Emergency Blankets: Work-In-Progress Part 3

This is the third post in a series documenting the creation of my new work Emergency Blankets for the MAPBM event ‘Carnivale Catastrophe’ (curated by Dr Fiona Davies) as part of Cementa22. ‘Carnivale Catastrophe’ is supported by Festivals Australia and NAB and Emergency Blankets is additionally supported by the NSW Government through Create NSW.

In the first post I shared the process involved in creating test quilts for the first emergency blanket. In the second post I discussed the creation of the wagga blanket and some problems we encountered. In this installment I will provide some insight into the creation of the second emergency blanket.

This quilt is inspired by the depression-era practice of making quilts from recycled clothing and left-over tailors samples and off-cuts. These quilts are sometimes called ‘depression quilts’ or ‘depression waggas’. Here are a few examples from the National Quilt Register:

When my grandfather passed I received some of his clothes including some old grey woolen suits and jackets. With the blessing of my mother and aunties I decided to use some of the suits to make my second emergency blanket. This involved a lot of unpicking (not pictured) done expertly by my mother, then I cut the fabric into strips and began to arrange them. At first I tried creating patterns with the different shades of grey, but in the end I settled on a less orderly design:

The next step in the process involved pinning pieces together and then sewing them into rows (I did the pinning and Mum did the sewing). Then the rows were pinned and sewn together to create the top piece. During this process Mum had to correct some of my cutting as the material we were working with was often curved and getting a straight line could be difficult:

For this quilt we are planning a different method of attaching the top piece to the mylar backing. Before we proceed with this approach, however, we plan to make another small test quilt using left-over fabric and off-cuts. I will cover that process, and possibly the finishing of the second emergency blanket, in the next installment.

Emergency Blankets is supported by the NSW Government through Create NSW.