Indigo Quilt: Origins

16 Nov

I’ve been on doing quite a bit of travel, and recently spent nearly three glorious weeks in New England sewing, eating, and walking in the woods. One of the projects I worked on has travelled a long way – it started out in Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam, and has been re-created with fabrics from Yunnan province in China. But let’s start this story in Vietnam.

HCMC is a fascinating city. I’ve been there five times for work. While this may reflect poorly on my driving passions, my favorite place is the Ben Thanh Market in the middle of the city.

It’s a vast and labyrinthine building with hundreds of individual stalls of spices, dried shrimp, shoes, hair decorations, fabric, tee shirts, fake designer goods, and semi-preserved seafood. The semi-preserved seafood makes an amazing stink, and acts as a great olfactory landmark.

The market also has all manner of pickles and lots of amazing tropical fruit.

So deep within this market, I found a booth selling cool textiles. As you may have noticed in the previous pictures, all the lighting in the market in fluorescent. I passionately hate the quality of fluorescent light that causes it to make things change color.

I bought a quilt with strips of beautiful embroidery and plain rayons and cottons. It looked great under the market lights. When I got it back to my hotel and real sunlight, I hated the colors. The embroidered patches lost their sparkle, and the low-quality of the other fabrics became glaringly clear.

So what’s a quilter to do? Take the whole thing apart and start over. Check back tomorrow for the transformation.