Monday, 28 December 2015

New beginnings (from something very old)

I'm trying to avoid giving today's post a title like 'I'm back' or 'Sorry for the absence'  But I do acknowledge it's been a while since I last blogged.  The thing is I had so so much Christmas crafting to do that I just had to put the blog on the back burner (there will be pictures next week).  But I'm back now and with One Big New Years Resolution.  

I'm saying it here first, making a public announcement that 

this year is going to be the year of quilts and afghans

I have one half finished crochet blanket, and several knitted afghans and two quilts in the planning stage. The added benefit of these big projects is that 2016 should go down as a stash buster. 

But most important of all next year's plans is a wonderful restoration project for my daughter, Jen.

The quilt is a present from her Godmother.  It is probably more than 200 years old, made entirely by hand out of dressmaking scraps using the English paper piecing method.  Each scrap of fabric has been wrapped around a piece of paper cut to the right shape and the folded edges sewn together with tiny hemming stitches. While the quilt may have initially been handed down through generations of family members for most of the 20th century it has been passed on from one woman to another with the new recipient specially chosen as the right person to be it's new custodian. 

While Jen will treasure it and preserve it ready to pass on she does not want it to remain hidden away in a cupboard so as it is also in very poor condition (hardly surprising!) I have my work cut out

This red fabric is in particularly bad condition.  In some places it has nearly disintegrated all together

Rather alarmingly one tattered corner was held together with rusty safety pins


But the workwomanship is wonderful and I do so want to do it justice when I fix it.

 It looks nearly as good on the reverse

What is my plan you may ask? Well, ultimately I want to stabilise it well enough so it can be displayed as a wall hanging (Jen has just such a wall over her staircase that has the advantage of no direct light from any of the windows in her house). I think I shall lay it over some thin un-dyed cotton and stitch it down with a fine needle and thread to support the old fabrics and the tatters, then I shall mount it on another fabric that will take all the weight of the hanging frame. But before that I am going to contact an expert in textile conservation. 

Wish me luck and lots of patience!

Finally, speaking as I was at the top of this post of long  time periods I have just noticed that today is my fifth blogging anniversary.  I have fixed my first post to the side bar here, as a featured post, in celebration. And while rummaging in a bag of miscellaneous projects found one of the little notebooks that were the subject of that first post

No sense in leaving this in a drawer either, I think I shall use it to record my 2016 projects