When I was 10 I was quite an unhappy child. My grandfather died suddenly and my mother started to work full-time, from home, admittedly, but it still turned my world upside down. I was a very frail child, constantly ill and frequently off-school. We lived in a very rural area where there were no other children and my school was 2 long bus rides away so I was lonely as well.
But there in the house was Granny Dougall's quilt and also Mary Thomas' Embroidery Book. This had a few pages on making a hexagon quilt by the English papers method. There was also the rag-bag of left over dressmaking scraps. My mother made clothes, reluctantly and not very well, but she did make them.
My father obliged by making me a template from a scrap piece of wood. And my mother was indifferent to my having the freedom of the rag-bag. My mother's translation work arrived every week in large brown envelopes so I had an ample supply of papers. And I got started.
It took me about a year to hand sew the patchwork. We had an old treadle sewing machine and I already made some of my clothes, but Mary Thomas didn't mention using a machine so I didn't know you could.
When it was finished I was allowed to buy the backing. I didn't know about using cotton fabrics for patchwork. By chance, I expect most of the dress fabric remains that I used would have been cotton at that time. The only fabric cheap enough was a rather slippery nylon, so that is what I backed my quilt with.
Then I felt that the flowers didn't stand out enough. I didn't know anything about quilting, and anyway I'm sure no shop where we lived would ever have heard of quilting wadding.
So I spent another year feather stitching round each flower.
When I got it out of the cupboard to photograph last week, and looked at it again, I thought I really had done a surprisingly good job, given my age, my resources, and the fact that I had no help to turn to for advice.
And it's fun seeing my grey striped school summer uniform, and my mother's dark green best dress, and the green striped fabric I made a dress from that I was very proud of, and all the others, each with a memory attached.