Monday, 8 February 2010

Quilts - a diversion from knitting

Something I've really noticed about the way I make things relates to how things are going in the rest of my life. When my (academic) work is going well, and I'm getting lots done, I'm happy to sit at home, picking slowly away at some major opus with tiddly needles and fiddly wool. At other times, I feel like work is a lot of effort, and have a need for more instant gratification. And that's often where sewing comes in.

Knitting, it must be said, is an excellent interstitial activity. As such, it's great for doing whilst you're doing something else. And that's really why I started to knit - so I could sit and watch crap telly without smoking. I love crap telly, but it's never quite enough by itself, is it? At uni, the something extra came by smoking - 'Enders and a fag, Blind Date and a fag. I imagine I smoked a whole bunch less through good films. Now I watch TV and knit. It's really the only time in the day when I have time out - after the boys have gone to bed, after we've had supper, the last hour or two before bedtime, I knit and watch TV. If I go to the cinema, I feel resentment that it's too dark to take my knitting. But then, there's dozens of films and tv series I've never quite watched properly because I'm only half looking.

For some reason, listening to the radio at the same time just isn't the same. And the blanket I knitted through the first season of the Wire (yes, we were late starters) was terribly tense.

Friends of ours are expecting twins in April, and so I've made a couple of little quilts for them. They had their first child a couple of years ago, and serendipitously, I made a quilt for them then too. I'd started blocks for a quilt many years ago, and touted it around Morroco with me, with Mr Kinkatink and the expectant twins father (long before he'd even met the mother). As with many craft projects, it then languished at the back of a cupboard for some considerable period of time. When I heard they were expecting Number 1, it seemed like a good opportunity to fish out the quilt and finish it off, at least in manageable cot size. I say this is serendipitous because the new wife's mum is a super duper knitter, and furnished them with every conceivable knitting accoutrement you can imagine, plus a few more. But no quilts. Precedent has thus been set with Number 1 and is being followed with Concurrent 2 and 3.

They're a good jumble of fabric - some proper fancy craft stuff, some old shirts from Mr Kinkatink and associated Kinkatink menfolk, some just bits and bobs from the back of the cupboard. The backing (and some of the squares) are from a charming stripy sheet I found in a charity shop (one twin's backing runs vertical, the other horizontal). We used to have sheets like that when I was a kid, and people who have seen it say 'ooh, we had sheets like that when I was a kid'. Hopefully now, two little girls in Manchester will look at similar sheets in the future, and say 'ooh, I had a quilt like that when I was a baby'. Happy days.

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