Last year at one of the Kirstenbosch markets, I met Corinne. She was planning a trip to New Zealand to see her family this year, and wanted to have bedspreads specially made for each of her 10-year old twin granddaughters.
A bit of sorting and printing and fabric painting later, here we have vibrant purples and pinks for Erin and gentler greens and greys for Sami (if you look, you can see the squares with their names on).
Unfortunately, the New Zealand trip is off because Corinne has been undergoing serious back surgery and has a while to recover, but the girls should get them within the next 12 months.
Corinne’s friend came to my house to collect them on Sunday afternoon and, since she and I have had many conversations by phone and email, I had expected to hear from her quite soon. Sunday, nothing. Monday, nothing. Tuesday – well, by Tuesday I had convinced myself that she loathed the bedspreads but couldn’t bring herself to tell me. I had visions of removing and replacing certain squares, or even making entirely new ones. Tuesday evening – phone call! The friend had been too busy with his work and other commitments to get them to Corinne until then, and SHE LOVED THEM BOTH, especially that none of the fabrics were “kiddy-ish” or old-fashioned. Ah, the relief!
I never used to get stressed unnecessarily like this (the customer had approved all fabrics and colours via whats app pics before I even touched a pair of scissors), so I’m wondering if it’s an age thing, or an anxiety thing? Or both. Or neither. I’ll try not to spend too long thinking about it…..
No, you’re not seeing double. There are two throws here folded in half but each one actually measures 140 by 190 cm, which is what the lovely Italian couple ordered :) They found me at the last Kirstenbosch Craft Market and this was a special order. White elephants (elefanti!) printed on grey denim, mixed in with blues and whites and some neutrals.
Andrea and Martina divide their time between Cape Town and Italy (poor things) and this morning I delivered the throws and so got to see their beautiful 200-year old house in one of the City Bowl’s older suburbs, which they have renovated with exquisite flair. I was actually quite flattered that they wanted to find a place for my patchwork in amongst their European styling and modern look.
We’ve had a little bit of rain here, not enough to make a difference to the dam levels, but the garden is looking a bit less thirsty. To wake up yesterday to the sound of rain falling was like a gift from heaven.
I’ve been through a dormant period lately (inert? low? uninspired?…something like all of those…) but I’ve felt better in the last couple of days. Autumn helps, as does the support of good friends, who always see me through the lousy times. You know who you are – xxx
I was very disappointed to discover that the grey-water system in the new house only links to two bathrooms (one of which is seldom used). I couldn’t understand why so little water was coming out every day, as the washing machines (yes, two of them!) are in near-constant use, and also a hell of a lot of washing-up gets done around here. (Don’t look at me, and don’t ask. Just don’t).
So, under even tighter water restrictions, Rob fiddled around with some of the water outlet pipes and we now have an efficient – albeit rudimentary – “system”, involving lots of different-sized buckets carefully positioned over various drains. Twice a day, I decant from the bigger buckets into smaller buckets and go staggering round the garden with them trying to keep the plants alive. It’s very bad timing to have tendonitis in my right arm but how can you not use your right arm ffs, so I keep on regardless.
I don’t know how I got started on this, actually, but clearly I am obsessed with trying to get my garden growing the way I want it!! — I was planning to show you Ruth’s bedspread, which still needs a backing but will be ready in time for the market on Saturday.
She asked for shocking pink and navy, with a lighter blue and some grey here and there. I didn’t have anything useable in bright pink, so bought 2 metres of mediumweight linen and spread it out over the kitchen counter to break the solidity of it with some printing in whites and grey.
She’s also asked to make some little fabric containers – I guess something like this (found here), so I’ll have some fun playing around with that idea today.
We have woken up to a wonderful downpour and the sound of good solid drops of skywater crowd-smacking onto the roof. The sky is a beautiful steel grey and it’s a cool crisp 16 degrees. I rushed outside to feel some water on me, and there I saw Ken had beaten me to it – that’s him doing his happy little rain dance, albeit on his side.
It isn’t due to last long but it certainly is marvellous right now.
Here’s a bedspread I started last night, after finishing the neutral Swiss one. I was desperate to work with some very vibrant colours :)
Back soon x
Andrea’s bedspread: this afternoon I finished stitching the panels together (12 by 13 of them, to make 300 by 280cm) and topstitching, and tomorrow I’ll tackle the back. I had to spread it out over the dining table and chairs to get it all in one photo, and even then I couldn’t manage it.
There are some guinea fowl in grey, and some in brown, and a few proteas, and a bit of other handprinteds here and there, the rest is a combination of light to medium weight upholstery fabrics, mainly cottons.
This is for Andrea’s guest bedroom, and she specifically wanted neutral colours. Did I mention she is Swiss? Am I the only one who finds this amusing?
Not much to show for the last few days. There’s been so much shit happening on so many political levels here, the sense of impending major chaos is draining. And it never rains but it pours – other emotional taxes have been weighing heavily, too. The upside (if it can be called that) to all this is that one tends to find greater pleasure in the smaller things…a sweet goodnight whatsapp from Alex, new buds on the new hydrangeas and gazanias, Col’cacchio’s divine pizza on the couch with Rob to accompany the final episode of One Of Us, lots of lovely birthday wishes from friends…nothing to be taken for granted.
But I did manage to [almost] finish two things: (a) an order from a friend in Somerset West for a patchwork throw for his bed;
212 by 255 cms of browns and creams and greys and honeys, with a bit of mustard and blue for contrast. I’ve used fairly heavyweight upholstery fabrics and I can barely lift the damn thing. I’ve started on the second one for him, a larger but lighter-weight one in yellows and creams and mustards.
and (b) a blanket for my own bed, started 5 years ago and forgotten about until I had to pack up house. A row here and a row there and before I knew it, the thing was huge!
Not sure whether to work a row or two of dc down the sides or not, just can’t decide. It doesn’t look right, but it also doesn’t look right without anything. Also really really heavy. And also all the ends to sew in.
I’m getting all patchworky. And I’m blaming Kate. My first two bedspreads were large irregular squares and rectangles and some strips. Nice, she said, but try cutting smaller squares because then you can fit in more contrasting fabrics. And what do you know, I’m hooked!
Side one and side two of a bright reddy-orangey mix, four strips of 10 squares each so far. I’ve opted for 10-inch squares because it seems like a manageable size. Not too big, not too small. Yay for the rotary cutter and cutting mat. If the house started burning down, they are now the first two items I would grab. (Sorry, cats.)
Maggie asks if I will be quilting the bedspread. It’s a short answer – No. There will be no batting and no fancy-pants stitching designs. There will be a lightweight cotton backing and topstitching round the edge. I know my limits!