Firstly the Take it Further challenge is still growing as people are still signing up. It now sits at well over 200 people who have signed on. I have updated the participants list. It is going to be a very interesting challenge because people from all areas of textile practice are joining.
It’s taking me about an hour and half a day to answer emails and update the list if it gets much bigger I may have to set a sign on date and keep the numbers at that. I am not sure yet, I was going to leave it open, but I will see if things settle down in the next week or so and then decide.
I had a wonderful surprise in the mail yesterday. Paula of The Beauty of Life had a small email interchange after I wrote about my charm quilt. This tale needs a little back story to fill you in. I have been hoarding a scraps of fabric off old garments for 28 years with the thought of eventually making a charm quilt.
Recently Eve my daughter has become interested in quilting and I pulled out these scraps thinking she might like them. As I said in the previous post in this hoard I have scraps from my clothing, Eves clothes, from my mother, my grandmother, sisters, step mother who is is a dress maker, some of Jerry’s shirts and friends have often given me scraps that I have kept as little memento of them.
Many of the fabrics hold family stories for instance I have a scrap from the dress I was wearing when I met Jerry, the blouse I wore on our first date, from maternity dresses, clothing I made for Eve when she was a child. Some have stories of another kind as the other day I discovered a scrap from the shirt I was wearing the day John Lennon was shot. I remember looking down and seeing my shirt sleeve when I heard the news and gazing at the pattern for a while.
Anyway I decided to show this hoard to Eve thinking she might like them but she immediately talked me into me making the quilt. In my email interchange with Paula I confessed to being a good few hundred pieces short as I have done the math and need 2,700 scraps. This is after receiving a very generous hoard from Linda of Chloes Place a few weeks ago. So with Paulas gift that arrived yesterday I am over the moon as I am sure this will mean I hopefully have enough scraps.
It’s a busy time of year but apart from Paulas gift of course, I have cut all the diamonds which you can see are quite small. Eve and I have spent many hours with scraps laid out on the dining room table checking for doubles. Just as we think we have culled any duplicate we discover another!
I have also actually stitched a few. As said this will be a hand stitched charm quilt and I expect it to take some time. Not many done but a few as you can see I am working with blues at the moment. I was also asked if I will be documenting it. Yes , I will as I keep a visual journal and everything I make gets documented so this will too.
Allison Aller left a comment on the previous post about this project she said ” … I just love that this is hand-done…no downloaded designs, no long arm quilting machines…The design is a sister to the crazy quilt you are working on, too, isn’t it? The 3-D tumbling blocks, or diamonds? I think it is wonderful that you are working in two formats that are so related yet so distinct.” I love the hexagon and diamond formats for some reason I just drawn to them and I like hand stitching. I enjoy the fact that I can just pick it up stitch a bit and put it down and that in the very act of it being made of such scraps it is loaded with personal meanings.
A Slow Cloth
I recently came across a new blog Red Thread Studio written by Elaine Lipson who talks about the idea of a slow cloth. For this project, the philosophy of the slow movement I definitely embrace. A slow cloth is a bit like slow travel and slow food as slow cloth is a return, out of choice, to a process that I can emotionally connect to.
I do not mean that quilts made on sewing machine are not meaningful, just that in this case for this particular project making it by hand feels right.
I have been thinking much about this notion of slowing down in order to have quality rather than quantity in life. The idea of a slow cloth made me think that perhaps we need a slow craft movement too. A philosophy that celebrates the hand made and dare I say it the craft process. Not projects that are marketed and sold as a thrown together weekend quick recreational activity but objects that are made with care and with the expectation that we have a relationship to them in other words they have meaning.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not against using things like sewing machines to produce items just questioning the quick thrown together projects that often look more as if they are made to be consumed ie used once or twice and then thrown out rather than valued for a lifetime.
At the risk of sounding totally idealistic do you think we need a craft philosophy that celebrates the hand crafted object made with care and meaning without regard to time. What do you think? Mull it over, go away think about it slowly … come back and leave a comment I would love to hear what you think.