On my recent holidays at my parents’ place (a place of enormous inspiration and relaxation and love and activity) I was looking through my parent’s rather large collection of books. I think I was actually looking for books about sustainable housing or keeping goats (so I could have an infinite supply of fresh goats cheese) or something along those lines. Anyway, I came across a collection of books about the ‘arts’ of the olden days such as ‘Home Crafts’, ‘Food Crafts’ and ‘Farm Crafts’. They were very simple little books with a project or an idea on each page with a simple photograph. They were delightfully grassroots.

I was looking through the ‘Home Crafts’ one and I found instructions on how to hand sew a hexagonal pieced patchwork quilt. This wasn’t the first time I had heard of this though, the first was from when I was probably about 14 years old. We knew this lovely old Dutch lady named Heiltje (hail-chja) who attended our church. Heiltje was an amazing woman, I did a short biography on her life for an English essay and was blown away by her life experiences.  She survived WW2 with nothing but her baby boy and the clothes on her back and she went on to lead a very eventful, full and loving life. Later in her life, after the death of her husband, she moved to Australia to be with some of her children who lived here. And that is where my family met her. She had an amazing faith and positive attitude and was wonderful to talk to about the crafty things that were interesting me at the time.

She taught me how to sew a hexagonal pieced patchwork quilt. Being filled with the enthusiasm that only a child can have I was convinced I was going to sew an amazing huge quilt for my bed that would be an heirloom for many generations to come! In truth, I think I sewed about 8 hexagons together and moved onto a new project (a testament to my ability to learn and start lots of new projects and finish much less!).

So it was just this year that I was reminded of this project and I decided to try again. I chose an appropriately small sized hexagon (I am insane) and was once more convinced that I was going to make a quilt for my bed (turns out some things don’t change). I rummaged through my mum’s fabric collections and took all the lovely colourful little bits and began my project (with advice from Heiltje and my book). I was possessed. I sewed it instead of reading books, I sewed it after church, I sewed it during bible class, I sewed it late at night, I sewed it in front of the TV.  And this is what resulted after about 3 days of on/off sewing…

(Don’t you love it when you take a photo and it turns out exactly the way you wanted it, and you don’t even have to adjust anything?)

In truth, I love it just the way it is right now. It doesn’t seem very big, but it’s hand sewn with unbelievably tiny stitches. It’s like some form of meditation. Like crochet. Or drawing repetitive patterns. I can imagine adding more and more hexagons as my life continues but I’m not sure I would be able to muster the same enthusiasm later in life. So, for the sake of reality I have decided to make this into a cushion instead of a quilt. I will love it just as much.

The beautiful thing about hexagonal quilts is that they are incredibly difficult to sew with a machine, they pretty much have to be hand sewn with a needle and thread. I love that. I saw a similar quilt (except not with these awesome colours) at the quilt exhibition I saw at the Brisbane show and it filled me with so much awe of all the time and effort and each individual stitch that went into it (it was HUGE!).

So there you have it, two blog posts in two days. I must be onto something here!


p.s. When Heiltje became an Australian citizen my family made her this huge banner that said something like ‘Congratulations Heiltje’ and she loved it…but we had spelt her name wrong! Hehe, it still makes me laugh. I actually don’t even know if I have spelt her name correctly in this post!

p.p.s. I have more posts planned. I start on drafts when I have a skerrick of spare time so I can get them to you guys faster!