So I’ve been going nuts with the quilt squares! I thought I would go along and make 2 a week, like the quilt along says. They are pretty tedious to cut out, let alone sew (and unpick!) But I’ve been having so much fun making them I’m already past 20. Which is great. At this speed I’ll be done faster than I thought. But I know at one point you lose steam too, so no holding your breath!
I won’t put pics of all of them right now – there’s only so many you can take!! I’m not one to use one fabric designer, or one collection. I use pretty cacophonous combinations sometimes, but I think all together it’s going to be OK. Man I hope so. So far I’ve repeated myself twice – ha. Now I’m marking the book so I remember. I’ve done most of the ‘easiest’ blocks. By easy I mean less pieces per block (each block is just over 6 inches total). Next weekend it’s time to tackle some mean ones. Also for those quilters out there – I am not including the basket blocks (there are 2) with applique handles. I want it more geometric and find the curves stand out too much. So my repeated ones might just be fine!
I have always crafted as much as I’ve arted. Initially I was going to question the difference between the two, but after discussing it at length with Ange, I realised it’s pointless. He says even having a conversation about the difference between them is twee and for the over-educated, because the two are equally creative. But if you are interested I just read the book “The culture of craft” by Peter Dormer, who really delves into the cross-overs and historical differences between craft, design, art and technology very thoroughly.
The reason I’ve been thinking about this is because I often feel as though my craft is not as ‘valid’ as my artwork. Which is ridiculous. Craft and art are both wonderful and I’m learning to feel as accomplished when I finish a new quilt as when I have an exhibition opening. So with that, let me tell you about my new project!
It’s called The farmers’ wife quilt, which I initially found out about because of many hundreds of quilters doing a quilt-along, but specifically from this wonderful blog. I am over a year late, but have joined along with other latecomers and decided to attempt it over winter. It was started by Amanda and Angela who are now finished/close to finishing, but I find their completed quilt blocks good motivation, if you buy the book you can join too! I can see much frustration in my future, but I’m going to embrace it whole-heartedly. I feel equal parts enjoyment and anger at sewing. We’ll see which emotion wins.
The farmers’ wife quilt is a compilation or ‘sampler’ quilt made up of over 100 different quilt blocks. It comes from a lovely book compiled by Laurie Aaron Hird and is a remarkable collection of letters from farmers wives from the United States in the early 1920′s. A popular magazine at the time – The farmers wife, held a country wide competition asking women to write in and tell people whether or not – in all honesty, knowing what they did about the life – they would want their daughters to marry a farmer.
Over 7000 farmers’ wives wrote back, and a resounding 94% were for their daughters doing the same. Their letters are beautifully written and their answers are so dear and heartfelt, I really enjoyed reading them. Then I set about cutting out the roughly 110 tiny templates…
With Mitch’s help.
Had a mini panic thinking that I’d printed them all too small and spent the entire weekend cutting out tiny pieces of useless paper. But some careful measuring and I was OK. Although a later thought was that I should have printed the templates out bigger.
I also took the time to colour code each of the lots of 15 that I divided them up into. That way I can grab the template I need and know it’s #1 of the lot if it’s red and #12 if it’s blue etc. Plus I always work better when I arrange things into colour.
Any quilter knows the best part about a new quilt is choosing fabrics. It could literally take days or weeks or months. A color theme? Certain patterns? All one fabric designer? Scraps? Seeing as my stash is divided over a few of continents, I went for scraps. That way I can use whatever I can find, although I did spend the better part of a Sunday in one Montreal fabric store. My stash in Canada is partly provided by lovely Mere, who in fact, I couldn’t sew without, it’s also her machine!
And as I am known to do – I chose all colours! I decided to go for lights, pastel and greys, but we’ll see. A quilt with over 100 blocks will definitely evolve.
So that’s it for today. This week I am going to start cutting fabric (I know, the excitement) and begin sewing. Wish me luck (because I’m going to need it).