I made this quilt in 2012. I'm not even sure I can call it an heirloom quilt if it's only been made and used by me, but that's how it has always felt to me. I'd been living in Brighton for 6 months having graduated the year before, and was working in a haberdashery whilst volunteering for a charity and interning at a clothing recycling company. When I look back at that time I can still remember how untethered I felt, trying to figure out how to move forward with a Fashion degree under my belt but wanting to only be involved in companies that were making a difference. I also had a few health problems at the time and as I know is common for so many people in their early 20's, I struggled with it all for ages!
(Terrible quality photo from when I finished the quilt in 2012!)
Sewing was still my therapy though, and I decided I wanted to make my first quilt using all the scraps I'd collected over the years. I also used an old duvet cover of my brothers for the back of the quilt and for the binding. I'd never made a quilt before but loved the process instantly. It was so therapeutic, and despite making lots of mistakes throughout it's still one of my favourite things I've ever made. I even changed the quilting stitches during the lockdown of 2020; they'd originally been machine sewn and I'd not done the quilt any justice with that, so I unpicked thousands of stitches to hand quilt them during a time when I needed that distraction.
And here we are now in 2023, and my dog Benji had an anxious moment and chewed a hole through it. It's a rarity for him so I felt really stung by it to start with, but I quickly remembered that the damage and wear and tear tells a story - just like with our clothing. I spent countless hours making this quilt and it's been with me for over 10 years now - in all honesty I'm surprised it hasn't needed repairing sooner!
I chose to patch the holes with super simple fabric scraps and a whip stitch using Sashiko thread to tie in with the quilting stitches. I came up with a few other ideas, but these simple patches felt like the best fit for this quilt and act as a really tactile time stamp just as the quilt itself marks that time in my twenties over a decade ago. I love visible mending and repair for that - for its ability to be able to mark a time and a memory - and in a strange way I'm excited to be able to add to these patches in years to come.