I have always wanted to make my own quilt and with the help of Clancy's mother (who is both expert and artist in this field) I embarked on designing my own. I wanted to start with a fairly simple pattern that could incorporate all my favourite fabrics; making a feature out of the linen babushkas, repro ironing ladies and polka dot scarf girls - but also using triangles and squares of lots of other beloved cotton.
With the help of Alice, we busily cut dozens of triangles, squares and birds making quite impressive scrap mounds.
Once cut, we attempted to make sense of all our fabric pieces - I am sure this is the hardest part of quilting - there is so much to consider; prints, repetition, colour and light balance. At first I was a bit let down - seeing all the beautiful fabric together was a bit shocking and not quite what I had expected - but after a bit of tampering and eliminating some colours and fabric we ended up with something quite thrilling:
On every square is either a red, white or black bird - each row flying in a different direction. Thus how it got the name of the "Serendipity Quilt" - there are many unexpected patterns, repetitions, colours and the birds add a sense of calm and peace to the otherwise completely haphazard display of fabric! Each bird was blanket stitched place using contrasting cotton:
The sewing of squares and triangles then took place with two machines (thanks to Alice and Jenny) - so before we knew it a quilt-like-thing emerged:
I choose a nice thin wool wadding and the bright red apples for the backing fabric: It was all then thoroughly basted into place. I have now bought a lovely big ring, more sharp needles, thread and acquired a perfectly fitting thimble. So the quilting begins - a true test of endurance and perseverance!
I am going to quilt the "diamonds" made by the squares and triangles and around each bird. And with one bird down - only 31 more to go! At this rate it may be finished by the cooler(ish?) autumn months. There is something to be said for quilting - and how it has impacted many many generations of women around the world. I love the old quilts that incorporate tiny scraps of preciousfabric, clothes, and so I'm told even flour bags back in the day! I also like that there are no restrictions, that any colour, size, shape can be made and there are so many ways of doing it - by hand, with a machine etc. Yes, I have already started collecting fabric for my next quilt - and all I can say is that it will be very, very blue.
ABOUT the author
Emily Clare Sims is a farmer and mama to three young boys. Each day she looks for ways to notice beauty, contemplate her faith and savour the seasons...