Two weeks ago, I tried on a new identity and purpose: pattern tester for the wonderful Ms E. She challenged two of us to try out her pattern for the Mystery Quilt at the upcoming Patchwork in the Peaks retreat, held in Morzine just after next Easter (try to weedle your way into the remaining available space if you possibly can!). It’s a prepare-a-little-bit-in-advance-then-discover-the-pattern-on-the-spot mystery, so obviously I have to be hush hush about it here. Ms D and I gathered one sunny Sunday morning to try out two different sizes of the Mystery.
I had mostly “shopped” from my stash, with two little bits added at the last minute from Ms E’s wonderful stash. I bravely cut into one of my most-favourite prints. I found this online a couple of years ago, delighted to find the exact same material as my little Miss R’s favourite baby trousers, bought six years ago in a funky little boutique in Geneva by devoted Mr T, my husband. I think it’s designed by Michael Miller.We were told to choose a focus fabric, ideally large print, and some matching other bits, with sashing. A repurposed red spotty duvet cover (from that large Swedish store), two scraps of left-over ‘vintage’ yellow sheets (stripy and spotty) from a charity shop, not-quite-enough of a green fat quarter from Japan (so I chose some toning plain green for one extra strip), and a little piece of yellow from Ms E’s scraps. A world made of scraps!
White is always my go-to sashing, in this case super-cheapo large Swedish store white, bought by weight. It behaved surprisingly well. So did I, though I say so myself: I almost followed instructions, for once, but only because Ms E kept glaring at me with her “Oh do behave and read the paper, Ms JJ, you are my Official Pattern Tester, remember?”. So I did my best. When I disolved into only wanting cups of tea and biscuits, she even did my ironing, and lent me her best sewing machine. A true friend!
Meanwhile, Ms D — the White Witch of Perfect Seams and Skillful Hand Quilting — threw her blocks together in the best bright greens I really, really wanted. We decided that together we just about covered every possible personality trait and skill level that Ms E is likely to meet in her Peaks students: from speedy but scrappy free-spirit to accurate but careful precision-stitcher.
But that, my dears, is all you are allowed to see, just in case you are going to Peaks yourself. I am gutted that, for the first time, I am not able to. But this pattern-testing made me feel part of the party too, in my own small way. I do so look forward to seeing what others make for this Mystery. It is always so instructive to see how fabric choice totally changes how patterns actually look.
Two weeks later, I have now put half the blocks together (for Step II), and I totally LOVE the result. This is going to be such a sweet, cheerful quilt. Hurray! Thank you, Ms E, for perpetually challenging me.
Happy mystering! JJ