Saturday, January 18, 2014

The quilt is coming along nicely, thank you

Lord knows, I should surely know by now, I am not cut out for this; this Doing Things Properly.

I like the ideas - the BIG ideas - great schemes - the broad sweep. Somebody else can take care of the process and the fine detail. I like spontaneity, the notion of doing and the end product. Just don't bore me with the in between.

I know this. It's always been this way; even as a small child I would suggest making - oh, let's say some pretty cup cakes (except back in the day I expect they were called fairy cakes) - to my cooking-orientated mother. 'Very good' she'd say approvingly, no doubt hoping for a chip off the old block. (Fat chance.) 'Wash your hands, put on a pinny, get your nice Good Housekeeping cook book and turn to page 64 - we'll make Rock Cakes. Now what does the recipe say?' 

That's how to kill fun stone dead...and I'd slope off to watch Saturday afternoon wrestling or climb a tree. I'd wanted to get to the cooked bit where the icing was on, they were on a plate and ready to be admired and eaten. Forget the elbow grease and the science of why cakes rise - or in the case of Rock Cakes, don't.

What sparked this minor rant is the making of a quilt. By way of explanation: In October I  hitched a ride on the local Art Club's outing to the excellent Jen Jones' Welsh Quilt Centre  in Lampeter, which this year hosted an exhibition of quilts by Kaffe Fassett. Fassett's use of colour in his knitwear and textiles is well documented and this exhibition was a bold exemplar of the master's art. The centre occupies the old Town Hall in the middle of Lampeter - as big an open space as one could wish for - but what a prefect space to hang quilts. Fassett's bold coloured patterns were juxtaposed with old Welsh whole cloth quilts which encircled the room.  Compare and contrast as the old examination papers used to say. Both fabulous and utterly inspiring. Yep. That's me. Inspired. So -  I. Will. Make. A. Quilt.

It happens that, next door to the Quilt Centre, is Calico Kate - purveyor of Fabric, Haberdashery and Yarn and which drew me in like iron filings to a magnet.

In a rush of enthusiasm I bought fabric. Glorious fabric in jewel-like colours which brought sunshine into the very many gloomy days of late autumn. It will make a fantastic quilt - my mind's eye has it spread on a bed somewhere already.

Well, having got the fabric I'd better do something with it. (The temptation to just put it one side and stroke it occasionally is great.) A cutting mat and rotary cutter were ordered.  I then did a great deal of cutting out.  Hmm. Now I had the same amount of fabric but all cut into otherwise unusable little squares. To save the guilt trip getting any worse I really had to start sewing them together rather than letting them languish at the bottom of a box somewhere. The sewing process was a bit like a production line - just keep going, same old, same old, until all the bits - or most of the bits - were joined together. Can't say I really enjoyed it but the sight of all the blocks together was satisfying. The idea was kind of working.

Christmas got in the way and the stack of 24 blocks sat to one side saying - if blocks could actually say - 'Well, are you going to sew me up or not?' And really now there's no excuse not to.

So I'm sitting here doing a bit more sewing together - joining blocks into bigger blocks. I'm trying my very best to Do It Properly because while I may rush at things like a bull at gate I do like craftsmanship and seams will be straight and neat and pressed. Wonky will not do.

I've now got six big squares - which I will link together with a dark 'sashing' (I think that's the word) before finally making the quilt sandwich with wadding and backing and actually quilting and binding.

See what I mean? what a time consuming business this Doing Things Properly is?

You know, in my head I've moved on and there are two or three other projects brewing already.


Pondside said...

I really shouldn't comment. I have nothing helpful or very uplifting to offer as I have given away more than one unfinished quilt top! I am very good at the 'being inspired' and not so good at the 'being motivated'. You are waaaaay ahead of me!

Cro Magnon said...

It's looking good, I like the concept. When I'm next in the UK (goodness knows when) I shall be on the lookout for some really nice quilts. I have some 'antique' ones, but I want some more beauties for everyday use.

Lou Archer said...

Wow-wee, you are one BIG step ahead of me; I just go to the fabric shops and stroke the fabric.

There's a tiny, magical, old fashioned fabric shop in Bewdley - Totally Patched, where they teach this dark art. One day, one day I shall be there... Your colour choice is gorgeous.

SmitoniusAndSonata said...

It GLOWS and is gorgeous !
And now you've got to the bit I loathe , too . Grit your teeth and keep on going .
With a pile of audio books , gallons of tea , coffee and gin , you'll be finished in no time ....

Twiglet said...

Stunning use of colours - what a beautiful quilt it will be! - Jo

bayou said...

This is a very impressive project! Far too big for my skills but I am sure you will manage to finish it without being 'wonky';-). We all will long to see the finished marvelous piece!