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Friday, December 15, 2017

Colcha Scarf

I have been obsessed over the last few months with New Mexico Colcha Embroidery, something I had not heard of seven months ago.

It began with an article in the March/April issue of Piecework Magazine. I noticed that the diagram of Colcha stitch looked a lot like Bokhara stitch, which we had been identifying and practising at the Ethnic Embroidery Study Group of the Embroiderers' Guild of SA. I began to read more, ordered all the books referenced in the Piecework article,  ordered wool from churro sheep, the kit from Piecework and talked endlessly about what I was discovering.

Because I had no way of seeing original colcha pieces, I decided to try my hand. I chose an open-weave scarf I had purchased to embroider and some traditional motifs from Wroth, William (ed) Weaving & Colcha from the Hispanic Southwest, Ancient City Press, Santa Fe, 1985

The first one, an eagle, I marked on the black scarf using a chalk pencil.

I used Appleton's wool, which I could source easily and chose colours close to the traditional. The result was quite pleasing.

On the other end of the scarf, I used Solvi. It isn't my preferred method - I don't much like the feel of the barrier between my hand and the work - but it worked a bit better than the chalk for a slightly more complex pattern.

In the meantime, my enthusiasm had caught on and I agreed to run a workshop for the Ethnic Embroidery Studies Group on our final 2017 meeting last Wednesday. It went really well and I will post a report in a few days’ time.

I have summarised my research in a paper. I will  provide a link when I write up the workshop.

I have had considerable help in my researches from Esther Vigil in Albuquerque New Mexico. Her two books and her encouragement have been invaluable.

This has been a wonderful journey of discovery - I'll share a bit more in my next post. - before Christmas.


Monica said...

Gosh, it sounds like you have been having quite an interesting time! The scarf turned out beautifully, and I think the eagle is particularly appropriate. And the colours have a good desert feel to them also. Great finish!

Jillian said...

Thanks Monica. I have been a woman on a mission - and enjoyed it no end, even if it is a bit obsessive! I hope to post the workshop account on Friday.