Friday, 22 October 2010

Every patch has a story

When I think back to my childhood, summertime weekends were spent either next to the Thames, picnicking on cold roast chicken, my Mum's empanadas (Argentine pasties) and lemon puddings, or at my Dad's cricket club, playing on the climbing frame, roaming in the woods and helping with the cricketers' teas (all in the vain hope that there'd be a French Fancy left after the men had had their fill!)

 Here's an early cricket club afternoon from when I was about one. My Mum must've taken the photo, as I am on her cousin Claire's knee.

I do wonder whether my Dad actually played in those shiny black shoes?!

By the time I was about eight, my Mum had begun a patchwork quilt to make use of all the fabric leftover from the dresses she used to make for my sister and I.  She would often take this to work on at the cricket club, after she'd finished the teas.  I can see her sitting in our orange stripey deckchair, with her special patchwork bag, filled with paper and fabric hexagons, thread, pins and needles and a bundle of completed 'flowers'. 

The quilt took my Mum ten years to complete (every stitch done by hand and king-size as it is!).  We got it out last weekend, and then spent time recalling what the different fabrics had been.

Here's my favourite flower. The fabrics were from one of my most loved dresses. It was an A-line, sleeveless dress, with a blue yoke and the stripey, polka dot and floral fabric for the rest.  It had lovely bead like buttons in the same vibrant cornflower blue that the flowers originally were.

I have such strong memories of this fabric that I always seem to be buying vintage fabrics that are similar.

The first and third of these were from 'Sal's Snippets', the second from Donna Flower.  Maybe one day I will find a remnant of the original...I can wish!

Before my Mum had finished her quilt my sister and I both caught the bug.  Big sister made a really beautiful quilt with a mix of remnants and bought fabrics, all very tastefully done and in smaller than usual hexagons and her trademark minute and even stitching.  Sadly I don't have a picture of it!

My first attempt was for a piece of school coursework and was rather rushed!  I made use of some flowers my Mum didn't want as well as making some of my own, hence the rather ill-advised mish-mash of colours.

Well, I was only about 14 !


The ditsy floral on the right was one of my favourite skirts.  I made it and wore it till it was worn through on the seat and faded beyond recognition!  I think it is still lurking in my fabric chest because I can't bear to chuck it!

The teddy bears were from the first skirt I ever attempted to make.  I never did finish it though!

Later I decided to use the machine for piecing a quilt.

Better colour choices this time!

Some of the same fabrics appear - I must have loved that purple stripes and shamrocks.

Amongst the squares I can see remains of  three dresses, two skirts, one pair of shorts and a blouse I made.

This must have been a fluke - the triangular pattern (flying geese is it called?) meeting at the corner.  I'm sure I didn't know one end of a tape measure from the other at that point!

All this looking at quilts has reminded me that I have two pieced tops ready to be quilted. (I made them to prevent my beloved trunk of fabric from being ejected from the house!) The perfect job for these chilly evenings!

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