How do you photograph a quilt properly without a quilt stand? One might well ask! It’s a conundrum we were faced with on Saturday. Having decided that I needed to have good, well lit, clear photos of my quilts and having tried to take photos in the house, on the bed, I decided that I needed to take the quilts outside and hang them properly, in daylight.
But hang them on what? After a very frustrating morning trying various Heath Robinson contraptions we settled on a pair of step ladders, each with an extending arm (wooden pole) gaffer taped in place and drilled to take a cable tie, supporting two pieces of wooden dowel (broom handle), joined by a piece of plastic water pipe. This particular solution took one trip to B&Q and several trips to raid Dad’s garage and cost in total, not counting the shoe leather or diesel, the princely sum of £2.09. Compared to £150 to import a quilt stand from the USA, that’s a bargain.
OK so the hanging pole sagged a bit in the middle, I think if I needed to do this again I’d need a metal tube to join the dowels, or alternatively borrow a quilt stand…..hmm if only I had planned that in advance.
The weather forecast was for sunshine, so thankfully it barely rained at all, only one quilt was rained on, Shhhh don’t tell my Mother it was one of her’s…(see “Golden wedding quilt”), we were exhausted by the end of the day, up and down the ladders, quilt up, quilt down, “don’t let it touch the muddy floor!” After all that effort you would think we would be pleased with the result, but no, my Dearest now decided to go all Arty Photographer on me and declared that none of the shots we had were any good, the lighting wasn’t right and they’d all need to be done again, on the bed with different lighting.
Nuts to that!
I’m so glad we didn’t leave the photography till today, because it has rained… and rained… and rained… and rained, the garden is awash, and the weather forecast is for more rain, wind and snow, in October.
My parents have been married for 60 years, on the occasion of their 50th wedding anniversary my sister and I decided we wanted to make them a quilt to celebrate their anniversary, we couldn’t think of anything they would rather have and at their age, they have everything they need and shed loads besides, so a quilt is what they got. Many evenings were spent planning, cutting, choosing the perfect blooms for the centres of the lattice, and the trailing flowers for the edges. A lot of fabric was cut to waste, but you rarely get the chance to make a quilt for such a reason, so I was happy to do it, besides which, it was for the best Mum and Dad in the world so for once……. Hang the waste!
On the back we stitched photos, a picture of Mum, for the top corner on Dad’s side, a matching picture of Dad for the top corner on Mum’s side and at the bottom, a picture of my sister and me, when we were still young and cute, long time past.
It still lives in Mum and Dad’s bedroom but I don’t think it goes on the bed much, too heavy perhaps. Some of the fabric was furnishing weight and we used a cotton wadding, perhaps a mistake but it still looks great.
Another year, another challenge, as a long-standing member of my quilting group I do try to rise to the annual challenge, but a couple of years ago I was stuck for an idea, we had to use flowery fabric, and I didn’t have much time, so what to make? Thumbing through magazines looking for inspiration I came across several Union flag cushions, I’d also seen them in fancy interiors shops, I’d picked up and put down with a gasp examples at exorbitant prices. Then I saw in a magazine, a pastel shaded version, in pretty Liberty prints, and knew that I could produce something similar at a fraction of the cost.
In my stash was the red and cream, both Liberty fabric scraps, and the navy, a 1980’s Laura Ashley dress, My sister reminds me again we had one each of these too, and when she’d worn hers out I gave her mine, which clearly didn’t get worn out before it was retired to my fabric stash. I can’t find a picture of the dress but I guess if you were around in the 80’s you’d remember those dresses, huge mutton leg sleeves, drop waist, voluminous skirts,( think a newly married Princess Diana). Needless to say….. There is enough left to make something else as well, and I already have an idea.
So where to find a pattern? I could have spent hours searching the internet for a pattern but fortunately and coincidentally on Armed Forces Day there was a pull out supplement in the newspaper; an advert on the back page pictured half a union flag which was just the right size, so I traced and reversed it to create a sectional pattern to work from. The red diagonal stripe is appliquéd onto the white, the rest of the pattern is pieced.
Union flags II
Just before Christmas 2011 my stepdaughter asked me to help her make a gift for a friend who loves the Union Jack; she wanted me to help her make a cushion like mine.
Happy to encourage creativity in others I was pleased to assist, this time we bought fabrics, and I amended my technique to simplify the pattern, using more appliqué rather than piecing. The diagonals are all appliquéd on this cushion. The white fabric was lined to prevent the blue showing through.
We were very pleased with the result; I hope her friend was too.
There’s nothing new about recycling, patchwork was invented for it. I love recycling fabrics and preserving them for posterity,and holding memories in a tangible form.
Being a child of the 60’s I have never known real hardship, though I have been so short of money I’ve had holes in my shoes, and wet feet. Nevertheless being the child of parents raised in the last war, who in turn had parents who were born in the first decade of the last century, experiencing both Wars and Depression, I have learnt economy, ingenuity and the principles of recycling from generations of Master cheese parers.
I find it hard to throw anything away if it might still serve some useful purpose. Evidence of this can be seen in the photos attached, a photograph of me, aged about 8, pudding bowl haircut and a typical 1960’s dress.
When it no longer fit me, the dress and it’s twin,( my sister had one too) went back in Mum’s fabric stash. I always loved the fabric but couldn’t find a project for it. Years later I began collecting fabrics for a scrap quilt, and there in the centre is my dress fabric, and again in several places in the quilt.
The fabric also appears in other scrap quilts of mine, in fact every last tiny piece of that fabric was recycled, and the wonderful thing for me, more than 40 years after I first wore my lovely dress it is still part of the fabric of my life.