Monday 22 January 2024

A Quilt's Story in Stitches.


Every quilt has a story 

These quilts above are ones that I found from several sources last year and if you are a regular reader I was on the hunt and truffling around for a quilt to do a project with and I reported on actually finding one, or in my case four of them were candidates for what I had in mind.  Life got in the way as you know and it had been shelved.

Now I have chosen the one for this project that I feel most suitable with subtle colours and this beautiful quilt is very worn in places, weathered and full of history.  You can see it has been used, and loved for generations. Now to mend and add to its story I think.

So what to do? I have been pondering this enigma for days now....

Tiny little stitches with antique threads, plus some patching with old linen carefully sutured in place; more little anecdotes for the quilt to tell its future custodians.

I can just imagine if it could talk, the life story of this beautiful Canadian double quilt would be a wonderful tale spanning maybe 150 years.

To think of what it has seen in that time; wars, revolutions, poverty, peace and untold riches that we can only dream of.  And love, a lot of love when the quilt was first made, and through the years of keeping people cosy.  I would love to cosy up with a warm drink and listen to the stories it could impart on me and I would sit so quietly and listen to every word!

The chance to add another chapter to this history is an opportunity too great to pass.  Adding a little footprint from the here and now, flowing from one century to another.

Hopefully, this is only the next piece of its journey, and not the epilogue for its life story, so that future generations can continue enjoying its beauty, and purpose, and revel in the same wonder as I have in its rich history.

I don't think it is appropriate to try and 'improve' the quilt, because that cannot happen

in my humble opinion, but more like continue its history, perhaps a new chapter from my heart to the heart of this magnificent quilt.

Who knows in a hundred years from now someone else may come across this fabulous thing, lay it out on a dining room table and marvel over it as I have done for so many hours with such joy and wonder.

The project, I have decided to do, will be a labour of love and I intend to enjoy every morsel of it.

The quest to find it, to laying it out, to mapping every little mark, loose thread, hole and frayed piece, to planning and implementing of every new stitch sewn and every little patch with words and embroidery ... will bring me such joy and I hope it will do the same for you.  

Welcome dear readers to the journey of ' A Quilt's Story in Stitches.

Believe, and you can accomplish is my motto to live by.  Making fabric art or indeed adding to something with some hand sewing is artisic.

I had an email from a lady the other day who wants to start to slow stitch but does not want to make a mess of it, her words, not mine.  Well there is no mess, nothing is wrong or right in this most peaceful of pastimes  You could stitch an outline of a moon or a flower ... or indeed just stitch running stitches here and there.  Add some French

knots or don't it really does not matter

I urge anyone who has never hand stitched like this before to give it a try.  Simple little stitches and you have something of beauty.

Don't just dream it, sew it!

Your creative work will tell your story ...

So today in preparation I have gently washed the quilt and it is happily drying nicely so that it is fresh and clean.

I am designing some patches to to stitch.  I have some really beautiful French linen and am cutting out some pieces upon which I will stitch some things and then I will be attaching these to the quilt.  This is my starting point .  

Only adding some bits here and there and not taking away the natural beauty or its story just adding to it as I said above.

I hope you have enjoyed  my ramble today and that you will return in a just over a week to see some progress of the story of this exquisite Canadian quilt.

Tuesday 9 January 2024

They say sewing mends the soul


Without craftsmanship, inspiration is a mere reed shaken in the wind.

Johannes Brahms.

Its been too long I know, it has been a very emotional 6 months and the passing of my dear Mum.  My sister and I moved into her care home with her for the last 9 days of her life to be with her 24/7.

I have not picked up a needle and thread for so long and it is time that I did.  Christmas then followed very quickly after her funeral and all the chaos that brings ...  not feeling it as well was a difficult time and I really should be inline for an oscar.

It is now time to get back to me and I can imagine what my Mum would be saying to me to get back to the land of the living and indeed my passion.

So this week it starts firstly I have gone through my neglected studio and cleaned the cobwebs away ( literally) and sorted through my design journals. I have two new ones, which I received for Christmas .. thinking family think its time too!! and I have sorted through fabrics.

Designing things to stitch is a joy and I have decided on something fairly small to get me going again and with Valentines on its way it had to be a heart I felt.

Looking forward to getting back on here, sorting through treasures, going to Vintage Fairs of which I have at least 10 in my 2024 dairy and the relief I will feel about not feeling guilty of being there for the day when I should be with Mum.  To be able to look around and laugh and meet up with friends will be a joy and my Mum would want that for me so very much.

The weather here in Dorset is very cold and frosty indeed and yesterday we had some snow as well to be able to light the fire and fireside stitch is a real joy of mine as you know and to be able to talk sewing and antique finds and fabrics with you all once more has really lifted my spirits today.

One tiny stitch at a time ....

My mission to myself is to design and ponder over new ideas.  Stitch my heart and start writing on here again weekly .. especially now that I have threaded some needles this morning with determination and with a huge smile on my face.

I was lucky enough to receive some beautiful gifts at Christmas and I had some gorgeous threads and some vintage fabrics from a friend ... thinking she thought lets get her going again shall we! Well it has worked and I am very grateful indeed.

The sun is shinning here even though it is bitterly cold and I have the rest of my day planned and it involves cutting out my fabrics for my project.  I have drawn my pattern and design this morning already.  Also I think I will do some more designing and ideas.  I am a wordsmith as you know and love adding words to my work as well as a button which is my thing.

Before Christmas I did manage to go to a small vintage fair in the Cotswolds for the day as a Birthday
treat for myself.  I met up with some wonderful friends there and it was a real tonic.  Such a beautiful fair in a wonderful little hall and so pretty.  I was able to wander around happily and I did manage to purchase some wonderful little bits of fabric for my sewing.

My favourite colours are always red and white and being that time of year stall holders had gone all out on those colours with antique quilt pieces and fabrics I was so happy with the fabrics that I bought.  It is only today that I have started to unwrap them and put them away to be perfectly honest with you but will be using some in my heart sewing.

I also managed last year to go to the Vintage Bazaar in Frome as well to meet with some of my great vintage friends and I bought three most gorgeous quilt pieces from a quilt never made it seems.  They are hexagon pieces with the old papers still inside and for me they will be framed and the papers will be on show because to me this is the beauty of them with the fabric just showing. If you look carefully at the photos you will see dates on the papers on one.  Look out for Old Bond Street and the date underneath it, this is the large photo at the end.  ...I was thrilled to find them and bought them from Donna Flower ... 

Beyond pleased with these beauties I can tell you.  The history of them and the story they could tell.  Who started them, how many were actually made, why were they not finished into a quilt ( although I have to say I am most excited about them just as they are!)  All these things have my fire inside me for embroidery and slow stitching again.

I will be hoping to actually blog weekly with my ramblings of stitching tales and tales of Thimble Cottage along side some wonderful Vintage Fairs this year and the truffled treasures found.

Thank you to those of you that have sent me messages of condolence and I appreciate everyone of them. Your words have comforted and encourgaged me again.

Until the next time Happy Stitching.

Sarah XX