It’s been a long time since I did any ‘proper’ patchwork, by that I mean hand sewn. It was a hobby of mine when I was younger; my mum had an amazing collection of small scraps and I used to make mini Geodesic domes (much simpler than they sound) than it sounds) from equilateral triangles, stuffed with tights to hang on the Christmas tree. I also made a tumbling blocks cushion from velvet which I’ve still got on my sofa. There are some excellent examples of tumbling blocks patchwork in the V&A collection. I found the rhombus shapes difficult to sew and align (I’m not sure why, since they’re just two equilateral triangles). I gave up hand-sewn patchwork and for the last 17 years I have I only ever machine-sewn simple squares.
Until yesterday that is, when I spent an afternoon with my regular craft buddies, under the instruction of certified patchwork expert Ril.
Making a hexagonal pattern from blocks much easier than I’d remembered, mainly because Ril gave us blocks made from normal paper, rather than thick paper or card as I was used to. Paper is great because it means you can sew straight through it to attach the fabric to the block. Previously I’d attached fabric round card blocks with a kind of cobweb of thread at the back. Ril’s method was quicker and gave neater corners.
Before I left the house I sorted out a pile of printed cottons but then decided to buck the trend and took left-over suiting fabric instead, making a feature of the selvage.
I had never bothered aligning the shape with the nap of the fabric as I like things a bit random, but as Ril pointed out, it looks more striking and deliberate when they are aligned. I wish had done a better job of this, or made a pattern out of the selvage.
I haven’t decided what piece will become yet, suggestions welcome.