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.
This post will have you seeing stars. Really.
I was seeing stars when I got the material for the shorts I practically finished. It was in a shop in Amsterdam, our summer hols destination, and it was just packed with fabrics I wanted. And I had to limit myself and therefore pinched close my eyes so hard it made stars shimmer inside the lids.
My daughter saw stars too, but only these.
Then I was seeing stars again when I laid out the pattern. This time they were stars of rage. What was she thinking in that shop?! I specifically asked for enough for a pair of semi-long shorts. And this is how they had to look in the end:
All I could get were the leg parts. Not the waist band, not the pockets, not the belt straps. And I really was very careful, trying several times over to somehow fit more pieces onto the star fabric.
So I was reminded again to be careful about trusting shop clerks. At least my daughter thinks her new shorts are cool.
This has taken me forever to finish. It’s spent a lot of time lying idle, but even in efficient time I spent hours on it. Because everything is hand-sewn.
It’s also a bit of math. Within the same size square i patched 1X1, 2X2, 3X3, 4X4 and finally 5X5. That’s a LOT of patches; the corners alone consist of 100 tiny patches in all.
Taht said I really like the effect. It could be expanded to xXx given sufficient patience, nerdery and of course material. The one thing to calculate is the fact that it grows fast.
Just one more would necessitate larger squares – the smallest patches are just 1X1 cm; really small – plus two more squares on each side. The number of patches more or less expplodes when going up just a single size.
I could still imagine this pattern turned into a bed spread. It would be time to learn to patch on machine, I think.
I just lost that fuzzy feeling.
On a more serious note I spent part of Sunday edging material that needs pre-washing before it turns into whatever I mean it to become. Because I work up a sweat no time in non-natural fibres I wear cotton, linen and wool, and cotton and linen both shrink in the first wash. To get the shrinking over and done with I edge the pieces and wash them prior to cutting.
So why edge them at all, you might wonder? To stop them peeling at the ends is why. It’s bad enough to know some of the paid yardage just plain vanishes in the wash. I refuse to let my washer eat even more.
All right. Bedhead is a well-known phenomenon. Beadhead? What’s that? The tennis star hairdo with plaits adorned with beads? Or – shock horror in all its tackiness – Axl Rose when he was at his most vain? Bo Derek imitating the classic hair taht looks so beutiful on dark brow heads and, on a pale head like hers just shows pgiskin between the ridges of hair?
Could be all of them.
It’s none of them. Instead it’s this:
An elastic band, sewn into a piece of material and adorned with beads. And it’s on my head.