NOR­FOLK WI

Have you caught the quilt­ing bug yet? It’s a happy habit for Mag­gie Gal­lop, vice chair­man of the Nor­folk Fed­er­a­tion of WI.

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Catch­ing the quilt­ing bug

Next week I’m off to France. My sis­ter and I are spend­ing a few days in Al­sace. We are vis­it­ing the 25th Euro­pean Patch­work Fes­ti­val - now that will not in­spire you un­less you are (like Cathryn and me) patch­work quil­ters.

I have been sewing most of my life. My mother was a seam­stress; there­fore, it goes without say­ing that we were taught to thread a nee­dle at a very early age.

Peo­ple think that just be­cause you en­joy stitch­ing, you are go­ing to en­joy do­ing all types of sewing. I once had a friend who pre­sented me with a cou­ple of yards of ma­te­rial and thought she was do­ing me a favour when she asked me to make her a blouse. Also ‘him in­doors’ thinks that I can re­place an enor­mous zip in an ex­tremely heavy fenc­ing jacket in the blink of an eye. But no, that is hard work, not the plea­sur­able pas­time of tak­ing some per­fectly good fab­ric, cut­ting it up into lit­tle pieces, and sewing it back to­gether to make some per­fectly good fab­ric!

Over the years I have made many quilts in all sorts of de­signs and colours. When em­bark­ing on a new project, the ‘fencer’ has been known to ask “Do we need an­other quilt?” No, we don’t ‘need’ an­other quilt but as my daugh­ter once stated when out shopping: “Mother, it’s not about need, it’s all about want - there is a dif­fer­ence”.

It’s about chal­leng­ing your­self to make some­thing with your hands - to de­sign a pat­tern, choose a colour theme and see what hap­pens when you put it all to­gether. Some peo­ple en­joy mak­ing up new recipes, then try to ‘poi­son’ their fam­i­lies with their con­coc­tions; oth­ers like to slap oil on can­vas and call it art. Me, I like to sew, I like to stitch fab­rics to­gether and see what hap­pens.

Like all quil­ters, I have two or three UFOs (un­fin­ished ob­jects) tucked away. The prob­lem is, we get side-tracked. We see some­thing new at a show or fes­ti­val and be­fore you know it we’ve bought the nec­es­sary ne­ces­si­ties and off we go again, mak­ing yet an­other quilt.

I’ve no doubt, that once we hit Al­sace we will be try­ing to find space in our lug­gage for more ma­te­ri­als and pat­terns. Can’t wait!

We, here at the Nor­folk Fed­er­a­tion of WIs are to blame for en­cour­ag­ing more patch­work quil­ters. We have over the past two or three years been put­ting on classes for bud­ding ‘wannabe quil­ters’. Once a month on a Satur­day we have been hold­ing lessons for our mem­bers to learn the ‘art’ (yes, it is an art) of tra­di­tional patch­work quilt­ing, and they will, be­fore long be spend­ing their sprogs’ in­her­i­tance on fab­u­lous fab­rics and pretty pat­terns. Wel­come to the club.

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