The East Dulwich WI hosted a Quilting event for members last month.
If you have seen the movie How to Make an American Quilt this may conjure up images of a group of friends sitting around a big table; gossiping, bickering and telling wonderful stories about their lives while lovingly hand stitching a 6ft x 6ft quilt.
Well, it wasn’t quite like that.
But, some bits were not too far off.
The session was being run by a local artist, Linda Litchfield, who makes work which frequently incorporates stitch and knit.
We were each given a small square to begin with.
As time was limited, we would only have time to complete one side of what could eventually, with time and patience, become a pin cushion.
The reality is that as a complete novice with a needle and thread, I would need plenty of both!
First you create your centre square.
The idea is to then take a strip of coloured material (log) and secure it with a pin to the foundation fabric – right side down, along the top edge of your centre square, matching the raw edges and having the right hand strip level with the right hand edge of the square.
Using a smallish running stitch, sew along the top edge of the strip approx 1/4 inch from the edge.
Then make a lengthwise fold in the strip just sewn, pin in place, rotate clockwise and then attach your next log using the same technique.
I found it quite fiddly and time-consuming. It is no wonder they organise big sewing events in the States as it could take a year or longer* to complete an entire quilt by yourself.
However, one of the most enjoyable parts of the evening for me, was chatting to the 3 other people on my table, all of whom I was meeting for the first time that evening.
To one side of me was a very talented interior designer who has worked on many high-profile projects in her career. She has two children at the school that I will be applying for Zachy to attend next year, so it was great to get a parents perspective from her.
Creativity obviously comes very naturally to her and she has a great eye for log cabin quilting. As someone who also sews in her spare time, she stitched log after log with ease and she made it look much easier than it was!
To the other side of me were a mother and daughter. The daughter was home from University and thought she would tag along to the event with her Mum as it sounded like fun.
Now, this next bit could be written directly from a romantic Hollywood movie… the daughter is getting married to her sweetheart next year and will be wearing her Mother’s wedding dress – minus the 80′s puffy sleeves though of course. Not only that, the service will be held in the same church where her parents were married and the ring designed by the same jeweller! You could tell by the way they talked about the planning of the day, just how much thought and love had gone into every detail. It will be the best day of their lives, I am sure. Just gorgeous.
So while my sewing skills may not have the head honchos at Laura Ashley trembling in their haberdashery cupboards just yet, I did learn something new and I did meet some lovely new people and that’s all I ever wanted from the WI when I joined.
The real bonus is that I’ve actually made some pretty good mates there too.
*total guess – I have no idea how long it would really take
Featured photo © Linda Litchfield