Glorious patchwork

Patchwork of squares and hexagns

Some people are never seen without pen or pencil in their hands – or if you’re the vicar it’s a whole assortment of writing implements both in hand and spilling out of an overful shirt pocket. For other people permanent attachment comes in the form of  a can of Diet Coke, a glass of wine or a cigarette (though less and less with the cigarette nowadays, thank goodness). My children are permanently attached to their mobile phones – to the extent that they have few clocks in their houses and 3 out of 4 wear no watch. With me my particular passion attaches me to a needle (or needles since I took up knitting) and I am frequently  quilted with a bosom full of pins as well. I expected no inheritance of this acquired characteristic so I have been delighted that at least 2 of my 4 children have come to enjoy needlework almost as much as I do (I suspect daughter No 1 may also quite like it too but it’s not a priority for her right now.)

Detail of patchwork of squares and hexagons

Daughter No 3 is making the patchwork shown here into a computer case for daughter No 2 (at present working in Erbil in Iraq and likely to stay there for sometime since the Kurd’s recent vote for independence has panicked the government into closing the airport until the 29th of December). Daughter No 2 is meanwhile working on a quilt for granddaughter No 1, her new niece but we have seen no pictures of this. Where quilts are concerned I’m a bit of a purist. I like to see them on beds or on walls. This smallish patchwork has hooked me – eyes and brain rove rapidly over it seeking connections among the chopped up patterns of fabrics held within a not always visible grid. I’d really prefer to see it on a wall, looking at it is so soothing, almost meditative. But as it’s not mine to give I’ll content myself with photographs.

Detail of patchwork of squares and hexagons

To celebrate the last day of daughter No 1’s maternity leave, four of us (daughters 1 & 3 and youngling No 2) went to Ottolenghi’s Islington eaterie for lunch (jewel bright salads, in fact something of edible patchwork delighting sight, smell, taste – and even touch if you’re  5 months old and curious with it).  The restaurant is very good about babies – there was already one horizontal in a pram as we entered and another came in just behind us. If you’re early and it’s not madly busy they’ll always find you an end of table where a pram or buggy  can be near but not causing an obstruction. Our baby was delighted with a new social milieu; she spent the meal upright, out of the buggy, busy about her self-appointed task of catching people’s eyes and flirting wherever possible. One woman, dining alone nearby was particularly smiley. I had taken out some hand sewing and as she left she chatted about the joy of making things. Her family were great makers too, in fact, she said, her daughter had a shop nearby selling wools and such like, we might have heard of it. Did we know Loop?! ! We asked her where she lived. “Manhattan … no, I mean Muswell Hill. I haven’t lived in Manhattan for  16 years!”  A brief and delightful encounter –  yeast in the bread of urban living.

Detail of patchwork of squares and hexagons

An old fashioned English patchwork done on papers, left over Liberty fabrics are mixed in with bits of her father’s old shirts, several Vietnamese fabrics and the odd piece of Japanese fabric from Berwick Street.

Slightly wonky photo of bound quilt

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  1. Posted October 13, 2017 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    It sounds as though your youngling charmed all and sundry! I’ve found that making things in public does often result in some very pleasant exchanges.

    • Mary Addison
      Posted October 20, 2017 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

      I almost always have some knitting or patchwork tucked away in my handbag ready for train journeys or waiting for a meal in a restaurant and as often as not someone will start asking you about it – an additional pleasure to doing it in the first place.

  2. Amara Bray
    Posted October 18, 2017 at 4:21 am | Permalink

    Did you know Loop?!? Wow. Brush with fame there ?. Such a lovely combination of fabrics in that patchwork! When there is a baby around, I am usually the extra smiley lady. Mine are growing up and I am still years away from grandchildren. I am very baby hungry!

    • Mary Addison
      Posted October 20, 2017 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

      Loop is very wonderfully just down the road from daughter No 1’s house and staff there have been phenomenally helpful when I’ve hit a knitting problem. One rainy Friday I spent all afternoon sitting knitting on their sofa in the upstairs room as various kind people took me through a whole series of problems the pattern presented. The only problem with Loop, the shop, is that the doorway is very narrow with a couple of steep steps so I can never visit with a buggy.
      I must say it’s every bit as pleasurable being a grandparent as everybody says and I’m quite happy to be the smiley person anchored by the baby in the corner of the room – or equally building a Lego zoo on the floor (the zoo on the floor, not me!)

  3. Anne Hill
    Posted October 20, 2017 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    Lovely colours. I sometimes think scrap quilts are my favourites. Are the little square appliqued onto the hexagons or is it all pieced? Obviously some talents are indeed inherited.


    • Mary Addison
      Posted October 20, 2017 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

      It’s all pieced over papers, Anne. Each octagon is made up of four hexagons and the square. I love it.

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