Ragged and Rescued

A belated Happy New Year to all! The air is still thick with New Year resolutions and good intent and I’m picking up all of those things and diving into one of my major “themes” for 2022 – Ragged and Rescued. You may remember that here at the Rural Office there is The Cupboard which contains most of my collection of vintage quilts. Also in The Cupboard are a considerable number of quilts and patchworks which merit the description of Ragged and Rescued – given to me over the last 30years or more of national travelling and teaching. The reason for the gift was always the same – to share in classes, lectures and because “a good home” was needed. In pre-Corona times it was easy to use these pieces in this way and now, it seems, might be the time to share them in a slightly different way. So, without further ado, take a look at one of the first pieces I was given.

This delightful Folded Log Cabin piece was spotted in a builders’ skip on a London street in the mid-1970s and rescued by a passing quilter. She gave it a “good home” for ten years and removed the dark green velvet border which was in tatters and didn’t seem to relate (colourwise) to the rest of the piece.

The blocks measure approximately 4inches square, the centre squares are different dark cotton velvets and the fabrics are an eclectic mix of shirtings, cottons, twills etc. Estimated date of the work circa 1900, possibly slightly earlier.

Completely hand stitched onto foundations which vary wildly in weight and type. Each block is finished on the WS with hemming and the blocks are stitched together on the WS with an overcast stitch as used in EPP (English Paper Piecing). The quality of stitching varies and the blocks may have been made by two or more different “hands”.

I’ve always felt sad that such a charming piece was tossed into a skip but kudos to the quilter who rescued it in such a timely manner and wanted to share her find with others. And it’s a patchwork that is proof that even the smallest scraps and strips can be transformed into something useful and decorative through the power of simple stitches.

Happy stitching!

All change

Not much chance, it seems, of settling in for some peace and quiet at the Overseas Office – looks like we will be returning to the Rural Office in the next fortnight. Nothing dramatic, just a routine but essential medical appointment for Himself with a short recovery period afterwards. Time to review the projects and stash here in Spain and decide how much/many can stay until our return – this is never an easy decision!

During the last few weeks I’ve been busy with Zoom stuff and putting July’s work of measuring a variety of quilts from The Cupboard to good use –

It’s been great fun to virtually share some of the contents of The Cupboard – even from such a distance! For 2022 I’m developing a series of online talks and classes with the theme “Ragged & Rescued” – more details in due course, website to sort out first.

Not much obvious progress with the longterm diamond/hexagon project but it is moving along and is the ideal travel companion –

Hope you are all safe and well – happy stitching!

Overseas Office

… meanwhile, back in southern Spain, life is busy and not much stitching seems to be happening.

The current project is long term, no deadline and just because. Actually that describes most of the projects that are “in progress” ….

Strips of fabric have been cut, papers acquired (in bulk), glue pen refills gathered, patches basted and sorted into bags – quite the production line. Even though I say not much stitching has been done, it has been very easy to pick up a few diamonds for some mindless basting or lay out twelve diamonds for one hexagon block and stitch them together.

Pioneers sessions started again this month and we will be looking in detail at one of the old Ragged & Rescued quilts from The Cupboard

I’ve issued a challenge to the intrepid Pioneers based on this quilt – we may open up the challenge and, if so, I’ll post details.

Two Zoom lectures in the diary for this week and a Chris&Barbara PopUp class next month – lots of preparation to finish so I’d best get back to it – happy stitching!

All good

It’s been a week filled with lots of good things and a lot of positive energy – not before time!! A day at the Festival of Quilts was such a boost – quilts, traders, quilting friends galore. Fabric was acquired with the excuse of it being “needed” for the ongoing diamond project that began like this –

More cutting of strips and preparation has happened –

Further planning for vintage treasures stored in The Cupboard – this particular project is scheduled for some serious attention later this year.

And heading for the Overseas Office to be progressed further is the vintage project you saw last week –

Happy stitching!

Time flies

Can’t believe how quickly time is going! I’m getting a good start on at least 2 long term projects. Project One is based on quilts etc stowed in The Cupboard which I’m aiming to grow into a series of Zoom lectures –

Project Two has been picked up from one of last year’s class samples and progressed with lots of prep, cutting and basting. Just the teeniest dent in part of the stash! No deadline but a few thoughts on how this might go together –

And there’s a re-make project that’s been sitting quietly in The Cupboard for a Very Long Time and may get moved on a couple of stages this week –

Happy stitching!

Same old

Failed on the kitchen cupboard front – so far. Much less motivation than re-arranging and reviewing the quilt Cupboard. And still sifting through reference pics taken quickly during that re-arranging and reviewing so here’s a few more to carry us forward –

Almost time to start planning a return to the Overseas Office so I need to get a move on!

Filling up

Quite a week! Everything in The Cupboard has been taken out, shaken out, straightened out, talked to, assessed, allocated a new, temporary, position and carefully returned. Lots of memories, lots of resolutions, lots of choices – quite a few of the wholecloth quilts will be looking for a new home in the next twelve months, and some made-by-me quilts will be going to an appropriate charity. No decisions yet about the collection of Tentmaker pieces but it’s possible some of those will be given the chance of another home too.

above – the fourth and final stack.
still some quilts to go!

Here are a few more of the quilts that have emerged and been returned to The Cupboard –

I’m hoping to make time to do some quilt archaeology – a few quilts are “re-covers” and I’ve always intended to do further investigation.

Kitchen cupboards are next on the agenda – probably not quite so appealing, but equally necessary!

Cupboard love II

Unpacking and sorting of The Cupboard is now under way. The Cupboard is half-empty and carpet is visible –

Just the vintage quilts to bring out now. I’ve taken some quick photos of the first few quilts to emerge, some of which you’ve seen before –

These vintage hexagons are going to be rehomed in their own box. I’m going to call my partner in quilting crime to review and document what looks like a jumble of bits – results of the review will be posted here in due course. Wonder if you can guess what this is?

Cupboard love

Sufficient progress with gardening and domestic projects means that there will soon be some time to empty the quilt cupboard, take pictures, re-arrange, re-fold and re-organise the contents.

This is the stack of vintage quilts at front right of The Cupboard; there are 3 other stacks, one to the left (mostly Tentmaker pieces) and two at the rear (more vintage quilts and my quilts). The process traditionally is to take everything out, vacuum and dust floor and walls, renew moth repellant and then put everything back – but not necessarily in the same order. As you can imagine this is never a quick process but is a great workout which can extend over a couple of days and can involve interesting tests of agility navigating through piles of quilts on the floor and on the bed. This year I’ll be adding to the time required by taking fresh pics of many of the quilts so that I have plenty of reference material for future classes and online lectures.

Let’s see what next week brings!