I have moved on. I found it really irksome trying to cover the copper wire with thread. I was uncertain about using it in the first place and decided that I needed to give it a break.
Elaine made a very valid suggestion that a couching stitch[i] would be a good way to replace the wire and Livinder Singh, a friend of a friend [on Facebook] commented on Facebook that this particular type of copper wire that I was using was an enamelled wire which could break with the bends, which if it did, would oxidise and could destroy the fabric. I have used this wire before and knitted it which involved a considerable amount of such bends and perhaps more intense ones, and so far, in the last 6 years, I have not seen any signs of oxidising but I have been given considerable food for thought.
Couching requires a lot of control. The stitch itself is easy enough it is trying to keep the laid thread in place which wires me up. Using the copper wire did allow me scope to wander off on a tangent. It was difficult getting it to work with the softness of the material but......
Anyway, while I was debating this, trying to be disciplined about it, I expanded the repertoire of stains.
It just sort of dawned upon me that stains are not confined to tea. I did however stay with the idea of stains, as in the accidental colour imparted to fabric through careless eating and stuff like that but, expanded this to include dyeing and doing some Shibori ( tie-dye) too.
I started with Jamun [purple fruit is the literal and only translation I have found. If anyone knows what the biological name is or any other please do tell] but even though I had loads of fun collecting the fallen fruit off the grass or pavement around the compound where I live, I couldn't get the fruit to dye any fabric that gorgeous purple-blue that it stains my tongue after eating the fruit. Maybe I needed a mordant? But I'm new to the whole natural dyeing process so maybe by next year I'll have figured it out. Yes, alas I shall have to wait a whole year for this seasonal fruit to appear again. Hopefully I will be prepared with my recipe for dyeing by next May/June to find a way to dye it, if indeed one exists and also if I am still working with the idea of stains in the same way.
Mahipal, who works in my household and assists me with various things including the dyeing of fabric, while washing the fruit with potassium permanganate [I use it for all soft fruits as a kind of disinfectant] he came up with the idea we may get a nice pink colour if we used this. He had been involved in the whole process of collecting the fruit [Jamuns] and the intense fermenting that I tried to do to get some results and was equally frustrated as I. I loved the idea and jumped at it, but the colour only stays pink in water.
I did get some unexpected colours though. They ranged from a deep umber to black on organza which I liked, and on muslin it created this dull green gold which was fascinating.
I loved the palette that was emerging. All different shades of black, greys and browns made me think of Rothko and his deeply contemplative sectionals. After all that rambling in the wire and thread piece now laid to rest, I did need to dwell upon the darkness it was bringing up in my mind.
Resisting effort doesn't augur well for continuation of anything so I wanted to explore these darker hues and felt the need for an organised form. Playing around with the various fabrics and the colours imbued I found myself veering towards this rectangular shape that you now see.
It was exciting while I cut up the variously dyed bits and did this fabric collage, but once I had gotten over the initial excitement, it started looking too busy and tacky. However, I persisted, telling myself that once I had sewn them together - tacked them with thread rather than oil pins which held them together initially, that the appearance would be calmer.
And things did calm down. And while sewing, I felt calmer too. Each stitch, especially those multiple stitches that I needed to keep that finely shredded muslin’s threads in place, required patience. Holding each errant thread trying to escape the woven structure, aided in no part by my encouragement in taking them out one thread at a time in the first place, I too started to breathe easier and the more I worked upon this, the more I relaxed. And the more I calmed down, the more I wanted to quieten down the contrast - especially in the central squarish space.
And that is what I am working on right now. But, I am excited to share this new development.
PS: If anyone can give me tips on mordant for dyeing and that ilk, I'd really appreciate it.
[i]Couching is a technique in which yarn or other materials are laid across the surface of the ground fabric and fastened in place with small stitches of the same or a different yarn. In its most basic form couching is among the easier embroidery stitches. Essentially, the couching stitch is just a little straight stitch taken over some other thread (or ribbon or wire) to hold it down.