Monday, October 29, 2012

Fabulous Flax....Lovely Linen

This quilt portrays the labour intensive process to produce luxurious linen from the very versatile (and healthy) flax plant.




The flax plant is fabulous in a lot of ways, providing fabric as well as healthy food and products like rope, carpets and chip board. 
 I tried to capture not only the small beautifully detailed flax flowers but also the blue fields.
Cross-sections of stems with cores and surrounding fibres provided the round quilting designs used in the fore ground.
The Irish Linen Board awarded 18th century flax growers with four spinning wheels for every acre of flax grown, in an attempt to boost the linen trade by encouraging more flax to be sown. 
The background was machine-pieced using squares and rectangles of mainly Batik fabric. Batik was also used for the machine appliquéd flax flowers and linen for the border.  Free-motion quilting was done on my domestic sewing machine using the same thread in the bobbin to give a line drawing on the wrong side of the quilt.
My journey with the flax plant was a wonderful experience. It enhanced my love for linen but also raised my respect for the hardworking people behind the scenes turning it into a quality product of desire and beauty.