I have been very absent here of late, after this quilt took on a life of its own and I very much feared I would never meet today’s deadline on the theme of Change/ Transformation. I hope to post more about it soon but some of my thinking behind this piece and and the quilts of my fellow Endeavourers are being revealed today on The Endeavourers blog so please visit to see all the different interpretations.
In the meantime, I wish you a very Happy May Day!
Janine @ Rainbow Hare :)
Here is the full post, first published on The Endeavourers blog on May 1st 2018:
WORK UNGUESSED BEFORE
Happy Beltane, May Day or what you will!
This is my offering for today’s reveal on the theme of ‘Change/Transformation’ and I hope it captures a little of the spirit of topsy-turvy celebration and carnival :)
I actually thought I started this challenge in good time but it took so much longer than I expected I came perilously close to missing today’s deadline. So I will just give an outline of my thinking here and put a more detailed post on myblog when I am not so short of time.
My quilt involves three variations on the idea of change.
1. Content – a change to a Nursery Rhyme
I based my quilt on this on this rhyme:
Pussy cat, pussy cat, where have you been?
I’ve been to London to visit the Queen.
Pussy cat, pussy cat, what did you there?
I frightened a little mouse under her chair.
I continually changed my mind about what to make for this challenge and I eventually settled upon using a silly rhyme, that popped into my head when the Trial and Error cats were rummaging in the vintage linens, in which the last line of the Nursery Rhyme, Pussy cat, pussy cat where have you been? changed to I found a trunk full of fine gowns to wear. I am hoping that the original rhyme is so well known the change will stand out for anyone reading it.
2. Materials – and another rhyme!
Pondering the idea of ‘change’ kept bringing to my mind some lines from ‘The Jervis Bay’ by Michael Thwaites:
"So many a ship of peaceful purpose was called to the tasks of war,
Was manned and armed and made anew for work unguessed before,
Came quietly into the dockyard and, converted, slipped away,
Yacht, trawler, ferry, liner, tramp. So came the Jervis Bay."
So, focussing particularly on ‘made anew for work unguessed before’, I decided to make this quilt using textiles that were originally designed and made for other purposes.
These included part of a small quilt I made some years ago and never found a use for, a vintage tray cloth, scraps from old clothes, the corner of a handkerchief and embroidered pansies from a torn and much stained vintage table cloth.
I wanted to make a piece that was reminiscent of the hand drawn illustrations in vintage Nursery Rhyme books and my go-to techniques for these types of quilt are applique and some straight line machine quilting or a little had stitching, which function to hold all the layers together but don’t have much to do with the subject of the quilt. So, for a complete change, I thought I would try to use the quilting as an integral part of the picture.
I wildly underestimated the density of stitching that would be necessary to make the picture show up properly and I ended up stitching over stitches and filling gaps with straight stitches to the extent that it barely looks like stitching, let alone quilting, but, apart from the verse, all the stitches go through all the layers and are literally (and excessively) quilting the piece together. This did nothing for the stitches themselves and I think if I do something like this again I will embroider first and quilt selectively. And, perhaps I’ll also use a single layer of batting, rather than patchwork/batting/backing/linen…
Ideally, I would have liked to have a neater finish but, were it not for the deadline, I’m sure I would have given up on this and the end result certainly looks a lot better than any of the individual areas did whilst it was in progress so I’m glad I persevered. I also have lots of ideas for incorporating elements of this into future projects – though probably not all together! And I have a new found joy in the thought of embroidering on a single piece of fabric :)
I’m very much looking forward to seeing what everyone else has made.
9 thoughts on “Happy May Day!”
I love this. It also remeinded me that I used to dress up our huge black tom cat Fred in a dress and put him in the dolls pram!
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I cannot wait to hear of the transformation of the pussy cat and a little peek into the trunk overspilling with pretties.
It’s good to get lost in a project. You put so many diverse pieces together to create such a cute and eye pleasing piece. I love it.
What a great finish!
Happy May Day … albeit a few days late :) Spring has sprung here, finally, so it’s going to be a happy May for us :D We’re now getting the April showers that were to bring May flowers … hopefully the May showers will bring May flowers, wooooo!
Gorgeous! I love cats and especially cats in gowns, haha ;-)
And I like the lacey edging too. I’ll certainly visit ‘The Endeavourers’!
I always love your projects – you have such unique and imaginative style! I love a bit of recycling too and the way you reused various textiles is really clever! It’s a lovely image.
soma @ whimsandfancies.com
What a stylish cat, I am glad “she found a trunk full of fine gowns.” You stitchery is amazing, Janine. A beautiful finish!
A wonderful interpretation, Janine! I was imagining Fiona dressed up as soon as I saw this picture! Beautiful stitching, it must have taken ages!