I ventured out to the sewing shed yesterday. A brave heart is needed when facing the sewing shed. I cannot remember the last time it was possible to sit at the table in there. For so long, I’ve simply stood at the door and hurled the fabric in. Isn’t that dreadful. It is. I’m a little bit embarrassed – thank goodness you cannot see it.
Anyways … I opened the door, peered in, thought about starting yet another grand clear out of said sewing shed – with a view this time to only ever using it as a neat and orderly fabric storage area – gave a deep sigh and thought, oh well, you have to start somewhere so pulled out this incredibly plain quilt I pieced together one night several years back. Squares of blue pinned to a vintage blanket and a few blocks of straight line quilting. Like those fabulous Indian quilts – so tactile. However, interest had waned – how many hours would it have taken to finish this?! – oy! – and this poor quilt had wound up buried under so much else, just its corner poking it. So I pulled it out. Pushed the escaping fabric back in with my foot, and slammed the door.
That’s a start, right?
The straight line quilting was ripped out – I became so efficient at it – the quilt was pressed with a lovely hot, steamy iron – it lightly felts the woollen blanket onto the back of the quilt top and makes it sooo easy to pin – repinned it and got straight to quilting.
Now I’m not a huge fan of the all over patterning you see with some long arm quilting. To me it lacks a bit of individuality – looks a bit too computer programmed. But my quilting skills are limited so I pondered what to do. No squiggly wiggly. No straight lines – or crooked ones. Something that would fill each square but would also allow me to move onto the next one without having to break the thread.
I did spend a while trying to do this with paper and pencil – and a wee sailboat. It was a complete failure. Then, as I stared out the window at our messy back garden, it came to me … the oak! Our lovely huge old oak that fills our back garden with prettiness, shade and colour. Which made me think of Virginia Woolf’s Orlando, the oak poem that he holds close throughout his journey, and the tree – first young, then ancient – that was one of the constants in his life. No matter what happens in our lives – where we go, how we go, when we come back … there stand our trees.
Always growing but never changing. Little oaks it was.
There are 90 squares – that’s 90 oaks. By the third row, they’d really morphed into very curvy little oaks. I unpicked a couple and redid them – but on the whole I’m very pleased with how they turned out. They’re all slightly different and certainly not perfect but I was sooo into the groove of it by the time I got to the end.
Now I’m planning apples and pineapples and crowns. I daresay I shall stick to straight lines of them at first … but as my confidence grows I hope to plan more imaginative layouts. We’ll see. It’s a slow thing, this getting of quilting :-)
Found a lovely 1930s reproduction for the binding. Spent last evening hand sewing it down. So satisfying. Then into the washing machine, onto the little indoors line for drying – we had a humdinger of a storm last night – hours of lightning and thunder and rain – I was transported back to spring evenings in south east Queensland –
– and finally, when there was more than 30 seconds of blue sky – a brisk dry to finish off in today’s blustery wind … and a wee photo shoot.
I really do love the effect! Now thinking of gathering some more of those lovely orange and yellow and pink and red spots, piecing more squares, and quilting pineapples. That would be fun.
And on the back – ta-da! – why it’s a vintage blanket – the only one I’ve ever found in these colours. Very cheerful.
So blue! So utterly unlike anything else I’ve ever made. So sweet. And that quilting! Huh! I can’t believe I did it. I asked Abby what she thought we should do with it. “What we do with all the rest,” she replied, “Huddle under it!” For now, it’s hanging on the back of my desk chair. I’ll have to think about it. Hmmmm ….
In my dreams, our strawbale house has a lovely big guest room with huge windows looking out to the forest. The room has a sweet old bed in each corner and on each bed are cosy colourful quilts with pretty pillows, a wooden chest at the foot of each bed for bags and shoes, a small potty cupboard with a reading lamp beside each bed for clothes and books and spectacles, and a woven rug on the floor. There’ll be quilts on the walls and quilted curtains too. We might need to have two rooms like this … or more …
Isn’t it a grand thing, this learning and growing and changing and adding … I love it.