Tuesday, April 17, 2007

“Can anything be sadder than work left unfinished? Yes, work never begun.” Christina G. Rossetti (English poet 1830-1894)

It is always great to get a job finished, and in my experience the longer one has been thinking about a job, the greater the pleasure in getting it done. Many years ago, nearly twenty in fact (i.e., the lifespan of my daughter Christina, pictured above with quilt) I started a patchwork quilt with the help of an elderly relative. In my head it was a magnificent warm and colourful piece, luxurious with a mixture of recycled scraps of satin and velvet and backed with polar fleece. It stayed both in my dreams and in pieces in a bag, growing, very slowly every few years, but never came close to being finished.

When I came to France I found I had both the time and the inclination to complete some of these longstanding creative projects, which have been in my head for most of my adult life. It was still a bit of a struggle to keep sewing at first, as I found, like the housework, the results are great but the work itself is a bit of a drag! I persevered and despite the fact that I had no real plan and just stuck it together as I found it, it worked! And just before the depths of winter, quite magnificently I finished it.

It’s been on the bed all through the cold months and marvellous it is too! We needed the extra bedding as we have recently switched from small electric panel heaters to a wood-burning stove in the main living room. The stove is great and very cosy and stocked with our own wood is very economic and sustainable but it is a little fresh in the mornings to say the least. Normally Stuart braves it first and brings me a cup of tea in bed after lighting the fire (I love this man!) The mornings are dark and especially long in France with the sun rising at 9 am in December and as the winter draws on it becomes harder and harder to get going. However there is nothing like the dance of a real flame to warm ones toes and heart.

The quilt looks magnificent on the bed and works really well keeping us toasty warm all night so for me it’s a real work of art, both beautiful and functional. As soon as I finished it I decided I needed to make another one in a different colour and Christina has also requested one for her twenty first birthday! So I fully intend to have these quilts finished in much less time! (And to explain the timeshift: Gabrielle wrote this blog some time ago but had been waiting for her daughter to visit to take a photo as it seemed fun to illustrate the age of this "work in progress" by way of comparison. Spring is here so the mornings aren't cold any more and Gabrielle's even started making the morning tea!)