One of the classic markers of a maker, is that they have lots of resources squirreled away. For anyone who dabbles in textiles, whether as a dressmaker or a textile artist (or anything in-between) this probably means a mountain of fabrics, squashed into boxes, squeezed into bags and poked into any available storage space. And it is ridiculously hard to let go of this stuff, even the random pieces which have found their way via other people’s clear-outs. Everything might come in useful one day.
I decided recently that this day had come, for some of my fabrics at least. I think that simple pieced-paper patchwork is a wonderfully meditative activity, and one that almost anyone can do. With this in mind I am testing out a project idea: One Hundred Squares, which creates blocks using A4 sheets of paper and random fabric, the only proviso being that they should be the same weight (so that one piece doesn’t pull on another) and that I should get ten of the same fabric. Ideally there will be tonal differences too (dark and light) so that patterns can be formed, but this won’t always be possible
Once formed into pieced-paper squares the blocks can be arranged into a pattern and then hand-stitched, in strips, to form a new piece of patchwork fabric. My plan is that, on this scale, a large and serviceable quilt can be produced quite simply. The backing could be made out of an old quilt cover or bed sheet and the soft middle layer (which creates the warmth) can be a pre-loved fleece blanket. Tied through with buttoning or knots, the resultant quilt will be a sturdy and cheering addition to a sofa or a bed.
I have lots more fabric that could be used in this way, and charity shops are laden with curtains, sheets and random fabrics which need a home. My next step, after finishing the test quilt, will be to explore the possibility of running regular sessions for other people to come and learn these simple skills and make their own patchwork quilt to keep.