Sorting through my fabric stash I re-found a bag labeled ‘cleaning rags’ in my Nanna’s handwriting. Several of the pieces have holes worn right through, some have obviously been recycled several times prior to being consigned to the cleaning rags bag – I found pillow slips mended round the edge with a slightly different fabric; ironing board covers hand made, presumably from old sheets; lengths of fabric with a ‘sides to middle’ seam up the centre. Many of the pieces of fabric are fragile with places worn right through and many other places that are almost see-through.

I am touched by both the fragility of these fragments and by the careful frugality of my Nanna who used every little thing to it’s full potential.

I tried darning the white piece above and later printed on it with my walnut ink. However, I felt my stitches were large and clumsy (just for scale – the black thread is sewing cotton). When grumping about this to one of my class mates, she suggested that it was my way of looking at the world that made me see my stitches as large clumsy – she reckoned they were TINY and tidy! So as an experiment I took a fragment of torn fabric from my old quilt and darned it onto a bit of calico. At first as I worked my stitches looked tiny to me, but as I went on they looked bigger and bigger…. It’s an optical illusion caused by my state of focus. When I go back and look at this wee bitty scrap the stitches look like fairy work!

I am off to do more fairy stitching….

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