Thursday, March 19, 2020

Then and Now

I have a massive headache but thought I'd check in to give you newly homebound folks something to distract yourselves with. 😉For any relative newcomers, I'm an old hand at self isolation. It's the best protection I have against the toxins in our environment that make me so ill.

I've forgotten for the moment how I came across this book by Tilly Rose.

No doubt someone else mentioned it on their blog. Ah! Margaret, over at the Crafty Creek! I was so inspired by what she's doing that I ordered the book immediately and then waited impatiently for it to be delivered. (It didn't arrive as quickly as promised but did get here safely in the end.) I've read through it at least twice so far - after having hubby remove the spine and slipping the pages into archival page protectors so I could absorb the information and imagery safely.

Several of my foremothers were skilled with needle and thread. I have two crazy quilts in my possession. I'm pretty sure both were made by the same woman but I have no factual documentation to back that up. One, as I remember it, is in pretty good condition. The second one is more accessible, mostly because it's disintegrating and I knew I'd have to take steps to preserve what I could.

There are more of the fragile old silks in this quilt and fewer embroidered motifs than in the other as I recall. I was hoping to salvage whole squares from this quilt but I don't think that's going to be possible now. The back is in such good shape I hate to cut into it at all!

Most impressive to me is the consistency of the feather stitching along the seam lines in this quilt.

I haven't yet figured out what I'm going to do with this or how I might utilize parts of it but Tilly has certainly given me lots to think about. And in the meantime I thought I'd have a go at a smaller project to try my hand at her processes.

At the end of her book Tilly Rose talks about making luggage or gift tags from snippets of fabric and lace. There's not much difference between gift tags and bookmarks so I decided to make myself a bookmark, using a shipping tag for a template. I've been tossing my fabric scraps that are less than 1.5" in width into lunch bags - and wondering why I was keeping them at all. I've done crumb blocks in the past but haven't been interested in making more in a long time. Good thing I hadn't tossed or given those bags away just yet!

I don't understand how/why I'm casting shadows when I use my phone to take pictures.
Could it be the sun was actually shining through the window behind me when I took this picture?!

One day's efforts brought my bookmark to this point:

The top edge is still raw and there's no back on it yet. I'm not quite sure how to proceed. I want to do a little bit of embroidery down the lavender strip - or something - and I'd like to have a firm back on it, not fabric. I'm thinking watercolor paper rather than the shipping tag. For now, however, I think I'm going to take a break and try to build a quilt top. Or put binding on one of the three quilts awaiting binding. What I do NOT need to do is make more quilt blocks!!!


  1. Those of us with handwork, sewing, stitching and quilting will surely be able to occupy the many months that this might turn into. Down here, the border ban will stop any tourists coming in, but for the 80,000 still overseas, they will have to do Self-isolation for 14 days.There are no exceptions, and for the previous tourists, quarantine and deportation if found not complying after the given date. As an island, we should be safe, but that sneaky bug can wriggle in unseen. Love the stitching on the old quilt, in the days before roller cutters, 1/4 inch feet, needle up or down, and really good lighting. Maybe a candle, a kerosene lamp? I marvel at what my Mum did on her treadle machine, I still have a silk dress made when I was just a baby. Hand stitched on every seam.

  2. Amazing feather stitching - I'd be lucky to achieve that with a machine!
    Love your scissors.


Due to my health issues I am frequently unable to respond to your comments but please know that I appreciate your thoughtful responses. I cannot respond to 'no-reply' bloggers either, much to my frustration.