My friend Michelle shared the above link recently and posted about her own crafting history. This has inspired me to think about how I reached the point I am at in my creative life and to ask you about your own crafting journey.
Making things was normal in my family when I was a child. Nanny and Mummy knitted, Mummy made our clothes and her own. Both Grandads were excellent with wood and could always "knock up" something that would do the job. Nanny taught me to knit and Mummy helped me with dressmaking. At school we began with cross stitch and basic embroidery on binka and wove with wool on shoe box looms. At secondary school my projects included a nightie, a rather wonderful fabric bag and then a rather less wonderful yellow corduroy trouser suit. Then I discovered Clothkits and gorgeous folky creations followed, I especially remember an elephant print padded jacket.
Things came full circle when my children were born and I knitted for them and made quite a few clothes for them. By this time, however, it was becoming very expensive to buy wool and fabric compared with buying ready made items and I had a housekeeping budget to manage.
I did quite a bit of cross stitch, including samplers for the births of David and Sara, but usually from bought patterns. When I returned to teaching in primary schools I did as much art and craft as I could, preferably at the expense of P.E. and anything with a lot of marking. When time and energy allowed I started to explore various textile-based crafts. I joined the local branch of Embroiderers' Guild and enjoyed some exciting residential courses. I tried glove making, Mountmellick, tablet weaving, gold work, box making, beading, some rather progressive workshops that just seemed to produce raggedy looking pieces but were fun, and finally started patchwork on a project inspired by a stained glass window in Cornwall. Patchwork and quilting has been my craft of choice for several years now and I have enjoyed exploring Japanese textile traditions, some fabric dyeing and some very inspiring workshops. What was your path to where you are now?
Today I am celebrating a finish. At Country Roads Quilters last week I finished The Wedding Quilt (with the exception of having some quilters' chalk to remove). Wow, with seventeen days in hand, I'm impressed with myself and so grateful to bloggers who persuaded me from a Double Wedding Ring quilt, especially Susan Briscoe who said a medallion quilt was much more period appropriate with the passion of the bride for Jane Austen. So, here it is:
Obviously I can't show you the whole thing until David and Jessica have seen it. You know that I used blocks appropriate to their relationship as I posted about these a while ago. I bought the fabric for the final borders for the colours and because it had a more masculine theme than the other fabrics. I later discovered that the design (from Fabric Freedom) is called "Pilgrim Fathers". As David was born in Boston and some of the Pilgrim Fathers were imprisoned and tried in the Guildhall there, it is an additional link for him.
Thank you to everyone who wrote comments and sent message of support following Mummy's sudden death. Her funeral was on Monday and it went well (as well as a funeral could go) and Daddy was happy with it all. The funeral marked a line and on this side of that line we will live different lives, without her in them but with the memories.
You might enjoy watching this video of our sensei in Japan, Bryan. He speaks (in Japanese, with subtitles) about all aspects of his work, raising silkworms, growing indigo, spinning, weaving....
Bryan shared the video on his own blog so I trust he won't be too mad with me for sharing it here!
Yesterday was International Quilting Day and I started out well. Then it became Unquilting Day.
I'd free motioned my way down one side border of the wedding quilt, a section about thirteen inches wide and five feet long. I was pleased with it (I'm not the world's best at FMQ). I spread the quilt out to add the border for the other side and wham! a massive tuck of fabric the whole length of the quilt appeared before me. I'd been happily quilting, the backing had been happily wandering about unseen or felt by me. DH, who shall be forever blessed (and is recovering well from his recent hernia operation but feeling rather bruised still), said,
"Have you got a second unpicker thing, I'll start at the other end and we'll meet in the middle".
There are worse things in life than sitting in front of the fire with your beloved unpicking quilting in companionable silence (and with great concentration).
So, this morning I am going to tackle that quilting again, making sure all the layers are firmly attached to each other. After that, and the opposite border, it's binding and labelling, I'm nearly there but must remember, 'more concentration, less unpicking'.
This is rather a sad post to be composing with Mothering Sunday this weekend. It is a week today since Mummy died suddenly and completely unexpectedly on 1st March. She never enjoyed having her picture taken but I managed to find these two, taken when we visited the Quilt Exhibition at the V&A. The picture above shows my sister, Jane, Mummy and me. The photo below shows us joined by my DS David for lunch.
At the moment everything seems so surreal. Mummy suffered a spontaneous intracerebral haemorrhage and wouldn't have known anything about her trip to hospital, the attempt to harvest some of her organs or the final visit we made to say goodbye. For her it was a perfect way to leave, no fuss, no pain. For us? Well I think we are all still in shock.