Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Pinwheel quilting and geek sewing

 Normal activities were postponed for a short time as some therapeutic sewing was in order this week. For some reason I decided I'd like to know how to make a pinwheel quilt and decided to make a cushion cover for a rather grotty orange velvet cushion that has been knocking about since I made it 10 years ago or so... (Orange velvet has its places, but my home is no longer one of them.)
I used this great tutorial on how to make pinwheel squares and recycled a linen skirt (of roughly the same age as the orange velvet cushion cover) and some other recycled fabrics to make it.

In the process I re/learned a few things: 
1. Piecing a quilt together is SLOW!!!
2. Accuracy is key. (This is why I am not a quilter.)
3. Linen is very hard to quilt with. (It's not that I'm a messy and sub-accurate quilter, I'm blaming the linen on this one.)
 
I quilted it in the ditch (that means doing your quilting along your seam lines rather than sewing while sitting in mud) which just seemed easier and quicker than other ways of quilting it.

I'm not totally sure about this one. I made it more for the practice and learning, and it has definitely improved the look of the cushion by about a billion-fold, but I think it is still growing on me.

What excited me more to be honest was doing the other side. I decided that sashiko embroidery would be perfect for drawing a map for those who are lost in the Milky Way and trying to find their way back to planet Earth. 
 It is hard to catch on camera because of the colours, but it is based on the map on the golden record that NASA sent into space with the Voyager spaceship. It shows the location of our solar system in respect to 14 pulsars, which is essentially a map to home, which is what cushions are all about - home.
(More info on the map here in case you are interested. I had a book on the Voyager spaceship as a child and loved the idea that we had sent this amazing record of sounds of planet Earth out into space with instructions how to find us - a map even! And it is still out there, floating around the cosmos!)
So it seemed an apt thing to embroider on the cushion - a map to home. And somehow it is more meaningful to me than the other side! 
 Maybe that is the problem with the other side - it doesn't mean much to me. It looks nice, but that doesn't seem enough somehow.

On the subject of filling textiles with meaning, my dear friend Felix is running a kickstarter campaign for her amazing knitting book at the moment. Check it out here. Felix is also doing a blog tour and will be coming this way later in the month so keep checking in!

4 comments:

Nicole said...

This looks fantastic!! I love it in the linen too, but I know what a pain that is to work with. The stitching on the back is also a lovely touch :)

Snag Breac said...

Thanks! And thanks for the inspiration! :)
I'll be happy never to quilt with linen again, even though I love it as a fabric!

Felicity Ford said...

I love this post! I especially love how - after doing a totally brilliant looking, very neat and tidy job of the pinwheel side of the cushion - you went off-piste and got your geek on with the NASA homing route. I LOVE those golden discs that were sent into space, they truly are astounding things. Did you know that they also - as well as the beautiful homing map - contain THE SOUNDS OF A SHEEP?! I made a radio show a couple of years back about Sonic Time Capsules and the sounds are beautiful. Sorry, drifted off topic there, but your embroidery is so accurate that it reminded me immediately of The Golden Record: http://voyager.jpl.nasa.gov/spacecraft/sounds.html

Snag Breac said...

Yes I did know that - I mention the golden record in there. It was definitely something I loved as a child, that these noises were floating around in space. And yes, I think I remember hearing your show too!
Geek sewing rocks though. And the idea of pulsars in space surrounding us makes me feel very comforted.