My airing cupboard is big. Big enough to tuck away a multitude of sheets and towels and still have room to spare. Sadly it’s not quite large enough to provide a Famous Five style hiding place during a game of hide and seek but I can live with that.
I was completing the cathartic the Sunday ritual of putting away the freshly-washed bath towels and newly-ironed sheets and I noticed a little bit of colour peeping out from behind all the linens, a tantalising contrast to all that white. I couldn’t resist, I pulled gently and unfurled an unfinished patchwork quilt. I stood and wondered how I’d forgotten something in which I’d invested so much time.
The reason may be that it was one of those projects that never felt quite right. A couple of years ago, I returned from The Festival of Quilts with an advanced case of Amy Butler fever. I’m not usually drawn to big print fabrics but her bold repeats made me swoon. I was unusually reckless and bought a couple of metres of three different fabrics. (Oh the stress of purchasing without purpose and worrying about opting for enough!) Once home the beautiful materials took up residence on the arm of the sofa for several days of stroking and admiring. And there they stayed for some time.
A quilt seemed the best use of such big bold prints, so I set to work on something simple to preserve the patterns. I laid out a simple strip quilt but it just didn’t seem interesting enough, so I was brave and chopped the fabric into large squares and saved some strips to make the border. I was convinced enough to stitch everything together and layer it up ready to quilt by hand. I echoed the squares with the lines of quilting and made it through about half of them. It was looking quite pretty but still wasn’t ‘speaking’ to me. I must have been distracted by making something else as I stopped quilting and folded the poor thing away in the airing cupboard. And there it stayed for some time.
Absence has made my crafting heart grow fonder as I find I like my quilt much more today. I feel quite inspired to carry on with it now. I think the period of storage has actually improved it. It’s developed that lovely crinkle of an older quilt. I love the way the quilting stitches show up on the plain backing fabric and look so different to the front.
A quilt takes such a long time to make, I do hope my new personal technique doesn’t always have to include two years in the airing cupboard to get the best effect.