A Patchwork Text Degree

Here’s my take as an ex-quilter on my experience of the way Winter’s concept of patchwork text was used in my degree.
Quilting and patchwork are two different and sometimes separate processes.
To peice a quilt (ie to make a patchwork of different fabrics, all of which must be the same weight) is the first part of the making up. This is usually done by making ‘blocks’ of pieced fabric.

A traditional and simple form would be a nine patch quilt block where 9 small squares are made up to form a pattern. Each square may be formed of 2 or more triangles or other shapes.
A nine patch block of JellyArt looks more complex but is in fact made up of 9 squares arranged 3×3

When many of these squares are used together to make a jellyquilt a very complex pattern can emerge. In this more complex pattern the original 9 patch blocks are hard to identify and other underlying patterns take over. Could it be that the double loop is revealing itself?
Sometimes the blocks remain as single patterns and that can be because of the choices made in piecing the quilt

Here the blocks have been kept discreet by deliberately framing them. This is still a 9 patch quilt block but here the focus is on the original pattern with no deeper connections forged. Here the grid was clearly seen from the start and the outcome at once visable. It’s a pleasing design but there are no surprises.
For me the degree has been more like the first pattern and in many ways more like the Victorian ‘crazy quilts’ where blocks of different shapes and weights were pieced to make a pleasing whole. My blocks have been very varied and I’ve often struggled to piece a pleasing pattern from them πŸ™‚

Each block is first pieced then the blocks are joined to make the patchwork . Here I can see a clear metaphor and one I’ve been banging on about ever since I first read Winter in Year 1. The blocks are for me the modules each pieced together to fit the 9 patch square, the overall degree the way the blocks are peiced together to make the quilt.
Sometimes I felt as if the module structure demanded that I disguard the pieced block (the learning activities, mixed media pieces etc) and weave a whole new fabric based on shadows of what I’d learned (reflections) through assembling the block (a 4 or 6 thousand word report).
I fought and struggled to make my quilt, to piece it together but like many begining quilters I found some of my blocks were distorted and edges hard to align. Eventually I managed to pull it into shape. The best blocks are in the middle of the quilt (year 2) the more distorted ones at the edges (year 1 and 3). There are patterns that have connected up right across the quilt and this is what has pulled it together into a whole quilt.
The concept of the stitching of the modules has been sugested as the quilting but that makes no sense to me. The final joining together of the three layers and the actual ‘quilt stitching’ is a process that takes place at the very end of the quilt making. It can as simple as using a darning thread and needle to make a tied quilt or as complex as a repeated feather pattern or a celtic knot. It needs to be worked on a quilt attached to a tight frame or the whole quilt will distort and be ruined. Traditionally a group would come together to do the fine stitching at the end of the quiltmaking process and over a few concentrated days what was a solitary achievement (the piecing) would become a group effort dedicated to finishing the work for that individual. I suppose there’s an echo here with the peer-review process. Maybe the people I worked with in the learning set (beehive) acted to help me tie my quilt loosely together. I tend to prefer simply tied quilts to fussy ones with over-embelished surfaces πŸ™‚
Right at the start I asked my LF (Tim) if I could do my degree in Jellyquilts. It seems I did!

Join Ultrastudents the cross Cohort mailing list


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s