Thursday, 2 September 2021

What's In A Quilt - 16

 I recently completed my crazy quilt project Crazy for Crazy, and now want to write its history.

It took me about ten weeks (5th Aug - 14th Oct, 2020) to complete block #16, the grey and silver block on the left side of the quilt. It was a stressful time with internet connection problems and a feeling of frustration. Gloomy colours for a gloomy time!

Well actually, grey does not need to be seen as a gloomy shade. It can be elegant, think of the lustre of silver, or the iridescent gleam of mother-of-pearl. It can be modern and high tech, think of a trendy kitchen with electric appliances of brushed stainless steel, and a graphite or marble kitchen counter,  or think of the new smartphones and tablets in space grey. Grey can also be moody or mystic, think of the moon or early morning mist over marshland...

I managed to find a variety of grey in the pieces of fabric I used. On the left with a tone of purple, there is the upholstery plush from my mother's swatch samples, at the top is a dark velveteen I used for a quilt I made to celebrate my 50th birthday, below it is a piece of polyester for lining, it is being held down with Buttonhole Bars in metallic thread. The piece of brocade is from a ball gown by seamstress Mrs I, but I used the back of the fabric, the top has gold where the dark graphite is. There is a piece of blue toned silk which comes from the remains of a pall I made for my parish church in Sweden. Finally appliquéd on top is a small piece of bead weaving.

This geometric medallion design was woven by my husband's aunt. Throughout her life she was engaged in one form of craft or another. Like all girls born in 1920s she was taught to make her own yukatas (cotton kimonos), sashiko dish cloths and tea towels. Later I think she tried her hand at kumihimo on a floor stand to make obijime braids for kimonos. This was before I came to live in Japan, so I am not certain who made the braids... There was a period she knitted by hand, then she learned machine knitting, she took dressmaking lessons and sewed us all all sorts of clothes, next was leather craft, which was followed by mesh work (coloured nylon mesh used for tights and stockings is stretched over a shape made of fine metal wire and formed into ornaments and brooches). 

Then came an obsession of accessory making with beads, and that led to the next step, bead weaving. By this time she was beginning to show signs of dementia. There were spills of beads all over the house, I think there were more beads in the hoover than in the loom. Finally, over night, she forgot ALL about her craft, she had NO idea what all the tools or material were for or who had made the numerous items found all around our home. 

Eventually I took over much of her stash, but have used it differently. The nylon mesh ended up in many of my stumpwork portraits, as you can see here. The beads have found their way into my embroidery, and in this grey crazy quilt block a piece of an incomplete medallion necklace was used. It was tricky to remove it from the little beading loom, but I am glad I did as I wanted to honour Auntie's lifetime of crafting in this block.

There is no lace and only one braid on this block. I added, though, a Raised Daisy ring made with silver metallic thread - a nightmare to work with. The Raised Daisy ring is time-consuming to make whatever thread you use, but it is well worth the effort. Learn it from Mary Corbet here.

Before I was satisfied with the block I felt it needed some contrast, so I added a few details in red - beads, a Buttonholed Ring with an edge of Fly Stitch...

Thank you Auntie, for letting me write about your crafts, many thanks also to: Mrs I, Mary Corbet, Mother, Nacka Parish, Sharon's TAST challenge, and all my readers.


  1. Nice tribute to your husband’s aunt.

  2. Just think of the delight your husband's aunt must have given so many people with her assorted crafts!

  3. What great tribute to your Auntie.

  4. Your Hexie is lovely, the stories behind each item is worth reading - Especially Auntie's history of achievements. Sharing that is a great tribute to her.

  5. Your Grey and Silver block is a beauty! And the story behind it is inspiring, thanks for sharing.
    The bead medallion is a treasure, as well as is the raised Daisy Ring.

  6. That is such a beautiful block. The medallion is a work of art and the Daisy ring is gorgeous in silver!


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