The Seedling Quilts - Honeysuckle Quilt

honeysuckle quilt

The History of Honeysuckle

Honeysuckle is a fast-growing vine with super sweet flowers that have been used for food and medicine since ancient times. Its anti-inflammatory properties made it a common medicine in China. Around the Mediterranean, it was used for the treatment of stomach problems, cancer, and skin irritations.

Irish folklore taught that planting honeysuckle in your garden brought prosperity to your home! The sweet scent prompted generosity in guests and neighbours, and kept away evil spirits. That same sweet smell made it taboo in Victorian times because it caused young ladies to dream passionate dreams!

Honeysuckle was recommended by Ancient Roman author Pliny for the treatment of depression, and its incense was burned as a mental stimulant. And, it was Pliny’s treatment for depression that I focused on while making this quilt. The use of something growing, beautiful, and sweet smelling for a sore, tired brain connected with me. It was one of Dostoevsky’s characters that said, “Beauty will save the world.” Maybe it could save me, too? 

honeysuckle quilt draped

Creating Space for Growth

I had originally assumed that I would just make a quilt of vine rows, all climbing off the quilt, but when I laid them out, it made me feel a bit overwhelmed. It was like a weed gone rogue rather than a tended garden. I wanted to express something like “room for growth," rather than “complete” or “filled in,” because the new chapter of my life in a new town where I didn’t quite know who I was yet, still held so much mystery to me. I still have so much to learn about myself and this world.

And, so, I left a little gap for that sweet vine to grow into. Maybe some people will decide to fill it in or decorate the gap in a different way, but to me, it represents breathing room, space to figure out who I am in a new season. 

closeup of handquilting

Stitching Something Beautiful

My friend Lucy and I worked on Honeysuckle Quilt together, and we chose our favourite fabrics to create a rich, vibrant colour palette. Orange, purple, and teal really do make me happy. And, those ginghams! Then, we stitched the vines together. It’s great how quickly a quilt comes together with company! 

The vines are appliquéd in the quilting stage, and I really enjoyed mixing up the processes in this way! I was daunted by the idea of appliquéing vines to such a big area, but waiting until quilting meant they were pin basted down with the rest of the quilt, and the weight of the layers helped it stay straight and even. It was really fun! 

full honeysuckle quilt

Inspired to stitch something sweet and beautiful like Honeysuckle quilt?

Honeysuckle Quilt is the fifth quilt in my book, The Seedling Quilts. Check out the rest of the quilts in the collection below!

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