Do you have a quilt top drawer? What am I saying! If you answer yes to “Have you quilted for more than 3 years”, then you’ll know all about the quilt top drawer. I don’t know why some tops just get put off the big finish; you lose love for the fabrics, you have other more pressing projects to a deadline, you feel it needs a bit more added. But look what happens if you open that drawer now and then:
Look at that! My Starflower Chain quilt from… ughhh, February 2014. Eeek. At least that’s when I did the tutorial here, using 3 charm packs and a fat quarter:
Somehow I couldn’t find a reason to quilt this quilt before; it’s 61″ square so too big for a baby quilt, all the wrong colours for my house, too girly for my son, too pink & fancy for a picnic quilt for our boy-heavy family. And then I heard of Siblings Together.
Turns out that children placed in the UK foster care system are often separated from their siblings. I understand that it’s difficult to take in several children, but how awful for these kids. Anyway Siblings Together is a charity which puts on camps for these kids to get to spend time with their siblings. And some amazing quilters are leading the drive to make a quilt for each child to keep as a reminder of their time at camp. And I decided that this quilt top finally had purpose! You can read more here about the quilt and block drive here:
..using some of my favourite warm fabrics. I love the back! Almost more than the front.
I just stipple quilted it this time, it feels like an awfully long time since I stippled… It’s because I got a half-board of a new batting – EQS Sew Simple 100% cotton LIGHT batting, without scrim. I like Sew Simple and it is much cheaper than my absolute favourite Quilter’s Dream batting – but it usually has scrim, and I worry about that tiny bit of polyester melting in the event of a fire. Probably overkill I know but you have to do what you feel is right for you. Anyway this new scrimless batting has to be quilted less than 4″ apart, so the easiest way for me is to stipple. It quilted nicely by the way, although I had felt it was too thin when I first opened it out; the finished quilt has a nice drape and softness. It is probably more lightweight (cooler) than Quilter’s Dream cotton though (and Warm & Natural which is actually 12.5% polypropylene).
As it happens I also made a couple of blocks for the quilt as you go block drive. They are asking for this pattern and have a tutorial on the blog here:
And the amazing Nicky of mrsssewandsow.blogspot.co.uk is putting all these blocks together that quilters send in to make more quilts! Some people are really special. She’s a very talented quilter too. That second photo of my blocks is hers by the way, from her Instagram.
Anyway it feels really good that this neglected wee quilt top will go to a little girl who will hopefully get pleasure and comfort from it for many years to come. If you fancy donating a quilt block, top, back, fabric, time or skill to this informal amazing kind gang of online quilters all over the country and elsewhere, then do check out the siblings together quilt blog (or the original siblings together site if you want to know more about the charity and camps).
Ahhh, the evening sun as a WIP becomes a finished quilt. Quilter’s bliss.
Sometimes, that usually fair and just muse, er, Quiltiopoeia, eschews all her principles of “it will be beautiful if you take your time and take care” and her rebellious streak wreaks havoc in your quilty life. I have no idea where I’m going with this fable – but I tell you, this sweet, simple little baby quilt has caused me no end of trouble.
I know, right? It’s one charm pack of Ambleside by Brenda Riddle for Moda, sewn together and quilted. How hard can it be? I tell you though, do not be fooled by her gorgeousness; she’s a tricksy minx.
Earlier this year, we had that rarest of rare things – builders whom you actually like having around, who don’t say one thing and provide another, who work until the job is done, who fix problems promptly without complaint, who don’t suck air through their teeth every time they tell you about a minor problem as though you are going to have to sell your right femur to pay for this one, Missus. The father and son team did a great job replacing our decrepit bathroom for us with a “hotel bathroom” (cue clasped hands and joyous musical theatre exclamations from Mrs Cuckooblue). So when young master-builder saw me sewing and asked if I would make a small baby quilt for his niece-on-the-way a few months hence, I said yes, despite vowing to take on no new commissions this year. After all they were so nice, and it wouldn’t take too long, right?
He chose my charm squares of Marmalade Flannel by Bonnie and Camille for Moda, left over from a little quilt my newest niece plays on, and an Ikea print, Rosalie, apparently designed by Cath Kidston. Oh, I was so on top of it, although somehow I fretted over every stage, the size, the quilting, the batting (Quilter’s Dream cotton). 2 weeks before the due date, I got it to the stage in the picture above, and then went to visit my aforementioned baby niece who was playing on her quilt. I had never used flannel before and was a bit disappointed in how it had washed. Soft, yes, but also kind of old looking. I guess like flannel pyjamas get old and comfy looking quickly..? In my experience, quilts made with regular high-quality cotton fabrics remain beautiful, if not get more beautiful with subsequent washes, but somehow this flannel one didn’t. It looked better when first made. Disappointing. I think it’s one thing when it’s a gift, but another when someone has commissioned it, don’t you think?
So, some emailing of alternatives I thought they might like later, and all was going well. I used Quilters’ Dream wool batting, which is gorgeously soft with a higher loft than regular cotton batting but still washes pretty easily in the machine, and stipple quilted it. I had loop de loop quilted the Marmalade quilt above, but I thought it needed a bigger quilt really to show off the regularity of the design, I think I prefer the stipple on such a small one.
Aren’t the fabrics pretty? See that perfect binding too (from Butterscotch and Rose by Fig Tree Quilts for Moda) ? Well, I had been tossing up between this one and a blue floral one. I would like to tell you that I made the right decision immediately, but I didn’t. I unpicked it all before I thought to photograph it, but I’ve just laid the old blue binding on the quilt so you can see why it was all wrong:
I have learned to pay attention to backs and bindings over the years. Bindings in particular seem such a small thing, but they can make or break a small quilt like this. They DO show, and you need a nice frame. I just thought… oh, I don’t know what I was thinking!
And then the monogram he asked for. Was hoping for a beautiful swishy silvered calligraphic embroidered monogram I could tell – he had to settle for applique. And after 24 hours of me gradually discovering that LF in olde-world lettering doesn’t look good or recognisable, Fs and Ls being near mirror images of each other, he agreed to a simple appliqued name. Phew! And very sweet it looks too, I think. In my experience with small children, they love seeing their names, the first word they recognise really. It’s a shame to have some elaborate script, that they can’t read, on their first quilt.
Aw. It was worth the troubles for this little quilt. I love the softness and snuggly feel of the batting, love the classically sweet fabrics, even love the wee girl’s name. I hope Leah discovers her fingers and toes lying on it, watches the world go by under it in her pram or carseat, loves its snuggliness as she looks at picture books under it. Bless. Nothing like a new baby to tame that mischievous quilty muse.
Hello lovely creative types, so… how best to gloss over my prolonged bloggy abstinence? How about we make up with a tutorial? You might not need one as it’s pretty simple, but you know, since I took pictures…
This is Liberty of London fabrics and linen. The pattern was actually born when i decided to make a thank-you present for my lovely neighbour who let me use her shower for 2 weeks whilst our bathroom was ripped out and replaced. I now have a hotel bathroom! I’m so tempted to hold dinner parties in it – it’s the nicest room in the house… Anyway, she is more traditional, so I made her this:
This is made with Kona snow cotton… and Liberty fabrics I actually bought at THE REAL LIBERTY OF LONDON SHOP. In London no less. I was slightly in heaven. But also a bit overwhelmed by all its beauty after this pilgrimage (the shop itself is just aesthetically gorgeous)… and by the prices. I felt I should buy something so bought a little charm pack of 36 2.5″ squares, although I had to add 4 more from stash to make this. I must tell you though they came from Alice Caroline Supply (http://www.alicecaroline.co.uk/) and are cheaper to buy from the website. But that wasn’t really the spirit of it all was it? My neighbour was suitably pleased.
Bit of wobbly hand-quilting action going on there.
But I wasn’t thrilled to be honest. I thought that the patchwork border got lost round the sides of the cushion. Amateur. This is what it looked like before it became a cushion – I thought it would make a pretty mini-quilt or wall hanging…
See what I mean? So I was a bit disappointed. Anyway, I thought I would try and fix it with an extra row of sashing:
And certainly you can see it better. but if you decide to make one, you can decide on how you like it! So, for many folk, that will be it as it’s quite simple construction and with a little experience it’s straightforward to work this out, but as sometimes it’s nice to work from instructions, here goes! This is for the Liberty and Linen cushion. Clearly you can make it in anything you like – a moda mini-charm pack and white solid would be nice.
To make the patchwork cushion front, you will need:
A 10″ piece of Linen (44″ wide, I’m assuming your solid comes as 44″ wide)
Forty 2.5″ x 2.5″ Liberty or patterned fabric squares
24″x24″ square piece of batting (I used cotton)
24″x 24″ square piece of cotton backing fabric (this will be on the inside of the cushion, so it doesn’t need to be too nice)
1. Cut the linen fabric into four 2.5” x 44” strips.
2. Strip 1: cut into Four 2.5” x 2.5″ squares Four 2.5” x 4.5” rectangles One 2.5” X 13.5” rectangle
3. Strip 2 : Cut into One 2.5” x 13.5” rectangle Two 2.5” x 10” rectangles
4. Strip 3: cut into One 2.5” x 22” rectangle One 2.5” x 18” rectangle
5. Strip 4: again cut into One 2.5” x 22” rectangle One 2.5” x 18” rectangle
You should now have linen cut into:
4 x (2.5” x 2.5) squares
4 x (2.5” x 4.5”) rectangles
2 x (2.5” x10”) rectangles
2 x (2.5” x 13.5”) rectangles
2 x (2.5” x 18”) rectangle
2 x (2.5” x 22”) rectangles
6. And your 40 Liberty 2.5” x 2.5” fabric squares (either buy as a mini charm pack or cut these)
Photo shows my cutting in progress. If you think you’ll get confused, label each pile’s measurements with a scrap of paper. I started to arrange my Liberty fabrics in a rainbow.
Now arrange your layout as you like it. If you are going for random, this will be easy, you won’t need to lay it all out, you can just start sewing! But I did this:
In the centre, the top two squares will be the top two points of the star, the bottom two will be the bottom points of the star etc. The 4 in the middle will be aa 4-patch which makes the centre of the star.
I think of a rainbow (unsurprisingly!) when thinking about which colours go together. Red – orange – yellow – green – blue – dark blue/indigo – violet/purple – red to enable the colours to meld in a natural way. Obviously orange is made from red and yellow which is why it’s in between them etc, so it works better than red and green next to each other for example, when green has no red in it. Anyway, have a play around until you like it.
Making the patchwork star centre
(BTW I’m not generally a big presser until the end out of sheer laziness, but with this, given it’s going to be a centrepiece and small, I pressed at almost every stage. It keeps everything neater, there’s no doubt.)
1. Sew your centre 4 patch, first by sewing 2 squares together, then the second 2 together, then join them as a 4 patch. Press.
2. The star points are flying geese rather than HSTs – much easier. You are aiming for this:
This is how you do it:
Draw a diagonal line in pencil joining opposite points on the wrong sides of each of your eight squares reserved for the star points.
Lay one of these patterned squares, right side down onto one of the 2.5” x 4.5” pices of linen, with the bottom end of your diagonal line towards the centre of the fabric (it won’t be in the centre). Make sure your edges line up nicely.
(if you are using directional prints then be careful with this step, you could easily end up with your fabric upside down. Ditto with getting the two fabrics mixed up – I did this and had to change my layout – rather than unpick…)
Sew along your pencil line.
3. Now before you cut off the excess, it’s worth folding down the right side to check you are happy.
4. If you are then you can go ahead and trim that excess piece on the wrong side – both the linen and patterned. You’ll end up with little triangles of scrap for a tiny project. Press.
5. Repeat the process on the other side of your linen rectangle as shown in the picture. Don’t worry that there is a bit of overlap, that’s in the seam allowance when you sew them all together. Press.
6. And you have one side of your star!. Do this with all 8 points onto your four 2.5” x 4.5” pieces of linen.
7. Now take your top row star points and sew a 2.5” x 2.5” linen square onto either side. Repeat for the bottom two star points.
8. Sew your side star point pieces to the centre 4-patch…
9. And then sew the top and bottom rows on.
10. Press everything.
Is it looking lovely yet?
Adding the sashing
11. Sew one 2.5″ x 10″ rectangle to one side of your star. Trim off the excess (I always make sashing bigger and trim in case my seam allowance isn’t always perfect). Repeat on the other side. Trim excess.
12. THEN sew the 2.5 x 13.5″ pieces along the top and bottom, trimming the excess linen afterwards. Press.
Making the patchwork borders
13. Sew your top 8 liberty squares together and put to one side. Repeat for the bottom eight squares. Now make the left side and right sides which will both have 6 squares. Press.
(somehow I managed to sew 9 squares on the bottom row! Doh! Had to unpick after all…)
14. Sew the sides onto your star block first and then press, before sewing on the top and bottom pieces. pin your patchwork strips to the linen first to ensure it reaches the full length, and match up the seams at the corners as best you can. Press.
Now at this point you can batt, back, quilt and bind and use as a mini quilt or wall hanging which measures 16.5” square (above). Or you can add the outer linen border to finish your cushion as I did.
Adding the final linen border
15. This is exactly what you did before. Sew the 2.5” x 18” linen strips onto the sides of your star block and trim the excess.
16. Now sew the final two pieces, the 2.5” x 22” rectangles to the top and bottom and trim the excess. Press everything…
And Ta-Dahhhhhh! You’re done!
17. Now, make a quilt sandwich as normal. Lay the cotton backing fabric face down, lay over the cotton batting, lay over the patchwork piece and smoother everything over to ensure there are no wrinkles. I pinned with safety pins (it’s not worth getting out the gun for such a small piece I found) to baste.
18. Quilt as you like – straight or hand quilting on this would be lovely! I machine- quilted with an overall stipple…
19. And then did a little decorative hand quilting with perle 8 cotton in a red colour.
My back is Heather Ross Unicorn in Purple from Far Far away II – and I LOVE it.
Your cushion cover will measure about 19.5″ square.
Add an insert (go a bit bigger, maybe 22 – 24″ square, as you can see from the picture above, mine isn’t full enough at 20″ square, I’ve ordered another insert) … and enjoy your new cushion!
Well I hope this makes up for the absence. Actually, I Firefox has crashed so many times when I have attempted a blog post, I’ve lost 3 already, and this one crashed at least 15 times. I kept saving as a draft and wrote most on Word and copy/pasted. Anyone else having trouble? I’m either going to have to abandon Firefox (likely) or Tumblr (less likely). As a plus, I have a few posts to share when I resolve this. Meanwhile, hope your creative mojo is mojoing away.
Till the next time,
Edited: you can see how it looks with a fuller cushion insert and in the sunshine here:
She is SO talented, seriously you should look at her blog. And so generous – look how she breaks down this quilt for us to make it easier to sew as blocks rather than strips! And she invented the granny squares quilt, which is on my to do list. I love her work.
I had 2 rouenneries Deux charm packs – a beautiful collection from French General for Moda. I cannot get over how much I love French General fabrics, rich yet muted, classic but not old-fashioned, very very French. I didn’t want to cut too much away from the charms but 5” charms were just going to make too big a quilt (again for budget). So I cut them to 4.5” – this quilt finishes at about 54” square.
You can see the construction of mine best on this photo (top in progress). Obviously because I was using white fabric rather than low-volume fabrics as contrast, I didn’t need to sew the whole quilt as 4.5” squares, which saved time (another thing I didn’t have). It used 71 printed fabric squares and 40 white squares. I sashed it as above but then decided it needed a border, so I cut the sashing to 2.5” on the sides and 5” top and bottom…
Then added a 2.5” red border from Rural Jardin which I had in stash. Definitely better.
Stipple quilted – much as I like to experiment, there are reasons why classic quilting is classic, and I thought for a quilt like this I should go down that route. Had I used low-volume fabrics, straight line quilting would have worked, but I really think something as simple as this needs texture from the free-motion line, don’t you?
Just LOOK at those scrumptious fabrics. It makes me want to go eat strawberry cream patisserie. New Year. Must. Resist.
What I really like about this is the size, the fabrics and colours, but mostly the fact that although it’s a heart, it’s not too cheesy – and when you fold it up or use it, it looks like a pretty patchwork quilt; it’s only when you spread it out and look from a distance that you see what it is. Perfect for a wedding gift for this loved-up pair apparently. Ahhhh.
Argghh, can’t seem to get this picture to orient the right way. Tilt your head to the right to see what it looks like draped over a box, and you’ll see what I mean about not knowing it’s a heart.
Quilted with my favourite Quilter’s Dream Orient batting.
Things I don’t like about the quilt:
1. There is not quite enough white space aroung the heart. This was a budget / size thing for the backing and batting.
2. Budgetary concerns meant it has a plain white backing – it’s perfectly nice, but not as wonderful as it could have been and what the fabrics deserved.
3. It’s not for our house. Aye, there’s the rub. This quilt is designed and made for the happy couple but I don’t actually know the octogenerians in love, although I would like to. But the idea of a quilt in their new home signifying their love made me think about the pillowcases I’ve been meaning to make for my own son for ages. About how when I joked that a tiny baby quilt I was making was for him, he was actually disappointed that it wasn’t (even though it was tiny and completely unlike his tastes, I thought he would laugh!). It has shown me that I need to clear the decks and do selfish sewing for the next 6 months; make all those things for us that I need to, sew new buttons onto my coat etc. When you decide to sell a few things to fund your hobby, it seems that hobby can inadvertantly grow legs, arms, and heat-seeking missiles and take over your life when it wasn’t supposed to. I guess everyone assumes you want to make a living from it eventually, so think they’re being helpful by recommending you etc – and whilst it’s SO flattering and lovely, you have to be careful. Particularly with deadlines when you’re well overdue making pillowcases with stars and trucks on. If you made a living from your hobby, it wouldn’t be a hobby would it? I definitely need to learn to say no for a while! Sometimes.
Oooh a random outburst. Must be New Year 😉
And with that, may your 2015 be productive, happy and creative. May we all learn to say “no” once in a while.
Do I have time to show you this even though it’s waaaaay after bedtime? Oh I think so.
I made one of these for my niece-who-is-on-the-way-and-about-whom-I-am-beyond-excited, but hers is more pastel colours and handquilted and somehow I never got a decent photo of it (the light etc) before I gave it to my sister-in-law in anticipation and with all our love and wishes for a safe delivery! I thought I loved it until I made this – I think it’s the vibrant colours. It’s for my neighbour/friend’s new grandchild.
I laid it out as random patchwork to get a look at it, and although I liked it a lot… –
… I knew she wanted “the same as yours” – not that I could get exactly the same fabrics of course. These are all brighter, and the rainbow actually works better for it. It looks different as a random selection doesn’t it?
These are some of the beautiful fabrics:
It came out at 27” square,
and whereas once I thought that was too small to be of use, esp when it’s not recommended that babies sleep unsupervised under quilts, i now think it’s the perfect pram blanket, carseat blanket, snuggler blanket when you are holding them in the cold UK winter, baby mat, anywhere where the parent/responsible adult is there. A clean surface to lay your baby down in a pinch on the grass or even to change a nappy. Washable and pretty, what more can you ask?
Well a whole heap more, because I batted this with quilter’s dream wool, which has a higher loft than most batting so is “puffier” – and whilst warm it is breathable like cotton, not like fleece etc where there is more risk of overheating. I also backed it in the softest lawn cotton and stippled it – I honestly cannot believe the softness when you do this with lawn cotton. It’s like snuggling a cloud. Lawn cotton is thin, so you have to be a bit more careful when sewing with it, but it is deceptively strong and feels like silk. I remember running my hands over my mother’s silk saris when I was little and feeling like it was as though there was magic in the touch of them – I’m not one to say “feels like silk” lightly.
This is the backing – not Liberty, but lawn cotton, and pretty:
I really hope she likes it – the baby is due in January Ithink.
I told my husband that I wanted a big one of these for Christmas, and he casually said, “OK I’ll run you one up.” He should NOT tease me this way! I saw though that Moda’s Regent Street lawn collection has just been released – and I’m thinking this may be a way of getting the Liberty Lawn look and feel without the pricetag? Here it is, but I think there are more colours in it – hard to know what the whole collection looks like at the moment as it is so new, but from what I can see online there are some pretty prints here. I think I may treat myself in the new year.
And with the scary thought that I have already leapfrogged us through Christmas and into 2015, I will love you and leave you, I am off to hopefully dream about pinkness and pretty blue flowers 🙂
Teachers… I’ve always had a lot of respect for them. And now even more.
Last year my little boy started at a local nursery but was utterly distressed to the point where his behaviour changed profoundly (read “lovely boy became a rabid, savage, tantrumming monster”), following which I took him out and put him into another nursery in a neighbouring village with – seriously – THE MOST amazing nursery teachers in the universe. So kind, yet firm, warm, confident, listened to us, listened to him, encouraged us to become part of their school and community. He settled within a few days. Not one tear or tantrum; he has completely thrived. They turned our family around, took out all the worry and stress we were feeling for our son. They gave us so much. All I could give them both on his last day of nursery were quilts:
So don’t get me wrong. Anyone who has made a quilt knows this is not a small gift, or even an inexpensive gift. But I was so glad I could give them something in which the evidence of how much I appreciate them was in every little stitch. Of thousands of stitches. Even then, it doesn’t convey all my gratitude (although they were overwhelmed as you would expect lovely folk to be!) – but short of giving them our car, this was the best I could muster 😉
Anyway, the first quilt was a slight variation on the Little Lady Patchwork’s “Charming Stars” quilt pattern from Moda bakeshop, to be found here:
As you can see, instead of doing all stars I did 5 star patches and 4 nine-patches. It went together very quickly, partly because charm pack nine-patches are superfast – I didn’t think too much about fabric placement, just went with a variety in each block. Quick, and I think I prefer it like this – now how’s that for a bonus 😉
The fabrics are “Tapestry” by Fig Tree Quilts for Moda. It used 2 charm packs (well, 77 charm squares to be exact), some white cotton and 12.5” of a border print. The fabrics are so timeless, as they always are with Fig Tree Quilts’ collections, but not as “sweet” as some of the collections; she lives in a farmhouse, so I thought this might fit in with that traditional feel. The quilt measures about 52” square.
Do I have any regrets about this quilt? Did I preempt a “…brown border??” question which might have been forming in your head? Well, although I like the quilt a lot, especially in our house and double-especially in the flesh, I can’t help but wonder if I might have preferred a different coloured border. I had some red, and some of the minty bluey colour. I think it would have changed the feel of the quilt completely. On reflection though, this will fit into a farmhouse better than the other options. I now can’t work out if that final answer is the truth or if it’s my natural “life’s too short to go round regretting small stuff you can’t change” mentality.
You might have seen this second little quilt in the making a couple of posts back, where I showed how to make it (https://cuckooblue.co.uk/post/89599354437/the-nine-patch-disappears-tutorial-and-layouts). I actually really love it finished – although this isn’t a quilt which really works in my house, I found it a tiny bit hard to let it go. This is partly because it is made with a very rare, older, gorgeous Fig Tree Quilts line (Strawberry fields) as well as with a more recent one, Honeysweet. The two collections mixed beautifully. The following pictures show some of the so-pretty-my-heart-aches prints:
I showed them to a few folk, and this one in particular stole several hearts. I bound it in a slightly retro feel blue floral from their “Whimsy” collection, that I had in stash, and it was perfect. I hadn’t really thought I would like this D9P pattern so much, but quilted up it looked really great. The top took much longer to make than the charming stars one, which surprised me somehow – silly really, you make blocks, cut them up and re-sew them – how did I not think that might take a while??
Both quilts measure about 52” square – lap size/ sofa throw size, perfect for those chilly winter evenings in front of the TV in Scotland. Both used 2 charm packs. I used my favourite Quilter’s Dream Orient batting in both, for softness, warmth and washability, used plain white backings (to keep costs down in truth) and stipple quilted both. I resisted washing them, although I love seeing them all crinkly; in this country where the lovely crinkliness of quilts is not well known I think it’s better to give them looking “new” and let them wash them and acquire that beautiful antique look. For once I did put a label on saying thank you and the date – I hope they bring these wonderful teachers warmth and comfort for many years to come!
As an aside (kinda), all the other parents felt the same way about these teachers; the nursery parents got our kids together and did fingerprint trees, got them framed and gave them to the teachers all together on the last day of nursery. They were so touched. All very emotional, but in a good way.
I downloaded the finggerprint tree here – edited the legend in Microsoft “Paint”, printed on some nice ivory card and used a lovely non-toxic ink called Tsukineko Memento ink (colour Lilac Posies). The kids did 4 fingerprints each and I wrote the name by one of them. We all really loved how they turned out.
Now onwards to school and beyond… I’m not sure if I’m ready for this! How can my baby be growing up so fast?? Thankfully at the moment, the thing he seems most aghast at when listening to the story of the three little pigs is not that a wolf can blow down a house and try and eat little talking pigs, it’s why they would possibly want to leave their mother’s house in the first place… I think I’m safe for the moment 😉
Hope you are all enjoying a summer holiday! Until the next time,
I ran this one up yesterday thinking I really should have a quilt on show at least at this craft fair – which is only TOMORROW by the very way! I must say I have fallen a little bit in love with it myself.
It is my favourite “child-size” quilt – two charm packs sewn up and bordered with white. 42” x 51” Quick, but when it’s such a beautiful collection as High Street by Lily Ashbury for Moda so very pretty. And big enough to be useful even as an adult. If you can be bothered to look back through my previous posts, you’ll see 2 other quilts made with this collection, both teamed with white. I had utterly fallen in love with the collection on paper and when it arrived, but haven’t really loved the other quilts / quilt tops I made with it. Now I know why, it needs to be a collection together with no chopping it up, no mixing it with white or anything else. Just bliss. I’m regretting using all my stash in the other quilts when i just want more of this!
Cotton batting, stipple quilting (in all these quilts). This quilt was wonderful to quilt – partly because the collection gave me such joy, partly because I remembered about my quilting table and fixed it on, and partly becasue I got myself some quilting gloves, and something called a sew-slip. The quilting gloves made a huge difference. I’ll tell you about it another time because I’m on a schedule – did I say it’s my craft fair tomorrow?
I said a quartet – I finished some WIPs, binding etc, for the fair, so i thought I’d include them here.
This one is California Girl by the wonderful Fig Tree Quilts for Moda. Soft, beautiful, feminine, but so delicate that photos don’t do it justice – and direct sunlight washes out the colour on a picture (yes, spring is springing in Scotland!). I added the white squares to give it a bit of sparkle, and I really like the effect, otherwise it seems a bit too “shabby chic” for a baby. Cotton everything, stippled, 36” x 36”, a pram size or small baby mat.
This next one is the same collection. I really fell hard for it, and loved it when I got it – but made this little baby quilt last year (or maybe 2 years ago??), using the amazing “charm pack baby quilt by Elizabeth Fransson on “sew mama sew”. I love the pattern, but I think this collection is too delicate to be miixed with white.
So I kind of lost my California Girl mojo, but having seen the first little pram quilt again, I might make up my remaining fabric into a bigger quilt, like the High Street one at the top of this page. It is beautiful, just not as “out there”.
And finally, this quilt.
This is hard to part with. My mother has completely opposite home decor taste to me – she likes white, minimalism, and everything is beautifully spic and span. I like her house, but I know our won’t be like hers. I felt her living room could do with a little colour, and thought a sofa throw might be acceptable to her if it was pretty much all white, with a little strong colour (she like bright colours). This is Dena Designs fabric and white – I have forgotten which collection, I might google it. It is backed in white, and bound in fuschia, and I really like it, although white doesn’t work in our house. It has wool batting which makes it lovely, snuggly and warm. 45” x 51”
But much as she loves my work and is appreciative, she’s just not going to go with throws in her house. So she has returned it saying someone else will use it and love it, and I should put it into the fair. Slightly sad, but she’s right. Luckily my good friend happened to be here when my mum came round with it, and stright away asked if she could buy it (she is also a sewist, how flattering) – SOLD to the lovely lady who will give it a good home 🙂
I’ll finish with yet another picture of my favourite! Such lovely lovely vibrant yet feminine colours!
Hellooooooo! And happy new year! What a marvellous time of year this is, full of good intentions and a (perceived) clean slate. I get so joyous I accidentely celebrate by making huge steamed puddings and scoffing with my boys with lashings of custard. Before remembering my good intentions. Oh well; it went down a treat and the littlest one loved it, despite being usually a chocolate fiend. I used Delia Smith’s treacle pudding for a change from chocolate or marble which I’ve done before:
I should point out that this one was NOT mine, which collapsed a bit when I upturned it (I made it with more fragile gluten free flour) but which tasted delicious nonetheless. The recipe is here by the way:
Other than that I shouldn’t have much to report on this sewing blog, given that the sewing has not really restarted in earnest (yet). However I have loved catching up on all the Christmas iplayer goodies – I mean, Sherlock is back! Sherlock! – on the sofa next to the Hubster whilst sewing up my hexagons. Oh yes, the hexagons. That project is still underway and is happily keeping my fingers working and my head out of mischief. I have posted a few pictures on Flickr, but will update in the next post.
Meanwhile here is a sweet baby quilt I made for my gorgeous brand new nephew for Christmas! It’s made from a fun range called Boy Crazy by Dani Mogstad for Riley Blake designs.
Here it is basted (see the pins?) and on the sewing machine:
Aren’t the colours and designs great? I wanted something bright for him which could last him more than a year or two. This has blue, orange, white, brown, red, yellow stars, zigzags, circles, diamonds, rockets, cars, words – phew! What’s not to love?
Here is my hand guiding the stippling quilting. Stippling is my favoured quilting pattern – it’s classic and inoffensive, and I love the way it helps to breaks up all the straight lines of the traditional square patchwork which I love so much, and meld all the layers together into one beautiful piece. Maybe if quilts were more common in this country I would tire of stippling; and I AM going to try some loop-de-loop quilting this year – oooh get me, taking risks and all – but at the moment I am happy with the humble stipple! For those not in the know, stippling is like wiggly lines all over the quilt – like bends in a river, some of which follow each other and some of which don’t. You’re not supposed to cross the streams, like in Ghostbusters – but sometimes that happens on my quilt and no giant marshmallow man blows up in my face, so it can’t be that much of a crime.
and then ta-da! It’s finished! (thanks Grandpa for being the quilt holder!)
Of course the problem with quilting in Scotland is the weather – I couldn’t wait for a day with more light to photograph this in, partly because that might have taken 3 months, and partly because Grandpa was taking it over to my brother-in-law’s that day in preparation for their Christmas, so whether or not this photo does the bright colours justice, here it is!
But let me assure you, this range is supercute, bright, cheery and perfect for any little boy, and probably up to the age of about 10-14 depending on the boy. See the stippling?
I used a 10” stacker of Riley Blake’s Boy Crazy, cut it into 5” squares, sewed together and put a white 3” border round. I used the same yummy stripy binding that I used on the elephant quilt a couple of posts back, from Space by Makower, which I love on this quilt. This is one of my favourite ways to make a rich, very scrappy kid-quilt; the eveness of the squares help the eye cope with the mix of colours and patterns, the white border not only helps to tone down all the colours, but gives some space for a name, which I’ve done here – “Rufus” is my sweet nephew’s rather cool name. I used Quilter’s Dream Orient batting to provide more warmth than cotton but still be machine washable and dryable.
It finished up about 43” x 52”, which I think is the perfect child quilt – you can see by Grandpa who is 5’11” and not rake-thin by any means that it will last for a child for a good many years as a lap quilt, extra layer, something to throw down on the grass or beach to lie about on – and of course as a lovely playmat full of interesting things to look at when he’s discovering his fingers and toes!
You can tell, I’m quite into this collection and quilt – not as much as I’m besotted by my nephew though! And the family have literally just moved to BERMUDA (2 days ago), so I’m gutted i won’t see him change over the next few months until we see them again. However, the upside is they can send me a good picture of his quilt in the sun 😉 Preferably with him and his big (but still very little and totally adorable) sister on it!
Better go before I get teary! Wishing you all the most productive, happy, healthy 2014 – and one full of colour and creativity!
A while ago I made a baby quilt which a neighbour of mine snapped up for her little baby grandson; on the back is the most glorious print from a designer called Violet Craft, who designs for MIchael Miller fabrics. My neighbour has a daughter in her twenties, and was smitten by the print from the moment she saw it, and asked if I would make a wholecloth quilt from it for her daughter. Her daughter seemingly just adores elephants and my neighbour is convinced she is going to be absolutely thrilled with this print.
And here it is:
Isn’t it the most beautiful fabric? It’s called Parade Day in Grey from the collection “peacock Lane” by Violet Craft for Michael Miller fabrics. It reminds me of celebrations, of fireworks. Of hot, dark nights in far-off lands. Of adventure, of the world being a wondrous place full of mysteries and laughter. My only regret is that I didn’t notice this collection until it was almost out of print, and this is the only fabric I got. I love the collection as a whole and its bright sorbet colours remind me of the summer days we rarely get in scotland!
So I wasn’t sure about this brief; firstly a wholecloth quilt the top made from one piece of fabric) seems… well, cheating, doesn’t it? Although you can’t slice into this incredible scene either, so it’s not like I had any other solutions! Secondly, Catriona is in her 20s, and I was worried it would be too childish for her. Apparently she has a charcoal grey sofa and this will go well whilst providing the colour the room might need, so my neighbour was unconcerned, but I wasn’t. Still I made it, and you know what? I love it. I really do.
It’s about 55” x 55”. In order to make it wide enough, I used 5.5” sashing of Kona charcoal, with a 3 inch border along the top. The charcoal was a good match to the background dark grey, which although nearly black it has little white lines on it, which adds a kind of “drawing” feel to it, and gives the print texture and movement, so dark grey was perfect.
In order to reconcile myself with giving this to a grown woman, I decided on a more grown up but still fun backing. I love this numbers in words 100% cotton print from IKEA. The words are in deep grey, which is perfect, and it works reallly well with the front. It’s a grey day in Scotland today with no bright red elephants and trees bursting with colour to cheer it up here, so apologies for the dark pictures!
Catriona lives in norway, so I wanted to make this as warm as possible. I almost went with wool batting, but the potential difficulty in washing it put me off. Cotton is the coolest, and I try not to quilt in polyester in case it might end up over a sleeping child. I tried for the first time Quilter’s Dream Orient – a blend of silk, tencel (eucalyptus!) bamboo and cotton, which supposedly combines the best of these natural fibres and although not as warm as wool, it supposedly isn’t far off. I really liked it, easy to quilt, no issues, nice drape and softness afterwards, machine washable. Apparently it won’t shrink, so maybe go with cotton if you want the antique crinkly effect after washing.
The biggest issue I had and I’ve still not resolved in my mind is the quilting thread. I went with white as you can see, and it’s not too dense a stipple (although I seem to be out of practice!) to avoid breaking up the design too much. White works for the fabric itself which does have those little white lines on it anyway, but of course it doesn’t really work for the solid grey borders, where it all shows up, quilting mistakes and all. I didn’t really want to muddy the bright colours of the print by using grey thread, which would also have changed the back. The only thing I could have done was use a variegated coloured thread, although I was worried about making a mess of stringy colour all over the front. So in the end, white it is. Now the quilt is finished, I think it looks good as a whole, but I’m still trying to work out if I should have quilted it differently!
I am very happy with the binding though – this is a stripe I got from my local fabric shop, “Fabrication” in Haddington. I am pretty sure it’s from the Makower company from a collection called “space” – rockets and aliens for little boys. Laura, the lovely owner, had this on end-of-bolt offer, and I took all she had – it’s such a versatile print – stripe, boyish enough for boys, multicoloured enough to match most projects and despite that, not too “primary colour” to be used for adult projects. Perfect. And stripy bindings – well. Yummy. Calorie-free yummy.
Finally, a label with mum + dad’s choice of message, and it’s off to its new owner for Christmas!
Hurrah. I hope she likes it. And hope your Christmas shopping, baking, sewing, crafting, playing or denial is all going swimmingly!
My good friend has a brand new baby girl, and I thought I would use the beautiful High Street collection by Lily Ashbury for Moda to make a baby quilt (I’ve lusted after it for months!!). This is it in progress, just the quilt top, on the ever-ready-but-never-for-clothes ironing board.
It’s a pretty straightforward pattern – it’s just a charm pack with white sashing (1.5” strips, making 1” sashing when finished).
These are the charm squares sewed in strips of seven with white sashing in between. I always forget to pick out 6 charms for the ends of the strips to which you don’t need to sew 5”x1.5” white strips – but not this time! Hurrah. I actually toyed with the idea I was getting good at this… that brief feeling of smugness didn’t last…
Meanwhile – aren’t the fabrics great? Bright, pretty, fresh, modern but with a slight ethnicity to them which I can’t quite place.
And quilted up, with a stipple pattern, slightly bigger than I’d normally go because of the high loft batting. I like the way stippling breaks up the squares. One day I’m going to do some loop-de-loop quilting on a whole baby quilt, I love the look but haven’t been brave enough to stray from what I know best on a whole quilt!
I’ve used fire retardant high loft polyester batting – it gives it a nice puffiness which is perfect for baby quilts. Although I’d rather go for natural low loft cotton batting for quilts, as that’s the look and feel I really love, I’ve decided that because it’s not recommended to use quilts in babies under 1 year, a small quilt like this (43” x 38.5”) is most useful with some puffiness and loft as a clean absorbable, bright cosy playmat or tummy time/ nappy off time mat, good inside on hard or dirty floors or outside even on slightly damp grass which is used later as a snuggly blanket for reading etc. I throw them in the washine machine and they come up like new. I’ll need to find some sun to photograph it under!
I thought I’d bind it and because of the colours decided white would be nice, clean. Wrong. I HATED it. Couldn’t even bring myself to photograph it. Much unpicking later and it’s back to unbound and waiting for some attention. Bang goes that smug feeling.
Quick charm quilts, don’t you just love ‘em? I mean why on earth would anyone bother doing something like English paper piecing 1” sided hexagons by hand and sewing them up by hand into a full sized quilt? i mean how long would something like that take??? Gotta be crazy to try it, right? Er, OK. Ahem. More on this next time…
Till then, happy sewing, browsing, cooking, playing, running, watching, living life through colour however you like to do it,