Saturday, 5 June 2010


Well my weekend got off to a great start. This morning some of us from Hammersmith Stitch N' Bitch went to the fantastic Quilts exhibition at the V&A.
It was a beautiful sunny day...
... and we saw some amazing, intricate quilts.
The exhibition is focused mainly on British quilts and starts back in 1700, working its way through to the present day.

Photographs were not allowed so I managed to sneak some in without a flash, but missed most of the older, more traditional ones.
The blue and red patchwork one above was made in Cardigan, Wales in the 1860's.

Up close they are all incredibly detailed and eqsuisitely put together.
The floral cotton one above uses the Union Jack motif, which you notice more from a distance. Although not a fan of this flag, I absolutely loved the way this quilt-maker/artist achieved a fresh, contemporary feel by using bright, modern fabrics with a more modern pattern, yet still completely rooted in the tradition of quilt-making.

This detail is from a quilt made by the Canadian Red Cross during the 2nd World War and gifted to a family in London whose home had been destroyed (in fact each of the children in the family received one). I love that this was part of the effort played by Canada in a war so far from home.
It also reminded me how often quilts are given as gifts of comfort. Their use is almost always consoling and protective, be it for the sick, newly-born or beloved family member. This is a tradition that runs through the entire history of the quilt, as I learned today.
I was lucky to have with me Heather who, having quilted before, knows a vast amount about the technical side. Helen was also greatly inspired, and I'm really looking forward to seeing her creations after she moves back to New Zealand on Thursday.

For my part, although I dabbled in some piecework at the age of about 10, I really can't ever see myself making a quilt (unless it was the size of a doll's cot perhaps!). I admire immensely the skill that the women (and men - often soldiers) invested in this craft, but can't imagine I would ever have enough ability.
So although I did buy some limited-edition V&A printed fabric which was made especially for the exhibition, don't worry, I will not be moving away from my true love of knitting. My dress-making class is going well; I have learned a lot and am enjoying myself, but I certianly don't feel the confidence I have with a couple of needles and some yarn.
The progress on my tank top has stalled, and I really feel to get back into my mojo I need to pick up another project. Watch this space...

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