Water is my favourite element, or at least the one with which I identify the most. I love the flowing, mutable, adaptable qualities of water. It can take so many different forms – ice, snow, liquid, mist, steam, fog, rain, frost . . . . I love desert rivers and rivers in woods. My First Nation ancestors, the Muscogee, were called the Creeks by European settlers because for thousands of years they had lived along the waterways in what is now the Southeastern United States, before being ‘re-located’ to Indian Territory (Oklahoma).
I moved to Devon about five years ago to live in a property bordered by a beautiful, flowing river. I got to know this river very well and crossed it on foot nearly every day on my way to and from work. Two and a half years ago, I hit a metaphoric wall when I returned to the UK after an aborted move back to America. All of my things were in storage, I didn’t have a job and I felt very lightly perched in Devon. So I did two things. I bought a square of felt, some embroidery floss and a needle and I stitched a labyrinth. And I walked the river everyday and found and unblocked a tremendous jam of tree branches, logs, twigs, mud and leaves. It was very hard and very satisfying work. When the water was flowing free again, I felt that something inside of me began to flow free. Around that time, I decided to stop looking outside for home and the answers. I decided to stop and be still. I started to shape my world around me to fit who I am and to reflect my deepest truths.
I don’t live right next to that particular river any longer but still, always, it flows through me.
My second wedding table runner is Water. This one is 157″ long and 13″ wide. I started with a base of pale blue organza. I pinned one edge straight into the carpet and butted a cutting mat with a 1″ grid next to the pins so that I could measure the width as I worked my way down.
Next, I tore lengths of blue, purple and grey organza into long strips about 4″ wide. I laid and twisted them over the base, adding a few pieces of bright yellow.
When I was happy with the result, I pinned a layer of white tulle over my organza river, which I purchased from eQuilter. This is a very fine, soft tulle and perfect for layering over other fabrics.
Before I started sewing, I decided to pin my fabric river to a base of white tulle. This was because my organza base had become very ruched and pleated.
I stitched long, wavy lines down the length of my river using a fairly long stitch length, low top thread and presser foot tension and a walking foot. For my first lines of stitching, I used monofilament nylon thread in the top and blue rayon thread in the bobbin. Then I put metallic thread in the bobbin and blue rayon in the top, flipped my river over and stitched a few flowing lines of blue and purple metallic thread. I finished the edges by trimming them with a fine tip soldering iron.
The Water runner will be on our table (to seat ten) at our wedding reception.