SLIDER

Hello!

I'm Megan! Tea-drinker-in-chief at Dolly Henry! Here on my blog, I share my adventures as a seamstress, designer and life as a creative. I sell my sewing patterns on Etsy and my handmade collection at the markets! I hope you enjoy reading and please do pop by the contact page and introduce yourself, share your blog or your favourite cake recipe! The kettle is on!

NEWSLETTER

Quilty Inspiration

It's been a little while since I have blogged properly, having been kept busy doing other things such as turning Hazel here into a pattern. Goodness what a process it seems to be! I'm making good headway though and she should be released this month. My unspoken goal being well before Christmas but as this insanely busy time of year, it's more of a hope than anything. I don't want to put too much pressure on!


It seems patterning may have gotten under my skin as my scribble book is fast filling up with lots of ideas. At the speed I make patterns though, it looks like my next fifty years is already fully booked. Lately, I've developed the habit of deciding what to create for the day by doing just what I feel inspired to do...an original concept I know. Perhaps I will take out a patent. Anyway, I'm up to my elbows in WIP's (that's works in progress for the uninitiated, don't worry I was one once. My preferred term was and still is UFO - unfinished object) which is what happens when one hops from project to project. Actually it's been kind of good, as my shoulder and arm injury often prevents me from doing much sewing so to have lots of projects on the go is good, because the cutting is the thing that upsets it the most.


Anyway, today is one such day and I felt like finally starting on the quilt I have been promising myself, ever since I finished this one as a gift and discovered that I didn't half mind making it...Nothing is ever simple though and I decided it might be a fun idea to turn it into a pattern as it seems to be quite popular whenever I share it's photos on Instagram ~ sewing projects can be like baby brag books can't they? No? Just me. That was awkward. Continue...

Well this mad idea occurred to me so I got out my scribble book to work out the details. I then discovered something entirely interesting. My quilt looks good in real life but makes no sense on paper. The thing is, the randomness of the design works because nothing is evenly distributed, and because it's all in a jumble of prints and colour. You know how most quilts seem quite orderly and well set out? Well on paper, my quilt is all over the place and if it was a set of scales, it'd be leaning heavily on one side. At first this scared me but then I realized theory is never the same when put into practice. And the quilt was living proof of that. Like a crazy experiment by a mad professor. This was the Flubber of quilts.

So I started cutting out my squares and already I've diverted from the path. I would have made a very good red riding hood....So watch this space for the most random quilt pattern next year. Or maybe the year after...I am slow after all. There does seem to be method to my madness though.


It also seems sometimes one has to look no further than one's own laundry cupboard for inspiration. This quilt is a member of the family and has had twenty years of washings and wearings. It's still in pretty good shape really. My grandmother made it, a small baby blanket. Now days, it's kept with all the other 'old blankets'..... I have a feeling some people might frown upon this but really, what is the use of having something and never using it?

The fact is, it inspires me whenever I hang it on the line to dry. This was the type of thing I grew up with. Crazy patch. It was the first thing I learned to properly sew. I won't count the random things I churned out for dolls on one of those child sized machines that never seemed to work properly. My first project was a crazy patch bag, when I was allowed to be loose in my Grandmother's store room of fabric. She kept all the scraps. It was a fun thing to do, slapping fabric here and there but the decorating part was my favourite.


The aim of the game seemed to be to cover up all the seams with ribbons, trims and embellishments. The seams weren't exposed or anything, that was just the way one went about it! I learnt to make fabric yo-yo's and ribbon flowers. Playing with lace and trims was great fun. I hand stitched bead work and lamented the lack of my embroidery skills.

Looking at this blanket closely, it reminds me to pay attention to the little things and detailing. This quilt features garment fabrics as well as cottons, it's a blend of different textures and weights. These things were fascinating when I was little and they still are now. Instead of the ric-rac just being sewn on as is, it's been dotted with little french knots. The laces are highlighted with embroidered stitches.
The daisy trim has been cut into individual flowers and embroidered with leaves and coloured centers.

All these simple things made this blanket exquisite. And it reminds me to look at things in a different way when I'm making, seeing what small thing I can do to improve a project or add interesting detailing.


You would think all this stitching and delicate detail wouldn't be practical on a quilt but after so many years of being treated like a regular cotton throw and not like the heirloom it would have been, just goes to show that sewn things can be sturdier than we think.

I'm so glad I grew up surrounded by things like this blanket, even if at times (ahem, teenage self) I didn't appreciate it. I'm definitely my own person and my style differs somewhat from my Grandmother's. But it goes to show that it really is worth soaking up inspiration from many, many people and adding it to your own little skill and idea bank. I've heard it said if you find inspiration from only two or three sources than you will end up producing copies. Gather inspiration from near and far, and it only enriches your work. You are taking a world of ideas and putting your own personal spin on it. And then someone may find you inspiring. It's like a never ending cycle of creative input and output!

Pretty amazing don't you think?







4 comments

  1. Thank you for sharing the quilt your grandmother made. It has become more beautiful with age x

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    1. Thank you Kellie! It has washed and worn surprisingly well :-)

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  2. What a beautiful post, Megan! Thank you for sharing this special amazing quilt! How much work, attention to details went into it and how many sweet memories it brings to you. Beautiful! xox

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    1. Hi Larisa, thank you so much! I'm glad you enjoyed it! Megan

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