You Start at the Top, Go Full Circle Round

Really, you should never say never. There are things I do know know I’ll never do, but more often than not saying I won’t do something seems to mean that eventually I will. Like quilting.

Over a decade ago, my re-entry to the world of making stuff came via cross stitch. I don’t do it any more but I look back on those few years quite fondly. I remember the day I was wandering around a cross stitch shop out at Gold Creek with my friend Catriona, a mad keen stitcher, probably for the umpteenth time. That day, possibly out of a desire to make such visits more than just an exercise in standing around waiting, I chose a little cross stitch for myself. It was a sunflower (a perennial favourite) and I remember feeling kind of shy about buying it, like I didn’t want to admit to anyone that I was going to do something like cross stitch.

I gave it a go and found the neat little stitches and the colours so satisfying. The maker in me was re-born. Fast forward a couple of years and knitting took over. Skip a few more years and sewing took hold.

Today, all three met up in one place. The thing I made today didn’t actually involve any knitting so it’s perhaps a stretch to include knitting in this little story. But as I’m learning to sew, I like to think the last eight years of being a dedicated knitter have trained me in the act of counting, weighing, measuring and making.

The result is this cushion. In spite of its faults, I’m really proud of it.

Cross Stitch and Log Cabin Cushion

The centrepiece is a cross stitch design I think I made about a decade ago. It may have even been the last cross stitch I did. Over the years, it’s floated around, showing up when I’m digging through stuff and I’ve always thought it should become a cushion. I kind of hoped my mum would make it into a cushion. Little did I know that one day I’d have the skills to do it myself!

On Saturday I showed it to my mum and her immediate response was that it should form the centre of a log cabin design, something I’ve wanted to try for a while.

The stars aligned after that. On Sunday morning I was possessed by an almost ravenous desire to build a blue and gold log cabin design around it and it turned out I had just the scraps in my stash ready to go. You Tube is a wonderful thing. All the tutorials I needed were right there and by lunch time I had my cushion front done.

This afternoon I quilted it and added some backing of curtain fabric I picked up in a remnants pile at an upholstery shop. Most importantly, I overcame my fear of zips today and added one, again thanks to a You Tube tutorial.

Cross Stitch and Log Cabin Cushion

It’s flawed though. The dark blue outer border is unbalanced. The ends of the zip aren’t neat. Some of my quilting is not precise. But I’m just going to lighten up and love it for what it is, something I designed and made by myself, out of a piece of work I made before I was thirty.

Younger me and older me are stitched into something that didn’t exist a few days ago, bringing me full circle to the beginning and the wonder that the last decade has been, with all the ups and downs, the lessons and the hardships and the joys.

That’s why I love making stuff. There are stories and memories and dreams worked into the fabric, making history into something tangible, three dimensional. You can’t beat that.



21 thoughts on “You Start at the Top, Go Full Circle Round

  1. It’s stunning, it really is. And as for the flaws you mention, well, they’re are a part of creating. Things don’t quite always go to plan! (And I have far, far worse flaws in the things I make!) No-one else will ever notice them.

  2. I bet you are the only one who will notice the imperfections. I think sewing well is quite demanding, and I know I don’t have the patience for it. Don’t ask me why knitting socks seems to require less attention, at least for me! It is so satisfying to use something you made a decade before. I think it looks great!

  3. I think it is a wonderful coming together of your creative talents!!And I am glad that you really really like it, even though you think it isn’t perfect. I think it is lovely!!

  4. Wow! That’s lovely. You’ve taken a very old quilting block and turned it into something comtemporary. I really, really like what you’ve done. Congratulations!

  5. I still enjoy the cross stitch. In fact, I have a tablecloth that has achieved legendary status within my family for being the longest wip ever. It’s been in progress for over 15 years. it’s huge and beautiful and one day, will get finished. I just don’t think of it often which is a shame since cross stitch embroidery is an old, and beautiful craft.

    Your pillow is perfect. If you don’t want to use zippers, you can do the flap back. Easy and no zippers.

  6. That came out nice! Very striking. I remember some log cabin pillows from growing up, too, that my mom made with scraps. I confess I don’t understand where the quilting part comes in?

    • the quilting is in the log cabin part – I attached the cushion top to some batting and then did the ‘stitch in the ditch’ thing where you sew in the seams of all the straight lines.

  7. what a great idea for using a piece of embroidery or a special scrap of fabric. i’ve always thought that the construction of log cabin piecing looked like fun – perhaps one day i’ll try it.

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