Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Anti-Quilt

’Tis a ridiculous notion – the one that involves two graphic designers (and three children) meeting at a fabric store. Even when the graphic designer with a small amount of quilting experience, has forewarned the graphic designer with no quilting experience, of the danger of Overwhelmed by Sheer Choice. Both graphic designers will enter the fabric store with a degree of confidence, nonchalance and a solid understanding of colour theory.*

One graphic designer – the one foolish enough to haul along her three offspring, will waftily declare a time limit: “Twenty minutes! Tops!” Yet, it will become apparent to both graphic designers, within thirty-seven seconds; they have bitten off more than they can chew.

All around them, real quilter-types will bustle about the store, throwing thirty fabric combinations together, with confidence and ease. Meanwhile, the graphic designers will freeze with indecision and the three children will punctuate their inevitable, long-haul wait, with huffing and eye-rolls.

Only after the desperate notion of an ‘anti-quilt’ is vetted, will the two designers function sufficiently to select two plain fabrics within fifty minutes. One fabric for the quilt top. One for the quilt back. There is no requirement for the piecing together of any fabrics. None of that daunting co-ordination of floral with stripe, spot with paisley.

There is a palpable sense of relief.

On a roll, the two designers will take but thirty minutes to shortlist from the Liberty fabrics on offer and select one for the binding. One of the children will nap fleetingly under the cutting table.

After eighty minutes, two dazed graphic designers will be evicted from the fabric store by the three desperate (to varying degrees) children. One graphic designer will drive home, in a stunned sort of silence. She will ponder the reasons why the other graphic designer a) claims to enjoy this quilting lark and b) is dumb enough to haul three children to a fabric store. This graphic designer will wonder if the anti-quilt she has commissioned will ever arrive in time for an important birthday.

The other graphic designer will drive home in a stunned sort of silence, as two children threaten calls to Child Services for the Gross Act of Boredom inflicted upon them. The third child will seem quite perky, (after the fleeting nap) and the graphic designer knows this child will punish the Gross Act of Boredom with wakeful vengeance into the wee hours.

Some time later, after the wee hours, the graphic designer with the small amount of quilting experience, will baste the quilt. Some time after that, she will machine-quilt the living daylights out of the thing.

In the true spirit of her notion of an anti-quilt, she will do her best to make things haphazard and rule-bending – even if she doesn’t know any of the Official Rules in the first instance.

She will make many, on-purpose, anti-quilt-type, stitchy mistakes and use kilometres of multi-coloured thread.

The graphic designer will remember, at the very last moment, to stitch the personalised message requested by the other, commissioning, graphic designer.

The Anti-Quilt is finished an uncharacteristic three weeks prior to gifting deadline. Characteristically, both graphic designers leave things to the very pointy end and engage in a panicked, sixteen-mobile-calls-later, top-secret, Spooks-style handover, with a mere handful of gifting hours remaining.


* It took the graphic designer with the small amount of quilting experience, thirty eight years to work out the correct colours of the rainbow, (it turns out THAT song led her well astray) and she has never grasped ANY theories on colour. The other graphic designer, with no quilting experience, could draw you a definitive colour wheel in a snap (but a paisley pattern scares her senseless).

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Click Clack Click Clack (etc)

You’d be forgiven for reckoning, that along with the lapse in regular bloggy activity around these parts, that everything crafty had also taken a flying leap out the nearest window. But you’d be wrong. Admittedly it isn’t the creative sort of activity launched by a nutty notion or a DAMMIT! I AM SO GIVING THAT CRAZY IDEA A WHIRL! Ah – I miss the time for that kind of thinking and mischief and making.

Rather, it’s the therapeutic click clack of the knitting needles, that punctuate the day in tiny blocks of time. As the kettle boils for the hot water bottle (my studio ain’t no Bahamas), the wool weaves its way, the sanity holds and I can kid myself I’ve had some quality ‘me’ time. Excellently, it’s just enough to keep my world on track for weeks at a time.

So, I thought I’d better tackle this knitty malarkey in style! I’ve considered cladding my nearest and dearest (and everyone I know with a birthday) in winter woollies and angsted over online colour selection and stalked the postie waiting for the parcels of yarny goodness to arrive.

I decided way in advance that this yarn and this pattern, (modelled by the eldest), was all sorts of right for this lady. A while ago, I spent a forever knitting a 2ply cardi in the same colour – ahem, worn lots in warmer weather, er, not yet properly blogged – so I knew it well. I stitched that origami-like pattern and thought about who was going to receive it and wondered how they were travelling and hoped they would like it, all the while crafting in loads of care and some heartfelt warm.

A gift to her and to me.

Ravelled here.