Tuesday, July 15, 2014

From the Top Down…..Postage Stamp

7,058 Blocks at 1.5 inch, 1 inch finished.
Measures 84 by 84 in, 213 x 213 cm
Sewing Machines - 4
Sanity - Pretty good, better now i've opened a bottle of red.

I've been asked quite a lot of questions as to why I decided to do this quilt.
And I have many varied responses.

Firstly I love postage stamp quilts. Ever since I fell in love with scrap quilts while travelling in the USA I have always wanted one. But they have always been out of my reach costing a pretty penny. I also have this strange 'thing' that it must cross my path. I find if I go and buy something from a shop it loses a little of its meaning to me as its too easy. Part of what I do with all this fabric collecting is finding it, its part of the enjoyment of what I do. If I just walked in and bought it it wouldn't be as big a part of the adventure of finding, collecting and stashing.

I have loads of scrap. Off cuts, left overs, damaged bits and pieces and when ever I look at it all I know there are a few quilts in amongst it all, it just needs to speak to me. So I kept stuffing the boxes with odds and ends after every trip and the piles were growing. I also had my jars and when I got a chance between customers I would trim up some scrap and put it in the jar for the best size block for 'future projects'.
I joking said to myself when I sewed the first two patches together on Election day last year that I would have it done by the next election. (If only that was now true) That was the first sewing machine the industrial. (now all sold in the move)

We finally made the decision to move the studio and I knew that it was time to not bring it all with me. I didn't want all these boxes of scrap that I had been stockpiling coming with me to the new space. So while we were building and renovating I took up camp on the kitchen table and started plouging into it all, cutting 1.5 inch blocks. Literally thousands of them. And started the process of chain piecing them together. With the renovations we have been held up, bad weather, council you name it and we are still 5 months behind schedule. So when ever things got annoying it was head down and bum up piecing away. This was machine 2, my domestic Husquvarna. My poor machine died. I wore out the drop bobbin casing so it was time to find a new machine. Moved onto machine 3, my Pfaff saddlery machine. Decided it was more trouble than it was worth trying to chain piece small bits on this one, its slow and heavy and its designed for leather and denim. So the process halted for a while til I got the next machine. Number 4 - Janome 6660 P. So far, ok.

This is not an 'easy' quilt to do. It's easy as in its straight piecing but its hard as it requires patience to stick at it. It is the sort of quilt that can break your spirit. It is at times mind numbing but that can sometimes be a good thing.

Also my quilt it not all that well made. If the quilt police have a close look they will be tut tutting about the fact my seams don't all meet and in places its a bit wonky. But I don't really care too much. As I used fabrics from old quilt blocks some were already off grain from the original maker so there are plenty that are not straight. Also, some days I just didn't give a shit. I just wanted it done. I'm human and by no means a perfectionist. I think trying to get things perfect can take some of the fun out of it.
So, there was no unpicking and if I made a mistake I just shrugged my shoulders, drank more wine and kept going.

I also tried to detrain myself while I did this piece. I had to let the pieces come together where they fell. It was hard not to stick a piece back in the box and grab another that would be more pleasing. I had to make myself not care. As this quilt needs to be completely random. If I tried to plan any of it it would get a strange half pattern appearing and I didn't want that. So the pieces just had to go together.

There is also another side to this quilt. I only work with what I find. So no new materials are in this quilt. Its all found and scrap (the bits that are too small to put into my scrap bags), salvaged bits, apron ties, skirt hems, damaged quilt blocks, unfinished quilt tops, you name it its in here. All from the 1920s to 1960s. I guess its about making something amazing out of things now days we would probably throw away. My backing is going to be made from 1940s kimono linings that are all red cotton. Another pile of fabric I have salvaged from old silk kimonos and tucked away. I will piece in a few other fabrics that I have saved that are sashings off some of the partial quilt tops thats I unpicked to put the old blocks into this one.

This is by no means a designed quilt, if anything is is de- designed. It is a quilt made as purely process with some theory chucked in. It is also a very personal quilt for me as each little piece has meaning. There are bits that are joy from when I found them. Pieces from quilt tops that I have pulled apart to save. It is just one of the quilts I have to make and have in my collection. 





14 comments:

  1. I truly applaud your quilt, its perfect, it tells a story and holds memories, when those things are combined we don't need cameras to record our life's progress, we just need to look to what we have created :)

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    1. Cheers, I guess it could be my 'memory' quilt. J

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  2. Jen, it is inspirational, but I reckon one would have to be mad to attempt it! As for the quilt police, there is a line in The Castle, spoken by Daryl Kerrigan that we could quote. But the company is too polite for that sort of language. :)

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    1. That its going straight to the Pool Room? Thanks Robyn.

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  3. I think it would be a lovely quilt to live with. Clever you, made me want to try.

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    1. I hope it will be good to live with. Its going on our bed first up. A little more manly than the current quilt.
      Its worth a go, but be prepared for moments of sheer and utter annoyance.

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  4. I love the photo of the never ending sea of postage stamp squares. It would be the most wonderful quilt to spend time with, spotting all the gorgeous fabrics and how they play together. I enjoyed reading about the journey. Now this is finished what will your next project be to use all the little bits?

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  5. The next project from all the little bits is a bit of a fun/strange on that also needs to be made. Stay tuned.

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  6. Well done! I'm impressed with your commitment. In 2011 I started a 1039 one inch hexie quilt, I go months and months without touching it, my initial 5 year goal is a joke. One day it will grace my bed, but probably not for a lifetime

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    1. Just do a few here and there. You will be amazed how quickly it will come along.

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  7. I loved reading this post so much. It's quilts like this that can define the kind of quilter we really are. Thinking about you slogging away on the piecing trying to take your mind off of other things just made me smile. I've definitely had quilts (and moments) like that! And look at your fabulous quilt chalk full of memories! Just incredible.:)

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  8. Hi.... I love it!!! Love the story and dedication behind it, and determination to finish. Can't wait to see it fully finished.
    You are truly an inspiration. Amazing and so talented.
    I also love to follow your feeds on Instagram and Facebook.
    Blessings, Daisy x

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