Wednesday, 2 May 2012

old and new

I spent a wonderful afternoon this week with Kate and Caroline, both expert quilters and inspirational ladies in their own right. The official purpose of the get together was Kates recent acquisition of a Victorian quilt top.
At least large enough for a double bed the top had been constructed in hexies, stunning fabrics that had almost a modern look about some of them. Of course you know me and brown and purples right? Can’t seem to really shake them off when it comes to quilts. With splashes of red the quilt top had also achieved another of my often attempted never quite succeeded goals, randomness. Despite a definite even spread of colour, with a vivid red and blue unifying the whole piece the maker had some how achieved randomness with harmony
Many of the edge papers were still (wisely) in situ and with care Kate has been removing and storing them in acid free plastic. Small details jump out at you, there is one with what appears to be a list of horses probably due to run at York races. Perhaps some where a stud book languishes or a race meeting catalogue that would illuminate that more. Kate has discovered that the papers come from The York Herald circa 1870 something.
Along with beautiful copper plate writing and a less well executed hand writing which along with a variation in tacking stitches give the impression that more than one hand was involved in the preparation of the hexies. The actual stitching however is all of the same calibre. In fact it was the stitching that most drew my attention at first. Mainly, to be honest because it is not the perfect immaculate stitching that you feel you must aspire to, it has a far more natural homely feel about it, as Kate said “it wouldn’t win a prize at the WI. I like that, it would scandalise the quilt police but it is honest, some one has carefully collected enough hexes to make this huge quilt top, got it all sewn together and then for a reason we will never know it has been relegated to the WIP pile for over a century. If anything of mine lasts half so long I will be dancing in my grave with glee.
I am looking forward to a full historical review of the quilt top, Kate’s got all the skills to produce that and learning more about it is some how inspirational. We need to be prefect, we can make mistakes and minor “man on a galloping horse” type decisions about what we sew and yet some how the effort and (is love too strong a word?) care, endless hours sat keeping hands busy and productive don’t go to waste and perhaps in some way carry us forward into a future we may never see for ourselves, there’s our immortality ehhh?
If one quilt wasn’t enough Caroline also brought her stunning stripy quilt up to show us. The stitching in her quilting is superb I have no illusions I will ever reach her standard but hey I can dream and practice no?
Do pop along and visit the quilt in question.

1 comment:

AyJay said...

Lovely blog post - sounds like the quilt had a big effect on you. It really doesn't look that old, quite modern indeed and the stitching in the blue stripes is brilliant.