Quilted to life: Tilda Stems Quilt

I have never done so much “custom” quilting on a quilt before – and never been so proud of a quilt! I’m amazed at the difference it’s made to what was originally an “it’s quite nice” quilt top. And I’m amazed at what our domestic quilting machines can do!

This started life 8 months ago, having spent a sweet but somewhat tedious few weeks sewing up zillions of cushions for kiddo’s school library, I had that sudden urge to make something more complex. You know the way that you find yourself suddenly making something unplanned just for the joy of it? Totally normal right? I really don’t care what the bank manager says. 😜

I had had the “Stems” quilt pattern from Fig Tree and co on my to-make list for a long time, and a Tilda fat quarter bundle of both Memory Lane and Cabbage Rose lines. I still absolutely love these fabrics, rich but so pretty. So without thinking too hard, I just started… And immediately turned to Instagram for help!

Most folk chose the green dotty (would you have?). I wonder how different it would have been with the charcoal!The pattern is great, very easy and lends itself well to chain piecing, so it came together quickly.

You know… I quite like this, but I still wish I had put a wider inner white border. If I do this again, I definitely will. As a result I didn’t love it immediately. Good size though – 53″ x 68″ and since it was such a spontaneous project, there was something freeing about not having invested hopes and planning into it.

Anyway I had other projects to do, so I put it aside for a few months until a few months later…

When I decided to quilt it – with feathers! The first feathers I’ve done on an actual quilt! Not actually that difficult and to be honest I thought they were ugly whilst I was doing them! I love them now, it goes to show that you can be too close whilst you’re quilting, give yourself a break 😄 Quilting always looks better when it’s done.

See? Not perfect, but overall 😍 I used Wonderfil Konfetti 50wt cotton thread in white.Then it hung around for some more months, until I worked out what to do in the petal sections. A stipple? Loopy meander? In the end I decided I needed a hand project and went for some big stitch hand quilting.

I tried pink and white thread but the black won, as it stands out strongly up close, and gently from any distance. I used Spagetti thread, a lovely silky 12 weight double gassed for low lint, non glazed, non twisted thread. Good value too!

Some folk find quilting through the the layers of quilt top, batting and backing difficult, and many resort to doing one stitch at a time or giving up. The technique of hand quilting is different from the running stitch action if you want to go quickly and load several stitches at once. There are a number of ways to do it, including using a hoop which I sometimes do. I put some videos on my Instagram , @cuckooblue :

It’s easier at the edge as you can put your supporting thumb on the top of the quilt. The quilting videos on my Instagram have explanations of how to quilt like this through the layers.The needle “rocking” is key to getting stitches forming at the back (ie going through all the layers). Rock your needle! 🙌 😎

Finished! Except for the borders, which again waited a few months whilst I pondered. I decided to quilt a leafy vine on the inner border and a flower and petal design in the dark blue border. The latter doesn’t show up in photos but it’s a lovely surprise up close!

Can you see? There are quilting videos on my Instagram page (@cuckooblue) but I took a video of me explaining how to do the border quilting if you’re interested:

Finally finished the binding last night and I’m so thrilled and, I don’t mind admitting, quite proud! Let’s allow ourselves to be proud of ourselves now and then, although I know being humble comes more naturally to most of us ❤🙂

Stats: 53″x 68″

Pattern: Stems by Fig Tree and co, plus an added 4.5″ border.

Fabric Memory Lane and Cabbage Rose by TildaQuilters Dream Orient batting

Quilted on domestic (but fancy) machine Janome 8200mcp with Wonderfil Konfetti cotton thread

Hand quilted with Spagetti 12wt cotton thread in black.

The transforming effect of quilting! Up close it’s so much more noticeable. Sewing really is our superpower!

Hope you’re all having a lovely Spring! As you can see from the picture above, Scotland is blessing our Easter Sunday with sunshine, for which we’re most grateful! Till the next time,Poppy xx

I think I’m a Scrappy Bag Lady.

How much do I love my new bag? THIS much! (You’ll have to use your imagination a little, but I’m stretching till it hurts over here).

I have to tell you it is extremely heavily influenced by the Happy Scrappy Purse Pattern by Crazy Mom Quilts. Crazy mom? Crazy talented I say. She’s the absolute queen of scrappy projects, having written a couple of great books on organising and using your scraps. So I was doing just that:

And I was amazed and touched when she saw the middle picture on Instagram and sent me the pattern for her Happy Scrappy Purse. Just like that! What a lovely lady. Here’s a picture of her pattern.

Gorgeous huh? You can read her blog post about it here, with a link to buy the pattern. http://crazymomquilts.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/scrap-happy-purse-pattern.html?m=1

It’s a great pattern as you’d expect from her, clear and straightforward. The only thing is that I really needed a GIGANTONORMOUS bag. I had struggled to contain all my guitar equipment at the last wee gig I did (a pickup and lead, music stand, guitar stand and A4 size music, water bottle etc) and I ended up taking a giant shopping bag – fine but disappointing for a sewist whose first love is bag making!

So to rectify my lack-of-giant-bag-ness, I changed the dimensions to 19″ wide, 5″ deep, and added some sparkly linen at the bottom just to stretch the scraps out. Speaking of sparkly linen…

Look at this! This is metallic Essex linen by Robert Kaufmann. It really does sparkle, and added a fun element to my already fun bag. I can’t believe that it’s so smooth and comfortable, not prickly or stiff like I thought it might be. I used fusible bosal-in-r-form interfacing for firm structure, and had no problems ironing the linen with a high heat and plenty of steam/ water. I rather love this stuff. Ha, both the Bosal and the sparkly linen – modern fabrics are remarkable!

The back – more scrappy goodness!

I was extremely indulgent; being a woman in a male dominant household, I went pink. Pink for the lining (Heather Ross’ Swim Sisters from Mendocino) and pink floss with which to sew on the handles. I think of pink as a secret and delicious bit of self-indulgence; not that my family mind pink, but I tend to limit it in our family makes. This one is mine!

Leather-like handles were suggested by Crazy Mom Quilts, and I’m glad I took that suggestion, although of course you can make them or buy strapping. I definitely love my bag even more because of them! It seems… more substantial.

You know the best thing about scraps? You throw them all together and they look great. No wait, it’s because they bring back memories of old projects. Hang on, no, actually, it’s that they’re free. Um, or maybe because they’re so interesting to look at? Sheesh. Just use your scraps people. 😁😜😚💕

Till the next time,

Poppy xx