Sunday, June 24, 2012

Bonnie was talking about log cabin quilts and I remembered this pile of blocks from about 1989. My goodness it feels strange writing that date, what a long time ago it was.

I had ended up with a large box which contained all our remnants from our dressmaking eforts, and some of Mum's as well. I decided to make a log cabin quilt, perhaps two, and send one to Keryn as a way to remember all these bits and pieces.

I became utterly obsessed  and every day I was at the machine, sewing these in batches of five or so. I couldn't stop and I had such fun going round and round adding to each block. Some of the fabric was terrible quality, but each bit held a memory and I was too frugal in those days to throw any scrap out, no matter what.
In these two blocks I can see fabric that were leftovers from a 'brunch coat' of Keryn's, two shirts, a halterneck dress and a skirt.
This sprigged fabric was a halterneck top that Keryn and I wore to death, but it was quite a coarse weave while the spotted fabric next to it was a dreadful chinese cotton that was so thin you could see through it.

 This block contains two beloved dark browns, the outer one was a skirt and the William Moriss type one was a dancing dress of mine from the '70's. It was a slightly brushed cotton and is one of my very favourite fabrics of all time. I still have the dress, but it is impossibly tiny and will never be worn by me again, sigh.The red check is from Mum's stash and was a skirt from a little dress for us.

The green was a wrap around dress of Keryns, the purple on the edge a dress that was never finished and the turquoise was from Mum's stash too. I think Keryn made a shirred dress from it, but it's a gorgeous vintage print I'd love to have more of now.

Matthew was about eighteen months old and he got pretty sick of me sewing all the time. I had a big old wooden chair with arms, and I used to let him climb up behind me and stand looking over my shoulder. He was quite safe there, away from the pins and scissors and he amused himself by turning me into a truck and driving me noisily around corners, jigging up and down and singing, brushing my hair into strange styles and sometimes even going to sleep leaning on me. Once I wondered at how quiet he was, and found that he'd been able to reach my container of bias binding and had unwound all the little strips and let them fall to the floor then stacked the cards neatly to one side. That took me a while to fix, but it had kept him occupied for some time, so it was worth it.

I sewed and sewed until I had 83 blocks ( the strips are 1 1/2" finished) and then tried to put them together. It was then that I found out that log cabin blocks can start twisting as you sew them, and you have to be really careful about squaring them up. None of the corners were 90 degrees and they were all decidedly skewiff. I tried nibbling away at each side but I was just making things worse so I had to stop. I didn't have a square ruler in those days so I put them all away in a drawer until I could find some way to fix the problem.

Now I have my big ruler I know I could have these trimmed down in half an hour, but the desire to finish these quilts has been put on the backburner and other more pressing things take over. Still, I've enjoyed looking at these fabrics, and I'm glad that I turned that big box of scraps into these blocks, even if they've been in the drawer ever since. Their turn will come...


Leeanne June 24, 2012  

What a sweet post :-)
What a treasure this will the day you have it finished.
I felt warm inside reading about your son 'helping' you sew!!

Jan June 25, 2012  

What a great memory piece. Perhaps the blocks could be spritzed with water and blocked into shape? Fun post!

Diane June 25, 2012  

Oh, I do hope you manage to sew those blocks together some day. What sweet memories they contain.

Henrietta June 29, 2012  

What a lovely trip down Memory Lane, thank you for sharing!

Vic in NH July 23, 2012  

I so enjoyed the stories and the memories that you shared here. Whenever you do get to completing the quilt, I hope that the history will go with it!

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