I was reminded how much it is possible to achieve when I only have to teach in school for one day out of a week. A customer quilt was dispatched, a piece of musical fabric was soon quilted so it can be turned into a gift and I joined together 9 sheepskin chamois leathers for my newest project – a quilted corracle. I was trying to remember where I first had this idea but it has eluded me. Perhaps I thought it would be fun to attempt a Viking longship after my Norse wholecloth series but then sense prevailed and I realised how big it would have to be.
A one-man corracle is round, like a yurt, is slightly easier to fit in the Landy if I want to take it to an exhibition, and it could even be hung on a wall. The original versions were probably covered in leather or tarred canvas. They are dangerous little ancient vessels used by Welsh fishermen but what fascinated me the most when I did some research is that the remains of a “currach” was found near the River Spey, not so far from here. Mine will serve no practical purpose but in my mind I can see some sort of ceremonial little boat, possibly used to convey a modest sort of Viking or Celt to the afterlife. I hope to sew amber beads, shells and other trinkets that these ancient folk may have traded onto the chamois by hand but I am not sure how successful this will be.
I have spent hours happily quilting away on two very different fabrics, chamois and bronze spandex which look and smell gorgeous. The spandex is extremely stretchy and is starting to look like a kind of exotic leather. The only thing that did not go well was the waterweed motif that is creeping down two of the major seams. I had not really quilted anything for ages so my quilting-fluidity had definitely gone rusty. It looks like I could not decide whether I was designing a spiky plant or some misshapen feathers which is probably true but I have decided that applying gold rickrack is likely to rescue the situation.
It is actually quite hard work working so intensely on such a large piece. After a while my arms and back ache and my eyes sting because I am working on a big project but on a very small scale. Because I am enjoying it so much, I can stand there for hours at a time. However, I am beginning to look forward to upgrading my machine to the newer, smoother version with a jumbo bobbin.
I became an Aunt for the second time so I interrupted my corracle and ran up a basic baby quilt using some super Aboriginal prints that were left over from Oz Bewitched. I don’t suppose my new nephew will wonder why the quilt features ants and grubs instead of tractors or dinosaurs. Because I loved working with the fabric so much, it was all finished and bound within a few hours!