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January & February 2016

SALEM

Suse-E-Q ’s C ottage Cottage

Cawman’s Antique Mall Antiques & Things on Consignment

Primitiv e • Country • Cottag e Primitive Cottage Furnishing s and Decor Furnishings 107 A West Broadway, (Rt 49) (across from Historic Salem Oak) 856-935-0669

By Simone Gers

Vintage African Indigo Batiks: The Fabric of Life When my husband Tray gets home from a "picking" trip, my first question is usually, “What’s your favorite find?” Earlier this year, it was Vintage Indigo Batiks from Africa. He couldn’t stop gushing about them. And they are beautiful. I’m a pragmatic person so I love items that have multiple purposes and indigo batiks are so inspirational. Of course, they make great shawls and wraps and are fantastic for throws. Some people like the lighter-weighted textiles for clothing and we like the heavier batiks for the throws. They bring tablescapes to life and make gorgeous tablecloths for all kinds of dishes, especially white ironstone and yellow or red Fiestaware. Many people are using batiks for pillows, bolsters and upholstery work— and it’s no wonder because the handwork on vintage indigo batiks is inspiring. Each batik, like a quilt, tells a story that is handed down from father to son, mother to daughter. Sections of cloth are composed of individual motifs such as fish bones, little stars or hunters and each piece has its own unique tale to tell. There are some themes, like wealth and luxury, calabash flowers (a sign of prosperity), brave and fearless, yet meanings differ depending on the individual, ethnic group or region. African Batik was originally imported in the 19th century by Dutch merchants from Indonesia where paste made from

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Jo of All Crafts – Master of None

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starch or mud is used as a resist instead of wax and the dye is made through a process of grinding indigo plant leaves. African batiks feature larger motifs with thicker lines and more colors than Javanese batik. The complexity of the weave, the color and the type of thread used determines the value of the fabric. I love looking at the batiks and wondering about the families who made them and what the symbols meant to them. I like to compare the weaves and feel the different textures between my fingers. It’s interesting to look at the blues next to each other and wonder how many times each piece was dipped to get it to its perfect shade of indigo. I love that each piece is unique. I love watching customers feel the fabrics between their fingers, throw a batik over their shoulders, wrapping themselves in history. And when someone brings a gorgeous indigo batik up to the register, I wonder what stories will be told about this great, one-of-a-kind find and what memories will become enmeshed with the stories already woven into the fabric. –Simone Gers began her antiquing journey 35 years ago when she married Tray, an avid collector. They still have the first piece they bought together—a pegged farm table that was so decrepit it was behind the antique store— and they have been upcycling vintage finds ever since. The Gers own Gather A Vintage Market in Tucson, AZ, a monthly market. Simone has taught writing and literature at the college level for many years.

You know that old saying: “Jack of all trades and master of none?” Well, that’s me with crafts – “Jo of all crafts and master of none.” I’ve dabbled in cross stitching, candle wicking, tatting, quilting, painting – small houses and designs on clothes, card making with rubber stamps, appliqué, embroidery . . . And I have all the paraphernalia to prove it. My mom taught me embroidery when I was a little girl. Maybe that’s why it is still my most favorite craft of all. For Valentine’s Day, I used to decorate a shirt – a sweatshirt or a long sleeved tee – for my sister, Liz, every year. I need to start doing that again. I really enjoyed it – and I now have a niece who would enjoy receiving them, too. The first few years I bought stencils and painted on the shirts with fabric paints. That was kind of a hassle because I couldn’t hide it anywhere since we lived together. And I always had to find a place to lay it to dry that was inaccessible to cats.

by Jo Branham

There is no where inaccessible to cats. Then I started buying the iron-on transfers and decorations. That ended up being a pain because sometimes the iron wasn’t hot enough – even though I had it on the setting they told me to. Or the transfer was so old it didn’t “stick.” So then I started doing appliqué with embroidered embellishments. I liked that a lot better. And then I just started doing the whole thing with embroidery. I used chalk paper to draw my design on the shirt. I also kept a printed copy of the design because over time the chalk would wear off of the shirt where I handled it so much. By that time, I usually had quite a bit done, so I could just look at my printed pattern and freehand the design. I could also fold it up or stick it in a bag to hide it whenever Liz came around. Or the cats. I loved it! I think I’ll go shopping for a shirt this weekend. I’ll dig out my floss and patterns and see what I can come up with for Valentines Day.

Free Pattern

Find more free patterns at: JacquelynneSteves.com

Use this pattern for embroidery, wool applique, punch needle or rug hooking, painted projects or whatever your imagination can dream up! Reduce or enlarge pattern as desired. Commercial strictlyy pr prohibited. Commer cial use is strictl ohibited.

We love to see the projects that you have made from our patterns. If you decide to post projects based on one of our patterns on a blog or website, please give design credit to Jacquelynne Steves. Thank you!

Profile for The Country Register Publications

The Country Register of NJ Jan-Feb 2016  

Annual Quilting issue.

The Country Register of NJ Jan-Feb 2016  

Annual Quilting issue.

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