Color Your Cloth by Malka Dubrawsky
I have a confession…
I’ve never liked batiks. Of any kind. I couldn’t really explain it except to say I saw no inspiration in them. I knew I gravitated toward clearer colors in general, so maybe that was the reason.
But whatever the reason, I did not like them. Until I saw Malka’s work that is.
I started following her blog, A Stitch in Dye, earlier this year when I realized what beautiful, original things she was doing with color. She did batik in a way that felt totally new. She hand dyes and hand prints her fabrics using wax resist and other techniques, and each piece is a pure riot of color. Sunny, vibrant color. Batiks suddenly looked quite new and modern to me.
I played around with Malka’s method of dividing fabrics for a project up by warm or cool for piecing the Tuesday morning patchwork pillow (in the Spring 09 issue of Stitch magazine). And now I’m happy to have my own copy of Malka’s new book Color Your Cloth: A Quilter’s Guide to Dyeing and Patterning Fabric. I often tell creative friends that I am looking for a sewing, crafting type book that will take it to the next level for me (whatever that actually is). This one definitely does. The first half of the book talks about how to add pattern and color to your fabric through a processes such as wax resist, stamping your fabric with found and homemade objects, how to use a tjanting tool (a tool used in traditional wax resist), brushes, etc. These are the types of surface effects many of us have been curious about but have never jumped in and tried. I’ve tried bleaching and loved the results, but knew there was a whole world of this type of thing to explore. This books breaks it down into understandable capsules of information. For beginner or more advanced.
I had ordered swatches of Malka’s fabric a couple of months ago, wanted to do a project from the book with them. A manageable project for me right now is yet another pillow. The colors in the swatches I have reminded me a lot of the stack of Childcraft books we have in our family room (my kids still love these books and often read them over breakfast), so I’m now calling this the Childcraft pillow. I followed the basic layout of the Twinkle Applique Quilt pattern in the book, but changed the size of the squares slightly and created a 20″ x 20″ pillow. The squares and the circles all have raw edges exposed, and I really like the effect. The frayed edges add to it. I wanted the color of the batiks to stand out, so I sewed them all onto cream cotton twill and stitched everything with gray thread.
The fun, very doable projects in this book will really show off fabric you’ve manipulated using the processes she describes in the first part of the book. Or any fabric you choose really.
DevenNovember 9, 2009 at 7:01 am
Love that Pillow! I’ve been looking at quilting with exposed edges all weekend. ;-P I think I’m going to have to just jump into it.
The book is going on my wishlist.
AngelaNovember 9, 2009 at 7:24 am
That book looks very interesting. I must agree with you on batiks, they always look a little muddy to me. I think it is that there is no real contrast in most batik fabrics available for quilting.
Sunni StandingNovember 9, 2009 at 7:53 am
I completely agree about the Batik fabric thing. I’ve never like them. They seem so….blah. But looking at these bright and cheery prints makes me want to try my own hand. Love the pillow.
malkaNovember 9, 2009 at 8:16 am
I love your interpretation of the twinkle applique quilt. I never saw it as a pillow, but now I want to make one. I love the way inspiration can be circular.
Thanks for your amazing words about the book.
carolNovember 9, 2009 at 8:46 am
Wow- love it! I always think of batiks as “ethnic” and “exotic” and I had no business using them, but you have done a lovely job making them look modern and a beautiful study of color!
FrogdancerNovember 9, 2009 at 11:36 am
I ordered some of Malka’s fabric earlier this year, but I haven’t yet used it. Still waiting for the perfect project.
gretaNovember 9, 2009 at 12:44 pm
This pillow is just beautiful. I love it. It is bright and colorful and modern. I just saw some amazing fabric this weekend and I have pillows on the brain. (not that I’m a seamstress, but I think I can swing a pillow) You have just opened a whole new world of pillow ideas for me.
Thanks for your inspiration.
JennyNovember 10, 2009 at 8:25 am
what a fantastic pillow. ive never dyed fabrics, but this book might change all that.
rosamariaNovember 10, 2009 at 9:14 am
i love her work!!
carolynNovember 10, 2009 at 11:59 am
i’ve always had an attraction to batik, but it always thought it came off like Tie-Dye (blech!)
then I began noticing the fabulous creations of quilters using batik to create comtemporary designs. when i discovered Malka about 2 months ago I thought I’d gone to heaven: definitely not hippy tie-dye! LOVE HER FABRIC & her sewn projects: can’t wait to get my hands on her book!
VeronicaNovember 10, 2009 at 1:16 pm
I love Malka’s work and find it very inspirational. I can’t wait to see this book!
KatyNovember 10, 2009 at 2:28 pm
Glad you like batiks now – they are my favorite. Guess because I have done some batik work, using a “primus” stove – back in the old days 🙂
HeatherNovember 11, 2009 at 4:19 am
I was referred here by Malka’s recent blog entry – I am hoping to check out this book very soon! I’ve been keeping track of her blog for some time now, and I love her work and the notion of creating my own stuff…
stephanieNovember 14, 2009 at 4:40 am
i’m totally with ya on the batik thing but malka’s are amazing. nice work.