Firstly a huge thank you for all the good wishes for the Gamekeeper and his broken leg (and us...me feeling like an emotional mother with a wounded chick and Bookhound walking eight gun dogs twice a day). You are always so generous with consolation and good advice. The surgery is done, the plaster stage by-passed for an air cast boot for the next eight weeks or so, and they are hoping to slowly increase the weight-bearing in that time.
Meanwhile I was delighted to manage a day out on Dartmoor with my Walking Friend last week. After ten days of Broken Leg I was up for some fresh air and space. We had opted for a gentle stroll out to Nun’s Cross Farm after considering and dismissing the Staple Tors because neither of us fancied hills. We are supposed to be in ‘training’ for the annual walk out to Cranmere Pool next week, but at least we were moving.
Out we trekked, sat and had our snack at the farm and put the world to rights as usual, but on the way my mobile phone must have come into signal and it bleeped. I have it all set up with different sounds for different updates (text messages, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger are the ways various this family keeps in touch with each other around the world) but I can never remember which sound means what. Anyway it was a text message from Bookhound.
Now I’m sure Bookhound would be the first to admit that smartphone mobile phone technology is not really his thing, he yearns for an old Nokia and I have no doubt will revert to one soon. ‘OK’ is about the limit of any reply to anything I send him, and a text message from him to me is about as rare as hen’s teeth, so of course when one arrives I’m immediately thinking ‘oh dear’. And then thinking there has been Another Disaster of some description, or a relapse in the one that has already happened, so it was with some trepidation that I stopped, rummaged in my rucksack for my glasses and opened the message.
Here it is...
By a country mile it has to be the longest text message he’s ever sent.
He was full of it when I got home because, poor man, he’s heard of nothing else for weeks here, so to know that others are enthusing and addicted in equal measure helps no end.
For those who might not know what fussy cutting is...well it's all about wasting vast amounts of fabric cutting the same patterned section from the fabric for each piece to create another pattern, like this...
The variations are endless and quite exciting, and indeed Naomi Clarke was talking to Jenni Murray about the #fussycuttingsewalong that she had started on Instagram some time ago. I had already found it and was watching with huge interest, whilst marvelling at the power of social media to join up the seams and bring people together. When I think of the unimaginable trajectory of the internet since the early days of starting dovegreyreader in 2006, and how it feels more important than ever to have calm oases of respite from the relentless nasty stuff that is out there, so my Instagram patchwork and quilting connections have become a daily source of inspiration.
All this talk of fussy cutting took me right back to the vintage quilt that Bookhound found in Tavistock Market back in the 1980s and bought for £10, so I’ve had a close look at it yet again this week.
We have no idea of the date or the provenance, but someone with the time, the paper and the fabric has worked incredibly hard on this and with the patience of Job. Each piece is ‘fussy cut’ which is an extremely extravagant use of precious fabric so they had access to plenty.
The papers are still in place and reveal intriguing copperplate writing practice and accounts...
The dilemma with a ‘possession’ like this is whether to hang it on the wall or keep it stored away because I somehow feel as though I am its current curator and have a duty of care towards it. It has done both, though currently stored in the blanket box. I was intrigued to hear that the 1718 coverlet, on display at Festival of Quilts and the oldest known English Paper pieced quilt in existence, is now going into deep storage for ten years to protect it from light.
It has certainly been good to get my vintage hexagons out again and have yet another closer look, at the fabrics, the stitches, the papers, the design, because as if you couldn’t guess, of course I have made a start on the 'Moncarapacho' millefiori quilt that has been calling to me..
In the end I caved and translated a bit of eBay selling good fortune into a complete set of the pre-cut papers and templates from the US.
My first rosette is pieced with its fussy cut middle and I have a few more ready to go...
It’s addictive and it needs to be if I'm to achieve this...