DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS

DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS
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28 October 2010

More simple living skills - patchwork and quilting

When Tricia was here and madly hand stitching her red quilt, a number of readers asked to see the quilt. Well, I'm slow but I generally get there. No quilt looks as good in a photo as it does having it right before you, but you can see the work that's gone into it. This quilt started off with the supper cloth in the centre. Tricia attached the various shapes, then added borders to that and worked outwards. There are many pieces of appliqué on the large borders, my favourites being the two rabbits and the many pieces of old lace I remember from our childhood. On all four corners, she's hand stitched each of her sons' names.



There are many forms of patchwork, this one is, I think, a memory quilt. If you're new to sewing and would like to try your hand at patchwork, don't think you have to stick with the traditional patchwork patterns, there are many other forms as well. I didn't "get" patchwork for many years and wondered why Tricia bothered with it. I remember her husband saying that she was cutting up pieces of fabric and then sewing them back together again. Well, of course, that is what patchwork is, but it's much more, there is a greater significance in this simple craft. I see it now as a beautiful and meaningful way to put off-cuts and left over fabric to good use. There is something about providing a meal to a hungry family and providing warmth with scraps of fabric, that fills me up. It must be one of our primitive instincts to provide food and warmth for our family and I feel it most when cooking from scratch and piecing together random pieces of fabric. I love how it starts as nothing more than scraps but ends up being a beautiful object, often holding memories of clothing made, or the people who wore those fabrics.


The other quilt featured here is another one Tricia made with French fabrics. She brought it with her to have it machine quilted by my DIL Cathy. Cathy ended up not doing this quilt but handed it over to one of her friends. Tricia was really thrilled with the quilting, which is called stippling. Both these quilts might be featured in a magazine soon. I think it's part of the Homespun group, called Country Collections. They were at Tricia's home yesterday taking photos.


If you want to try your hand at patchwork and hope to make a quilt, start off with a smaller project, work out your techniques, then move on to a bigger project. Basically, you would cut up all your shapes, sew the shapes into long strips, then sew the strips together. But look here at these links, there are some very good instructions here.


When you have made the top of the quilt, you layer the top to some warm wadding and attach them both to a backing. The backing can be any large piece of material that suits the top or provides additional warmth. When you have your three layers, you quilt them together. In the old days every quilt was hand stitched, now there are sewing machines that can handle quilting. The quilt above was quilted on one of those specialist quilting machines Tricia's red quilt is hand stitched. If you're never sewn anything like this before, using recycled fabric or scraps, I hope I've inspired you to give it a try. Let me know if you give it a go and remember to start small and work up to a larger project.

Happy sewing everyone!

27 comments:

  1. Wow...the color combinations are incredible! Love the blue with the pinks and reds...splashes of yellow...so delightfully busy and beautiful!

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  2. Thanks for this post Rhonda! I myself am just about to start my very first quilting project--a doll quilt--and feeling intimidated even by something so small. I appreciate all the advice I can get from experienced quilters. :)

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  3. They are just gorgeous!!! I love them! I hope to start quilting, one day! Thank you for sharing this with us!

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  4. Those quilts are so cozy. I've slept under many a lovingly-made quilt of my grandmothers and mother's. The only ones I've every made were 2 small ones (one for each of my children), made with bits of their worn out 'receiving' blankets from babyhood. But I'd like to try a big one, someday.

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  5. So far, I've only made a patchwork/quilted pillow cover, so these masterpieces are something far ahead for me! But I love the technique, the feeling of making something both pretty and useful, out of something that many people would throw away... Also, I like the endless possibilities for colour and shape combinations!

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  6. oh how timely for us Rhonda, my 12 year old daughter wants to have a go at making a quilt. I'm not really into sewing although just lately I've been inspired by Amanda Soule's books.
    Mahalia is collecting old pillowcases to use as her quilt top. I'm off to look at the links you have put up, hopefully they will help us.

    cheers Kate

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  7. Wow, that is beautiful and looks very time consuming. She did a wonderful job.

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  8. So very beautiful!
    I keep wanting to make one & this just inches me closer to it...
    Thank you for sharing your beautiful quilt!

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  9. Lol, I've just finished catching up on the quilting forum I'm involved in and checking on the progress of swaps I'm participating in. I love Tricia's quilts and will be keeping an eye out for the magazine, though they often take photos and write up stories six months before the magazine is available! She should make sure she labels it and has it valued and insured when she completes it as handmade quilts have been big on the theft list the last few years :(.

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  10. And if you are looking to expand your quilt patterns - check this site out...
    http://www.quilterscache.com/QuiltBlocksGalore.html

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  11. It's just lovely! I have quilted some, but sewing is not my thing. I use the machine, I do some hand sewing if I have to but prefer to sew by machine. My sister quilts and she loves it. I'm always happy to see any type of homemade item, sewing, needlework, crochet, knitting, etc. I think that we are in danger of losing some of those skills and any encouragement is helpful.

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  12. These are gorgeous! There must be something in the air as I had my first ever attempt at quilting this year too - and it was pretty full on as I am a non sewer too!

    Here's my first effort:

    http://momentsofwhimsy.wordpress.com/2010/08/02/sewing-101-show-and-tell-time-wk-304/

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  13. How amazingly timely! Last night I finished my first "recycled" quilt. I had made one when I was younger out of all new fabric, but never tried my hand at quilting with already used fabrics. I used old wool sweaters and it was much more difficult.

    Yours are very elaborate and quite wonderful. I couldn't imagine hand stitching, but my grandmother was quite skilled at it.

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  14. Lovely, Rhonda! Thanks for posting these pictures, Tricia's work is amazing! I pulled out my scrap bag recently and have started borrowing patchwork books and magazines from the library (Homespun is one of my favourites!). There is definitely something soul-fulfilling about the thought of creating something warm and beautiful out of discarded scraps.

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  15. Tricia's work is stunning!

    Thanks for the links Rhonda, I am keen to make a start and your links look like something I can understand.

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  16. Her quilts are beautiful.
    I love what you say about memories. The 30 year old quilt on our bed I made up of all of the fabrics of both my youth and fabrics of all the shirts his mother made for him. I used fabric from my wedding gown (his mom made it) for the binding.
    On the binding is embroidered the date. It is the strangest thing to see that date. So long ago, yet I remember sitting on the floor of our first house piecing it and then tying it. Using yarn to tie all three layers is another way to get a good blanked with less time.

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  17. Thanks for sharing these photos, Rhonda. These are gorgeous! Your sister has a great eye and a great talent.

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  18. I just finished two quilts. One was completely hand pieced and quilted (lap quilt) which I am giving to a quilt auction to raise money for missions. It took me about 2 years to finish. The other was completely done by machine (about 1/4 crib sized) and is now on my couch for the cats to sleep on. It took me a week to finish.

    I enjoy quilting and have done a few quilts.

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  19. I am not a red person but those quilts are beautiful. I began quilting when I was about 12 years old. My mom is an avid sewer ( perfectionist seamstress) but she never made a quilt ( to this day). I had to just try it. Since then I have made over 40 quilts, from wall hangings and baby quilts to delicate queen size. There is forever one in a frame, sitting cozy to be hand stitched on cold winter days where they play a duel purpose, keeping me warm while quilting and the finished project on a bed.

    Enjoy this post.

    Marlyn

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  20. My mother used to make quilts! Brings back so many happy memories when I see a patch of one of her old dresses or one of mine. She was so talented but I didn't inherit the quilt gene although I like other crafts.
    Loved the pictures - the quilts are gorgeous!!
    Blessings!

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  21. Looks beautiful! I have a small quilt project of my own, it is my first so it will be a very simple style.

    -Brenda

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  22. The quilts are beautiful. I am always inspired by your posts. I tried the basketweave dish cloth this weekend but am going back to an easier pattern for a while. 8 scarves are knitted for Christmas, several quilts need binding and some aprons are in the works. Your encouragement has meant so much. Thanks.

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  23. I really think it's a wonderful piece of handwork. Hurray to Tricia! It's a beautiful item and I really think it will become a great piece of history.

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  24. I have taught myself to quilt this last year and I am loving it. I do it all by machine instead of hand work, but it is just so relaxing. And like you said....there is just something about giving someone the gift of warmth! And you CAN teach yourself simple modern quilting on the internet! If I can do it - anyone can!

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  25. i've been learning to quilt this year. i love what you say about it being instinctive to want to keep our families warm and cosy! the quilts i'm making are nine patch quilts for my little children's beds, and i cannot wait to wrap them up in all the colour and pattern. patchwork and quilting is such a pleasure. x

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  26. I absolutely adore those quilts! The fabrics are so beautifully put together. I would love to try small projects one day, perhaps for nieces and nephews. :-) I'd also love to contribute to an organising post. Talk to you soon! Xx

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  27. I don't often post, but I wanted to show you the quilt I made last summer. Here's my blog post about it, including a link to the directions I followed: http://womanofthehouse-blog.blogspot.com/2010/08/my-new-quilt-and-house-tour-bedroom.html

    Tricia's quilt is beautiful!

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