This was another of Morris's discharge dyed prints using eight colours in total. I think it is quite amazing to think that it was entirely discharged leaving that white background! Linda Parry explains in her William Morris Textiles book that it would had been done using the indigo discharge method using half blues, weld (yellow) and madder (red) providing eight colours in all. It is interesting to note that the reverse of some of these designs was often blue indicting the original indigo….perhaps this original fabric had a blue selvedge? Here is more of Linda's fascinating research: "At Merton Abbey, the undyed cloth was first washed and then immersed into the indigo-dye-vat for the required time. On lifting it out, the dye on the cloth, which appeared dark green, quickly oxidised with the air, producing the characteristic blue colour. A bleaching agent was then block printed onto the areas of cloth not intended to be blue (for light blue or half blue as they were known, a weakened solution was used.) The cloth was washed and the blue cleared from the bleached areas, producing a print of dark blue, pale blue and white as the pattern dictated. The cloth was then half dried, warmed and prepared for the next colour, yellow, by block printing with a mordant in those areas of the pattern requiring this colour." As I read more of Linda's research I discovered that Morris engaged a new printer called 'Hill' to cope with the extra work load of production…..so maybe it was a past life or I am distantly related by marriage as an employee??!! This is my quilt and interpretation of Morris's beautiful design………
You can see where I have reflected the distinct rose pattern and then the birds sitting on the rose stems…only I changed them to a flower motif which several people have told me look like fallopian tubes…..maybe my nursing career creeping into my drawings??!!. I called the quilt "Coffee with William Morris" as I was contemplating a new quilt over a coffee way back in 2003………
So if you would like this pattern just email me! So what else have I been up to? The daunting task of typing the Beatrix Potter book looms - I have started it but am looking forward to completing it when I go away for a few days on my own where I will not be distracted! In the evenings I've been hand stitching these little birds that I've made from felted wool…….
The very long tree is all made - appliquéd and quilted ready for the birds. I am planning on putting large studs on the back of each bird so when the little ones visit they can have fun moving them around the tree branches…..
It has now got me thinking about another design for children with the Tale of Peter Rabbit! That might have to be a project for Quilters Companion as lovely editor Clare Mooney has asked if I will do a DVD again when we get back from the Beatrix Potter tour in the UK later this year! On the home front the roses are blooming again and the peaches are dropping from high……..
We've had some wonderful (and very welcome), rain this past week which the garden has loved. I am trying to walk every day so even the rain didn't stop me with my William Morris Strawberry Thief umbrella (as you do!)……..
My camera is still waiting to be repaired (waiting on a part apparently), so the phone camera comes in handy. I hope wherever you are that life is good x