So, by the beginning of March I had at last finished stitching all the patchwork panels, and between long bouts of quilting them, I managed to paint all the woodwork and window reveals in the sitting room.
I had decided to make a strippy quilt for the chimney wall, partly to save time but really to overcome the problem of awkward door frames and lots of corners. I calculated the width of the strips on each wall, even taking into account my inexact machine sewing I managed to get them fairly evenly spaced. Well 4 cans of spray starch and a hot iron helped.
I seem to be a lot better at stretching the panels than I am at machine sewing them. We decided to work around the room from the least visible area. I wanted the walls to look like a total piece of fabric or a massive quilt that is just wrapped around the walls like a cocoon – but I had to make some adjustments to the finishing as things progressed….we sort of started with a vague plan trusting to nouse to see us through…..Things were beginning to take shape but I soon hit a construction problem, my errant stitching had made some of the panels far too big and they needed to be trimmed after stretching and folding, securing them neatly was difficult now that they were padded.
Above, the edges of the panels are secured with iron-on fusible web tape and staples to vertical battens before stretching across the entire wall. Then the diamond corners are further secured to horizontal battens with copper tacks.
The large window wall panel was joined to the alcove panel to assist tight and neat stretching into the corner- making it up as we go along!
Having negotiated the large wall panel I now assessed the look of what we had covered so far but was still concerned about the strength of pattern overwhelming everything else in the room ( we have very faded vintage furniture, carpets and fabrics in the house and I did not want to start making new covers and buying more carpets). I tried to think of ways to make the patterns less brilliant… I remembered a patchwork organza flag made by my old colleague and friend, Nigel Hurlstone. It was in a massive pale oak frame, sadly too wide for this alcove, I removed the flag and held it in front of the bright wall, the central stripe was the same size as the strips – it was meant to be.
I asked his permission for showing this de-framed (but as he gave this to me as a present for helping him decorate his first flat about 15 years ago) I thought he may agree and he did. The thing is that the addition of this piece of work suddenly changed the atmosphere of the room, it became more relaxed and so did I!
Over the next 2 weeks we worked our way around the whole room stretching, stapling, tapping copper tacks, while dealing with light switches and plugs using a combination of glues, bondaweb strips, an iron and spray starch.
finally the room is covered, just one last strip to join it all together – under the window. Now to start finishing, covering the staples with wooden picture rails and skirting boards and quadrant in the corners. BUT before we finally put the mirror back into position I write this dedication on the chimney breast -I am hoping it will be many many years before this house is sold and some one else uncovers it!
and here I am again before sorting out the rest of the room – flag in place and now to make tiles for the fireplace and then there are the curtains……possibly one more post ?