Or: Some mistakes are just too daft to be photographed.
I recently finished a bed spread for my Mum. The one I wrote about before, yes. The pattern part should cover the top of the bed, and a border along one side and one end should make a nice finish.
The pattern part turned out just as I wanted it. There’s a centre part with so-called fat quarters measuring 20 x 20 cm. which are old denims. Around those are squares of 5 x 5 cm. pieces of calico in blues, and they are arranged in diagonal lines.
The quilting is done with buttons in random pattern on the denim part and in few, diagonal lines on the ends of the small squares part.
The bedspread is for my Mum’s guest bed in her sewing room. Being an old seamstress, she of course has a sewing room. She had one in her old flat, and she has one in her new, smaller flat.
In the old flat – my childhood home – the guest bed was in the far right corner looking in from the door. In the new flat it’s at the far left corner looking in from the door.
And now I don’t know wether I thought of the old flat or just didn’t really think at all. Fact of the matter is that I sewed on the edges to fit the bed as it was in the old flat. Not in the new one.
Mum was kind to me, praised it in high tones and left it with the top border folded in.
Yes, you’re right: I love my Mum to bits.
I like patchworking. For some time it’s been small(ish) things I made, and only few required quilting.
I like once in a while to make something big, though. So when my Mum talked of buying a new bedspread I jumped at the chance to sew her one. Heaven knows she made plenty of clothes for me as I grew up harbouring a strange notion that I could not wear jeans, only corduroy trousers. I have no idea how many pairs came out of her sewing machine. I just know I loved every pair and wore them all out.
I generally don’t mind quilting big things either. Granted the first fem lines or knots are a bit of a hassle to get done. The rest of it is plain sailing because I dutifully baste together the three layers including the stuffing before I start quilting.
And that part is the biggest obstacle. Bacause as I have no table big enough nor any frame I have to lay it on the floor, sit down with straight legs under it and baste with one hand over and one under. Even though I stitched together more than 400 patches by hand that process feels as if it takes far longer time. My lower back screeches in pain, I stab myself constantly with the needle, and I have to wear my thimble which I otherwise never do for want of feel of the needle.
At least I’m done and can start quilting. This time it’ll be in points, strewing buttons on the pattern at random.
Hence the kisses from Peter Pan: Buttons and a thimble. Oh, how I wish they felt as good as my husbands’ …
I write. Not just this blog (and another one in Danish) but also fiction. Sometimes I write non-fiction too when I describe some of the patterns et c. I make for various craft projects.
And when you write you get – at least some people get – the notion that someone might want to publish your writing. So you send off a manuscript to veraous publishers, big and small.
And then you wait. Watch your mail box for at least an auto-reply that tells you that your heart and soul reached their destination. And you wait some more.
From time to time you loose patience, often as not only to wish you didn’t because the long-awaited answer is a refusal.
And then just once in a while you get a chance. This just happened to me even if it was in disguise: I wrote up descriptions with lots of snaps of a select number of patchwork patterns and looked for publishers specialising in the field. Then I wrote to those publishers. Finally I posted in a patchwork group on Facebook if others had good suggestion of “never fail always good books” from a specific publisher.
That was when chance entered the equation. A group member with a shop wrote to me because she could well want to sell my patterns in her shop.
The lesson I learned from this? Just the usual: Timing is what makes chances occur.
I’m not sure how much it reveals about me that I – often as not – think of titles of songs or movies when writing a title for a new post. This time it’s 10 CC.
The thing I currently do for love is basting. Usually when I sew my box of pins is all I need. To me basting is just a way to waste time sewing seams twice. Yet now I do precious little but baste.
The reason is the bedspread that popped up in two posts already. But hey – since I hand-sew my patchwork I have to baste them into correct size first. Which takes time because there are 468 of them.
Bringing me back to things we do for love: It’s for my darling Mum. She deserves all the love I pour into the work.
Do you know the feeling? You found all your patchwork material, spread it over half the living room and cut piece after piece for a specific project.
Then the minute you sigh and begin to re-fold everything to put it away you think of other patterns. Leave the mess, take up pencil and paper – in my case a standard checkered pad – and begin to draw. Come up with brilliant ideas. Or remember old and equally brilliant ideas not yet put into colours and cloth.
Lean back with sketches on the pad, smile to yourself and fetch the thick paper used for clich´s and begin to cut those. And then finally go on to cut the material for those patterns.
That’s what I did this past week. Well, not all of it, some of it. And now that I finally put all the material away to stop myself getting further ideas I have not only the 468 pieces for my Mum’s bedspread but also 2X5 for two canters, 15 pieces for one experimental pattern, 11 pieces for another experiment and finally 177 pieces for a square pattern. Because I stopped myself before I began to cut a hexagon cliche’e which would have meant countless other pieces.
Oh and did I mention I always hand-sew? Seems I have my work cut out for me very literally.
Cake, dinner, midnight.
Calculation, dedication, mass production
Chaos, disaster, moping
What have I been doing?! Well you might just ask. The answer is that Saturday my Mum came to visit to see the progress on her bedspread (see last post) and decide what should go on it now. We talked back and forth for a bit, thought a lot and finally decided to reduce the number of denim pieces and add a simple patchwork design of only squares.
A lot of them as it turned out. 468 to be precise.
We sighed a bit, then she began to cut out the squares, I began to edge them, and my daughter collected them in bundles of 10 to ease counting. All was well, we took a break for coffee / tea and cakes, another break later on to finish cooking a pot roast already simmering.
Time wore on but around 11 PM we “just” needed 80-odd squares and went on cutting to get it over with.
Minutes later disaster struck. My trusty old sewing machine decided to play up, eat material and make snares of the thread. 44 squares are un-edged, and all of them still need sewing together.
I really need the one CDM I didn’t have: Cadbury’s dairy milk.
Remember The Animals? If not, here’s the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MgTSfJEf_jM
My Mum never learned how to make her own patterns, Taht never stopped her sewing and repairing scores of garments including worn blue jeans. Her sewing machine is sturdy and was only sold because she missed being able to make buttonholes easily.
She’s now 91 and recently moved to a smaller flat than before. This move prompted a clean-up, and because I bought her old sewing machine and make things out of cast-away scraps including patchwork, I also took home a bagful of jeans letftovers.
So when she talked of getting a bed spread for the guest bed I stopped her saying I’d make her one. And here’s the beginngs of it:
12 patches sewn together, 12 more cut and ready to be added. Depending on accumulated weight the restwill be either only regular calico patchwork or more Jeans pieces + calico. And I’ll be dot-quilting these pieces with some of all the buttons she gave me over the years.
So did anyone guess what animal I am? Yup, that’s right. The hoarding squirrel.