Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Tom and Vera's garden and some heritage from the North East of England

I've been thinking about this quilt for over a year and have finally made time to start and hopefully complete it sometime very soon.

It's based around my memories of my Grandparents garden in a village near Durham in the North East of England. We visited them every summer and I can remember snippets from the 1970's onwards. Pop (Tom) still worked at the 'pit', he was not working in the mine, but above mending tools and equipment.
He grew prize winning leeks and every meal was home cooked by my Nanny (Vera), she baked date and walnut loaf and coffee cake and I think we ate them out of house and home.
Pops greenhouse was a special place to go, there was a rabbit foot hanging on the hook (!!) to pollinate the tomato flowers. 'Tomato leaf' is my favourite smell for this memory I think, I have to give a leaf a squeeze if I pass one.

Other elements of the quilt are from their past lives and my knowledge of previous houses and some historical elements.

Living in a rather bleak village up on the moors, next too the methodist chapel, with Durham strippy quilts and the proddy rugs hanging on the line.

Hand quilted strippy Quilt
* Strippy quilts and proddy rugs were crafts that I great up with but did not appreciate until it was too late and the family pieces had been given away or dumped. Or so I thought  until found this treasure when my Great Aunt's Glady's (Vera's sister) house was cleared a couple of years ago, I hope that it was made by Minnie at the turn of the last century and graced their front room. I love it and it brings some of my North East history to Milton Keynes.

Back to my fantasy quilt…..

I was inspired by a technique from the fabric manipulation week of the C&G's course I was teaching at the time, very stuffed 3d squares…….lend themselves to represent coal with some black discharge printed fabric.
So I started playing around with coal+gardens+homes+sky and vintage linen and my thoughts that women back in the day who's husbands worked in the pit would have to work very hard to keep the house tidy and clear of soot. With coal fires there was more dust and soot around the house and every surface was scrubbed and an embroidered white doilie with crocheted edge was on every surface. Well it was in my family, I still have the doilies that my Nana (Minnie) made.

Move on one year and I need to make a quilt around a garden theme so here we are, now working with hand pieced hexagons and various textures and colour schemes I want to achieve through the quilt.

Nastursiums played a big part in my memory of that garden - they lend themselves to working with the hexagons, so that's handy with my planning.

I've not started the quilting yet, just have to get it all hand stitched in place before I plan that stage. I am liking the process so far though.