Chapter 3: Wildwood Flower (the end)

Wildwood Flower - finished

It took about two months, with lots of breaks in between to make decisions, but my mini-quilt is bound, signed, and ready to hang. It’s been named Wildwood Flower after the lovely Carter Family song of the same name. Well, it’s not an original Carter Family song, but they did it so wonderfully and perfectly that it became their song the minute they recorded it. No one’s ever been able to top it and I doubt they ever will. I don’t know a lot about 30s music, but The Carter Family is, in my head, what the 30s must’ve sounded like. These fabrics look like how The Carter Family sounds: simple but beautiful, bright and cheerful but ever so slightly faded.

Plus, I’m a music nerd and I just can’t help naming stuff after songs.

Wildwood Flower - finished

A few notes about this project:

– Every dang stitch of this – piecing, applique, quilting, and binding – was sewn by hand, and with almost no real modern tools. Just scissors, cardboard templates, needle, thread. This was not a plan, it was a little bit necessity and a little bit accident. Being away from my machines, I knew I’d be sewing by hand, but I didn’t really consider what I’d do without a rotary cutter, a big cutting mat, that sort of thing. I pretty much figured it out as I went using ordinary household materials. Cutting small patchwork pieces was a cinch with little cardboard templates and a ruler; I even used a wee strip template to mark 1/4″ seams on everything. Cutting the large cream pieces was more difficult – I was terrified I’d mess it up and have no more to work with (I was very strict about using only materials and tools that I already had for this project).

Wildwood Flower - finished

– Having recently been to the amazing quilt exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum, this mini-quilt gave me a cool little glimpse of what quilting must’ve been like before all our modern fanciness. I’ll still use the tools that I have, of course, but it did make me think that a lot of them are really not necessary. Sure, they speed up the process, but where am I in such a hurry to get? It was nice not to rush through a project for once. I admit those tools can help with precision as well, but I’m convinced my cardboard templates were just as accurate.

Wildwood Flower - finished

– Except the center circle of the Dresden Plate, all of the prints came from a 30s-themed jelly roll (ordered from The Quilt Room about a year ago). I love pre-cut fabric packs – they give you a lot of design bang for your buck, especially if you’re trying to craft cheaply, and they force you be creative with their limitations. But then, I do tend to love small projects, or at least projects with small pieces – it’s like knitting socks: when working small, you get a lot of entertainment out of a small amount of material.

Wildwood Flower - finished

I’ve been reunited with my machines and I’m already back to whipping up some quick projects (see yesterday’s Wordless Wednesday photo for a little peek), but I do hope I continue to sew by hand here and there. I loved every minute of this project and it gave me what I think could be a really great idea for the future. More on that in good time!

(More photos in my Flickr photostream!)

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