When a friend of mine suggested that we embark on the adventure of a collaborative quilt, I jumped at the chance. He lives in Edinburgh and I live in Bath and so it’s a long distance collaboration via the medium of the Royal Mail.
He has over the course of his life lived a lot in Africa and has collected from here and there a fair amount of African fabric. These pieces of material whether they are from clothes or gifts or wall hanging, all have significant stories and would make up a patchwork quilt that would stitch all those memories together.
So, a couple of evenings at the beginning of March, with radio four as his companion, he set to cutting out 250 squares from a beautiful variety of African material. On completion of this bundle of joy he wrapped it up and sent it southwards.
Receiving in the post, squares of a multitude of fabrics is exceedingly exciting. And so it was, with an air or discovery that I set to jigsawing out all the different bundles of colors into a patchwork.
After the jigsaw was complete and the proportion and layout looked and felt right it was time to start sewing. First I joined each square with his neighbor to make a large collection of pairs. After this the pairs joined with their neighbors to make a square again and so it grew….
And grew, and 3 cotton reels, a multitude of scissor snips, meters of ironed seams, and 3 days later all the parts were made into a whole. And what a beautiful whole, a dazzling array of colour that only the vivacious patterns of African culture could create. The patchwork is now in the post and on its way up to Edinburgh. Next stage is the final sandwiching of the the layers and then quilting them together. I think David is going to do this by hand, so it may take some time, but keep an eye on the blog and there will be pictures on the final product.