Lockdown Patchwork Project

Determined to make the most of the new year 2021 winter lockdown in the UK, I decided to cover my damp (although supposedly cured) and now ruined sitting room walls…….with patchwork!

And with real fabric. the left-overs from my work organising quilt making in the UK for Kaffe Fassett‘s books of patchwork and quilting designs. Below are 2 of my favourite quilts from previous books that I have worked on and which I referenced for both colour and patten.

Patchwork is part of my professional textile practice and I have always used it for all types of furnishings, from wall papers for Heart Space Studios to my old but still glamorous dining room curtains.

Now I chose fabrics that reflected the colours in the rest of the house: basically turquoisey blues, buttery yellows, mauves and greens – I like colours to blend through the rooms. I had painted the hot pink walls for a New Year’s Day party 2 years ago….as you do!

I really loved the first fat version on my studio quilt wall above, but seeing it in situ was another thing. I wanted to cover the whole room and suddenly I felt totally overwhelmed by colour and pattern – the photoshopped version confirmed my misgivings…..it just hit me in the face and made me feel hot and sticky!!!!!

photoshopped version of sitting room walls!!!!!

The larger size of the fabric pieces, 21inches in length, made the patterns fight one another; in the smaller pieces used for quilts the patterns meld together as the eye sees so many at once AND there is only 1 quilt per room. Here there will be at least 6 large quilt sized pieces from floor to ceiling on all walls. Back to the studio.

And back to the oldest and simplest way of softening and unifying coloured fabrics – dip them in brewed tea. Above see the different shades to be had using: top = 1 bag, middle = 2 bags, lower = 2 bags boiled. It is a shame to kill the brilliant singing colours of the Kaffe Fassett Collective’s fabrics but hey ho! These wall coverings will take months to make and mount on the walls and then we have to live with them for ever…….I am not doing this again!

Back in my studio sorting out newer softer colours. Meanwhile the Kaffe Fassett Studios had kindly sent me lots more fabric strips based on my original sample….dipping a few of them in week tea I placed them on top of the quilt wall – wow this looks like a mad Japanese kimono design! Should I introduce stripes?

I am now 3 weeks into this sampling phase, I am still uncertain about the design on the wall. My Christmas star light reigns over chaos.

Time to get a grip! sort out the separately coloured triangles and tidy up

I set them all out on the table ready to start work – tomorrow. Looking at the fabrics the next day they appeared to look so calm totally unlike the design on the wall. Maybe it is the Covid experience of the last 10 months but now I seem to want calm from my colours. I looked at the table and my eyes just glided over the strips of colours – back to the quilt wall again – to organise the diamonds into stripes.

Now my eyes tend to glide up and down rather than dotting about to see other diamond combinations. But that is as far as I can take this designing phase: there comes a time to every project when you just have to commit, and we are now into the first week of the new year. So I am simply sewing one single coloured strip at a time, and when I have finished them I can start to play with the design again – it should see me through until I get vaccinated.

6 thoughts on “Lockdown Patchwork Project

  1. It will look so glorious. Makes me want to move in with you!
    I will never forget meeting a widow at a quilting circle in the U.S who had saved every one of her husband’s ties since they married. They had been married fifty years when he died and she was stitching the ties into a quilt for his granddaughter.

    1. Hi Alice, thanks that sounds like proper patchwork to me – how wonderful. I also made a patchwork piece out of my father’s ties, it is folded over the back of a settee – very richly coloured – I had to add silks and brocades to the ties – having only collected them form my mother after he had died.

      As to the walls I am not certain about the outcome – I am hoping to give updates a bit more often than my usual posts

    1. Hi Maris,
      well I am in awe of your stitched and quilted work produced throughout the whole miserable year of 2020 year. I am finding this project difficult already – still working out the colour combinations of the strips……but looking forward to more of you work this year, you certainly gave me food for thought in your writing as well as your work – thanks.

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