This week I read a blog where the quilter had adapted a
pattern to make use of the fabric and notions she had to hand and I was proud - proud of the 'make-do' legacy of quilting and proud that this legacy was still being used. I know what you're all thinking - what has happened to the light-headed Patchsmith? Well this week I want to get deep and share a little of my values concerning our craft. (If philosophical ramblings are not your thing then feel free to close the page and come back next week when I will be sharing some practical 'make-do' hints and tips for quilters.)
|My first mug rug swap made from scraps|
I am strong supporter of the make-do-and-mend philosophy and when I am asked what batting or fabric I used on a certain pattern, my answer will usually be "I used scraps" or "scraps of batting". Sometimes the fabric I use is from an old dress or shirt picked up from the charity shop, more often than not it is from my scrap box. I keep and use scraps of all shapes and sizes - even down to 1" square. I believe this is in keeping with the history and thrift of quilting. ‘Recycle’, ‘upcycle’, ‘downshift’
– these terms were not in existence one hundred years ago. Yet they were present
in everything created, everything made, everything used and everything done.
They were a necessity – the ‘fabric of life’ and, without them the brave New World and working communities would not have thrived.
|Buttons covered with very small scraps of fabric|
Quilting and using scraps is not about getting back to
basics either as basics have never left the quilter or home sewist – basics are woven
with every stitch we make, every weft we follow and every needle we thread.
|Wnter wall quilt made from old shirts|
|Black and White Cats Mug Rug - fun with fabric|
To me quilting is about honesty, authenticity, creation
and connection. To me quilting is also
about ‘fun’ and I am well aware that it is only because we sit on the laps of grandmothers,
mothers and the women before them, that we have the luxury of sewing for ‘fun’. We are the thread through time – a thread that
runs across lands and generations, a thread that is born from watching, learning and
sharing. It is through us that this connection
continues, into the future and into perpetuity. We are
|Learning from our mothers and grandmothers and great grandmothers|
As quilters and sewists - do we make any less contribution to mankind and history than the ‘great’
men and women? Theirs may be a singular life of achievements and progression of thought, whereas our history is a weaving of relationships, hearts,
homes, warmth and love. When Lincoln died that day in 1865, laid out upon a bed, were
his final moments made any more comfortable because of the quilt he lay upon? And whilst they may have found the shroud of Christ do we know who stitched it? I believe we may never know as the answers lie in the
detail of everyday life and it is these very details that remain hidden from
What I do know however, is that our craft is a craft that creates comfort and connection from scraps of fabric. And through blogging we can be sure that the details of our craft are better recorded today than at any other time in history.
(Note: I do not
minimise the growing numbers of historians among us who are patching together the history of
quilting – people such as Celia Eddy and Jinny Beyer, to name just two.)
So there you have it - a little bit of the Patchsmith's philosophy. Bored yet? I hope not but don't worry - next week I will be back to my practical self.
Sew until then .......
|Jinny Beyer's remarkable historical collection of quilt patterns|