Monday, August 17, 2015

The Treachery of Templates

A few years ago I bought a book about an amazing English patchworker called Lucy Boston.  Not only was she a dedicated patchwork maker (in the days before patchwork fabrics were available and hence she used fabric offcuts from dressmaking and curtains), but she was still stitching into her 80s and making about 20 stitches to the inch, which blew me away.  She created many quilts which gave the impression of not optical illusions exactly, but by utilising simple blocks such as an elongated hexagon and lots of fussy cutting she made wonderful effects which defy description.  I had always wanted to make my own Lucy Boston Patchwork of the Crosses quilt and showing off a bit I described the quilt to my mum (my mum hasn't entered the spirit of the computer age), and I gave her a lot of printed templates.  She soon used these up in her enthusiasm and asked for more, and when I visited her this weekend I was mortified to discover that I had originally given her a slightly enlarged template, thinking it would make her job easier because her blocks would be bigger, but somehow the next time I gave her a minimally smaller version so that the blocks wouldn't fit together without some clever manipulation.  To my horror I then realised that I had duplicated the same trick on myself and now I will either have to create two Lucy Boston Patchwork of the Crosses quilts to use up all my papers and fabrics, or discard a whole lot of them.  So there has been much gnashing of teeth and tearing of hair at Shoestring Cottage this weekend.

Another thing which has been driving me mad has been the fact that I spent a very long time cutting up the contents of my scrap bag to make the pieces for the said quilt, and was very pleased to see the rubbish bin in my sewing room full of discarded pieces too small to be of any use, only to find that my scrap container seemed to be as full as ever when I jammed the contents back into it and put it away.  I begin to suspect that the fabric is somehow multiplying at the bottom of the bin just to confound me.

I cut hundreds of elongated hexagons for the Lucy Boston quilt

 and with the scraps lots of even smaller hexagons for other projects

in fact I was in my sewing room for so long that Mr Shoestring felt compelled to come in and tell me that it was time to come out, and I saw that I had a blister on my thumb from the dressmaking scissors.

Outside some spring flowers are blooming and on Sunday afternoon there was the soft feeling of a changing season in the air, I certainly hope so because I shouldn't be kept indoors with the scissors for too much longer or there could be trouble.