entry-level patchwork

Here’s why I started doing patchwork.

It was almost exactly three years ago. My wedding was a month away, and I was going nuts – from the venue going bankrupt; from the fact that nobody had had a wedding-free conversation with me for nearly a year, aside from the brief respite when I served on a deadlocked jury; from the general hatred of wedding planning I’ve mentioned before.

Crafts are soothing. Crafts are mood-transforming. Crafts are a good way to avoid doing the tasks you’re supposed to be doing. Thus, having not done any patchwork before aside from one single small log cabin block, I began to sew a flurry of tablecloths, scaling up traditional designs for some, going off-piste for others.

Afterwards, I gave them all away to friends and family; but recently I had to borrow back a few for something. It was nice to see them again, although I can’t look at them without thinking about what I’d do differently now, which is why I give away all the things I make.

That said, I’m feeling reluctant to return this crabby tablecloth to my shellfish-loving sister-in-law with whom it now lives, because I WANT IT:

tablecloth crab

It’s a massively simplified variation on a Log Cabin: just a central crabby square surrounded by strips of other fabric.

A brick pattern is very easy for a beginner because it’s all straight lines and you don’t even have to match any corners. It’s even easier at this size: the whole thing is about six feet square, so the bricks are about 12×16″:

tablecloth bricks
tablecloth hangers detail

Next: some random stripes, trying to make pastel chintz peacefully coexist with bright African wax prints, old pyjamas and Ikea cotton:

tablecloth stripes

Zigzags! Made up of 10″-square two-colour pieces, which are a cinch to make: lay two squares face to face, sew around the edges, then cut diagonally across from corner to corner, thus begetting four two-coloured squares. This is much simpler than matching up triangles and trying to get the fabric grains to cooperate. I vividly remember watching Babette’s Feast and Infamous whilst making this. (Also, once you get the impression that the maroon and pink print is a bunch of dicks, you can’t unsee that.)

tablecloth zigzags

This one barely counts, as it’s just three teatowels and a vintage tablecloth joined with yellow and blue herringbone stitch. But I like it.

tea

tea stitch detail

There were around a dozen tablecloths in the end. Here they are in action on Wedding Eve. The amazing marquee was from Hector’s Haus.

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