I hope all is good with you and yours. With the weather being so wet and windy today I am hunkering down and ticking off some house jobs. While I was here I thought I would carry on the introduction theme for a little bit longer and share more of my quilting journey. Grab a cuppa, possibly a biscuit or a piece of cake and come and join me.
I’ve always loved making things. My lovely Mum, who clearly has the patience of a saint, taught me to knit properly when I was five. I’d had a knitting nancy before then but as Mum always had knitting on the go I wanted to learn too. I have really clear memories of knitting a bright yellow scarf for my Sindy doll. I think it only had 4 stitches, At least it started with 4, sometimes it had 6, sometimes only 3. It might have been imperfect but the sense of accomplishment at having made something myself never left me. None of my boys have wanted to learn to knit or crochet but the two bigger ones can both sew. The 10 year old constantly badgers me to get out the little sewing machine and makes bean bags and allsorts.
I was older when I learnt to crochet, I don’t think Mum could face that as well. I still have a soft spot for a simple Granny Square blanket. Mum made me a big one from all her left over wool. It was my go to ‘sick’ blanket for years when I was poorly. Instant comfort.
Patchwork came much later, although the seeds were sewn early. As a child I had a pretty blue patchwork effect duvet cover. I kept it until it was so thin it went to holes. Blue patchwork still makes me go a little bit silly. About 10 years ago I acquired a small sewing machine to do some household repairs and help with children’s costumes for dressing up days at school (that was a shock to the system, when the first one started!). I got a bit braver and when my friend moved into her new house, armed with a couple of books from the library I set about making a pair of patchwork cushions. I had no clue. There was a significant amount of what I have now learned is called ‘fudging’. Luckily patchwork is quite forgiving. That was it, I had the bug!
On a rare childfree day, out gallivanting with my bestie, we stumbled (not literally) upon Totally Patched in Bewdley, Worcestershire. With it’s quaint paned windows and quilts on display, there was no way we weren’t going in.
I was in heaven. There were bolts and bolts of material downstairs and quilts hung up on the walls. A spiral staircase took us up to a workroom for classes and more fabric. We took the plunge and signed up for a beginner’s course.
I was totally hooked! I enjoyed the classes, as much for the me time, it has to be said. A lovely lady who attended the same class gave me a beautiful length of teddy material and I set about designing a quilt for Efan, who was three at the time. Despite being told that was probably a tad ambitious for a first project, I carried on regardless. I’ve never been good at being told I can’t do something. I rediscovered a love for colouring in graph paper and got cutting, learning the valuable lesson of measure twice, cut once, along the way.
Without too many dramas, the quilt was pieced, layered and the hand quilting began. I love the gentleness of hand quilting. I have done machine quilting but I find my shoulders end up by my ears as I am too tense. The hand quilting took a fair while around work and family life but eventually I finished the quilt in December 2008 and it was in place for Christmas Eve.
I haven’t really stopped since. My oldest son got the next quilt, mine is a 7ft square monster. It is all pieced and I hand quilt it in spurts. My goal is to get it on my bed for Christmas this year. I’m not telling you how long it has been in the making.
If you follow my Facebook page Calicoclair you will have seen my youngest son got his quilt on Christmas Eve this year. I obviously have a thing for Christmas. I cut it all out last February half term along with my daughter’s. Her’s is still in pieces, so I guess that will go on the list for this Christmas too.
I love making quilts and they are definitely amoung my favourite makes for Calicoclair. They are so personal and I feel priviledged to be able to make such a special gift for someone.
My dream is to one day own my own patchwork shop. I am very lucky to have had the opportunity to pursue my goal full time, each baby step I take with Calicoclair is another one closer to that dream.
Thanks for being part of this journey.
PS if you interested in learning how to patchwork I am running beginner’s classes in April. You can find out more information and book your place here