scrap bags l 3- PART SERIES Mary Mayne’s Scrap Bag LET’S TALK ABOUT SCRAPS! For into the dustbin! The fabrics used in this piece were quite a mixture and included brocades, velvets, cottons, corduroys and the awful crimplene. Despite the disappointment of this first piece, I tried again and made a cushion, using only cottons. This was a success and, although it wasn’t quilted, the cushion was used until it eventually wore out. I was now totally hooked on the idea of cutting my fabrics then sewing them back together again – a joke heard by most patch workers I am sure! those who don’t know me, my career in patchwork started in the early 1960s and involved a bag full of scraps left over from my dressmaking days. My first attempt at patchwork was a total disaster, as I thought I was preparing hexagons ready for a quilt or cushion. When I came to sew them together, however, I found I had prepared a carrier bag full of octagons, so they wouldn’t go together as planned! Despite this, I decided to add small 1in squares in-between the octagons as “fillers”. This gave me a piece of work large enough to go on a single bed, and the blue squares made long lines of colour through the octagons, which looked quite nice. This work was never finished or quilted and eventually found its way Trial by error Over time, cotton fabrics became more readily available, but I still had no quilt shops or magazines to guide me. I would buy a few pieces of fabric on market stalls and I had a pen-pal in Canada who sent me an occasional magazine – as well as my first yardage of wadding. I didn’t know what quilting was until I read the magazines! I learnt the hard way, but what I feel was the best way. I accepted that my points didn’t “point” and my seams didn’t match, it was quite a journey. I worked on many pieces, learning as I went along, and eventually decided to think big and make a quilt! It was for a single bed and had a few techniques in it that I hadn’t tried before – hand appliqué, hand quilting (not too much) and putting blocks together. I still have the quilt. It was made for my daughter, Vicky, hence the letters in one of the blocks. The block designs are very basic but, at the time, I thought it was amazing! I didn’t have a huge stash of fabrics at this point and my scrap bag was in its infancy. But this was about to change. The world opens up! Fabric shops were now opening and magazines were just beginning to appear. The doors were open and I was ready to enter! Up until this point – the 1980s – I had sewn on my sewing machine in my bedroom; it was perched on top of a chest of drawers, and I would sit on first quilts, One of Mary’s daughter Vicky made for her 25 Join us at www.gathered.how/todaysquilter
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