Thursday, 30 August 2012

Hand-sewing with Rouenneries Deux


Twitter and Instagram have fitted in better with the bite-sized pieces of time that are currently on offer during the summer holidays, so I've shared several photos of sewing progress there, but I realised that I'd completely forgotten to mention this project here on my blog, which feels odd as it's the sole focus of all my sewing attention at the moment.
 

When I first saw French General's Rouenneries Deux range my love for it was almost instant and it caused me to make a rare impetuous purchase. I saw it late on one of the last few evenings before the schools broke up and early the next morning I persuaded my husband to skip work for a few hours and come on a jaunt through the countryside with me to my nearest stockist of the range. His presence, as well as being lovely, was essential as I have no sense of direction and consequently can only drive unaccompanied within a five mile radius of our house without ending up lost and weepy in a farmer's field. When we eventually buy a car with SatNav installed it will be a very liberating thing indeed (although I've heard that can mistakenly lead you into farmer's fields too).

In my head this fabric falls within the category of 'old lady' fabric, although recently my eighty-four year old grandmother said to me 'goodness, no, I don't like that skirt at all - it looks like something an old lady might wear', which would suggest that such a term can sometimes be used in a derogatory way, but that's not the way in which I view old ladyism. I think what I actually mean is that the fabric feels traditional* and sober in a way that I adore - it feels as though it has its roots in history and as though its loveliness is timeless. When I think of this old lady I imagine soft, rose-scented powdery cheeks which beg to be kissed; a hand-held looking glass and crystal perfume bottles with puff-spray atomisers laid out on a dresser;grey hair swept up in an elegant bun; and vintage dresses hanging from a picture rail. This is the fabric my archetypal old lady would be drawn to. I have only met her a couple of times in my life. Once at a wedding as an eighteen year old where she sparkled at my dinner table, outshining youth with her beauty, another time as a seven year old, when my sister and I warned her that there was a nest of bees on the grass verge that may sting her and her small dog and she invited us to visit her for tea after school. My sister and I sat in her front room drinking cordial from beautiful glasses, before my mother told us that evening that it wasn't safe to go and visit the homes of strangers.


My husband said that the fabric reminded him of the type of thing you might find on one of the beds at Knole. Lacking our own four poster bed this quilt is intended for the room seen above, where it will increase its redness. This strange corridor of a room in the middle of our house has no name and occasionally when trying to tell someone where they may locate their missing sock/book/marble I refer to it as The Red Room, which both me and my daughter have agreed never feels quite right as we both instantly think of Jane Eyre who was sent to The Red Room by the punitive Mrs Reed for imagined misdemeanours. You can see the fabrics laid out on the chair in the photo above - I love how well they blend in with the colours.


I later supplemented this initial purchase with some further cuts from Hulucrafts as some of the skinny quarters I'd bought didn't allow me to centre the flowers on the medallions that feature at the middle of this quilt.


Because this quilt is being made by hand, I haven't noticed spending any huge lengths of time working on this quilt. It's slowly come together during an hour at the park, a few minutes sat in the car waiting to go in to an appointment, whilst watching a film with my children or during an evening sat in the garden with my husband. I love that a quilt can just grow out of one's everyday life.


I have plans for two more English paper piecing projects: one for my daughter's birthday, the other to be hung in the dining room on the wall. I am finding this hand-sewn piecing oddly refreshing. I have never been able to sit still long enough to easily watch films, but the engagement of hand stitching has opened up a whole new world of relaxation and my husband has signed me up to Netflix where I can watch endless films (while he is out at his endless cycle of evening sporting commitments) instantly through our wireless connection for only a little over £5 a month. My current viewing choices have a distinctly low-brow feel to them and centre around romantic-comedies that leave me feeling dizzily happy! One can safely assume there is a healthy dollop of saccharine American love story sewn into this quilt, as well as the happy reality of my own summer.
 
Florence x
 
* In fact the fabric is indeed traditional. French General's Rouenneries collections are based on red florals that were printed in Rouen in the 18th century.

Ps. The pattern I'm using for this quilt is another from Brigitte Giblin's book, Feathering the Nest.

22 comments:

  1. It look lovely Florence. I am doing my first EPP the hexy mf quilt and I am loving it. It comes everywhere with me and as you say i steel moments of sitting in the car waiting for a child sewing. I am using the fabric that i bought from your stash sale so I will send you a finished picture. I adore the fabric you have got, can't wait to see it finished. x

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  2. It's gorgeous Florence, can't wait to see it finished. My happy place is watching old re-runs of ER and doing my EPP quilt, it's quite meditative.

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    1. ER is a super one as the back catalogue is almost endless! I used to love that too.

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  3. This quilt will look wonderful when finished. Kxx

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  4. I especially like that last picture, a lovely late summer image of evening sewing

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    1. Those oil lamps are amazing - they throw out so much light for sewing by!

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  5. I am so in love with this quilt already, the colours, the patterns and the contrast are all gorgeous. I think Serendipity (if you haven't seen it already, or maybe even if you have!) would make an excellent accompaniment to this quilt. Crafting is great for TV - rediscovering crochet and knitting years ago is what allowed my Husband and I to enjoy TV days (before children) although now I think sewing would be my craft of choice! x

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    1. No, I haven't seen it, so on your advice I'll try and watch it this weekend - thank you - I love personal recommendations!

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  6. I love that fabric! I am naturally drawn to red and natural color combination...so I guess I fall into the old lady category :o)
    It will make a beautiful quilt. I really admire your patience.

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    1. Yes, there are wonderul colours in this range - it's really very happiness inducing. x

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  7. When I saw the first photo I knew where the quilt was going! Why don't you call that room the Antechamber?!

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    1. I suggested the antechamber or the anteroom to my husband while we were out on a walk today...he told me I was pretentious and seemed to have no understanding of what a humble-meaning term antechamber actually is!

      On the same basis he rejected all my very favourite baby names - he is a creature of frustratingly simple and earthy terms! He said it should be referred to as 'the room next to the kitchen' which is so unsatisfactory. Thank you hugely for your suggestion - I have told him that I shall refer to it as the anteroom when he enquires as to where his frequently misplaced belongings are and he will have little choice but to head to it to retrieve them, thus endorsing my use of the term! Thank you, Nina!!!

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    2. Ha! I was thinking of it as amusingly grand-sounding, rather than pretentious. Mr Teacakes has misinterpreted it completely! Your plan to force him into accepting the word is a good one :-)

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  8. It's so lovely, and coming together beautifully.

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  9. Looks lovely. I also have a bit of a penchant for 'old lady' prints. When I was choosing a cover for my v-pillow (when I was pregnant), I chose a really pretty one and several friends and family members informed me that it was a bit 'old lady'. Now of course, Cath Kidston's chintzy prints are all the rage and so it has been transformed into something more acceptable!
    As for your middle room: drawing room (or is that too grand?), parlour (would fit in with the old-ladyness), sitting room, lounge...

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    1. Oh I love it when things eventually become fashionable just through the passing of time - that sounds lovely!

      I love the terms drawing room and parlour - they're divine...but alas as our home is somewhat removed from a stately home, I'd feel rather delusional to use either. Damn. One day!

      I love sitting room, but that's the name for our front room and would cause more confusion...possibly Sitting Room II...

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    2. Hmmm. I call our main living room the 'front room' - regardless of its actual location in the house at the time. Luckily, in our current house, it is indeed to be found at the front. This makes it much easier for me to sleep at night.
      How about the family room? We are incorporating one of these into our house once the extension is (at some point) built. I am insisting that it will be a family room because I am determined that it house a dedicated sewing corner for me (to free up our dining room). The children are equally insistent that it will be the playroom. Sigh...

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  10. Beautiful patchwork, the fabric is indeed old-ladyish but I absolutely agree that is a good thing, heirloom fabric. It sounds as if you've had some lovely Summer evenings stitching. x

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  11. This is beatiful, it looks rather timeless with the french prints and colourways. I can't wait to see it finished.

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Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a message - it's always really lovely to hear from people.

I now tend to reply within the comments section, so please do check back if you've asked a question or wish to chat.

Florence x