As far back as I can remember I have sewn. As children my friend and myself used to rummage in a remnant box in a local junk shop for fabric scraps to make doll’s clothes. I had a love of fabric then – the feel of it, the colour, and what it could become. I have no idea what else was in that shop because all I could focus on was the fabric.
My earliest memory of hand sewing was in school aged about 7 or 8. We had to embroider a tray cloth. There were lazy daisies on one side which I loved sewing but then we were told to do straight stitches around the edge! Horrors! It seemed to go on for ever and my stitches got bigger and bigger as I tried to finish it……The teacher made me take the stitches out and start again. That put me off embroidery for a long time and probably was responsible for the strange stitching that emerges now.
My mother bought me an old treadle machine at a jumble sale and later a table top one. I developed a love/hate relationship with them and learnt to use them by trial and a lot of error ( and bad language ). Recently, a kind lady came into our shop to give us an old machine with a bullet shaped bobbin which brought back memories.
I remember as a child my father saying ‘blue and green should never be seen’. I wonder if that was the start of my contrariness as I love blue and green together.
I have met ladies in the shop who either love or hate green. Colour seems to have different memories for us. For a long time I have really disliked purple and orange and yet I now have made a quilt with a large amount of both of those colours and it seems to work.
Colour is very much personal choice and for me it’s value that makes a piece interesting. Value is how light or dark a colour is.
Thinking of colour reminds me of my garden. It’s not very big but I can spend ages pulling weeds and admiring plants (very relaxing). All seasons are special but Spring is magic as I plant bulbs in Autumn and forget where and what they are so there are many surprises in Spring. I love to see what has appeared each day and listen to the birds as they go about their days.
Then there are the ones I never planted!! Two years ago I found a lovely little plant with white flowers. I have now discovered it is wild garlic and is taking over the garden. There can be too much of a good thing!
Some years ago a sunflower appeared in Sinead’s garden and grew to about 12 ft — big surprise, especially as we initially thought it was a potato!!
To me gardening and patchwork are alike in that we can use wonderful colours and if we don’t like the position of something it can be moved. Ours is an equal opportunity garden, the cat drinks from the bird bath and the hedgehog eats the cat food. I approach patchwork in a similar way, nothing is sacred, everything can be moved or rearranged and that makes it more fun. Except for when I have to keep using the stitch ripper.