Tag Archives: patchwork

Symmetry in the quilt

0029The quilt in place on the bed January 2015

0003To aid the story telling in the quilt, as well as to please the eye, the design includes deliberate grouping of the motifs to give sections that are almost but not perfectly symmetrical.  Rather than aim for perfect symmetry and not quite achieve it, which can look jarring, I took advice to slightly offset from symmetry and precise aligning, so that the viewer’s eye is led on a journey.

quilt symmetry drawingThe quilt almost has reflectional symmetry along its longest axis from pillow to foot of the quilt. There is a line of symmetry going through it which divides it into two pieces which are mirror images of each other. Within that, the two strips either side of the centre strip are arranged with rotational symmetry with regard to each other. I also moved pairs of squares within the strips so that a motif moves across the quilt while retaining its shape and orientation. In addition, I choose in places to break the symmetry and have sequences of patches instead. The mix of symmetry and asymmetry reflects the story of the quilt as I have made repeated journeys to some places and only single journeys to other places over the years I have been making the quilt.

You can find more on symmetry in: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Symmetry#Scale_symmetry_and_fractals

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Will you believe the beauty I’ve known?

Walking in the forest I hear the tui and bellbirds call:0014

Around me in the damp warmth dragonflies swarm

And mosses grow.

Walking by the mountain river I see the water leap:0008

Around me in the cool air lichen grows

And fishes weave.

Walking on the beach I taste the salt wind:0007

Around me in the hot light the wild gulls call

And waves tumble.

Walking through the gardens I smell the spicy trees:0016

Around me in the park friends walk and talk

And flowers bloom.

Walking by the quilt I touch the journeys I have made:0029

Around me in the quiet room memories swirl

And happiness flows.


Love the quilt, fear the quilt

This is the story of a quilt; a patchwork quilt that is still not quite finished, which has been many years in the making.

On 30th December 2014, I wrote a note to myself “Today I could be finishing the quilt, but the prospect is too alarming – at this point I could make an unrecoverable mistake, and 10 years effort would be destroyed.

Or is that too dramatic? It is a patchwork quilt, so any gross errors could be patched…

Maybe the fear is a fear of finishing, or of finishing but making small mistakes that detract from the whole work. Maybe it is a fear of what other people will say about the quilt, and maybe it is a fear of what project I will undertake next.

Later that day when I was working on the quilt, I did make an error of judgement and technique, which felt unrecoverable.

When trimming some excess of the wadding at one edge, I managed to get some extra material caught into the wadding and so cut a slice through the patchwork. After initial anger and despair at how stupid I had been, I realised that all I could do now was repair-patch it. Having made that mistake and repaired it, I decided to just go for it. I laid out the quilt, tacked it, and finally I sewed the edges. At last – a usable quilt!

In fact, if I had not made that mistake, I probably would not have been able to finish the edges. I still would not have a usable quilt.

Lately it has been cold, the quilt is on the bed, and in use. It is warm, cosy, and lovely to look at. It has flaws, but it works. A friend said to me today, “Are you really done with it? Or will you still fiddle with it?”  Honestly? I think once the weather warms up, I will be working on hand sewing some more areas of detailed quilting; we will see!

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The quilt on the bed

The story of the quilt has many strands. It has been an adventure in time and space, taking place in the physical world and in my imagination. When I made that mistake I thought “I love the quilt, and I fear that my technique is not good enough to finish it well.” But I did get it to a usable state. Now I have some posts planned about how I designed and made the quilt, and the story it tells.