Origami Girl

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

In which everything is patchwork

I love seeing peeks at other people's houses and collections so I thought I'd share a little something of my home and my most beloved things. We have 4 patchwork quilts. I would say that with something so rare and labour intensive that constitutes a collection. It's also something a little unusual to own, especially in the UK. I remember the flat inspector at university giving my a lecture on how special it was for me to have this quilt. It was nice of her to like it, although a little rude to tell me because I already loved it.

Three of our quilts were made by my mother who has made dozens I am sure in loads of different styles. She does lots of sewing and has this amazing 'quilting cupboard' which looks like a wardrobe and folds out like a small room when you open it, with tables that fall down, and massive drawers of fabric, shelves of books and the sewing machine just slides out. It's pretty magical to see if you are even a little into sewing.

I used to do a fair bit of sewing myself but I linger though fazes in arts and then get bored of them. Sadly my beloved sewing machine has sat under my desk for a long time now. However, as Halloween is approaching it may be time to get it out again and make a brand new costume and really put some effort into it. If only I could decide what!

Quilt 1. The childhood quilt. I saw the pattern for this in a library book when I was in infant school and begged her to make me a farm quilt with little flappy animal ears. This was covering my bed for years, and when I got embarrassed by the farm them I switched it over to the flower backing on the other side.

The full farmyard, with ears that flap and button apples.

Quilt 2. The birthday quilt. On each of our 18th birthdays my siblings and I got a quilt. For most of my youth, and still a fair bit now, I was obsessed with Native Americans. My room was decorated in cultural appropriation... depending how you want to see it. As a child I played with Playmobil Indians, as a teenager I had paintings of wolves and dream catchers on my wall, as an adult I read about the mythology and I do still love Hopi dolls and Native American art. Anyhow, this quilt was inspired by Hopi designs and I absolutely love it to bits. This is currently our snuggling-during-films-on-the-sofa quilt.

This is the signature to mark it was for my birthday.
This style here is called a 'feathered star' and it is one of my favourite quilting techniques. The figure in the middle is kokopelli who is a fertility deity and a trickster. I have a necklace of him too. A pretty ubiquitous symbol in Arizona where we spent some time.
Quilt 3.  This one is more Andy's quilt but now we are married everything he has is mine! Hahahah. Well technically we all own each other's stuff. Anyway, this quilt was made by stealing all of his t-shirts. His mother took them all away and gave them someone who made them into a quilt so it would last longer. They are t-shirts for orchestra and all the school clubs he has been involved with. It's very sweet.


Quilt 4.The wedding quilt. My parents gave Andy and I two beautiful handmade things. My Dad painted a portrait of the two us at the abbey we got married in (hung on our wall) and my mum made us a quilt with a fan patten, made out of Japanese fabrics. This matches the other obsession that grew in my teens which is that of Japan and Japanese culture, something we both love. Hence the Totoro you know. I love this quilt and the rich colours in it so much. It's also a quilt that has both our names on it, and I love that too.

Big Totoro, little Totoro and Sonic who sit on our bed. The Totoros usually stay in at night, as the big one is actually more of a cushion. So soft!
Close up of the fan technique.

I love the signature my mum puts on the quilts. And the double hearts.
So there you go, some of my favourite possessions. Do you like them? Do you have a patchwork quilt? Does it have a story behind it?


  1. These are beautiful and so full of heart.

  2. These are so amazing, I can't imagine the work put into them! I love that they all have stories behind them.

  3. What extraordinary, beautifully made, exquisite, intensely personal quilts (I could just keep going with the list of adjectives as they are truly incredible). Such special markers of major life stages too: childhood, turning 18, marriage... Your mother is clearly an exceptionally gifted quilt-maker and designer. Loved the description of her quilting cupboard too.

  4. Wow, what beautiful quilts! I remember getting into patchwork at one point when I was about 9 but got a bit impatient with it haha. I admire anyone who does such an amazing job!

    xx Carina