Wednesday, 7 August 2013

WOW: Pattern Making

WOW = WIPs On Wednesdays
I know we're all keen for me to receive my fabrics and finally start posting some tutorials here, but I'm still waiting. It turns out a lot of the fabrics I selected are on backorder so there's been a lot of waiting around. Last week I spent a few hours sewing a collar into my shirt. This week I'm pattern making. A quilt? No, a shirt!
I very rarely make my own clothes (in fact, never). But is it just me, or is it nearly impossible to find shirts in interesting fabrics? I simply can't get my hands on any. And you already know I have a fabric it just makes sense to stop complaining about it and get to making some easy shirts I'll love wearing. This is an easy shirt I love wearing, so I'm using it as my pattern. You can see I have a long vest on as it's rather cold down my way. You see, if I wait until summer, it will be too hot to do any sewing so the time is definitely now.

It's still morning, but I'm already underway. It's going to be a productive day!

What about you?
Have you made any garments lately?
Or do you only sew quilts?
What's Your WOW ?

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Love Entwined: Where Are You? (2)

It's been nearly 3 months since I launched Love Entwined 1790 Marriage Coverlet; my pattern of the 1790's Marriage Coverlet quilt featured in Averil Colby's book Patchwork. It was listed in this book because it is a remarkable quilt; remarkable as both a work of applique and also as a historic legacy of British women's textile work.

Imagine my surprise when I realised that this quilt wasn't in archive. Actually, to say I was surprised is an understatement. We know from 'Patchwork' that before 1958, it had already been repaired at least once. This indicated that it had value and was cared for. All we know about this quilt is that a Mrs Erith of Dedham allowed it to be photographed for Averil Colby's book. However it's origin in 1958 was unclear. This might indicate that it was indeed passed down a family line (with knowledge of it's maker lost) or that it was at some point acquired by Mrs. Erith by source or means unknown. We don't know any more than this.

What I realised was that this quilt was nowhere to be found. Why wasn't it listed or held in a museum? And more pointedly, why wasn't anyone looking for it?

For let us make no mistake, whilst surely a beautiful heirloom of work, this quilt is also a historic marker and it matters. It matters as a record of women's textile work and it matters to British history. Lastly, it matters to quilters everywhere: it's a rich piece of our heritage. It cannot be allowed to be simply lost and therefore, destroyed, by time.

I decided that the best way to bring this lost quilt to light was to re-create and release it as a Historic BOM. Of course, I've made beautiful quilt patterns before and this one would prove to take me hundreds of hours to complete. But how could I really get it out in the quilting community? How could I convince hundreds of quilters to take up such an intense applique quilt? It had to be offered for free to allow everyone who so wanted, to freely take part. I had to share my hope for this quilt with everyone taking part and ask them to further the search as they themselves became involved.

With so many of you making this quilt, its not surprising that I receive so many query emails asking for updates on the original quilt. I know you'll understand that I can't possibly answer them all, so here's what I can tell you, in response to the most asked questions, current for now:

Do I know where the quilt is? No, I don't know

What happened to the quilt after it was photographed for Patchwork? I don't know

Why didn't Mrs Erith know the origins of the quilt if it was a family heirloom? I can't possibly answer this question and reasonably, the book simply doesn't offer enough information to go on. It might be handed down a family line, it might not. I think what's more important is that we discover where it is now

What is the quilt called? It doesn't have a title, it is referred to as a 'fine marriage coverlet' only throughout the book

I'm in the United Kingdom, should I look for the quilt? Certainly, if you belong to a guild or society who has textiles or past exhibition details in archive, ask the relevant person if they know anything about this quilt or if they have seen it in exhibition at any stage in the past

Can I contact anyone on your behalf? No. If I want to contact anyone, I will do so directly from my email account. Please don't make contact or make statements on my behalf under any circumstances

Why hasn't anyone looked for this quilt before you? I don't know, I am astounded that this quilt isn't already in a museum

Are you British? No. Please understand that historic relevance has nothing to do with social or cultural identity; this quilt is a British article however it's legacy should be available to everyone

Is anyone looking for the quilt right now? Yes, there are several leads which I am currently waiting for updates on. I won't be discussing any potential leads without actual outcomes as it's unhelpful

Did you contact the publisher of Patchwork? Yes. Although this book was published in 1958, the original publishing firm (Batsford, London) is still active. I contacted them and they didn't bother to respond to me. This was 5 months ago

Would you like to see the quilt? Of course, I'd like everyone to be able to see this quilt

Do you ultimately want to own this quilt? Certainly not. This quilt is a historic article, it belongs in a museum. It's likely that it may require further repairs and may need to be archived in specific light conditions, this can only happen if it is held in appropriate possession. Given the historical weight of this quilt, I believe that it must be kept, documented in detail and preserved for everyone to enjoy

Do you think this quilt is still in the UK? We have no reason to believe that it has been removed from the UK. I hope that it is still in the UK and if it is found, that it will not be allowed to be removed from it's historic home

Can I run an article on the story behind this quilt and your BOM? Yes, the more interest shown in finding the whereabouts of this quilt, the better

Will you let me know when the quilt has been found? I will let everyone know any actual updates right here, on my blog.

What will you do when your quilt is found? This is OUR quilt; it belongs to everyone. If it is indeed found, I will be satisfied that I accomplished what I set out to achieve - putting the 'fine marriage coverlet' in it's appropriate place as a significant historical article.

Love Entwined: 1790 Marriage Coverlet BOM

This is where we are up to now. On the 15th of August, Part 3 of this Historic BOM will be released.

Now, ordinarily each block is available for free during the month of its release and then removed. In the case of Love Entwined however, I have decided to leave all parts up for free for the duration the the BOM.

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

WOW: Back behind the sewing machine

WOW = WIPs On Wednesdays
Well, I’ve been meaning to stitch up a few garments for about 6 months now. I just never seem to find the time, or momentarily forget or get swept up in the excitement of something new, like a BOM or two or three. So I decided to warm up with a little project and finally finishing my stripe sweater which has been waiting for its little makeover.

A few months ago I selected newspaper print cotton and even cut it out. So all I had to do was sew it in. Sounds easy enough?
so I sewed in my new collar, and when I finished, I stopped to admire my work
and there it was...can you see it?
I knew it was newspaper print, but I didn’t see that writing when I cut it out and I couldn’t have positioned so skilfully if I’d wanted it there. Which I don’t.
What do you think? Is it still wearable?
My DD's say 'no way' but I say ' 2 hours work'

What's Your WOW ?

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

WOW = Thank You Lucia

WOW = WIPs On Wednesdays
What's the first thing you do when you see a calendar?
I always flip to my birthday month to see what the picture is!
Lucia Martins of Brazil kindly sent me this beautiful calendar which she and a group of ladies taking embrodiery class together, created to represent scenes of their city. It's a beautiful calendar and I'm very happy to have it hanging in my kitchen. Thank you Lucia for thinking of me!
I think photos of sewing, quilting and embroidery never do the real work justice, but this calendar shows up some stunning detail and I love the idea behind it too.
Lucia worked on April (her birthday)
and this is the November scene (my birthday)
Here's the back of the calendar:
What is it about receiving something in the post that makes it extra special?
What's Your WOW ?

Monday, 22 July 2013

I'm Around Here...Somewhere....

Here I am outside the exhibition holding a notebook for notes; armed and ready!
Given that it's been over a week since I returned from Brisbane I thought I'd finally share my thoughts on the exhibition. It was a great eye opener. My main draw was to compare quilts of the late 1700's because of the influence Love Entwined has had on me.
I wanted to see some similar era quilts and get a feel for the period. I didn't see many quilts with what I supposed a typical  'Georgian' colour scheme would look like - the fabrics were a lot more muted (I mean colour value, not fading due to age) and scrappy than even I expected (and I did expect a lot of scrappy style quilts). However I don't mean to imply that this lowered their value in my eyes - it didn't. Many were accomplished and beautiful.
I would have loved to show you all the quilts on exhibition - it was a fascinating range and every quilter I know who went along was overall very glad that they did.
It did help me to re-evaluate what the fine marriage coverlet would have looked like...and for this, the drive and effort to see the exhibition was definitely worthwhile. So what do I think the coverlet would have looked like, colour wise? A scrappy with lots of print fabrics ranging in values of dark  backgrounds and lighter backgrounds - which is exactly what Averil Colby describes in the book 'Patchwork". But seeing other quilts of the era helped place it much more firmly in my mind.
I know someone mentioned that no green fabric was around in Georgian England however I have been advised that there certainly was green fabric available - it just doest seem to have been used much in quilts. This limited edition print fabric was all that was left in the gift shop when I was there - a big disappointment as I secretly harboured ideas of stocking up on period fabric. As it was, I left with the last bundle pictured here.
I purchased the Exhibition's accompanying book "Quilts" and was surprised to realise (when I got home) that the quilts listed inside do not include quilt size measurements. Which I almost can't comprehend as being possible. I only wish I'd noticed sooner as I would have gone back in and manually added all the sizes inside my book for reference, they were actually listed next to the quilts on show. It seems a major oversight and I wonder what the reason is?
Overall, the exhibition has changed my mindset and I am much more keen to use more fabrics than I first considered 'too scrappy', I don't think 'too scrappy' is possible for this quilt.

I'm back home, and since my accident and dramatic end to my trip, I haven't done any quilting or sewing at all. This is me at the dining table - what a mess! This is me collating the pattern for some ladies who don't go online. They were worried that they might miss out. I assured them that not being Internet savvy means that they're more likely be ahead! I spend as much time on the computer these days than I do quilting. It's such a (necessary?) distraction!
I'm hobbling around the house at the moment and still not up to staying in one spot for very long. I'm a few hundred emails behind and I still have unpacking to do, but at the moment I'm recovering. Everything else will have to wait.
Love Entwined where are you?? For those of you who have been emailing me questions about the fine marriage coverlet; I don't have any news: rest assured, as soon as I know anything it will be posted up here on my blog for everyone to know. I know there's too many interested parties out there to keep any of you waiting a moment longer than necessary!When I know, you'll know. I just hope that there will be something to know. I feel as impatient about it as you do.
I'm planning at this stage to be at Showcase later this week (doing what I can from a seated position) so I know I'll be catching up with many of you.
See you there!

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Which Applique Book?

I'm an applique enthusiast, and Love Entwined 1790 Marriage Coverlet is a real applique enthusiast's quilt. There's just so much applique to be done that I can't wait to get stuck in.

Since launching the BOM however, I've had a lot of requests for applique advice and book recommendations. There are thousands of applique books on the market and I certainly haven't read them all. Coincidentally, I've been thinking a lot about 'core' books lately. Firstly because I've been minimising my sewing studio and giving away many books I didn't need. And secondly as a reference guide for my own DDs.

When I started quilting, I already had years of fabric experience and a specific skill set so I approached techniques and methods in a certain way. But I'm always taken aback when my DDs see what I'm doing and ask 'what are you doing?' it made me realise that I wanted to find a definitive guide to applique for them (because, who actually listens to their mum?).

These are my top two books and I believe these are the only two books you need to create applique and have bought 2x sets, one for each DD. I know that if they ever want to get into applique at any point in their lives, this is all they will need. Everything else comes from practice and perseverance.

If you're making Love Entwined and you're feeling a bit lost, stop what you're doing, buy these two books and I guarantee that all will become clear to you

ISBN 13: 9781607054801
ISBN 10: 1607054809
I have a real soft spot for this book because it was the first one which had me saying, 'thats exactly how I do it' throughout each page and my DD instantly recognised techniques in there as ones she's seen me doing. So, it's a perfect pass down book for me. The only down side is that my DD is in love with all the projects in there which means her first quilt probably won't be one of mine!
I use the Book Depository a lot for well priced books and free worldwide shipping.
Well, I used to, I've really slowed down my book buying
as I ended up with overhwelmed bookshelves.
ISBN 13: 9780972121828
ISBN 10: 097212182X
This is just a really great beginners book for knowing how to make everything by hand

Do you have a favourite applique book?
If you're an applique enthusiast who can recommend any great applique technique books, please do, in the comments.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

WOW: Back and Getting Better

WOW = WIPs On Wednesdays
I'm back in Melbourne and finally feeling and getting better
Last week I was on a roadtrip up to Brisbane to see the V&A Quilt Exhibition for quilts from the 1700's. After seeing the exhibition I was in a restaurant with my DH when I slipped on wet soapy tiles. I fell backwards and somehow twisted my knee and badly bruised both my wrists. I was taken to hospital by ambulance and that was our mini break dramatically and suddenly over!
Thankfully I didn't break anything and I'm currently resting, wearing a leg brace, hobbling around on crutches and waiting for the swelling to go down.
I have so much going on at the moment that it's an especially inconvenient time to be unable to sew or sit for more than 30 minutes at a time. And, on top of everything else, I still don't have my fabric yet! I know this is really a minor thing but I can't believe I'm going to be the last person to make my own BOM block!
I'm so eager to get started but then I have to remember what I tell everyone else: it's not a race and applique can't be hurried along. So I'll take my own advice.

What's Your WOW ?
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