I’ve not been able to write about this because it was a secret, but for the best part of this year so far my life has been completely and  overwhelmingly consumed by a quilt.

I have thought about this quilt, problem solved around this quilt, emailed about this quilt, cut out squares of fabric for this quilt, shopped for this quilt, spoken at length to friends about this quilt, produced instructions on how to make this quilt, and then stitched and stitched and stitched this quilt until I developed what I’m hoping is RSI in my left index finger and not early onset rheumatoid arthritis.

I, along with 15 other girls, have been making a quilt.

It began as a bright idea in January. January, a month known for its gloom, its absence of spending money and therefore a social life, and for its resolutions. We collectively made this crazy resolution that when our friend W got married in July, it would be BRILLIANT and AMAZING to give her a quilt as a wedding gift, because she LOVES quilts and it will mean A LOT to her.

W also loves hearts, so we found what we thought would be a relatively simple heart pattern and each of us set to work making a square for the quilt with a heart motif.

When I was a little girl we were always making things. It was part of my mum’s cunning plan to keep us all completely occupied. ‘Where’s that lacemaking kit?’ she’d ask ‘You’ve not had a go on that for a while.’ Lacemaking, spinning, friendship bracelet making, spin painting, crochet and the ultimate craft Knitting Nancy, my sisters and I made and made and made stuff that we’d never use or keep, purely for the occupation of making.

I am not a little girl anymore, and I hadn’t factored this into the making of the quilt. Little girls have lots of time, leisure that needs to be filled with something other than being naughty. Big girls do not have lots of time. They are too busy trying to find the leisure to be naughty.

Nevertheless, we all stitched and sewed furiously by hand and by machine and made W a quilt. Just in time for her wedding six months later, a few days ago, on a glorious July day.

I have thought about little else for months so I could write and write and write. Suffice it to say, a quilt is a community project – it’s too much for one person alone to tackle in a short space of time. And although W’s quilt is made up of 16 squares, many hands worked to produce it – hands of mothers-in-law and friends and sisters – and advice was sought from people in shops, sewing enthusiasts, old time quilters and the great resource that is the web (specifically Cherry Menlove – thank you).

We live in different places, we have different lives, but somehow in spite of time and geography (or maybe because of time and geography) that rare and beautiful thing of lasting friendship has emerged.

Like multi-coloured squares in a quilt, we’re all stitched in together, brought side by side by sharing our hearts with one another.


3 responses to “Quilt

  1. It wasn’t just to keep you occupied, you gained some very useful skills, as is very evident in the photos of this beautiful quilt. I’m sure W will appreciate it for many years to come.

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