Friday, September 13, 2013

Quilt and the woods


When your old granny and mine were rocking beside the stove patching quilts from scraps in the workbasket, they went about making a quilt like this by cutting out squares and then arranging them in a pleasing manner and then stitching them together, one at a time.  You might make one quilt a year at that rate, which, while it has the appeal of being a Big Project, is no way to get anything done.  Then somebody along the way figured out strip-piecing, and hoo!  Magic.  Now this takes two days, instead of two hundred, depending of course on the state of your sewing machine.  (Miss K is feeling great!  Hooray!)  I have come across this technique in books over the years and it never quite made sense until I saw this, which led to this pattern, when it clicked. 


I don’t have a design wall, so as I worked on the squares, I pinned them to the cupboard, and it was so exciting to watch the design come together. With just a little bit of careful measuring and cutting, I got a quilt that looks like I spent a year arranging tiny two-inch squares.  Seriously, that’s fantastic.  I hand quilted it in big stitches with #5 perle cotton and a crewel needle, working across every other row of squares in both directions.  The palette is somewhat subdued, so I finished it with a fuchsia binding, just to keep it interesting.  The finished quilt is 60” x 60”, which is too small for a bed, but which is perfect for napping and picnics. 


It appears here in what must be a quilt’s natural habitat—a cozy cabin in the woods.


Doesn’t it look right at home there? I felt right at home there, myself, I can tell you.

A word about camping.  I hate it.  Camping means mosquitoes, and dirt, and sleeping on the ground, and washing dishes in a bucket, and eating a cold sandwich in the rain, and figuring out where to pee in the dead of night, and I am a princess and I like nice hotels. 


Or you can do it this way.  Leave the sleeping bags at home, and bring soft sheets, quilts and blankets, real dishes, lanterns and fairy lights.  Which has kind of changed my mind about camping.  I started trying to figure out ways to stay forever.  It rained.  I didn’t care.  My man hung up those fairy lights using a tack he found in the woods.  He did that while I was up the hill at the shower, and when I came back it looked like this.  He said, “Now you can see to knit.”  Oh man.  He totally gets me. 



I brought two pairs of shoes to the woods.  Hiking boots and ballet flats, one of which is pretty inappropriate camping footwear, but you know what?  I like them. 


I wore the boots on the serious hikes, but I wore the ballet flats to shinny down that cliff to the river.  Yes, I did. 



Worth it. 






The woods at night are dark and deep.  You see nothing, and unless you make some light, there isn’t any, not from anywhere.  If there is a moon, you don’t know it.  Lantern light casts a small circle.  We could hear nothing but the river, rushing and churning below, constant and busy against its rocks, and a little bit of distant thunder.  Cozy, cozy, cozy.  We slept until 10:00.  Why not?