Monday, February 11, 2008

As I said, the McCall's magazine has lost it's cover and is very tattered, though I do have another copy that I picked up in an op-shop (just can't lay my hands on it now). You don't seem to mind when I ramble off down memory lane, so I'll tell you the story of this poor old relic.

When Mereth and I were teenagers it was hard to find good craft books and magazines, especially in our little town. Once we were deemed responsible enough by our ever-careful Mum, we were allowed to take day trips to Adelaide for shopping expeditions. I guess we were 16 or so. We often wax nostalgic over those magical trips to the city; we left on the 7am train called The Bluebird, which was usually packed with other country people out for the day. A trip to the city was always referred to as Going To Town. If it were a Friday or Saturday the platform might be stacked with trolleys full of homing pigeons in wooden cases. They were sent off by train to the far reaches of the state, and let go at the proscribed time, to come winging home hours later. That's not something we see a lot of now!

As soon as we arrived in Town, at about 10 o'clock, we always scarpered off to the Buttery at David Jones, or the tearooms at Myers, for coffee and cake, then set off on a round of shops to track down our treasures. Our favourite knitting, crochet and tapestry books were by Burda , printed in German but we managed to decipher the instructions anyway. There was a record shop we went to for our folk music albums, and european music. Several hole-in-the-wall shops that sold wool and craft supplies, and the best thing of all, Beck Book Co. That remains my favourite second-hand book store; it was a treasure house. We went there last, so we could stagger straight back to the railway station with our puchases and wait for the train. How we did it wearing platform shoes I will never know! There was a ramp down into the station, and we always checked out the newstall at the top, found more than one Burda book there, and then set off down the ramp to the lovely old station to wait for our late train. When we climbed into our carriage we spread our purchases out on the seats and gloated over what we'd found, and ate hot curried peanuts and read as much as we could in the appalling lighting. On one such trip in 1975 I came back with this McCall's magazine, and was thoroughly addicted to quilts by the time I got home that night. I was in Lurve with antique quilts!

The 'full instructions for each pattern' went something like this. 'Sew 29 pieces together for each block. Assemble into a quilt top. Layer with batting. Quilt.' It was not a huge amount of help for a novice quilter, but it got me started.

That lovely railway station is now a casino. I might be heading into old codger territory soon, but I'm awfully glad I knew that place when it was a thriving station. When I read Harry Potter it's our old Adelaide station that I see, with it's soaring ceilings and light filled windows and tall stone walls.

Mereth is ready to thump me, because I am being obsessive. Obsessive=Boring in her eyes. I was obsessing over my Orphans, for four whole days. They lay on the floor of the workroom while I crawled around and tried bits in different places, squinted at it thoughtfully, went and did some work and came back to stare at it some more, place one piece just so and deliberate some more. It was a LONG process. When I did get inspired it involved great activity with piles of strips and scraps, and consequently my sewing area looks like a fabric explosion. I am spending my spare time today sorting it out and restoring order. I don't know how else to work, I'm sorry.

Putting the blocks on point made it so difficult, but it just wanted to be that way. I just built it in pieces and lopped off the excess. I wasn't looking forward to putting on the borders, I thought I'd have to do a lot of work to square it up, because I hadn't measured a single thing. When Mereth and I ran a tape measure over it I was amused to find that the measurements in both directions only varied by 1/4". It couldn't have been any better if I'd agonised over every cut.

I was going to put some words on it, but it didn't want any. I gots to do what it tells me. My favourite thing was using those Delectable Mountain blocks around the edges; they have sat neglected and unused for over 20 years, and they finally have a home. I'm calling this quilt Orphans & Siblings.

And by the way, I just love it!


Harmany Quilting 3:56 AM  

Your quilt is beautiful. Is there a pattern for it? Just joking. I'm green with envy, it truly is divine.

Nicola in west Australia

Diane 5:56 AM  

I love your quilt, and I love when you share your memories.

Donna 7:28 AM  

its amazing how the mariad of ways we each entered quilting... I came to it becuase my mother wanted something set up for me, her and my gran to do together one summer when gran was visiting, so she set up a cheater panel (before they were "norms") and I learned to quilt hanging out with my gran... It was a boring summer, but I sure got something from it ! :-)

Jeanne 7:56 AM  

What a gorgeous quilt made from your orphan blocks! It looks like you planned it all along. I love it!

Paula 10:29 AM  

I love your stories of yesteryear...well from 1975, anyway! Keep sharing. And please show us more of your tattered and loved magazine. The quilt is amazing. Someday, I'll be brave enough to jump into MY orphan drawer, just not there yet!

Paula, the quilter 11:04 AM  

I, too, have that magazine and several others from that time. I made my first quilt from another of the McCall's Needlework and Crafts magazine. I've actually blogged about it, but for the life of me, I cannot find the post. O well. I have kept the magazines for sentimental reasons.

Tanya Brown 1:31 PM  

I love the quilt too, along with your stories. I lived in Adelaide as a small child; it was nice to get a more nuanced view of it.

Gypsy Quilter 1:57 PM  

It is truly one of a kind and worth every agonizing moment. I truly love the delectable mountains blocks along the borders. Now that's inspiration!

julieQ 6:10 PM  

I just can't throw away a pattern or magazine, and have boxes full. A someday job to clean up and organize! I love your quilt! Lovely blocks made into a whole, beautiful quilt. Great work.

Mary Johnson 8:12 PM  

I love it too! I'm also obsessive but my sister Deb is much more creative - I'm sure I drive her crazy too.

meggie 8:19 PM  

I can see why you love it! I love it too, so colourful & intersting.
What a great story to go with it.

Tonya Ricucci 1:12 AM  

oh wow, oh wow, oh wow. your quilt is incredible. I love how you put it on the diagonal. those delectable mountains truly are delectable. fantastic, I'm in love. no, it didnt' need any words at all, but sure loved reading the words in your post. tell your sister your obsessiveness paid off - not boring at all. please, please, please keep this quilt for yourself.

Bonnie K. Hunter 4:37 AM  

Keryn, the orphan quilt is fantabulous!! I love it! It's so great to find a "home" for those poor unused blocks where they can SHINE!


Finn 12:06 PM  

Hi Keryn, Tonya prompted me to pop over and see your fantastic orphans. The Orphans and Siblings top is just spectacular. Good job on all that brain paid off big time.
The on point setting is inspired and I'll echo Tonya, I hope you keep this for yourself. Hugs, Finn

Unknown 5:10 PM  

It's a wonderful quilt!!!

Magpie Sue 3:58 PM  

That is one of the most spectacular orphan quilts I've seen yet. Congratulations!

Christina 6:12 PM  

Wow. You have the classiest orphans ever. And I think we have very similar (obsession followed by explosion) working styles!

Purple Pam 9:07 PM  

Beautiful orphan quilt. The best I have ever seen. The setting on point was a perfect solution. Those delectible mountain blocks were waiting for just the right setting in just the right quilt. You must be so proud of your wonderful accomplishment. What a winner!

Sharon 12:08 AM  

Your orphan quilt is awesome! It looks like an antique quilt (my favorites) right out of the old McCall's magazines. I agree with Pam - the on-point setting is perfect. It looks like everything came together perfectly. Makes it worth having the mess to deal with, doesn't it? Great job! I hope mine (when I get to it) looks half as good. And I love your "rememberings". I love to hear other people's stories of growing up. Thanks for sharing with us.

Anonymous,  11:11 PM  

It's just plain fabulous. I would be thrilled if I managed something half so good.

Rose Marie 8:09 AM  

Loved reading your trip down memory lane. It's amazing how just a piece of paper can bring back such fond memories!

Love your top ..... putting it on point gives it such dimension. It truly is 'one of a kind'.

Cher 12:38 PM  

what a truly wonderful orphan quilt-worth all that obsessive-ness!
I have to agree with everyone, I hope you do keep it for yourself with all the wonderful memories I am sure it holds.

Shelina 1:17 PM  

Wow your Orphans and Siblings quilt is beautiful. I always worry about orphan quilts looking like orphanages! Your orphans have obviously found good homes and are no longer look like orphans! Very nice.

Lucy 8:14 AM  

Applause your orphan quilt is stunning! I love to see the blocks on point!

Patti 7:51 PM  

What an incredibly marvelous quilt - one of the most beautiful orphan quilt tops I've ever seen. It practically renders me speechless it is so marvelous! Has Finn seen this top? It would make a wonderful subject for a post on her Orphan Train blog.

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