My first (and only) quilt
In 1995, in a fit of madness, I bought a load of turquoise-and-black craft cotton and pieced together a quilt from simple rectangles. I’d never made a quilt before and my only experience of patchwork had been hand-sewing hexagons together as a child. My 10-year-old self found the whole process of cutting out paper templates and tacking them onto fabric, then assembling the patches with laborious oversewing, just too tedious and it put me right off patchwork. Until one day I came across a book of bold, modern quilts and realised that patchwork doesn’t have to involve templates and can be done with a sewing machine.
Having assembled the quilt top, I then layered it with wadding and a backing fabric, tacked it all in place, bought a walking foot for my machine and set about trying to quilt it from the middle outwards. I soon discovered that I just couldn’t get the middle section under the machine’s arm and I’d have to hand quilt some of it. I managed to do two of the rectangles before giving up and putting it away. A couple of months ago, I thought I’d get it out again and try and finish it before its 20 year anniversary, but I couldn’t find it. But now it has turned up, stored with spare bedlinen in a vacuum bag. I asked a quilt-maker friend over to look at it and she has told me what I need to do to get it completed. Unfortunately, there is no alternative to a fair bit more hand quilting, it would be unbalanced if I gave up now and just tied the layers together, but it somehow doesn’t seem such a daunting prospect as it did before. (That may be because, in the intervening 19 years, I’ve forgotten how slow and tricky I found the hand quilting process.) I must get it done while there is still plenty of good summer daylight, but finishing the gansey had perhaps better take priority.
Have you discovered Freecycle, Freegle and similar web-based recycling groups? They are dedicated to keeping unwanted possessions out of landfill by giving them away to someone who has a use for them. I started off using Freecycle six or seven years ago but now I’m a Freegle user because – I forget why – many UK groups decided to leave Freecycle in 2009. I think there was an issue to do with control from the USA. Anyway, I have disposed of numerous unwanted items through this route, from a futon (remember them?) to leftover fabric. You post a message on the website with a brief description of the item, in a standard format, plus a photo if you can be bothered, and sit back and wait for emails to arrive via the site from people for whom your trash is their treasure. Then you pick who you want to give it to, using any criteria you like, and agree a time and place to hand it over.
Through my local Freegle group I got rid of the old rainwater goods that we replaced recently. They went to a teacher who is building a wet play area for her primary school. To me, small children and house downpipe-sized quantities of water don’t seem like a good mix, but she explained that the kids wear zipped, all-in-one waterproof overalls and love nothing better than splashing about in their wellies. So, I have got rid of a load of old pipes that I would otherwise have had to drive to the tip, PVC has been kept out of landfill, a teacher who is dedicated enough to be thinking about her charges in the summer holidays is happy, and come September, a bunch of local children will have a lot of watery fun at playtime. Wins for everyone, and the environment to boot.
An English-Russian dictionary of knitting terms
I’ve been looking at some Russian knitting patterns in the last few days. I don’t read Russian and I thought at first it would be easy, as there are plenty of multi-language knitting dictionaries available online, such as the one provided by Drops. But Russian isn’t one of the Drops languages and I couldn’t find anything else either, just a few words on one website that weren’t in Cyrillic script so not of much use for deciphering patterns that are. Undaunted, I have put together my own English-Russian knitting dictionary, based on common sense, judicious use of Google translate and some input from a Russian-speaking friend who is unfortunately not a knitter. If anything is wrong or you have some terms to add, let me know and I will update it. What I have learnt from my friend is that the Russian language has several cases and three genders, all of which can affect the endings of nouns and adjectives. Therefore, don’t worry too much if the ending of a word differs in your pattern; instead, check whether the word in my knitting dictionary seems to make sense in the context, and it’ll probably be right if it does.