Home is Where the Quilt Is

As anticipated, this has been a weak of cleansing. I’ve officially moved back home, cleaned and organized every inch of my bedroom. It’s an incredibly gratifying feeling. Of course, part of reintegrating myself into a new (well, not really new, but somewhat neglected) space and feeling settled involves surrounding myself with quilts/quilt-related objects. For instance, my bed-area is now a lovely conglomeration of patchwork items, including two quilts made by each of my grandmothers (one on the wall, one on the bed) and my own giant pillow:

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I also decided that the doorway to my bedroom should represent its inhabitant so, naturally, I covered it in quilts. Finally, I’ve put some of the weekly mini quilts to use!

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Which brings me to this week’s mini quilt (already hanging on my door).  In honor of this week’s cleansing return to my home, good old Wellington House (named in honor of its first owner in 1840, Augustus Wellington), this week’s mini-quilt is of my house:

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Per usual, I took the scrappy approach, no measuring involved. This explains the slanted, ramshackle look. But this piecemeal approach also gives the quilt character and, believe me, my house has lots of character.

I didn’t anticipate having much time to quilt while performing what felt like a total overhaul on my living space. I’m pleased to report that I was wrong. In fact, life these days has consisted of a lovely balance of practical and pleasurable; mornings spent quilting, afternoons spent cleaning.  The result? I finished piecing together all of the 35 squares for my Essay Quilt and have written on six of them!

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I have to admit, I’m not used to my quilting time consisting of a sharpie pen and piles of books, but I love it just the same (I’m also undertaking numerous side projects that enable me to get my sewing fix). I love flipping through good books and picking out random passages. Sometimes they’re meaningful, other times just interesting or odd, even funny. So far, these are the books I’ve chosen from:

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The Forest People and The Mountain People by Collin Turnbull, The Red Queen by Matt Ridley, What the Buddha Taught by Walpola Rahula, Howards End by E.M. Forster, Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert, Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen, An American Childhood by Annie Dillard, Quilting Lessons by Janet Catherine Berlo, and Light on Yoga by BKS Iyengar. These selections have a lot to do with availability, books that I could actually track down, which means many of them are relatively recent reads. Though at first I was going to stick to non-fiction, I couldn’t resist sneaking in Howard’s End and thus Water for Elephants was also admitted. The Red Queen might seem like an odd choice (it’s about the evolutionary history of sexuality) but you’d be surprised by the fascinating passages imbedded in there. A couple of the books reveal my flirtation with Eastern philosophy. I hesitated about letting in Eat, Pray, Love since it’s a little trendy, but I can’t deny that Elizabeth Gilbert’s journey truly struck a chord the first time I read it. I also wasn’t sure about Quilting Lessons since I thought a book about quilting was rather obvious, but in the end it was too good to resist. I may add more, but for now this is what I’m working with.

This ‘pleasurable’ time also involves relaxing evenings of wine and movies… and thus plenty of knitting. I tried to sway myself into an entirely new project, but domino knitting has a strong hold on me right now. So, I put my brother’s fabulous graduation gift (a gift certificate to Woolcott & Co.) to good use and bought every shade of brown, grey, white and black Cascade that I could find. The Neutral Domino Stole has begun. However, I couldn’t make it too neutral so I’m spicing things up a bit with differently-patterned squares. Some are solid or done in garter stitch, some have thinner or thicker stripes. I’m keeping things interesting:

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Now, I pretty much always use circular knitting needles regardless of the size of the project. I find your work is much less likely to slide off in transportation and by now my hands are so used to the way they feel, straight needles are slightly awkward. So imagine my utter delight upon receiving my grandmother’s graduation gift of Denise Interchangeable Knitting Needles:

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These are simply brilliant. I tend to be behind the times on fancy knitting gear (I spend enough money on yarn alone) but did anyone else know that these exist?!? You chose which size needle you want, then snap on the cord in between, choosing from multiple lengths. Like I said, brilliant. Of course, I’ve been using these (with the smallest cord insert) on the Neutral Domino Stole, therefore putting both graduation gifts to good use at once. Another long, companion project has begun.

Though Welllington House is and always will be my number one home (since I was around eight months old), I’ve also been looking for an apartment starting in the fall. Lexington is wonderful, but it’s also great to have somewhere right on the T and close to downtown Boston (Davis Square is our current goal). This means that part of my home cleanse has involved raiding the family basement for old dishes, cookware, tablecloths, etc. for furnishing my own place. I’m ending up with a wonderful patchwork of items such as random mismatched coffee mugs and napkins. I’ve also uncovered a few treasures and so far these top the list:

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My heart basically skipped a beat when I saw these beautiful quilted placemats made by my grandmother! They’re exactly the sort of thing I want in my own home, even better that they come from family and already have a history of their own. I can’t wait to decorate a kitchen around their lovely blue and red hues. Basically, whenever and however I can integrate patchwork into the space around me, I feel at right at home.

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1 Comment

Filed under history, knitting, quilting

One response to “Home is Where the Quilt Is

  1. dalekslovecrafting

    I love the idea of the essay quilt. Our house is more of less equally taken up with books and crafty stuff so it\’d be a great project for us to take on.

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