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!

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