When I bought a sewing machine, having never threaded one in my life, I was particularly taken with the idea of making my own quilts. This was probably born out of some romantic notions left over from watching the film ’How to make an American quilt’ as a teenager, along with the fact that I love a good blanket as much as the next person. Despite choosing a sewing machine with quilt-making capabilities, a few years into my sewing ventures I have not yet made one.
Making from scratch enables you to love your creations even more than their shop-bought counterparts, not just because of the time you spend with them from inception to finishing, but because they are tailor made, by you and for you. I wanted to love my homemade quilt, to be glad of every hour invested in it and look forward with anticipation to the day of completion. I found, however, that none of the quilt patterns I saw online or in a batch of quilting and patchwork magazines I snaffled from Freecycle (read more about this and other free sources for secondhand items here) grabbed me. That is, until I came across this image:
It was vibrant, cheerful and unique amongst the patterns I had seen before. It has become the inspiration for a project I’ve begun that will be years in the making. Taking on a project that will require much more than not mere minutes feels like a pleasant antidote to today’s fast-paced world. To have to not only wait, but invest time in something without reaping a tangible benefit for a long time…this will be a labour of real love.
I delight in exploring different ways of storytelling, whether it’s through a poem, a photograph, this blog. That a quilt can be a storyteller as well as a comfort on cold nights pleases me immensely. For the quilt I’m making each leaf will be from a piece of fabric I’ve used on my sewing journey (a good use for leftover scraps too). Each will tell its own micro-story, a visual haiku from my crafting exploits; some as simple as the making of a new pattern, others speaking of wedding gifts and christmas delights.
I began sewing at the start of my married life, so it will also capture a bigger story, charting changes in our home, fresh needs with new seasons, travels we ventured on together… I don’t know what else will be caught up in this quilt over the years to come. That’s the joy of it.
How I’m making it:Being aware that I may want some flexibility on the size of the leaves in the future, I drew a larger template for the leaves then I expect them to be in the end. To save time (and overcome my inability to draw symmetrically!), I cut a template for one side of the leaf. I pinned this on the fold of the fabric so when I cut around it a symmetrical leaf was created. I cut the leaves with pinking shear which should help prevent fraying as my leaves will have to survive years before being being assembled. Look out for the final result here, though it will be some time!
Today’s soundtrack: Elliot Moss // Highspeeds