Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The charm of patchwork!

I have been wanting to tell you about my quilt groups theme for 2009 and could think of no better moment than after my last entry. I received such a sweet comment from my friend Angela and it led to a discussion about needlework being a part of daily chores in days gone by. I recommended a few journals to her which I find inspiring. I don't think woman thought of doing their patchwork as a chore. I believe from reading the journals that it was a light part of their existence. Maybe I am dreaming and looking at it all to romantically?

I know they had to have quilts to keep them warm. They were even hung at the windows. I know they did not always have time to think of the beauty of the quilt and yet look at some of the antique quilts found today. It was not only function. And in reading the journals, you feel their excitement as they discover new patterns from friends, family and neighbors.

Our theme this year is charm quilts. Nowadays we think of charms as the packets of squares you can order from quilt shops. But a charm quilt is a quilt made with a one-patch block using a different fabric for each patch. It was popular back in the Victorian times and again in the 1920-30s when times were hard. People would share pieces of fabric with one another. I love the romantic notion the Victorians held...you collected 999 various fabrics for your charm quilt and the 1000th fabric would come from your beloved.

We will be swapping fabrics from our stash this year in our group to help each other gather as many different fabrics as possible. Everyone choose a one-patch block they will use and we measured what size charm they need for it. It will be fun to share with each other. I find this fitting also in a year that the financial crisis has finally hit Holland since this is such an economical project to work on.

I have chosen to make two charm quilts. This is one of them. I am using pinks, soft brown and beige, cream, soft blue, soft green and soft yellow as my colors. All the fabrics are floral, striped, spotted or checked. I want to achieve a romantic and nostalgic look to this quilt. I picked a half hexagon shape. This past weekend, I received an envelope after having sent one to surprise one of the ladies in my quilt group with her charms from me. She asked me what I needed for my charm quilts and in turn surprised me with some too. I have been working her fabrics into my quilt. It is great fun to do and you have no idea what others will share with you.

Now for my dear friend Angela as well as anyone who loves their needle, this quote is for you all! I have always been found of this quote from a favorite novel "The Mill on the Floss" (George Eliot) as it is very amusing...

“Oh, dear, oh, dear, Maggie, what are you thinkin'of, to throw your bonnet down there? Take it upstairs, there's a good gell, an' let your hair be brushed, an' put your other pinafore on, an' change your shoes, do, for shame; an' come an' go on with your patchwork, like a little lady.”

“Oh, mother,” said Maggie, in a vehemently cross tone, “I don't want to do my patchwork.”

“What! not your pretty patchwork, to make a counterpane for your aunt Glegg?”

“It's foolish work,” said Maggie, with a toss of her mane,—“tearing things to pieces to sew 'em together again. And I don't want to do anything for my aunt Glegg. I don't like her.”

Exit Maggie, dragging her bonnet by the string, while Mr. Tulliver laughs audibly.


Nancy said...

Well, that is a very cute exert from that book. I love your quilt. I really like the very simple ones. My favorite is still the flannel one at the cottage. The seams are out not in, you know the one I mean. The first picture of me, was me laying on a quilt made of scraps. It was just squares. Wish I had it now. It will be fun to see what all the ladies come up with.
Love you, Mom

angelasweby said...

Oh Heidi,
I've loved reading about your quilt plans for this year. the charm quilts really are...ahem...charming. I love the idea of swapping pieces of fabric with friends. You shall just have to tear up one of Jos's favourite shirts to complete your 100th piece..haha!

I'm going to try to get hold of some of those diaries as they sound full of adventure and maybe some of the energy of those wonderful pioneering women will rub off on me :>)
Hugs, Angela
Hugs, Angela

Reading that quotation from The Mill on the Floss brought a big smile to my face. what a great excerpt

Fran├žoise said...


Elizabethd said...

I remember well a friend saying to me..'I cant see the point of cutting up fabric just to sew it back together again!'
Well, I can!
your charm quilt looks so calm and peaceful. I like the idea of the half hexagon.

Barbara said...

Heidi, I love this quilt, thanks for sharing.


Brigitte said...

I love to read about the history of quilt and patchwork, and I love to read stories in which quilts have an important role. You seem to revive some of the historical aspects of quilting in your group. I love that. And if I lived near you I'd like to be a member of your quilt group.

Your charm quilt is such a beautiful piece.

diane said...

I love your charm quilts. With such little pieces there is so much stitching and you really have done a great deal. I love to read the stories about the quilts, too!! Enjoy!!

Mel said...

I love the charm quilt Idea, and collecting a piece of fabric from groups & friends. You're work is beautiful, I have always admired quilts, makes you really think about the peopl wwho sat a stitched all by hand years ago...

Pondside said...

I hadn't thought of The Mill on the Floss since high school - thanks for that little bit of nostalgia, Heidi.
What a great project to get underway - the time is right, and you'll have fun too.

Ginny said...

Your quilt is going to be lovely. Your idea to swap fabric pieces is great, especially, as you said, in these tough economic times. I know I'm trying to work this year from my extensive stash for my various projects.

How are you feeling?

mainely stitching said...

I love all the lovely patchwork you've shown in this post, Heidi. And I agree, it could not have been simply a chore to them. There's simply too much beauty in the old pieces.

Christine said...

Your quilt is beautiful and I love the quotation

Sonja said...

Hallo Heidi, what a beatiful way of collecting all these different fabrics! And as Angela comments: Jos better watch out that you don't cut his shirts into little peaces....This quilt is already looking so cute and romantic! liefs Sonja

Karen said...

Cute little snippet from your book. Your charm quilt is going to be soft and lovely. What a great way to have your friends be a part of a quilt. I love scrappy quilts

Hugs - karen

Carolien said...

Hi Heidi,

I love your charm quilt. I agree with your mother, I also love quilts with simple patterns.
It's a fun project like this with your quilt group!

Take care & hugs, Carolien

Anonymous said...

Yes, simple pleasures (quilts) are the best...Your charm quilt is wonderful and thanks for sharing such an endearing exerpt.

Linda said...

I loved learning about the charm quilt and they are so pretty. What I especially love is the sharing of bits fabric....I think it like giving then a little remembrance of your self. I read a wonderful book about ladies in a quilting group during the depresssion. Times were difficult and nearly all their quilts were made mostly from their clothing it was such an honor to receive swatches from members in the group. quilting. I really enjoyed getting to know the ladies of the "Persian Pickle Club".
I enjoyed the passage from the novel...it just made me smile...hugs, Linda

Jeanne said...

Love the soft colors of your quilts Heidi. One of my quilting buddies started a Millenium charm quilt in 2000. She collected over 2000 different fabrics and pieced it all by hand using the English paper-pieccing method in hexagons. It's amazing and she is quilting it now finally. I know your quilts will be special!

Roberta said...

I love charm quilts, you always have such interesting information to share. Your quilts are lovely.

Joni said...

Oh, Heidi, this is just a gorgeous piece of work. I love the colors and the pattern. I hope we can see others from the quilt group as the year progresses. Was that subtle, or what????