Thursday, 13 August 2015

Daisy's back from the NEC but I didn't get a biscuit!

Sometimes it's hard to get out of bed in a morning. You know what I mean..

Now this post is about why Daisy, went to the NEC. It wasn't only to look at all the lovely fabrics and to see what people had made. No, Daisy, went to look at one quilt in particular. One that was entered by...

This quilt was made, with help from Daisy, in one of her classes. Well I say one, but there is a story attached to this quilt and one I'd like to tell you all about.

So get a cup of tea/coffee, or in my case a bowl of water, a biscuit and one for me of course, and settle down.

Quilting came out of the make do and mend spirit, old pieces of clothes that could no longer be worn were sewn into something useful. Because of this each quilt had story some of which are still handed down in some families. This quilt was made by Nina for her son.

This is Nina, hi Nina, with the finished quilt. Nina, will be the first to admit that there were times when she didn't think that she would be able to achieve something like this. Daisy, on the other hand loved the challenge.

Our story begins when Nina, came to class with an idea, one that was very personal to her. She wanted to make her son a quilt because he was leaving the Army after what seemed like a lifetime and beginning a new life as a civilian. To mark this she wanted to make a quilt that documented his life in the Army with pieces of his kit and badges showing where he had served.

There was a problem though. She didn't have a pattern or any idea where to start. Daisy, on the other hand saw a possibility of making something very special indeed. 

I say there was  A problem, but they didn't stop there. The quilt had to be a secret, so that makes problem number two. The kit only arrived in dribs and drabs as the quilt was being made, problem number three. 

Are you seeing a pattern here?

The badges had to be sewn on in the right order and the right way up with the correct ribbons, problems four and five. Poor Nina's fingers suffered as she tried to stitch them on by hand.  After much struggling they discovered they could use a leather needle on the sewing machine and it worked like a dream!. And the list goes on.

With a lot of help from Nina's, husband Roy, who could tell Nina which ribbons went where after years in the Army himself, the centre piece of the quilt began to take shape.

While Daisy, held the rather fluid design in her head, Nina, sat and sewed her heart into the quilt. Over the weeks bits of kit would arrive and Nina would bring them into the class and Daisy would see which piece would look best where and balance the whole thing out.

Sometimes weeks would go by and nothing would come through the post and Nina would have to work on something else. Her son was getting out of the Army in August this year and he was too busy sorting things out to send anything, it wasn't his fault that he was holding things up.

Everything in this quilt is from his Army kit, I know I've said that before but it's just mind boggling of a little dog.  The mixture of Khaki and teeshirts, with badges of where he's served where spread out of the floor each time a new delivery arrived and positions would be found for each piece.

Afghanistan and Iraq are bother on there, although those of you that know your Army insignia will already have spotted that. The quilt began to take on a life of it's own. It began to grow and become something organic. As you can see from the picture Nina, could hold it up in her out stretched arms. That wasn't going to happen again.

This is the finished quilt and it still holds a secret, but before I tell you that, just look at all the work that has gone into it. Nina can't even hold it on her own now. Daisy had the idea of leaving the pockets on some of the fabric so that Nina could sew his regimental tie onto it and make it look like it was hanging out of the pocket. She even sewed his Army Cadet tie onto the quilt, something they had saved and it also showed where his story began all those years ago. 

Now we come to problem number six, yes there was yet another problem, and that was how to back the quilt? By now it was so big and they didn't have enough bits left to sew together. Again Daisy, came to the rescue. Her idea was to take the inners from his old sleeping bags and sew them together to make the back. She even had the great idea of leaving the hood on one of them so the he could wrap himself up in the quilt and wear the hood.

Then came the question what would they store the quilt in? That again was solved by Daisy, who said a pair of his trousers rejigged would make a lovely bag.

Complete with his name on there.

After it was completed and Nina had given it to her son everyone in the class thought that it should be entered into this years Festival of Quilts. Nina, had to get her sons' permission because of all the badges on it but he said yes and it was duly entered.

It was well received by everyone who saw it, even making a couple of people cry. It didn't win a prize, they gave the reason as the lack of quilting, however it was quilted in the ditch which should be invisible!

But that wasn't the reason this quilt was designed and made. It done from a loving mother to her son, glad he had come home in one piece safe and sound, and to remind him of all the times, good and bad, and friends who had shared his life.

This is what quilting is all about at it's heart.

Just let me wipe a tear away. I'm sorry but I need a minute.

Well my bowl is empty and so is your cup so I'll leave you now with this thought.

If the ball was so precious, why do you keep throwing it away? 

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