Do you remember this quilt? I said it then, and I say it now, I’ve probably taken more photos of these 4 inch squares of floral than any other quilt I’ve made!
Whilst I’m sure the old fashioned prettiness of the florals has something to do with it, I think I’m especially drawn to the lovely warm, rich, busy smooshiness that was created by just stitching them randomly together.
I can spend hours on Pinterest sighing over exquisitely pieced, complicated quilts of great beauty – and quickly add them to my board and dream about the day I’ll actually make one! – but often, in films or magazines or books, the quilts that catch my eye, that look so perfectly at home and cosy and nourishing, that have me exclaim “Oh isn’t that lovely!” are quilts of simple squares.
Such is this simple quilt of flowers.
Mum and I bought the fabric together, several years ago now, at Spotlight during their post Christmas sale. We bought 25cm of each fabric – I can’t remember how many fabrics – 30 or 40 – and then we cut it all up into 4 inch squares (with a seam allowance). It was the perfect way to do it because we only needed this minimum cut to give us each enough squares for a wonderfully chaotic quilt. I stitched mine up as soon as the summer holidays were over. I think Mum’s squares are still sitting in a pile somewhere!
At that time I was having a real period of doubt when it came to quilting. Totally convinced my machine quilting was crap. Which it was a bit. So that year I tied all my quilts and was happy :-)
But now, oh I know I’m a bit boring and repetitive, but I really love my squiggly-wiggly quilting, following the principle of never crossing the line. Sometimes I do – and stop and unpick. Sometimes I make a jagged sharp corner – and stop and unpick. But mostly I just cheerfully go round and round and round, loving some parts more than others.
And so, this favourite quilt was on the top of the re-quilt pile with squiggly-wiggly here in Wombat Hill and today I finished it!
Into the washing machine it went. Onto the line for a few quick hours of drying in our breezy sun. And then off to Quaama for a little tour and some pictures.
See I figured that since you’ve already seen this quilt, I would add a bit of extra interest and show you our closest village – Quaama – the name of which is from the local Aboriginal language meaning “shallow water”. Quaama is on the banks of a sandy river called “Dry River” and this was the European name for this village until the early 1900s. It’s nestled into a small hillside between the river and the highway, surrounded by Bega Valley’s ubiquitous rolling hills of dairy farms. And it’s pronunciation … like the curry “korma”.
It’s a sweet little place. Very small – apparently less than 150 residents. But it has a very resourceful General Store with a petrol pump and wee post office run by a lovely couple with a dear little baby. Anything bigger than a regular envelope is left for us at this post office – and they stock the fabulous Tilba Dairy milk, cheeses and yoghurt and the divine Bermagui sourdough “Honor Bread” – so we drop in regularly.
There’s also a “Small School” (that’s the official NSW term), established in the 1870s, which all of the children on our road attend and the parents love. There’s a wonderfully maintained and regularly used School of Arts – which apparently doubled as a cinema throughout the 1920s and 30s! – a sweet little Anglican Church, St. Saviours – the local Rural Fire Brigade – and lots of lovely old wooden houses with netted gardens bursting with fruit trees and vegetables.
Oh and there’s a snake infested cemetery. Yep, that’s right. Snake infested. All the cemeteries in the Bega Valley carry this unique warning and each spring they write it up in the newspaper just to remind people. Apparently the local red belly black snakes – which are highly poisonous but quite timid – love to lay about on the gravestones in the sun. And I suppose there’d be highly poisonous and quite aggressive Eastern Browns lurking under the stones and fallen branches. Ugh! Not my cup of tea at all. So there are no photos of the old lichen speckled graves of the pioneers set amongst the tall gums. You’ll just have to imagine that bit.
One of the many things I love about living here is that so many of the scenes – like this old shed and garden and the next door water tank – remind me so much of my grandparent’s home and garden when I was little. They too lived in a small country town on the eastern coast of NSW. Every time I see such a sight I am transported straight back to days of lining snails up into “schools”, collecting the heavenly scented gardenia flowers, exploring under the cool dark house, and rolling down their thickly grassed steep hill. Fabulous!
And, as is always the case, these floral squares have been quilted onto a beautiful checked vintage wool, Australian-made blanket. Oh it will be a sad day when I can no longer find these treasures at the opshop.
And, as is always the case, I know this simple quilt will be put to very good use. This afternoon, after all our groceries and farm supplies were unpacked, Noah and I headed straight out onto the verandah for a quiet sit down and cup of tea. It was deep in shade, the mobiles spun loud and crazy in the wind, the pattern pieces I was endeavouring to draw blew every which way.
Good thing there was a quilt at hand.