Wedding Quilts and Guilty Quilty Musings…

I’ve had to give up this quilt in a hurry, and have only just looked at the hurriedly taken photos and I tell you, they JUST DON’T do this thing justice.

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Is it showing up better closer up?

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So my neighbour, the one I made this quilt for (Rural Jardin by French General for Moda):

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…loves hers so much that she asked me if I would make a throw for herย  son’s friend’s wedding. Her next door neighbour’s son actually – they grew up together, and of course my neighbour loves him as though he is her nephew. I know I’ve been quilting lots lately, but I thought I could fit another in especially I’m very very fond of said neighbour of mine.

So after going through some ideas – modern, bright, mixed with white, patterned, traditional… She decided she wanted an “heirloom” quilt – something that would grow with them, not bright or modern. We chose “etchings”, which I had used for my brother’s housewarming quilt here: https://cuckooblue.co.uk/post/52416558284/in-love-with-my-machine

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I really thought it was the right one, the little Parisian street maps and blueprints making it quirky but amongst classic prints, the colour palette which fits in anywhere. The fabrics by 3 sisters are remarkably soft and almost luminous yet always so classic. Ordered it. Brandished my rotary cutters with determination ready to cut it – and stopped. It just felt wrong. I think the couple are young, they don’t have a fancypants house like my brother (the Hubster and I are definitely the poor relations!) and I couldn’t see them using it as a picnic blanket or letting their first baby puke on it whilst he tried to fit all his toes in his own mouth as babies are wont to do.

Panic as the deadline was days away. No time to order new fabric. Looked around my fabric laden room – and my eyes settled on these.

Vintage Summer by Little Yellow Bicycle for Blend fabrics. And my heart sank a little bit.image

Sank because I KNEW these were the right ones. I had bought them originally for my brother until I saw their very grown up house and decided against. Sank because I had been saving them for almost 2 years for something special and never used them. And here today was the day. For folk I didn’t know. And yet who else just now would they suit this well?

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I should have taken better photos, because I can’t tell you how much I love this quilt. The colours are so vibrant, the patterns are cool, fresh, arty, fun, classic and timeless all at the same time. The fabrics are really soft, and because backed it with a grey print from 3 sisters which are always supersoft, and batted it with my favourite Quilter’s Dream Orient – a mixture of bamboo, silk, tencel and cotton, it has a beatiful softness and drape.

This is the most beautiful quilt I have ever made. In my opinion. Even the Hubster said “wow, that’s a NICE quilt.”

And so began 24 hours of incredibly selfish quilty guilty musings.ย 

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Can I really bear to let it go?

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WIll this couple (whom I don’t know) really love it as much as I do?

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Should I have really used up these fabrics on a commission?

The answer is I’m not sure how I will resolve my own selfish feelings of loss, but I do think it makes the perfect wedding gift for a young couple – classic enough to have as a sofa or bed throw but informal and pretty enough to use as a picnic or beach quilt and lovely for a first baby to discover their fingers and toes on or learn to roll over on, machine washable, full of beautiful comfort and practicality.image

Check out my embroidery! This is a most rare occurence and took ages, but I rather like it. The labels are by Riley Blake – they make a full panel of rather nice labels in 3 colourways, which was much nicer than doing my own.

And then I took it over to my neighbour tonight who was so thrilled. She is a huge fan of handmade and my quilts and fell in love, saying she almost didn’t want to give it away… a sentiment I told her I understood! But she assured me of how highly she thinks of this couple, how much they appreciate attractive, quality things, how much she thinks they will love the quilt. And I walked away feeling happier that it would be loved and go to a good home.

This collection is difficult to find now, but they did a “cheater” print – a patchwork print of all the fabrics, a bit of which is worked into the finished quilt actually and looked pretty convincing. So how did I muster up the strength to walk across the road and hand the quilt over today? By rising above my selfishness of course. And because this piece of loveliness arrived through the post today ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Until the next time,

Poppy xx

Quilting tools and a French finish

My neighbour asked me if I’d make her a throw sized quilt pretty much the same as my favourite one which lies on my “snug” sofa most of the time; here is it is finished – clearly not lying on my snug sofa…

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It’s made with my all-time favourite collection, “Rural Jardin” by French General for Moda. This line is so old and out of print that it is as rare as the proverbial hen’s teeth, and I jealously guard the bit of it I have horded. It’ll probably be with me when I die, scattered for posterity under a tree or something. Size 59.5 square. This is the quilt top – in the sun, gasp:

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Don’t be misled by the simple square patchwork, the red, white and blue (and beige), and the floral designs – this colection is soft yet rich at the same time, timeless, unmistakeably French inspired and authentic with it, and would look great in anyone’s room – or thrown on the grass for anyone’s picnic. I love that the simple patchwork allows the collection to shine but subtly, and that wrapped around someone it has a warm, heirloom feel. Here are some close ups:

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If nothing else you can see my quilting in the unusually bright sunshine… I usually stipple my quilts, although my new year’s resolution (what!!? June? Really?!?) is to branch out this year, do some loop-de-loop and a few other designs I have my eye on.ย  But meanwhile I’m finally happy with my stipple, thanks largely to some new tools:

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Exhibit A: one pair of S/M machingers quilting gloves. Completely genius invention. Before I used to grip the quilt with both hands and haul, I mean move, it around to achieve the meander; these have a grippy surface on the fingertips which allow you to move the quilt with your hands face down on the quilt – so much easier. This hasn’t changed my meander in itself but it has taken the strain out of it. For about ยฃ10, it’s absolutely my number one quilting accessory recommendation (I’m assuming folk have the right presser feet etc).

Exhibit B: the basting gun. I talked about this before (https://cuckooblue.co.uk/post/81125927002/oasis-quilt-for-baby-maisie).ย  Mine is the microstitch basting gun and it puts a little plastic tack instead of safety pins. Tacks, by the way, which you can SEW over. Without breaking needles. This has made the biggest difference, both in terms of enjoyment and the meander itself because I don’t have to keep stopping to take out the pins which was breaking the flow, not to mention far too many needles. The little black ant-like things are the tacks.

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And finally… the quilting table with the “sew-slip II”. The whattywhatwhat? I got the quilting extension table when I bought the machine a few years ago, but really until I got the gloves it didn’t help all that much. I kept forgetting to use it. Combined with the gloves though, it really does help. Particularly as I got the “sew-slip II” with the gloves – it’s a piece of slippy teflon (I think) with a hole for your presser foot/needle thing; it grips to your sewing machine bed temporarily, and reduces the “drag” when you move your quilt around. I don’t know for sure how much difference it has made, but I like the idea – and certainly my quilting this time seemed easier and more enjoyable. And quicker to boot. Here is an action shot:

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Anyway, back to the quilt – this is the back: image

Some Rural Jardin in someone’s sale – how lucky is that! A row of charms – I had to add in some leftover “Etchings” by 3 sisters for Moda which toned well with the front – sashed by 2.5” of white cotton… the effect is pretty. And allowed me to join the backing fabric easily!

I used all-natural Dream Orient Batting by Quilter’s Dream – it really is so soft and silky. You can see the drape a little on this picture, and this is not yet washed and fairly densely quilted. I adore this batting. Next warmest to wool apparently, yet machine washable. Although if I could get Quilter’s Dream Wool in the UK, I would as apparently it machine washes well…

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A binding in one of the faded reds of this collection: image

…And it’s ready to go. If I didn’t already have one of these, I’d struggle to let it go; as it is, I prefer this one’s backing and batting to my own! I wonder if she will notice if I swapped them… Ah well, I hope she enjoys it. It’s a collection that even the menfolk seem to like – this one got the seal of approval from her husband when he saw mine, so at least it should be loved ๐Ÿ™‚

It is a shame that this collection is so hard to find, the blues with the two different reds are pretty special. The nearest I can see there is to this is “La Belle Fleur” by French General and looks nice from the pictures, sadly also getting older, which has a regency green in there too – or the latest “Le Bouquet Francais” which has a yellow added. I’m sure the latter is nice – but from the pictures I’m just not sure about the yellow… Still, French General rarely get it wrong, I think their collections are just more beautiful in real life than in photos. I’ll see if I can stretch to trying one! I’m amazed we have money left for food after the quilting supplies are done…

Till the next time, Poppy xx

In love with my machine

And I am! The new needleplate came superfast thanks to the lovely folks at http://www.uksewing.com/ who were just wonderful and coped admirably when I phoned up slightly hysterical – and it arrived the following day, hurrah! And it turns out, the whole episode was A Good Thing, as I now feel suitably chastised about not regularly cleaning out the machine now that it is supersmooth. And where is that ratatatatatat noise of it sewing? Gone. I had forgotten how quiet it is supposed to be! Ahem.

So I have been putting it to good use. First with the ill-fated quilt of my last post. It remained a bit ill-fated as I sewed a deep pucker into the back and couldn’t bring myself to unpick it after everything – I thought it would never get done! So I left it, beautifully scarred, but made with love. (and sanity). The back is completely plain, and with all our plain-backed quilts we never see or show the backs, so hopefully it won’t be too awful. The front looks good though, I think!

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This is the beautiful “Etchings” collection by 3 Sisters for Moda. I have used their fabrics a few times and am always struck by how unbelieveably soft they are – why aren’t all fabrics like that? More than any other Moda fabrics. And they are genuinely luminescent. With gorgeous classic designs.The biggest problem is they don’t show up as beautifully on photos as in real life.

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This is from a quilt I made with this same collection last year (https://www.flickr.com/photos/cuckoo-blue/7443697326/in/set-72157630302286578)ย  – just to show you that amongst all the muted classic colours and patterns there are street maps of Paris and blueprints of French buildings – quirky and sweet, but still grown up. I really like the collection ๐Ÿ™‚

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We ran across the road to take this picture against the backdrop of the forest we live next to after I complained that the car isn’t very inspiring, snapped a couple of pictures and ran back as the baby monitor was out of range despite us being 10 metres in front of the house… So not a great picture of the quilt, despite the lovely setting sun, but those wildflowers make me happy! I can’t imagine what the neighbours thought we were doing. N said it felt like streaking. If only we were so adventurous!

Quilter’s dream cotton batting, pattern is the “double slice” free pattern by Missouri Quilt Co again (link to the tutorial/ pattern is in my previous blog post).

… And I made myself a bag for the holidays, a pretty one which still carries all that kid stuff! Hurray. I initially chose this wonderful home decor print by Valorie Wells called Finnelopy in Curry from her Novella collection:

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It’s so great and I was so sold on this as THE BAG for the holidays. Started making it. Was uncommonly pleased with how it was all going. Then, partway through, the husband wandered in, casually said he “wasn’t keen on the yellow” – “but it’s OK, it’s your bag, if you like it that’s what matters”. Hmpfff.ย 

So. Somehow I just lost 100% confidence in it, and changed my mind; chose instead a lovely print called songbird in powder blue by Little Yellow Bicycle for Blend fabrics and here’s my new bag for the holidays:

Sorry in advance about the rubbish photos, I was losing the light! This is the fabric as it actually is, the colour is almost accurate, so you might just have to use some imagination and “superimpose” this on my bag picture!

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It’s a pleated bag, measuring 15” at botton, 14” height and 4” depth, and I can confirm it’s the perfect toddler bag size! image

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The interfacing makes it soft but structured and will stand on its own. I actually really love it ๐Ÿ™‚ So bring on the holidays!

I won’t be blogging for a couple of weeks as we will be enjoying the longawaited and most welcome sunshine with some time off, so meanwhile I’ll leave you with a picture of a finished lily stem – I did them with pipe cleaners and green florist tape. They look really lovely actually, and the flowers have been getting lots of compliments – another silver lining to the needleplate incident ๐Ÿ˜‰ I will show you how I did them in another post as the internet was no help in making the stems for me (though lily tutorials are all over the place, which is great!)

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Till the next time,

Poppy xx

ps you can email me at poppy@cuckooblue.co.uk

or visit my flickrstream at http://www.flickr.com/photos/cuckoo-blue/