus several of the old display cards with examples of all the color choices. Amazing after all this time and poor storage conditions they were still quite ready for my old New Home.

Again, thank you for the generous comments. It is always nice to know that Aardvark Adventures lives on in the memory of our customers.

Grandson of Aardvark/Royal Game Keeper (my job was to feed the cat) :)

Anonymous said...

I find this amazing. Thank. You for your kind words about Mom, Aardvark and Natesh. Natesh truly was my mother's passion! I will have to tthank Scott too. He never mentioned this post.

Thank your kindness,

Debbie, Daughter of Aardvark

Anonymous said...

How well I remember delightful Aardvark Adventures and their gorgeous Natesh rayon embroidery threads. It's still my favorite brand.

I bought lots of it there and still have some in great condition. However, the US wholesaler in Utah died. The only retailer who sells Natesh now is in North Wales and UK postage fees are outrageous.

Anyway, both my late best friend and I were citizens of Aardvarkia, a happy place I'll always miss.