I really wanted to join in the “My Small World” QAL hosted by Kerry of verykerryberry a few months ago. If you have previously read my blog, you will know that I have a tendency to miss QAL’s, finding out about the details sometime after the event. In this particular instance, it simply took too long for the Spring edition of Quiltmania to reach my local magazine retailer, and I missed the boat.
I was determined to make the quilt though, and since Gypsy Wife #2 is almost done (one section left to join), I took advantage of a week away at a bach (holiday home) in Taupo to tackle this quilt.
The decision to go away was made suddenly, and I had only a couple of hours to organize food, bedding, equipment, quilting paraphernalia and myself, to get out the door. So, of course I left a few things behind. Since these included the materials necessary to make templates or do paper piecing, I had to approach this quilt in a rather different manner from the instructions in places.
Out went the templates, and in came hand drawn diagrams and foundation and paper piecing. This was originally undertaken on the one piece of paper I could filch from the bach guestbook, then on the pages of a womens magazine. I took great delight in sacrificing the pages advertising weight loss competitions and diet food from the magazine. Luckily I had a pencil and pencil sharpener, and both were put to good use in drafting all the little chimneys, flying geese and economy blocks.
I never realized how much I relied upon the internet, until I didn’t have it to research quicker methods to construct blocks. I fell back on easy methods such as stitch and flip to construct these economy blocks and flying geese, having had plenty of experience with the method from constructing other Jen Kingwell quilts. I took one look at the 2 inch pinwheels though and decided life was too short, and I would design something else in keeping with the theme of the pattern.
Where I just didn’t like a block (e.g. the arrows), I re-designed the pattern to include more of the blocks I did like. I really liked the little doors and chimneys, so my version has more of these. I wanted the quilt to remind me of trips to Lyon, Tallinn and other medieval cities. I want to look at it and remember round watch-towers, and the muted colours of southern France. Likewise I made two sets of flying geese, and made one set facing the wrong directions. This is a reminder of our coach backing up tight roads in the Alps after meeting another coach on a tight corner, then going down impossibly narrow streets and getting stuck.
I finished one section a day, often cutting the pieces for the next section later in the evening, since I didn’t have access to Sky or Netflix, and had neglected to bring many books to read. Without dishes, cooking (other than reheating something in the microwave) or other responsibilities, I easily managed the sections on schedule.
The next step is to finish the remaining section (Part 5), then start embellishing the quilt. I didn’t take any yellow fabrics suitable for the sunnier part of the quilt, so I couldn’t really progress any further at the time. I also want to record my food and fibre related adventures by including shop labels lifted from my photographs of trips abroad. I hope to stitch in some signs on the spaces I have left for that purpose.
If you have never travelled to Estonia, and are looking for a magical place to visit, I can only recommend it. It is a country that has emerged from a difficult history with an immense pride in their culture, and tourism is a major source of income needed to continue the recovery. The medieval town centre in Tallinn is beautiful, though it can be overtaken by tourists from cruise ships some days. The knitting traditions of Estonia are worth the trip alone, and I spent many days tracking down knitting samples and books for Daughter #2 while there. The National Museum in Tartu has a large collection of knitted garments capturing the colour work patterns of the country, and researchers have recreated many of these patterns on gloves and scarves for sale. My trip to Estonia was easily my favourite trip abroad in the last decade, though that might have something to do with having just handed in my doctoral thesis prior to leaving.
Have a great week. We are hoping to put up a Christmas tree this week, meanwhile the first Christmas cake is made, and the pudding mix is soaking in brandy. Things feel almost under control!
Linking up with WIP Wednesday, Lets Bee Social and Scraptastic Tuesday.