I have a confession...
I've never liked batiks. Of any kind. I couldn't really explain it except to say I saw no inspiration in them. I knew I gravitated toward clearer colors in general, so maybe that was the reason.
But whatever the reason, I did not like them. Until I saw Malka's work that is.
I started following her blog, A Stitch in Dye, earlier this year when I realized what beautiful, original things she was doing with color. She did batik in a way that felt totally new. She hand dyes and hand prints her fabrics using wax resist and other techniques, and each piece is a pure riot of color. Sunny, vibrant color. Batiks suddenly looked quite new and modern to me.
I played around with Malka's method of dividing fabrics for a project up by warm or cool for piecing the Tuesday morning patchwork pillow (in the Spring 09 issue of Stitch magazine). And now I'm happy to have my own copy of Malka's new book Color Your Cloth: A Quilter's Guide to Dyeing and Patterning Fabric. I often tell creative friends that I am looking for a sewing, crafting type book that will take it to the next level for me (whatever that actually is). This one definitely does. The first half of the book talks about how to add pattern and color to your fabric through a processes such as wax resist, stamping your fabric with found and homemade objects, how to use a tjanting tool (a tool used in traditional wax resist), brushes, etc. These are the types of surface effects many of us have been curious about but have never jumped in and tried. I've tried bleaching and loved the results, but knew there was a whole world of this type of thing to explore. This books breaks it down into understandable capsules of information. For beginner or more advanced.
I had ordered swatches of Malka's fabric a couple of months ago, wanted to do a project from the book with them. A manageable project for me right now is yet another pillow. The colors in the swatches I have reminded me a lot of the stack of Childcraft books we have in our family room (my kids still love these books and often read them over breakfast), so I'm now calling this the Childcraft pillow. I followed the basic layout of the Twinkle Applique Quilt pattern in the book, but changed the size of the squares slightly and created a 20" x 20" pillow. The squares and the circles all have raw edges exposed, and I really like the effect. The frayed edges add to it. I wanted the color of the batiks to stand out, so I sewed them all onto cream cotton twill and stitched everything with gray thread.
The fun, very doable projects in this book will really show off fabric you've manipulated using the processes she describes in the first part of the book. Or any fabric you choose really.
You can see pictures from the book here.