Pouch Vilcabamba

This pouch for phone or sunglasses with a soft protective inside layer started to form in the rainforests of Ecuador.

My husband and I were driving a motorbike, through a few countries of South America. Over curvy steep tracks with cold riverbeds down below we rode. We’d crossed a pass covered in mist, the eye sight reduced to a meter. Clouds and watery particles seemed to have attached to us when we entered a cozy looking town. The surroundings we now found ourselves in were lush, abundant, green and hilly and though the little town had many American expats, there was no blue yarn (that I liked) to be found.

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A non-binding deal had me on the look out for blue yarn to make a pouch for a phone. The person who’d asked me had previously bought a pouch from me and we decided to see where this little experiment would lead. I liked the deal-without-obligation very much because now I was actually embroidering and stitching for a person I knew, although I’d not met her (yet).

Together with Geo I would trot the central square, trying to find something else than synthetic yarn from China, perhaps indigenous handwoven fabric from the Amazones. We were so close to the Amazon but never did I find hand-loom. Indigenous simply wear track suits and T-shirts and so, I had to do with what I was carrying. Not that I was going out of my way to find hand-loom but for sure it is not prevalent. I went out of my way to hike around though, but never did I find yarn I liked.

Not dormanted (not threated with a binding agent) kurkuma dyed hemp/silk cotton with a pattern I learned in Paraguay and is called ao po’ i. This sort of embroidery can only be done on fabric with a visible open weave structure. I did not have that so I decided to draw the pattern onto the fabric and fill it in with a stitch having the same looks as would it be done correctly.

A pencil, paper and a ruler I found in one of the atmospheric streets of Vilcambamba.

The sound of the synthetic yarn being pulled through the tight hemp/silk cotton always made Geo cringe. It was an awful sound indeed. Usually I would embroider early mornings on the wooden porch outside our hotel room, except when it rained. Than I would draw into the room, close to the window for better light.

I would finish this piece while traveling further through spectacular landscapes, over high Andes passes and extreme weather conditions.

I had not known Ecuador to be so stunning and it turned out to be one of my favorites. And as preferred, I stitched it together when I had my machine at hand, cozily at a homely environment.

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Then, I carried this finished piece to where our travels led us, the USA. It went with me on the Kickbike, as I never depart from my fabrics or treasured natural beads.

The pouch-to-be traveled by airplane to The Netherlands, Germany and later on to Hungary. From Hungary it will be send to the woman who wanted me to embroider a blue pouch for her phone. ‘It doesn’t matter how long I have to wait, I am just very curious to see what it will become!’

More detailed posts about our motorbike travel in Ecuador: Vilcabamba, Piuntza and the highlands.

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