Being my own secret keeper

This has been quite a while in coming, but I can finally share one of my secret projects:

I’ll be honest with you, when I first emailed Tacha to ask about contributing something, I was fairly sure they were going to say no. Say it nicely, but still say no. I think I have a strong, wrong feeling that having patterns published is something that other people do, not something that happens to me.

Then this happened!

This wasn’t the piece I’d been planning to send, but when I learned the theme was “Sew Britannia”, I knew immediately that I wanted to do something relating to the Age of Sail. My husband is a huge Patrick O’Brian fan, so the next step was just to find suitable inspiration. I was idly searching for sailing-related images when I stumbled across the flags from the battle of Trafalgar and immediately thought “those look like quilt blocks.”

It took a while to work out how to lay them out so that the whole thing wasn’t too overwhelmingly flaggy, and somehow they just ended up in a square. Then I stumbled across union jack oilcloth, and the picnic blanket was born. The rest of the fabric came from the lovely Alice at Backstitch – she has a great range of Klona solids that I’ve used for various projects now, and the colours are always fabulous.

We had great fun taking a whole bunch of photos for the magazine, and I had great support putting this thing together. You might notice at the top of the pattern, there’s someone else’s name too – Alex is an absolute wonder who not only tests (very patiently) my crochet patterns, but also can sew in a straight line much better than I can. She’s been a friend for years, and finding she can also make beautiful things has been an absolute lifesaver. She once even lent me a sewing machine, despite her living in Brighton and my being in Oxford! Now *that’s* a good friend.

The thrill of seeing my pattern – the one that I wrote, sewed and slaved over – in ‘print’ is hard to explain. I deliberately didn’t even mention it in advance because until it actually came out, I don’t think I really believed it was going to happen. Because things like this don’t happen to me, and I didn’t want to talk about it, only for something to go wrong and it fall through.

Except there it is! My little picture on the front page of the Fat Quarterly website. Something to look at and think ‘I did that’. Wow. And I couldn’t have been involved with a nicer group of people – I think the Fat Quarterly retreat is going to be a must for me next year, not only for the fabulous sewing but for the ‘no one left behind’ philosophy. Because craft isn’t just about making pretty things. It’s still about community and fun and everyone enjoying what everyone else is doing. And that’s just fab.

I’ve had a subscription to Fat Quarterly for a while anyway, but do go and get yourselves a copy. I always find it inspiring and end up adding to my already too-long ‘want to make’ list!

So that’s one secret project out of the way, appropriately on my 200th post! 2 more to go – it’s going to be an exciting week!


6 thoughts on “Being my own secret keeper

  1. Oh wow, what an amazing thing to happen. Well done on making the approach in the first place, that takes really guts. I’m not sure I could do it, I couldn’t face the rejection. I love the idea of the picnic blanket, it’s nice to use patchwork for something other than snuggling under.


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