So I got to know the ACS headmaster and his wife. Through her I started making my patchwork quilts; she taught handwork to the girls at Methodist Girls’ School, and I learned from her.
Emily sits in her big chair and again turns to her sewing things.
I never like to sit idle: even when I’m directing the household, I like to keep my hands busy with something.
On the table beside her she sets a series of plaited-leaf boxes in which are kept her patches, paper patterns, etc and she explains the work.
First you draw these six-sided shapes on paper and cut them out. Then you take the pieces of cloth and tack them to the paper pattern—fold the edges nicely—and when you have made a lot of the shapes, then start joining them together to form the quilt. You sew with very small neat stitches—and of course you can choose the colours and arrange them to make a nice pattern.
This piece came from a brocade gown that I wore the time that the Governor came to dinner. This is a remnant from my dress for Mabel’s wedding. This piece was from one of mother-in-law’s old cheong sams. There were a lot of her old clothes left behind when she died. Susie said, ‘Nobody wants them lah, I’ll take them away to throw.’ She wanted to make use of them, of course. ‘Oh needn’t waste them,’ I said, ‘they can be given to the poor’. I kept them and sorted them out. Some of them I did give to the Salvation Army.
By now after so many years, I’ve made quilts for all the family. Every night, each one of them sleeps all wrapped up in my patch-work quilt.
— Emily of Emerald Hill (1989) by Stella Kon
Kon, Stella. Emily of Emerald Hill. Macmillan Publishers, 1989. Print.
Photograph of Margaret Chan as Emily from Orangedot