Completed little star blocks are pinned up on my design board….this was the view that greeted me as early morning sunlight cast shadows over one side of my work room…..strings of crocheted flower garlands are threaded and strung across the window and their shadows flicker and dance across the pinned patchwork blocks…..
Spring and Summer morning sewing is always a treat, I never really feel down hearted or lacking in what I’m going to do in this space, it’s often I have too much I want to do and there is just never enough time or pairs of hands to get it all done…..
Standing back and looking at the patchwork I can see favourite thread colours appearing…and realize how influenced I was when choosing fabric for these quilts by a basket of recent purchases of vintage threads, many of these still had their original wrappings which I can honestly say I had not the slightest qualm or mis-giving about removing….that crinkle of cellophane being removed is one of life’s great (but tiny) pleasures…..for those of us that are of least a certain age, it’s a bit like how the feel and sound of splitting the foil of a Kit Kat bar with a finger nail used to be…..
I’ve received some comments about the colours I’ve chosen and am currently writing up a post trying to describe how I chose them….it’s not easy because often it relies on what other colours are in a particular print (last Summer when I was sewing blocks for “dear ethel” I used a lot of pink and yellow together, but not all my pink fabrics worked with every yellow print, it’s often a case of emptying out fabric boxes, spreading everything out and just playing ’til you find that perfect combination)…..really there is only one rule…
Only buy fabric that you love.
I’ve not always followed this myself, and have the “hmmmm what was I thinking” fabrics at the bottom of the baskets to prove it….(also I have been given fabric over the years that people thought I would like…I love cats, just not a fan of cat prints I’m afraid) ….over time making quilts I think I’ve become more confident in what I do like…I’ve read how quilts need balance, light, mid and dark tones, prints of different sizes, plains and patterns….and you know what, I don’t really seem to follow that advice…I don’t use a lot of dark fabrics, rarely use plain, I like to use small prints and tend to avoid big ones. Maybe my choices wouldn’t always pass inspection by “the quilt police” but on the whole, I use what I love.
For this second quilt or “quilt number two”…I wanted to incorporate some busier prints but which because of the size of the blocks I was sewing, knew a lot of the detail in them would be lost. Also, because the blocks were only six inches wide, it wasn’t really a viable option to sew each one up out of tiny patchwork pieces. Using six inch squares of fabric helped bring in some of the other fabrics I’d wanted to use, and also allowed me to sew some small blocks but without tying myself down for too long (at the end of the day this is a paid commission and I need to be able to make it in a certain amount of time.)
Because my design board isn’t that big I ended up having to arrange all the star blocks and squares out on my bed, it’s not the end of the world doing it this way, but it’s always easier when you can step back and take a more considered view.
To start I just began laying out the stars, then placed squares where I thought they looked best. Then when I was happy, went and made a pot of tea, leaving the patchwork for a while to be able to come back to view it with fresh eyes……. (as you can see I’m not a huge fan of ironing the fabric everytime I use it…I’m careful how I cut the fabric out, and by the time it’s been joined in and basted and quilted….,those wrinkles will be gone….. like Keyser Soze.
Viewing the patchwork again after some cups of tea and playing with Bernard in the garden, I saw too many groupings of a particular colour, too much yellow in one area, diagonal rows of green…so slowly began moving squares and stars until I felt there was a more happy balance.
Then to be double sure, left it alone again, made lunch before returning….this time…felt very happy.
I’ve said before that some patchworks I’ve made feel like photo albums, looking at the fabric I’m reminded of friends and family, bags stuffed full of fabric gifted by one sister, altering my Nanny’s pink striped bed linen, a huge fabric hoard gifted by dear Sylvia, scrap assortments given by the lady who taught me to quilt, pieces left over from family quilts……it’s one of the greatest pleasures of “scrap quilts”..incorporating all those happy memories in something handmade……some of my favourite fabrics are here, I hope they’ll become as loved by Peggy and Pearl as they are by me.