2 June 2010

Sewing and the Victoria & Albert Museum

Last week I went to my first meeting of the South East Sisters Needlework Union! How awesome is that name btw? Lydia, Mary and Sian set it up and I was invited to join, I'm really really excited and inspired by it! Basically, we're going to meet every two weeks and sew together. We're going to work on individual pieces of cross stitch and embroidery, but also we're going to make a sampler book together and hopefully a quilt!

Lydia, Mary and Sian were inspired to start the group after going to the Quilts exhibition at the V&A so on Sunday I went along to check it out myself. It was amazing! It's amazing how much work people put into making these quilts, so many tiny pieces and lots of them had individual squares of embroidered scenes on them, like this one:

I really loved seeing the really old ones, something about 4-500 year old household objects really grabs my imagination! I really enjoyed the quilt made by women aboard the convict ship the Rajah on the way to Australia, just looking at it I could almost see the women sitting around it sewing it.

It was great to see some modern quilts too, some of them I thought were amazingly pretentious, but others I think really understood the history the quilts and the feelings they envoke in people. Grayson Perry was amazing as usual:

His quilt was called 'Right to Life' and rather than the usual swirling hexagon pattern, he uses images of fetuses. This is all sorts of awesome.

Tracy Emin's was amazing too (I have such a soft spot for her):

Once I was done in the quilt exhibition I went up to the Textiles rooms and my goodness! There were these huge cabinets filled with screens which you could pull out and look at the needlework inside. The section with samplers left me speechless, there in front of me was the oldest known sampler, sewn in 1592! There was also some tudor blackwork and samplers and lacing from everywhere from Sweden to Italy!

Also, once I got to the shop I had to buy some of the Liberty limited edition fabric for my own quilt!

I was so inspired by the whole day and I literally spent the rest of the weekend sewing! Here's one piece that I did:

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