If Wishes Were Horses…

Today is another reveal day for The Endeavourers. How do these reveals come round so fast? Our theme this quarter was Wishes and, when that was selected by Mr Random Generator, I immediately thought of the line, ‘If wishes were horses, beggars would ride…’ but I decided to let it lie.

I was hoping for a more optimistic inspiration and we had lots of relations staying over Christmas, a party for about 40 on the 27th, a trip to the Sheffield from the 28th-30th and an amazing adventure to attend a wedding in Sri Lanka from the 31st – 10th January…It all needed a lot of preparation…

When I arrived back in dull, rainy England, inspiration for the Wishes quilt still had not struck and my Makery was, not only still a bedroom, but was now doubling as an office for my daughter (who is a Junior Doctor, newly returned from a year in New Zealand) to prepare for a panel interview and apply for locum work pending the next tranche of ‘real’ jobs, which all start in August. So there was nothing for it but to take down the Christmas Tree, take my sewing machine to the kitchen table, make a start and hope for the best. I always feel that artistic endeavourers should have more planning and research and rational underpinning them but real life (alas!) refuses to be so accommodating.

I knew I wanted to include some other wishing items like a star, a well and a birthday cake (which the beggars are pointing to), making three wishes and then I decided to add a genie in a lamp. It bothered me a little that four wishes are not quite right but I rationalised that perhaps the genie gave the other three…Anyway, I drew the main outlines of the picture with a frixon pen and quilted over the lines by machine. The remainder was done by hand, mainly so it could be more portable. The blue sky is the base fabric and everything else is painted except the cake and the well, which I appliqued at the end, and the black hat and candles, which are attached with fusible web. Finally, I added detail with hand stitching.

I chose the metallic paints for the horses and the incongruous assortment of wishing themed items as I feel there is an almost magical element to wishing – some kind of essential implausibility, which is more at home in the world of story than in Sussex or London on a grey Monday morning. And I wanted to convey this in my picture. Whereas many things can be hoped for in the everyday world, a wish worth making virtually demands some change to the general order of things and is extraordinarily unlikely to come true by mere chance or predictable means.

So just why the ‘If wishes were horses…’ rhyme is so well known after 400 years and the mere breath of a wish is more than likely to invoke some know-it-all to snap ‘Be careful what you wish for!’ baffles me. Do they really think that tomorrow morning everyone who bought a lottery ticket will have won the jackpot and the banks will crash and our current world order will come to an abrupt end?

But, sadly, they are in good company. Even if throwing a coin into a wishing well doesn’t land you on the wrong end of a witch hunt these days, we all know that rubbing an old lamp with a genie in or unstopping a bottle containing a djin won’t end well. We will always have to use our last wish to undo the other two :(

So do I think we shouldn’t bother with wishing or that wishes will never come true?

Of course not!

I think that, when things seem possible to accomplish, we must work for the things we hope for. And when we wish for impossible things we should work doubly hard. And, of course, if we happen see a star or a wishing well or have a birthday cake with candles – why waste it?

The old stories are all well and good but we mustn’t let them stop us writing new ones.

I hope all your wishes will come true and I also hope you will visit the other Endeavourers and see the wonderful quilts they have made for this challenge :)

Janine @ Rainbow Hare

9 thoughts on “If Wishes Were Horses…

  1. Maureen

    Hi Janine. Wrote a comment for you on The Endeavourers. But I loved reading this fuller story. It’s like what I said about my quilt re: the difference between wishing and hoping. The YouTube English teachers I viewed were quite definite about said difference!


  2. catherine

    This was such a thought-provoking read! If we are clear about what we wish for at least we can decide on the work we need to do to make that thing even a remote possibility, try and keep hopeful, and never give up despite the know-it-alls :-) It was lovely having the opportunity to look at your quilt more closely which made me even more admire all the thought that went into the details, like the perfect hearts on the cake, the feather in the cap, and the different stitching.


  3. TextileRanger

    I have just been reading Terry Pratchett’s books in the Tiffany Aching series, and one of them is all about wishing and finding out the rule of the third wish — “It is always to undo the first two and set things back to rights!” Your post is a complement to his lovely stories.


  4. Kim Sharman

    Such a thought provoking read and as for your little quilt; how beautiful it is. You always imagine the sweetest and whimsical ideas and then put those fabulous thoughts onto cloth in a way that no other can seem to do. Janine, you really, really need to write that cloth book, you know.


  5. Flashinscissors

    Hi Janine, Sorry to be late visiting you, don’t know where the time goes!
    I always look forward to seeing everyone’s interpretations of the subject for The Endeavourers Challenge, all of you have such amazing ideas! I absolutely love your horses and wishes, Janine. And the genie in a lamp is brilliant! I keep spotting things I’d missed at first glance! I love the cake too, is that braid? or did you crochet the “icing”? (Sorry if you’ve told us and I’ve missed it.)
    Barbara xx


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