Long long ago, it seems, I acquired a book on quilting. It’s a good one, including a mix of photos of the real thing, and lots of projects to try out.
Even further ago, I found myself teaching in Poland (second time around), again at a point where my hands needed something to do in the evenings.
(English teaching in the day meant that it was very hard to do anything words-related at night. So I ended up doing some sewing-type things instead.)
Fortunately, my teaching position came hot on the heels of an American family who had been there for three years before me. The mum seemed to have been into quilting, and left a box full of lots of odds and ends of fabric.
I made a few little bits of patchwork. The colour combinations were good. One became a kind of table runner for the low table in the room where I was staying that year.
Another made steps towards being the size of a cushion cover. It never got to those lofty heights, but it does now get more viewing time, as it were, by going over the top of a rocking chair.
I never wanted to fill the house with patchwork thises and thats. Part of me admires it, the colours, the shapes. Part of me also wants to avoid too much busyness on the eye.
But with some offcuts from my clothes-adjusting activities, I thought I might try to find a use for them. Cue: the teeny tiny quilt.
The point of this is that it’s a place to learn. It will probably end up the right size for a teddy or other soft toy, which is plenty big enough to work on, but not so crucial that I feel bad if it doesn’t work out.
I’ve kept the notion of the teddy quilt a secret from Junior Reader, but I hope that it will go down well, once I feel like it’s at a point where I can hand it over.
Part of the current attraction of the quilt is that it also gives me a chance to use up the inners of the pillows we recently parted with.
(I discovered that you can’t recycle them – they just go into landfill – but some online searching suggested things like using them for making soft toys or quilts.)
So far, we have simple squares. A bit of leftover red curtaining material (Granny R has been hard at work on new curtains for Junior Reader. Respect.). And the offcuts of those jeans I mentioned.
24 squares, and a colour way of red and grey. So far so good.
So I’ve learned to look at the useful book before beginning the project. (Turns out you shouldn’t create strips of 6 squares, but just do them in pairs. Back to the stitch ripper for a bit.)
I’ve just started combining the pairs into sets of 4. That took a bit of trial and error to work out how to match them so it looks (as best I can) like the seams actually line up.
Hopefully I’ll complete the 24 squares fairly soon. Then I need to think about what to put on the back, and how to tease out the pillow material so it forms the filling (or batting) of the quilt.
There is also adding some kind of binding around the outer edges to hold all the elements together. And after that, you get to do stitching through the different layers (the actual quilting), which I understand can be decorative if you want it to be.
So that’s all going fine. But then I discovered a set of fabric that was doing nothing, and decided to add to my material stash by cutting up: eco bags.