Hello Fabric Punks!
I intend to blog about some sewing projects that I'm working on, but I thought that I'd write my first one about my sewing journey, which started with a very large quilt.
I'm a relative newbie to sewing. I hadn't really done any sewing since textile classes at school back in the late 80's. My sewing teacher at school wasn't very nice and the only things that I made were a hideous bag and a baby sleeping bag. The sleeping bag wasn't too bad actually. Weirdly, the one thing that stuck with me was how to thread a sewing machine! It was ten years until I touched a sewing machine again and I could thread it without reading the manual. I was stunned!
My next foray into sewing was in about 2001 and didn't involve a sewing machine! I was living with my most favourite aunty, Viv, for a few months whilst buying my first flat. She is a brilliant seamstress and had been dabbling in quilt making for a few years. We decided to make a quilt together to while away the long winter evenings. The quilt was to be my first proper grown up home accessory for my new home. She already had mountains of fabric strips cut out which we pieced together by hand, and then she sewed the blocks together and constructed the quilt on her sewing machine. It's a huge (kingsize) pineapple design quilt.
Looking at it now, I don't really like the fabrics or the colour way, it's falling apart because we didn't really understand seam allowances, and it's really hard to launder as it's so big and delicate, but I have such fond memories of the endless evenings that we spent sewing and chatting, and I get a warm, fuzzy feeling when I look at it. I guess that's what the traditional skill of quilt making was about many years ago; women folk gathering together making quilts to keep warm and decorate the home, chatting and supporting each other.
It's kind of strange now that for many of us, making a quilt is a solitary activity. Yes, we sew lots of love into them, and hand them over to the lucky recipient hoping that they will feel comfortable and wrapped in love when they're snuggled up in it, but the actual making process is often solitary. I guess sewing by hand makes it easier to be a social activity as we're not confined by sewing tables, power sockets and the whirr of machines drowning out conversation. The downside of the hand sewing of this particular quilt is that it's not very robust and I don't think it will last to be handed down to my children. But there are lots of special memories sewn into this quilt. It's packed away into storage at the moment as we get ready to move house. This is the only picture I have of it (not very arty, I know!).
I'm in the process of making Pineapple v2.0. This time with fabrics that I like (mainly scraps from other projects) and with a lot of knowledge gained from hindsight! And I'm not hand sewing it so hopefully it will be robust enough to stand the test of time and lots of family snuggles! As lovely as v2.0 will be, it will be made in snatched moments when the children are in bed and it definitely won't hold the fond memories of communal sewing, but I guess it will hold fond memories of down time when my babes are sleeping soundly.