The Message Is On The Back of the Postcard

The purpose of a postcard? To send a pretty picture of somewhere you are? To send a message on the back from somewhere you are? Or a combination of both? Remember those days when you felt forced to send postcards? To your parents, to your granny, to your friends, to work. Offence might be taken if you didn't. "What happened to my postcard?"  I was asked one more than one occasion. Once by work, they liked to put them up on the noticeboard, it became accepted I, my pen, my postcard and my stamp were never in the same place at the same time. The second time was by a dear relative (?) who never went anywhere herself, but liked to get the postcard, and also a present. Funny the things that come into your head when piecing a backing.

With all this in mind, I couldn't possibly put just anything on the back of my Postcard from Sweden quilt, aka, my Writing from Whitehead. It had to be a clear thought out message. I looked for quite a while for the perfect backing fabric. I spotted this on Craftsy and new it would be perfect. Even better it was on sale, though of course the shipping costs practically outweigh the savings. Never mind, it was exactly what I wanted. It is Tula Pink Arrowhead fabric.


The little egg timers remind me of penants, or flags that swing from the stringy things on the sides of boats. Those who are of the sailing and boating fraternity probably know the terminology. I have been to the Naval Dockyard in Portsmouth a couple of times and it reminded me of there. Ensigns - isn't that the word I am looking for? You know, you want to send Nelson a message, so you run a flag or two up the flag pole.

I bought enough fabric to back the quilt completely if I joined two widths. The more I looked at it I didn't wan to do that. Sometimes one fabric backing is right, but mostly I prefer pieced backing. If it is just any old stuff you hanging around, then yes, it looks make do and mend and a bit tight fisted. But the backing should be a thing of beauty in itself I believe, and this time I think I have nailed it.

I was about 7" short of the width. All the offcuts were gathered and waiting for use. So why not? I made a long strip of squares and rectangles, abour 4" or so wide, just random placement,. Next up I made a long narrow strip of mostly purple with other colours interspersed. Ironically this is the only fabric that isn't cotton, it is a poly cotton I think. I don't know how this snuck in. I had all my fabrics labelled and the purples were all present and correct. Just a spare I think. Anyhow, it works in the backing. Next up was another long strip of random colours again.

I love how this looks, I like to think it has some sort of semaphore code. It reminded me of Girl Guides, with my friend Liz. We were frantically waving flags across a field, trying desperately and failing to send semaphore messages. Rather like in Swallows and Amazon, by Arthur Ransom, incidentally a favourite book of ours. My father loved it, I loved and my sons, and also my niece.

I'm a bit short to hold all this up! I am going to rig some wire across my fence I have decided.
I am reusing the photo from the last posting , I think the fabrics are so cool together. Unfortunately   Felix the hare has had a mishap, a big gust of wind blew him over and broke off his ears. I am going to knit him a hat. As soon as I have time that is.               

The next week or two are particularly busy for us, not much sewing time lined up. I am hopeful though of basting and quilting by month end. If I do, I will put the flags out. Maybe even let you know by semaphore. And then it will be off to Whitehead for the photoshoot! A wee day out, to the vintage tea rooms, the steam train and the wool shop! What more could a girl want.
One last photo to share with you. When I was taking the garden photos, our magnolia stellate was throwing out the most glorious perfume. Spring has finally sprung.

Helen x
linking up with Beth and Cooking Up Quilts
linking up with Lorna Sew Fresh


  1. I can only imagine what you have coded into the dashes and dots in the backing, Helen! Sorry to hear that Felix had such a mishap.

  2. Hi Helen,
    What a wonderful post! No, of course you can't put just anything on the back of Postcard. All the work it entailed alone warrants special fabric. I had to giggle - my last name is Nelson, so what message are you trying to send me via flags?! I'm not sure I'll understand them because the maritime language isn't my forte. Just saying! Oh my goodness, poor Felix the hare. Earless! Oh my, to give up hearing after enjoying it for years - that has to be very difficult for him. I'm sure you will knit him a dashing hat and he won't mind at all being earless. Oh, those houses are so pretty all coordinated. I look forward to seeing your Postcard all finished. ~smile~ Roseanne

  3. It's a great pieced backing. I loved learning semaphore in Girl Guides. Don't think I remember much now. I think we're a bit too far apart for us to communicate that way LOL

  4. You put a lot of thought into your backs. This one is lovely and fits the postcard quilt very well.

  5. You put so much thought and love into each and every quilt you do Helen. I am getting a bit more adventurous myself with my backings now, after being influenced by yours😀 poor Felix...hope you can get a bat knitted for him soon and hugs xxx

  6. i love your idea of the naval flags and messages on the back of the quilt. I am making a quilt for my dad atm and it has a message in naval signal flags in the border.

  7. Love the pieced back with it's semaphores! I think the postcard message says having fun wish you were here.

  8. Not Felix!! Although I do think he would be adorable with a knitted hat. Just think of him as a floppy ear bunny with his ears tucked neatly inside the cap. I think you picked the perfect backing fabric for WFW. Beautiful post card front and flag waving message on the back...with a little morse code?

  9. Here's a little secret from the nautical world: no one knows how to read those signal flags. We use them just like you do, to look jaunty. I have a whole string of them already in some random order. It probably spells out "Made in China."

    Your gorgeous backing, on the other hand, signals a fine eye for design and color. Definitely NOT made in China :)

  10. Great finish! Use up everything so you won't be starting something too soon!

  11. Perfect post for a perfect quilt!

  12. Love your pieced backing, it's a great way of using up bits of scraps and I love your design, clever. I hope you are enjoying and taking advantage of this glorious unseasonable weather, nice to knit in the sun.

  13. I thought only the dinner plate magnolias of Florida and Georgia were scented? I'll have to see if this variety is available here. Our pink one doesn't smell. OH! On your backing! You've nailed another one for sure! Pinned it right over the postcard wall in the offie of yore! I cannot wait to see this one done and photographed in Whitehead.

    1. I really need to proof my comments...
      *office of yore..
      And I meant to say that Tula is just perfect! I have it in pale blue just a half yard and I've always really liked it. And you've given me another book to put on hold in our library. I'm due; I've been reading from my home library the past month or so. The Rhanna books. Did you ever read them? now I want to go to the Hebrides....


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