Yesterday, I picked up my embroidery after a few weeks of just not being able to engage with it.
A fresh slate it was.
I had started afresh with the idea of taking the stains one step at a time. In other words a little at a time because the earlier piece, the one I had started in March had become too daunting to work upon – there just seemed to be so much of those dark and foreboding marks, that I felt intimidated.
So last evening, I took a small fragment of the fabric I had stained with tea – one piece just sort of disintegrated and came apart in my hands and gave me the idea – inspired me to re-think this way.
I envisaged taking this one inch by one inch piece of dark brown fabric and placing it on white muslin and just doing the barest minimum of stitch around it. I had wanted to let the mark speak for itself. It had seemed such a simple idea, at the time, but the enormous contrast in scale and colour and of juxtaposing something so weathered and beaten against a pristine surface was even more daunting.
I started off just tacking the loose ends onto the fabric. I wanted to keep that sense of disintegration and then these threads led the running stitch all over the fabric, but the process is slow and the large expanse of white to be covered, with a kantha stitch that cannot give me as dark a surface as the staining had done, was troubling but it was a pleasure to be doing kantha again.
I love the little ridges that appear and sometimes I even deliberately pucker the fabric, pulling at the thread to create a little bit of tension. I have also layered the fabric. There are two layers of loosely woven cotton [markeen] below the white muslin, which creates a soft quilted sort of look.
I ambled along, going around in concentric circles for a while. They seemed to evoke my confusion and it was also a means to find some order through the process. I worked for a couple of hours and then called it a night.