Thanks to a gift from a friend, I’ve discovered patchwork and I’m loving it. I have always considered it to be laborious and mind-numbingly technical, but it’s actually surprisingly straightforward. A craft you can accomplish while watching TV, historically done by women as a social pastime, and dating back as far as Egyptian times. I’m finding it quite therapeutic during my current lockdown life.
Essentially patchwork or “pieced work” involves sewing together pieces of fabric into a larger design, usually repeating patterns and geometric shapes. You can patchwork in a random fashion or follow a strict order to create a specific effect. There are names for all these effects like ‘Drunkard’s Path’ and ‘Tulip’, but I’m opting for a more rogue approach as I enjoy a voyage of discovery. The potential is as limitless as the combination of colours and shapes - it’s exciting stuff! I had imagined I would require incredible patience for patchwork, but like knitting, you can pick it up and put it down as and when, and watching it grow is just so satisfying.
Patchwork is the perfect environmentally friendly craft activity, as your fabric of choice could be a torn shirt or in my case, the scraps and off-cuts from costume making. The ideal fabric would be non-stretch and make sure to wash it first so there is no shrinkage once your project is complete. As well as the upcycled benefits of patchwork I love that quilters through the ages have used patchwork and quilting to memorialise the significant moments of our lives: the births, marriages, anniversaries and deaths of loved ones. I’m not quite at the quilt making stage yet, but now that I’ve mastered the technique via online tutorials (and I cannot stress enough how straight forward it is), I see no reason why I couldn’t progress to something more elaborate or large scale. The hexagons (pictured) are intended for a costume project and I’ve used white thread to hilight the stitch technique involved. If you need a kick start why not try the lovely wee kit I was gifted. It contains everything you need to get going and is available from firstname.lastname@example.org.