The Puzzling Re-appearance Of An Untitled Work In Progress

At least 10+ years ago, I’m sure, I bought a large piece of a cotton batik print in lovely earthy colours that might possibly be African, and could have been on sale at an art quilt conference, symposium or auction; but unusually for me, I really can’t remember where I got it! But anyway, I have have used some of it in my pieced designs from time to time, and still have about 1.5 m of it intact. Clearly I was inspired to use some of it in this quilt based on variations of a simple cross motif. Some blocks feature the fabric and others feature units cut from black leather. Now, a lot of work had already gone into this quilt before, and for a reason which I don’t remember, I folded it all up and put it in the cupboard, where it has lurked ever since. I was always aware it was there, but during that time I had never taken it out and looked at it, until last week.

That work included marking out a ~15cm square grid of 6 x 8 squares with machine stitching, so the grid is reasonably regular but ‘loose’. I had drawn outlines of all the varied shapes to be used, and those were hand cut from fabric or black leather. Once each block’s pieces were set in place they were individually machine appliqued, and when every block contained something, the whole quilt was layered and pinned together for hand quilting. I had already completed quilting several blocks before I folded it away; so clearly my original intent was to sew a highly textured pattern of french knots and stemmed french knots – two of my favourite stitches. For whatever the reason I abandoned it relatively late in the process, that was unusual for me.

Last week I came across it and took it out, thinking that if I need a large piece of my favourite wool batting while the pandemic is still on, I could unpick the quilting, salvage and re-use the batting and backing pieces, and simply fold up this stupid top and put it back in the cupboard.

Today, though, looking up at it on my wall, I have to say

  • I actually rather like it
  • have no reason why I shunned it
  • I have almost no recollection of making it, but
  • of course it is my work
  • I will not unpick anything
  • and one day I will resume the quilting and finish it.

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