My children have returned to school after the long summer holiday this morning and so it feels entirely appropriate that, as I'm feeling discombobulated without their lovely voices around the house, I'm beginning work on a quilt for my daughter's birthday. Making a quilt with a particular person in mind always feels like spending time with them and with this one, as my little boy has been enthusiastically co-conspiratorial in its planning, it doesn't feel as though he is so very far away either.
You may remember that I'd admired the Oakshott pastel bundle that I'd seen at the Festival of Quilts and said how well I thought they'd work teamed with Liberty prints in a future quilt for my daughter. Shortly after Lynne read that she sweetly sent me over a spare bundle of fat eighths that she had in her own stash (thank you so much, Lynne xxx). When I saw how well the colours went with the hand-pieced miniature tessellations that I'd recently made and been pondering over what to with, it felt serendipitous and as though it must have been intended all along to go at the centre of her birthday quilt.
A few evenings ago, I cut the oakshott into half-square triangles and chose Liberty prints to match their colours.
Sewing them together felt odd and slightly thrilling: it was the first time I'd used my sewing machine for over six weeks! I don't think I've ever parted company from it for such a length of time over the last six years, but the hand-sewing bug bit me rather vigorously over the summer. I had wondered if I'd ever want to sew with it again, so it was something of a relief to find that I'm still a creature capable of enjoying both kinds of sewing simultaneously. Although it took another two evenings to sew together the half-square triangles, it felt magically speedy after the slow pace of hand-piecing.
Finally, last night I cut the dog's ears from the pieced squares and enjoyed watching an unexpected confetti of thread and fabric appear on my cutting mat.
Today I'll start work on piecing it all together. I'm planning to intersperse it with some more hand-pieced blocks (yet to be pieced), which will mean that it may become something of a time-nightmare to get it done in time for her birthday. We'll see.
This holiday has been a time for de-cluttering. We decided to buy a large table-tennis table for our garage, which meant clearing it of years' worth of hoarding and saving. Three full car-loads to the charity shop, one 5ft skip and several trips to the recycling centre and not only is our garage now a spotless games room, but our whole house has been de-cluttered. Some things it's hard to let go of though. My daughter no longer wanted this shoebox house in her room (which she'd made with her brother several weeks ago) and yet it seems too lovely to part with. Sometimes taking photos of things before giving them up can help (and perhaps writing about them too!) as then they don't feel entirely forgotten and abandoned.
They also created a partition wall and papered it in purple to create privacy for a double bed, again with its own wall decoration hanging above it.
Writing about it hasn't helped in this case. I love what they've done so much that I'm going to have to argue the case for putting it up in the loft.
I have sewing things stacked up to keep me busy for the next two months, what are your plans for autumn?