Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Quilt show

Living a sustainable lifestyle involves acquiring some new skills, and also applying old skills in new ways. One skill I already have is patchwork and quilting. The American pioneers made patchwork tops from old scraps of clothing and furnishing fabrics, even feedsacks, and used them to sandwich old worn blankets to make them last longer.

Nowadays patchwork and quilting is an expensive hobby, involving £12/yard specially printed cotton fabric and nearly as costly batting, thread, and special sewing machines. It's my most expensive vice.

I made the two quilts pictured here for a cousin who was expecting twins. Sadly, she miscarried the babies. One of the reasons I made the quilts for her was as a thank you to her mother, my aunt. My aunt made lots of beautiful knitted babyclothes when I had Thomas. She's a very talented knitter and needlepoint embroiderer, and I hoped to show my appreciation of her skill and her generosity by making a hand-made gift for her first grandchildren.

7 comments:

Nerd in the Country said...

If you really want to go 'sustainable', try stuffing the blanket with something like cat tail fuzz (the marsh plants, not the fur from a kitty). Or, maybe you can get some chicken feathers. LOL

If you want to go to extremes, try planting some flax and make your own linen. Hemp also works well, but I'm afraid that you would get unwanted attention if you grew that useful plant.

Chickpea said...

There was a debate on a quilting newsgroup a while back about whether preprinted panels (printed with patchwork designs and you quilt over the lines) really count as a handmade quilt. Someone else said sarcastically "Certainly not", because using ready-dyed fabric was cheating and it only counted as handmade if you had collected the woad yourself. And of course someone else chimed in that they thought that was cheating, and it only counted as handmade if you had grown the cotton, picked it yourself and spun it by hand.

Nerd in the Country said...

It's easy enough to logically figure that one out. If you use preprinted panels, it's a hand-made quilt. If you sew pieces together, it's a hand-made patchwork quilt.

Now... getting woad and madder would be an interesting project. I heard that if you feed madder to your sheep, they'll have red wool (haven't tried it because we have no sheep).

I have often thought of getting alpacas and angora goats (or rabbits), but I don't think I would be able to handle the repetitive numbing boredom involved with spinning the stuff -- not to mention knitting or crocheting or using a loom (though it would be fun to build one).

Still, it would be an interesting project to at least set things up and make an item or two. After that, there would probably be enough volunteers to use the equipment to make it worthwhile.

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