Last month I mentioned in this post that a particular quilt has been haunting me since I saw it in 2000. Annie Whitsed and myself took in the “Historic Australian Quilts”exhibition put together by Annette Gero and at the time we were both struck by a particular quilt made by Martha Bingley in 1883.
Martha Bingley’s quilt can be seen in the National quilt register If you click on the image you can see a small image of it. Take a look as it is unusual consisting of diamond shaped blocks. The image does not do this quilt justice as in life it is one of the most stunning crazy quilts I have seen as Martha Bingley obviously has excellent needlework skills. Victorian motifs abound, fans, horseshoes, butterflies, floral motifs, dragonflies, wheat, birds, tea cups, Kate Greenway figures and the traditional spider web for good luck all elaborately embroidered. Many of these motifs instead of being slap in the middle of a patch slide over the seams.
At the time I took copious notes in my journal and purchased Annette Gero’s book on the exhibition, as both Annie and myself thought this quilt would be a good jumping off point for a contemporary crazy quilt. That is as far as things got but the idea played around in my mind.
Another idea that I have had is a crazy quilt incorporating paisley prints. I have been collecting fabrics with paisley prints on them for a good few years. I was not sure quite how I was going to tackle it but recently a few ideas crossed in my mind and I came up with the path I wanted to take.
Firstly Allison Aller posted directions on how she did curved seams. I have always done curved seams by hand and find the process a bit slow for my liking as I am a ‘lets get to the hand embroidery stage’ type of girl. A month or so ago I tried Allison’s method and I was delighted to discover that for an experienced sewer this method is a quick process making it ideal for someone of my personality type. It’s just the trick for curved seams and I know it will open up another whole area in crazy quilting for me. Bingo! I thought that is what I will do with the paisley patterned fabrics.
Then I thought of the Martha Bingley quilt and how the curved seams within the diamond shape was so stimulating visually. So I decided to use the paisley patterned fabrics as these designs obviously lend themselves to a curved treatment. Contained within a diamond shape the curved seams should prove to be interesting. In the same exhibition there was a number of quilts based on the baby block set. So my mind has taken a hop skip and a jump to crazy quilt, consisting of diamond shaped blocks set in a baby block design.
I am going to make it the same size as the Martha Bingley quilt and incorporate more motifs than I usually do. You will notice that I have used little lace on these blocks as I want to focus on stitching and stitching motifs. Also I have a habit of trawling old embroidery books for vintage designs I want to incorporate some of these.
So the sewing machine has been running hot as I have been piecing blocks. I have worked out that I need 72 diamonds. The image at the start of this post is what has been accomplished so far 34 in total.
I am going to blog the progress of this quilt and probably everyone will get tired of it by the end of the process including me as it is likely to take me quite a while to make. Also to counter the ‘I am sick of this factor’ I plan rotating it with other projects.