Ages back when my quilting machine was on the blink, I went through a phase of tying my quilts. This coincided with a period of feeling rather overwhelmed by machine quilting. Nothing I attempted ever looked good enough to my super critical eye.
I decided – with a humph! – that I would tie everything with perle cotton. A sure fire way to turn the mounting pile of finished patchwork tops into cosy quilts for our laps and beds. However, I also remember writing that one of this method’s benefits was that later, should I want to – or should my confidence with the machine increase – the little cotton knots could act as basting and I’d be able to machine quilt the piece, pulling out the ties as I went.
Well, guess what! That’s exactly how it worked :-) This here little quilt – made from charm squares my Mum bought home from her last trip to Canada – was tied a couple of years back and popped onto the back of our sofa. Its lovely woollen blanket backing cosied our laps and its very cheerful colours warmed our shadowy living room. But there was something extra special about this quilt.
Its blanket backing is a New Zealand Roslyn Health blanket – you can read all about it here – woven literally down the road from one of my sweet Aunties. She needed a special quilt this year – or last year now, I should say – so it seemed very appropriate that I share this little one with her. I gave it a gentle wash and set to requilting it – with my funny flowers and swirls – just in time to send it home to her for Christmas, with my uncle who was in town for a conference.
She just loves it – especially the provenance of the blanket – and they were going to take a drive to see if they could work out where the Roslyn Woollen Mills once stood. Isn’t it amazing that such a vast establishment, one that made the most of all the beautiful wool produced by New Zealand and its many sheep (they even wove woollen bathing suits!), one that employed so many hundreds of people, one that then shipped their lovely products all around the world, could then be quietly subsumed by a growing town, and one day not be there at all. My Aunt and Uncle, who have lived in Dunedin for many years, did not even know of its existence.
After thinking about this requilting for most of the year, it had to be done lickety-split in the week after finishing the teacher’s Christmas presents and sending Mum off to Canada – and us preparing to travel up to Merimbula for Christmas. A bit of a rush to be sure. And the weather wasn’t at all compliant – lots of rain and grey days – so there was a last minute, frantic gentle pressing with a warm iron to remove the last vestiges of damp! Ah well, we got there in the end.
I’m very pleased with my little flower trees, but my border quilting still needs a quite a bit of refining. I think I’m pedalling too fast which means there are a lot of “whoops!” and “oh dear” and “bugger, that wasn’t where I meant to go”. Practice, practice, practice, hey?!
So now this sunny little quilted blanket has journeyed all the way back to the small town on the chilly southern coast of New Zealand where it was originally woven many many decades ago. It lives folded neatly on the back of my Aunt’s sofa and she’s already sent photos of it being put to good use on their regular chilly nights, draped about her knees as she sits before her fire, planning her beautiful garden beds.
Such a lovely adventure for one little quilt.