Rules are like pie-crusts …

21/10/2013 § 3 Comments

 …made to be broken!

This was one of Mum’s favourite sayings.  There were never any rules as such when I was growing up – just lots of expectation.  We adopted the same motto with our growing family – it worked OK – mostly!

The only time we actually said ‘NO, we can’t have that’, was on piercings. Visible piercings in eyebrows, noses and everywhere else makes me wince.  It’s not prejudice, really it isn’t.  But I’m terribly squeamish, terrified of needles (except sewing and knitting ones), the thought of something deliberately piercing skin makes me feel physically sick so on 2 occasions, when our kids were teenagers, we had one house rule – have piercings if you want, but you can’t live here!  Swiftly followed by a tray of home-baked cookies and fresh bread baking in the oven – it wasn’t too difficult a decision for them to make.  And yes – they could have gone to live somewhere else.

Now, about rules (for patchwork).  My patchwork style is what I’d describe as clean.  Clean lines, lots of squares and stripes.  Occasionally I’ll wander into triangles, and I’ve made friendship stars and lots of other patterns in the past, but for current quilts I can’t stop cutting up squares.  It’s not exactly a rule, but I do love the uniformity of the pattern; the simplicity, the way diagonal quilting lines cut through the rigid square blocks.  Yes, 5″ patchwork squares really ‘do it’ for me!

Then my friend from NY visited.  She entered my studio and we rummaged through my WIPs and finished quilts but I could tell, her eyes were wandering to my scrap tub – with interest!  She’d recently won a 1-1 workshop with Victoria Findlay-Wolfe over in NY and told me about how this remarkable quilter had challenged her (in a good way) to get outside her comfort zone and forget all the rules.  This idea has been buzzing around in my head for a while, but I couldn’t quite sum up the courage to try it – until a couple of days ago.

I’d been asked to make a ‘happy, colourful, amazing’ tea cosy.  Those were the words used by a lovely lady who was VERY fed up with cold tea!!!  She’d picked out some Liberty prints on my stall and back at home, I found some snippets and very small offcuts in the colours I thought she’d like.  I uuuum’ed and aarrrr’ed over what to do.  The smallest pieces were about 2″ wide – so if I used my beloved squares pattern, everything would need to be cut this small.

THROW OUT THE RULE BOOK – THINK PIE-CRUSTS …

I gathered together a bundle of scraps and cut just one strip from chartreuse silk (one of my recent acquisitions from ‘up north’).  I didn’t lay anything out, I just patched and chopped (the iron was in use as much as my sewing machine).  The only rule I stuck to, was to regularly chop the new ‘fabric’ back into straight shape – I didn’t want it going askew.

Here’s the result …

Liberty print & silk tea cosy

Liberty print & silk tea cosy

Liberty print & silk - detail

Liberty print & silk – detail

There's Flora on the label, too

There’s Flora on the label, too

I hope she likes it.

Now, I’ve discovered a new technique and I’m off …

Seaside Windows & Flags quilt

Seaside Windows & Flags quilt

Seaside Windows & Flags quilt

Seaside Windows & Flags quilt

This quilt was started in Cornwall a few weeks ago.  But, it didn’t work – it wasn’t doing what I wanted and was turning out very differently (not in a good way), from how I’d planned.  So I cut up what I’d already pieced and started again – with that big feature block.   I can’t describe the actual process, it’s just matching up bits as you go along.  Lots of cutting and pressing.  I’m amazed – it’s captured exactly my idea of flags and windows.  I was originally trying to create an idea of looking out through a window to the boats and this has done it (for me, at least).

I haven’t quite let go sufficiently to completely throw out a colour palette.  But I’m getting there – maybe next week!

What do you think?  How do you decide on a pattern for a quilt?  Do you have rules (for patchwork, and life generally)?

It would be good to hear from you – I’m in awe of those wonderful blogs with all their comments.  I’d love to hear what you think.

Enjoy your week – wasn’t the weekend dull and drab?

Adaliza x

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