Some annual leave over the next fortnight and a good time to apply myself to a few craft projects.
A glimmer of inspiration hovers and needs to be addressed but having gazed around the fabric stash, and with great restraint kept my hands off the pattern books and the rotary cutter, I decided it was time instead to get this little wallhanging quilted. It was pieced last year (or was it the year before) and all the blocks were inspired by books I'd read. Strange and incomprehensible to many perhaps, how reading a book can make you want to make a quilt, but the two are inextricably linked in my mind and the fabric for this one was from a range called Wuthering Heights so what else was I to do with it?
Sitting and quilting on a weekday afternoon feels mildly decadent but quilting time is never wasted. I can't find the quote but I'm sure it was Claudine's House by Colette and her mother's reluctance for her daughter to learn to sew because then she will have time to think, and who knows where thinking will lead? Well I've just finished reading Daphne and there's a great deal in there to think about. I'll post about it in full very soon but it's been an inspiring read and I'm about to reread Rebecca. It's a pretty safe guess as to my two choices for naming this little quilt.
The old tradition says that you stitch your life events and thoughts into a quilt as you make it and I think this is especially true as you hand-quilt. I can look back on all the quilts I've stitched and know exactly when in my life I've made them.
When I haven't threaded a needle for a little while I find it takes a time to get my quilting eye in, (no, lets be honest it takes me an age to thread a needle first, I use tiny Clover Gold Eye No.9 and will move to smaller 10s when I'm back in the groove) the needle feels miniscule, the stitches feel too big, too far apart, crooked and uneven, my fingers feel like sausages and my thimble feels awkward.
This one is pear wood and I've been using it for over twenty years. It must have come from a magic pear tree because no other thimble will do and no other fits so well. After a while it warms up, the magic seeps into my finger and those soft grooves, worn in over the years, start to connect with the needle and I feel the stitches.
Slowly but surely the rhythm returns and then I'm away and I thought if I share the progress of this on here over the next couple of weeks I will finally be forced to finish it or be shamed into confessing I haven't.
Quilts in progress look messy, tacking and raw edges everywhere, but I was pleased with an afternoon's work on the hoop to get the centre quilted. It was so long since I'd marked this one with quilting patterns the disappearing marker pen had all but disappeared and I've had to rethink it.
Once I'd done some Daphne thinking I decided I could do audio book, so I listened to The Woman in Black by Susan Hill. I haven't read it for years and the listening has been as spine-chilling as that first read. As the mist from Eel Marsh started to gather the stitches started to flow and I was as engrossed and remote from the world as if I was reading. This one is narrated with acres of atmosphere and suspense by Paul Ansdell. One CD left to listen to and I'm onto blocks and borders now and on a hand-quilting roll.
Just what I needed.