Surprise Success! Shibori Hanabi

My Shibori Hanabi wall hanging was born of a desire to try my hand at shibori with different colours. I started it about 18 months ago, stitching out the design, then “pulling up” each section, dyeing the piece, pulling up the next section, dyeing again… and so on, until the whole design was completely dyed, about 5-6 dyeing stages iirc!

I subsequently got a couple of books on shibori and discovered a lot of things I’d had to teach myself through trial and error!  I had no idea what, if anything, would remain of my original stitched design when I unpicked the shibori stitches, but in the event I was really pleased with how the different shapes came out, and the different colours were apparent, too.

For the backing, I used a “chunk” (technical term!) of cotton fabric that came from mum’s stash, mostly white but with flowers printed on it. It went through all the same dyeing phases as the shibori piece did, so that the front and back would tie together well.

I made a start on the quilting, using Glide thread, and was finding it an interesting but concentration-intensive process to define the shapes and textures left by the stitching and dyeing. Then other, more pressing projects popped up and I set it aside for some time while I focussed on other things. I did briefly toy with trying to finish it for the FoQ, but it was not big enough for the standard categories and I didn’t want to start adding borders where not needed, so I shelved that idea.

A couple of months ago, however, someone posted on the UKQU facebook group about the Scottish Quilting Show having extended the entry deadline and out of curiosity I checked the website to see what the categories and rules were. The lower size limit for “standard” quilts was smaller and I realised my shibori piece would be suitable – if I cracked on with quilting it! One entry form later and I had a month to finish the quilting and get it to the organisers by the Feb 25th deadline. I was also looking after my post-operative brother-in-law while mum helped my sister with her two small children; it became quite a challenge to sneak in quilting when I could! Somehow, though, I managed to get it finished and decided to face it instead of using a binding, a technique I’d never tried before! I love how it looks, though.

Proudly, I bundled it up and posted it off, and was relieved to get the confirmation of receipt email. I didn’t hear anything subsequently and family commitments made it impossible to get up to Glasgow to attend the show, so it wasn’t until someone very kindly posted some photos from the show on FB that I learned that it had been placed 2nd in the Contemporary category! I’m thrilled and I’m really looking forward to getting the judges’ comments back along with my quilt.

6 thoughts on “Surprise Success! Shibori Hanabi”

    1. Thank you, Nancy! <3 It was so nice to get it finished, and I learned a few things along the way too. 🙂

    1. Thank you! It was such a fun piece to do, even with all the dense quilting. I’m wanting to do more in the future. 🙂

  1. Hello Heulwen,
    What a lovely quilt, and congratulations on your prize at the show! I love the fact that it was all an experimental process, following your instinct, and taking risks. Thank you for linking up with Free Motion Mavericks. Your quilt is this week’s featured project!
    I hope you are well, and have managed to make the most of the lovely weather we have been having.
    Love, Muv

    1. Thank you, Muv! Between some family stuff we had going on since the start of the year, plus the corona virus goings-on now, it feels like it all happened a very long time ago and possibly to someone else entirely, but I was (and still am!) really thrilled with it and am very much looking forward to getting it back, although I have no idea for the moment when that might be! We’ve been enjoying lunch in the back garden the last few days, which has helped keep our moods up. Hope you’re also staying well and chipper!

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