I first discovered quillows through an experienced quilting friend. I was fascinated when I saw her reach inside a patchwork cushion and pull out a quilt! How cool is that!
Phoebe Moon gives a good definition of a quillow at the start of her tutorial:
A quillow is a quilt with a reversible pocket strategically sewn on the quilt so it can be folded up to fit inside the pocket, making a pillow.
A little bit of transatlantic translation is required at this point. In the UK when we hear ‘pillow’ we think specifically of the soft, generally rectangular, pad we lay our heads on at night. We use the word ‘cushion’ to describe the supportive/decorative additions we add to our sofas and chairs. Cushions are generally square, ranging from 14″-20″ in size and I think I’m right in saying these would be defined as ‘throw pillows’ in the USA. A ‘cushion’ in the US describes the padded seat of a sofa or chair.
So, here in the UK think, ‘a quillow is a quilt that can be turned into a cushion’. Hope that helps? I’ll probably tie myself in knots writing the rest of this post as I mix up the wording right, left and centre! 😀
It has been a special, memorable day. Unlike the people who took part in the exuberant celebrations of VE Day seventy-five years ago we have had to celebrate under the restraints of lock-down.
This necessarily quiet day of commemoration has given time for reflection. Many of the scheduled programmes on the TV have been dominated by interviews with ordinary people sharing their experiences of WW2. There has been an opportunity to take part in a two minute silence of remembrance, to hear Winston Churchill’s speech made at 3pm on 8th May, and to close the day with a short, poignant VE Day address by HM Queen Elizabeth II broadcast at 9pm – the same time her father, George VI, spoke to the nation 75 years ago.
The 2nd World War lasted six long years. Ordinary people had to take on responsibilities and roles they would not have chosen, often living away from loved ones, enduring shortages and heartbreaking losses. Thinking about such a lengthy time of severe hardship certainly gives perspective to our seven weeks of lock-down!
My parents were very young at the outbreak of war. My father was born in 1937, he was seven years old on VE Day 1945, my mother was six years old. Their families lived in London. They both have very clear memories of the air raids, running to air raid shelters or hiding under their kitchen tables as bombs exploded in the streets around them. With an adults perspective they can imagine the fear and hardship that their parents went through as they sought to provide for and protect their young children. But my parents memories of WW2 are not saturated with fear. My Dad can think of only one incident when his Mother betrayed her fear to her young family: As they hid in the little dug out air raid shelter at the end of their garden a ‘Doodlebug’ flew overhead, the engine noise stopped and my Dad remembers his Mother throwing herself across the three children in a desperate attempt to protect them from the coming explosion.
With hindsight my Dad is sure his Mum must have shared her food and clothing rations to supplement her childrens’ rations. The children also benefited from kindly Aunts and Uncles who made regular visits bringing their own rations of sweets for the youngsters to enjoy. My Mum remembers her family having to move out of their house when a bomb blast blew out all the glass from the windows. In hindsight she realises some of the difficulties her Mother endured while her husband was away serving as RAF ground crew. A while after VE Day my Mum recalls there was great excitement when the local greengrocer announced a shipment of bananas was on the way. At six years old Mum had never seen a banana let alone tasted one. Everyone told her how good bananas were to eat and she was caught up in the excitement. Oh! The disappointment on tasting the fruit – it was not to her liking at all and yet she couldn’t show her true reaction to her parents and felt compelled to finish it with a smile on her face! To this day she avoids getting close enough even to smell a banana let alone eat one!
While we have not had to endure even a small percentage of the hardships experienced by the wartime generations we are going through a shared time of tragedy the like of which few of us have encountered before. Today it was a great morale booster to hear directly from those who acted with such courage and fortitude during the War and to take part in a local celebration honouring them and those who paid for our freedom with their lives. The neighbours on our street came together (well no nearer than 2 metres together!), decorating houses with bunting and flags and sharing in a front garden/doorstep tea party. It was a lovely opportunity to see one another, to stand at a distance sharing our news and remember the people and events of WW2.
There wasn’t a lot of sunshine during our New Year’s Eve walk across Hengistbury Head but it was lovely to be at the seaside 🙂
The Old Year, New Year Stuff:
Over the past few years I’ve gotten into the habit of choosing a word of the year for a focus rather than going for New Year Resolutions that only set me up to fail. I do fit some goals around my chosen word but my core intention is to use it as a consistent reference point rather than a way of assessing progress or achievement.
My word for 2019 was ‘COMMUNITY’. My word for 2020 is ‘GROW’. I toyed with words on the theme of expanding/moving forwards, such as ‘develop’ (sounded a bit clinical) or ‘nurture’ (maybe a bit too airy for my practical nature?). So this year GROW is the word (I just heard ‘Grease is the word, is the word’ run between my ears as I wrote that! :-D) but I won’t be letting go of ‘community’.
What is the legacy of community and how does Grow fit with my patchwork quilting hopes and dreams for 2020? Well…
Being part of the Worldwide Quilty Community both on online and in person has been a key motivator for me. Last year I focused on this with the intention of contributing and sharing more both through social media and through teaching.
Social Media: Regular Saturday Quilting Bring & Share posts on this blog gave me a useful platform to show progress with my own projects and, more importantly, to share links to helpful and interesting posts published by other quilty bloggers. I definitely intend to continue with regular SQB&S posts. My Facebook page NewEveryMorningPQ and my Instagram feed @allisonreid.neweverymorning are other ways I seek to keep in touch with patchwork quilters. Bringing GROW to social media fits easily as a continuation of last year’s community theme.
Teaching: Through 2019 I taught four Beginners Classes at Purple Stitches. I also organised a workshop from scratch – booking the hall, taking bookings on line and teaching from my own design 🙂 I enjoy the challenge of leading workshops and gain great satisfaction seeing participants confidence GROW as their projects take shape. I’ll be GROWing the number of workshops I have available to teach through 2020. For the first quarter of the year I have scheduled two Beginners classes (both start on 11th January – there are a couple of places available in the afternoon class) and a new class, ‘Two Ways to Build a Log Cabin’, being held at Purple Stitches on Friday 6th March.
I’ll also be applying GROW to pattern writing. I aim to publish eight patterns this year. One will be the pattern that was printed in Quilt Now magazine at the end of 2019 and another will be a pattern accepted for magazine publication in July this year 🙂 So there’ll be quite a lot of behind the scenes/secret sewing going-on to GROW in this area! I do have plenty of pattern ideas swimming around in my mind, I need to work on creating a properly organised computer filing system so I can use my written instructions and diagrams more efficiently… Of course, patterns need to be tested so there’ll be plenty of opportunity to make patchwork quilts 🙂
I’m planning to GROW my own skills and practice the art(s) of patchwork quilting. To this end I’m excited to be booked onto a free motion quilting class in February with Jo Westfoot aka The Crafty Nomad. And I’m intending to purchase another sewing machine (jumps up and down in excitement): a Juki 2200 Mini which I’m convinced will GROW my free motion quilting skills 😉
It’s all very well making these plans for 2020 but I am reminding myself that ambitions built on my own strength are actually built on sinking sands – I have no idea what will happen to me hour by hour let alone through a whole year! To trust and act on the rock of Jesus’ words (Matthew 7:24-27), knowing the solid truth that ‘Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and for ever’ (Hebrews 13:8) is, I’ve found, the best way to look to the future. Whatever happens to enhance or thwart my plans my wisest choice will be to GROW my trust in Him. 🙂
Belated ‘Happy Christmas!’ to you! We have had a good time celebrating with family over the past few days and still have visits and family times to look forward to as we approach the new year. I hope you too have been able to form happy memories of Christmas 2019 and have plenty more good things coming your way over the rest of the holiday.
Secret Sewing revealed: Since Christmas Day is past and the quilt has been gifted and unwrapped I can now reveal the secret sewing I was working on through the earlier part of December: a quilt for our youngest son who likes the colour blue.