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As you may have gathered from previous posts, I am a sentimental kind of girl. I love history and would love the opportunity to time travel back and see how things were at different points in history. Don’t get me wrong, I am very happy living in the here and now, with all our gadgets and gizmo’s and technology but when we go and visit places I get a real longing to see how it really was. Clearly I would have been a serving wench or maid rather than a lady but hey a girl can dream! One of my favourite books is Cross-stitch by Diane Galbaldon, Claire the heroine of the piece ends up travelling back 200 yrs, while I’m not sure I would go as far as that, I love the concept. (It has been adapted for TV too but is called ‘Outlander‘ after the American version of the book series) I can highly recommend.

I was lucky enough to live in York for a while in the last few years. It is such a beautiful city and has so much history. I loved living there. I took these photo’s with Josh on a rare occasion when he asked for help with a school project. They hold dear memories not just because of the city but for that day spent with my boy.

While we were in York I took the chance to visit the quilt museum. It has closed now but there are different ways to see the collections if you visit the website. Looking at the intricacies of some of the patchwork and quilting was awe inspiring, things I wouldn’t contemplate now with my rotary cutter and sewing macine. My favourite, well one of them, was a quilt made entirely of clothes labels. You know, the silky maker’s one in the back of your jacket. It was made by a lady who was well known for accosting her colleagues with a pair of scissors if they arrived in a new item of clothing. Not only visually beautiful but the more I looked the more labels I recognised . I found myself remembering clothes and memories associated with them and people who had worn certain makes. I love that quilts can do that. I have a scrap box at home I add to with every project I make. While I rifle through looking for the next perfect piece I need, I am often distracted by memories of past makes, shopping trips or other things associated with the fabric. I told you … sentimental! I keep promising myself, one day I will make myself a scrappy quilt out of all those pieces.

When you look at quilts through history, through fabrics that were used or papers used to piece the quilt it is amazing how much information they hold. Paper pieced quilts often had their papers left in when they were finished to provided extra warmth. The makers used whatever paper was available so examples have been found with newspaper, patterns and even letters contained within them. I have an old unfinished hexagon patchwork quilt that I bought from an auction a few years ago. It has a collection of flowers made from the hexagons and some have been stitched together. It was obviously a labour of love for someone and the flowers have all been numbered so the layout had clearly been thought out already. The papers are all still in place and on the little bits I can see the maker has used old bills, envelopes and cards. I am really hoping that once I finish it and the papers are removed I will be able to find out a little about the original maker.

Quilts are by far my favourite thing to make. I love taking an idea and turning it into into something that will be treasured for years. These are are few of mine …

The label is almost as important as the rest of the quilt design as it gives the history of the quilt. Who it was made for, who made it and the date. I like adding the personal messages on. I think it really adds to the whole keepsake element.

Talking of keepsakes, when I had Connie, I knew she was my last baby. Four babies was enough for me, although I know my Mother in law wouldn’t agree ( she had 13!!!!!) so I saved more of her outfits and babygrows, with the idea of making a memory quilt from them. I moved house with the clothes three times and decided enough was enough. I had a little look and got out my scissors ….. No I couldn’t do it. Even with deep breathing! Luckily I found the lovely Jayne on Facebook, a very happy accidental wander. If you haven’t come across her page Pink Sweetheart Keepsakes pop over and say hello, you won’t regret it! I adored her memory makes, the photo’s of the finished bunnies, monkeys, cats and lately a giraffe and a dragon, made me go slightly silly. As I am aware of how ridiculous I am I saved up and had 2 bunnies made. One for me and one for Connie. I couldn’t choose outfits to send so Jayne had two mahoosive parcels arrive on her doorstep. My bunnies even have changes of clothes. They are totally amazing and the attention to detail is incredible. I cried when I opened the parcel.

I have very cheekily used Jayne’s photographs as mine just don’t do them justice. As I sent so many items, Jayne was able to send me a bundle back. I will be making those into a memory quilt, I promise to show you the pictures when I do.

 

If you follow my Facebook page you will have heard me mention my ‘secret project’. It is still secret but nearly completed now. I can tell you though that it is as sentimental as it gets! I was SCARED to start making it and on occasions have had to put it away an psych myself up to start the next stage. You will understand when I show you. I feel amazingly privileged to have been trusted with something so precious. Here’s a really sneaky peek …

I know, that doesn’t give much away does it? Not long now till the big reveal. I am very excited about it!

I like to think that life is a bit like a patchwork quilt, each memory becomes another block sewn in to it, each step another stitch. Here’s to many more blocks!!!

Till the next time.

Lots of love

Clair xxx

2 Comments

  1. Jayne says:

    What a lovely blog post Clair! It seems we have more in coming than I thought. I too love history and love making 17th century reenactment clothing which I wore as a member of the Sealed Knot during living history displays and battles. I too love York and spent most of my childhood living there!
    Also, thank you for you beautiful words about the special keepsakes that I made for Connie and yourself. It really means the world to me especially coming from someone as talented as you are.
    Jayne xxx

    • Calico Clair says:

      Hi Jayne, that is funny. I can see us settling up that way eventually, loved living there. You will have to show me pictures ? Your keepsakes are beautiful and I meant every word. Lots of love, Clair xxx

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