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 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.
Or: N squared.
Wait – does that mean more math?!
The answer is yes:
Within the same size square I sew patches together as either 1 patch each side, two each side, three, four and five. Eventually five anyway. To enhance the pattern I change between blues and reds and use the same two colours or sets of colours for each number: 1 X 1 are two blues, 2 X 2 are two sets of pinkish reds et c.
Why I stop at five? Because it gets me down to individual pathes that are 1 X 1 cm. I flat out refuse to go below that size (unless of course I come up with some “brilliant” idea that demands it … ), and because of how the pattern works I end up with a nice size when I stop at five.
That’s the main snag about these mathematical patterns: The size of the finished example grows in jumps. If I include 6 X 6 patch-squares I would end up with an example measuring 66 X 66 cm. whereas this on will end up as 45 X 45 cm.
My sewing machine. It’s old, about 50 years old or so, and a little worn though not as such camera shy. The sun just got in the way. It has some pattern seams if not the widest range and does not make button holes automatically. Today it impressed me.
Biting through a folded seam in jeans – and these are genuine Levis – just because I changed to the correct needle is neat. Only one bit proved impossible due to so many layers the gap between needle and machine tabel was too small. Nothing like quality. Oh and did I mention this green beauty and I are the same year?!
OR: One finished patchwork sudoku.
I think the colouring works well to bring out the nine different blocks, and at closeup the individual squares made up of 1-9 patches are actually discernible.
So will I ever make another? Possibly. This example measures 40,5 cm x 40,5 cm and will most likely find use as a bread basket liner. The measurement is 27 units of 1,5 cm. each. But if one unit was 8 cm. the finished sudoku would be 216 cm. square, making it a good size for a bed spread for a double bed. It could be kind of cool.