Ragged & Rescued

Still working through The Cupboard and it’s contents this week – here’s another Ragged & Rescued quilt –

What really appeals about this pre-loved piece is the organisation of it. This is clever and thoughtful organisation of a limited range of scraps; hexagons into rosettes, arranged into strips, purple and lilac prints to either side of the centre strip which is predominantly blue, grey and pink. All-lilac print rosettes either side of the centre strip, lilac and other print rosettes to the outside edge, finished with a substantial striped shirting border. For me the crowning touch is the Running Feather quilting, so often a feature of traditional strippy quilts made in the North East. No maker’s name, no provenance, rescued in the early 1990s in this ragged condition.

Old stuff

It’s almost time to empty and re-fold and pack the contents of The Cupboard – something I try and do at least twice a year. Which means a lot of good exercise and a lot of quilt stroking!

Ragged & Rescued pieces usually end up at the top of the front stack, the Tentmaker stack sits to the left, everything vintage is divided between the front and back stacks and my quilts and samples slot in back right.

Here’s one of the quilts from halfway down the front stack –

This quilt is currently near the top of the back stack –

– and also in the front stack is this favourite –

Finally, a seldom-seen oldie from the back stack. This one is on the list for measuring and photographing so watch this space!

Ragged Log Cabin

Just recently, on my Instagram feed, I showed a detail of a VERY ragged Log Cabin coverlet that was rescued from under a tractor way back in the 1980s. Like a number of other coverlets and quilts over the years I have tried to provide it with a “good home” (and, initially, a good wash!). All the blocks are machine pieced onto a variety of foundation fabrics – some blocks are the traditional Log Cabin arrangement, half light half dark, others are Courthouse Steps, some are what I would call Concentric Log Cabin. Here’s a closer look at the coverlet in all its raggy splendour –

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!

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!