I Made This is a weekly blog series that features makers from around the world and aims to talk about the things we are proud of; of the objects we make that have meaning to us and the journey we take to make them.
This week's I Made This is by the lovely Melissa Wastney of Tiny Happy. I've been lucky enough to spend some time with this ace woman when she comes to teach at The Craft Sessions. I'm always inspired by the way she approaches her work, with a freedom and a disregard for the "rules", creating simple beauty time and again. She often reuses fabrics and repurposes things - which she documents in her gorgeous book Sweet and Simple Handmade.
Keira’s green quilt
This is my daughter’s baby blanket. I hesitate to call it a quilt. It’s more of a small patchwork piece, made in the summer of 2005, when I was very pregnant and it was so hot that I drew the curtains in the house during the day and took the occasional cold bath. That was nearly ten years ago, which is hard to believe.
Back then I was doing a lot of knitting; I had a spinning wheel and was experimenting with yarn dyeing too. I had made quite a few baby hats, booties and vests in earthy colours. And I thought that if the baby was a girl, I’d like to call her Fern.
The previous year, Mum had made a very beautiful queen-sized quilt for Tom and I, and she gave me the leftover fabric scraps. My patchwork skills were a bit dodgy, so I just sewed the squares together until I had a cot-sized piece.
A general lack of funds combined with my reluctance to traipse into town with a toddler meant that I had to find an alternative batting to put inside my quilt. I remembered a length of fleece fabric in the wardrobe leftover from an old project, so that’s what I used. To back it I used plain green cotton. I didn’t like my chances of quilting the piece properly so I tied each corner with perle cotton thread.
It was finished just in time for Keira’s arrival (in the end Fern became her middle name).
When I told Felicia about this project at The Craft Sessions this year, I think she was a bit horrified about the fleece layer inside the blanket* (I think Mum was too when I showed her, but she didn’t mention it) and these days I would definitely use cotton or wool batting and a proper quilt binding.
I know that many traditional quilts would have been made with scraps and re-used blankets or coats inside for warmth and weight, and this is what I really like about the quiltmaking as a craft: its humble origins. Warmth, function, a sense of making do.
Keira is very attached to her ‘blankie’ and as a toddler would talk to it and tuck it up in bed like it was one of her soft animals. It’s travelled around the world with us, been dragged along to countless sleepovers and trips, and even though she’s nearly ten she still carefully arranges it on her bed every night, carefully smoothing it over her duvet.
Some of the squares are completely falling apart, allowing the fleecey secret to show through (I used some random bits of silk from a favourite vintage dress amongst the squares without thinking) but I’m so happy that I have this little piece of that summer; that hot, tired, round, heavy waiting time.
Previously in I Made This: Elizabeth Barnett
*Hey - it's Felicia here. Just to set the record straight ;) I wanted to say that I rather impressed that a woman who makes such beautiful things lined her babies quilt with green fleece. Impressed not horrified! x