I have enough clothes but I love sewing so I turned to quilts to fill the gap. I thought I wouldn’t like it – too precise, too twee, too only for old ladies! Mostly brown or pastels with flowers and triangles that resemble china tea cups. Not my cup of tea. while I fully appreciate and acknowledge the skill and work that goes into sewing such a quilt – the style is not for me.
Except, I’ve fallen for patchwork! I was warned that it was addictive and I have to admit – it is. I suppose it’s like sewing your own clothes, patchwork can be whatever you want it to be – size, colour, design and pattern – you take control.
I started with a cushion cover, then a scarf and matching skirt, then moved swiftly on to a full size quilt that was so bad that I added a plastic shower curtain to the back, a couple of ties, rolled it up and called it a picnic blanket!
The next attempt was supposed to be for my son, who, DV, is going off to uni in September. I ordered fabric online and when it arrived the first thing he said was “Is there no material without flowers on it?” Mmmmm
One night I couldn’t sleep so I got up and went into the sewing room where I pulled out all the fabric, the cutting mat, rotary cutter and ruler and started cutting strips. After a few hours I had thousands of them! I had all this fabric that he didn’t like so I made a quilt to practise. Now the problem with this quilt is that there isn’t enough contrast between the colours and the pattern sizes are too similar and there’s no real block design and so what you get is a blurry, washed out, mis-matched heap of fabric roughly in the shape of a square. But I promised myself that I would never start a quilt without finishing it and so I kept going.
In the meantime I bought 2 books: Kaffe Fassett and Improv Quilts and realised that what I have made is possibly a combination of them both! Fassett mixes colours with apparent abandon and Lucie sews with apparent abandon – nothing twee about either of these styles.
Fassett’s quilts are rich and deep; tropical fruit and equatorial flowers: his fabrics are luxuriously detailed, saturated and complex. He has the gift of colour. They may not be everyone’s cup of tea but it’s fascinating how colours, designs and patterns merge to become a cohesive whole. Fassett explains colour here.
Lucie Summer’s style is the polar opposite – pared down designs with plain and small print fabrics that create a clean and light quilt.
It doesn’t matter if the points don’t meet, or the strips are different widths, it’s the overall effect that’s important.
I like modern quilts and Google images has me drooling and planning in the most unrealistic way as there will never be enough time and in all honesty, it is rather expensive. I also think that patchwork and quilting has to be the most futile of pastimes – you buy perfectly good fabric, cut it up and sew it back together again! Nevertheless, I’m hooked.
I’ve bought equipment too…an extension table for the machine and a darning foot with bits for free motion quilting. This what a big quilt looks like when you try to machine quilt it, free-hand
There’s a lot of learning to be done but that’s why I’m enjoying it and it can only get better….