Like so many other patchworky types out there, I have many, many unfinished quilt tops. We’re talking filled packing crates. And that doesn’t include all those quilt tops that don’t even have the patchwork quite finished. Every now and then, I plough through one such packing crate and find myself moved to utter many an “oooooh!” and “ahhhhh!” as I discover long hidden wonders.
Why is this so? Hm … I’m actually not that fond of quilting. I adore patchwork. I love coming up with a new design and finding just the right fabric. My idea of the most blissful day is to spend it from first light to dusk, piecing away at my machine.
But quilting … not so much. I’m not a good quilter. I struggle. I never seem to have enough space. It never looks quite like I’d hoped. I persevere. Sometimes I even declare that I like it – but that’s probably more affirmative self talk than reality.
Then – the day after we came home from our beach holiday … I BROKE MY QUILTING MACHINE. Yup. It didn’t mysteriously stop working, or work half-heartedly. I BROKE IT. As I sewed strips of fabric onto a bathmat (making a kitchen mat – I loathe getting wet feet whilst washing up and for some reason I always slosh the water) – my beautiful Husqvarna Mega Quilter made a hideous metallic crunch and the thick, rigid, stem that the needle screws into twisted and gnashed and that was that.
You’d have been proud of me. I didn’t even cry. I just sat there with my hands in my lap and said “Well. That would be that for now. It will be off to the machine shop with you when we have some money to spare.” In fact, I think having my sewing machine repaired for my birthday would be the perfect present – did you hear that Jules and Abby?
So any thoughts I had of quilting – working on my and Abby’s quilted desk chairs (yes, they were on the summer holiday to do list), quilting Abby’s Christmas Moomin quilt, finishing the blue and white little houses quilt, quilting any of those many quilt tops – vanished.
Until today. See I was hunting through my everyday basket – the one I cart off to university – and at the bottom was this quilt top. I had taken it to the shops to buy some pretty fabric for a border. I did buy the fabric, but I used it for something else, and forgot all about this quilt. Well who needs a border anyway.
And I thought, as I unfolded it and smiled at its summery softness, oooh this would be a lovely thing to do today – quilt it! I’ll use a wool blanket for the back. Uh-oh. The machine’s broken. And then I thought of hand quilting – slow and torturous – and then I thought of Alicia Paulson’s lovely TIED quilts. Yes! Aha!
Needs no machine. No long, never ending hours. Just knots. Surely I could manage that. Oh yes! I did. I checked here for a quick tutorial on how to do it – I want those knots to last – and then settled down at the kitchen table to get it done. I did it a little bit differently – I sort of did a double cross stitch over the join and then tied my triple reef knot. Extra attached.
And it was fantastic! Truly! I’m converted. Now, obviously I don’t want every quilt I’ve ever made to wind up with knots. But what an awesome way to get the quilt tops onto batting or blankets, securely and neatly and usably attached, and bound. Then – later, if so desired – I can add more quilting. Heck! I can remove those knots altogether if I feel like it!
This is liberating, folks! Truly liberating. This little sweetie is almost done – only needs the binding hand sewn down. And for the rest of the weekend – why I’m thinking that Moomin quilt will look just dandy with knots.
I don’t know how it’s taken me this many years to recognise the wonder of this traditional and simple technique. Eeeeeeee!
p.s. mummy – this is our last block of cheese :-0