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 her  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. 

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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 😉

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Until the next time,

Poppy xx

Oasis quilt for baby Maisie

A few weeks ago, my neighbour phoned to ask me to run over and meet a very special little girl, who just been adopted by a very special mummy.  My neighbour wanted to commission me to make her a quilt, and asked if I could chat to the mother about it.

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This lovely lady and her husband had wanted a child for over 10 years – and although it’s not my place to describe her story and health troubles, trust me, it’s so heartbreakingly sad – but also so amazing that this point has arrived!  Anyway,she had heard 6 weeks previously that she could adopt a 5 month old baby girl; adopting a baby is almost unheard of in the UK, the child is usually older, and so it is very special for adoptive parents here not to have missed the first few years of the child’s life.

Anyway, all her previous heartache has been washed away with this sweet baby girl’s smile. My 4 year old son, who likes a captive audience, kept her entertained by doing all his “supercat” jumps and “running like Turbo”, so I saw that smile a lot! Maisie is her name; I used Steam-a-seam to applique letters on, and then slip stitched in place after quilting. Steam-a-seam is the only fusible web I trust to stop the edges fraying too much in the wash, but I still sew the letters in place as a quilt gets so much washing.

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Maisie’s mother told me she adores “shabby chic” and quite traditional prints – and pink for girls. She has bought some big playroom boxes in the roses design from Ikea and loves them – I knew what she meant as I have the matching fabric from Ikea, which I decided to put on the back –

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Bearing this in mind, I picked out the two Oasis Trail charm packs by Three Sisters (Moda) which I’ve had for ages and sewed them together in traditional simple patchwork with an off-white border. I still maintain  that 3 Sisters’ fabric is the softest moda fabric hands down – lovely to work with.

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This was my first opportunity to use my new basting gun – a microtach gun by Avery Dennison so I was a bit excited! Can you see the little black tacks which look like tiny ants? Those are tacks that the gun puts through the fabric layers when you are basting. They are very fine plastic, and come in white (so hard to see to remove when you are using light fabrics like these!) or black – and the gun is easy to use – point the needle of the gun into all three layers of the quilt sandwich, pull trigger, and pow! It’s in place. (A very gentle pow by the way. noone will be calling the police on you). I usually use pins to baste, but they were interfering with my quilting flow, as I had to stop and take them out – and I kept breaking needles when I missed taking them out… Not so with these – you can quilt over them if you need to, and they don’t get in the way. Did it stop the slightly jerky edges I got when I had to stop to remove a pin when stippling?

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Yes, I think so; although maybe noone else noticed those things, I did.  And the quilting experience was MUCH nicer. The only annoying bit was removing them – hard to see, so you have to be careful, and you cut them out – fiddlier and more time-consuming than pins, but I did it methodically whilst watching TV so it was pretty relaxing. I think I will continue to use them over pins purely because it’s so much easier to quilt with them.

So here’s my patient husband, holding up yet another quilt, this time in Maisie’s mummy’s taste – size 42” x  51”. I used Quilter’s Dream Orient batting for its properties of washability and warmth. So soft and silky too!

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Having experienced years of miscarriage before Kiddo arrived, I understand how it tortures a very maternal woman not to have a child, a gaping hole which just can’t be filled even if everything else is great. It’s not rational but it’s all consuming, and vanishes once you hold that child in your arms. It was so joyously uplifting and rather moving to meet this baby and mother, so obviously in love with each other, and a real privilege to sew up an heirloom for Maisie, which I hope she will treasure for many years.

Until the next time,

Poppy xx

Needleplates and paper flowers

So yesterday I mentioned a quilt I was making –  it’s for my brother and his wife for their new house. They’ve bought an amazing Victorian house near London and have been doing it up.

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(from blog: http://victorianrestoration.tumblr.com/)

This is a picture of their living room, which is on their blog. Isn’t it lovely? On the basis of that, I’ve chosen what I think is the perfect fabric collection for a vintage but modern, cool, quirky but elegant quilt. I’ve made the top. Very happy with it. I chose cotton batting and have basted it. I thought I was so in control. Then I started quilting it.

ARGHHHHHH!!! Total disaster! It felt like the fabric was snagging all the time, especially at the turns (stippling, so a LOT of turns), and on the back – looped stitches, puckering, birds’ nests, the lot. Very unhappy. Deep breaths.

Messed with tension. Changed needle – 3 times. Re-threaded bobbin. Cleaned out sewing machine. OMG I could have stuffed a cushion with the lint! For every sewist reading this – CLEAN OUT YOUR MACHINE RIGHT NOW! Thought I’d cracked it. Machine easier, quieter, but just as bad.

Finally I saw this as I was reassembling my machine –

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See that there? That tiny tiny little nick in the needle plate at the bottom of the hole where the needle should go through? THAT’S MY NEMESIS.

Eventually I ordered a new plate, and I’m machine-less for a few days till it’s here. Almost hyperventilated at the thought.

So I revived a very old love – origami, which I used to do as a kid, and decided to make myself flowers! Origami Lilies to be precise, very therapeutic! Here is the start of my bouquet:

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I used Hello Luscious By Basic Grey- the paper version of the “Hello Luscious” quilt I did for my niece Florence (below).

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I loved those colours, but with a boy-filled household (even including the dog!) I couldn’t justify making one for this house – so perhaps the flowers will be a compensation!

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I just have to do a few more and fit stems to them – will keep you posted. By the way they are so easy to do – if you fancy a bouquet which won’t die or give you hayfever, google origami lilies and have a go! It stopped my idle machine-less evening hands baking anyway… good news for waistline, bad news for husband and son who are active hungry boys who care not about waistlines!

Hope the sun is shining where you are,  till 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/

A Finish!

So I’ve finally finished a quilt for myself in a fabric line I’d coveted for SO long – Butterscotch and Rose by the enormously talented Joanna Figuera of Fig Tree Quilts for Moda. I didn’t need another quilt. But eventually I guiltily bought some in fear of it being discontinued soon and regretting. But the guilt has passed now it’s finished and being used – and I LOVE it!

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Aren’t the colours glorious? It’s so cosy. The patterns are floral and vintagey but with a modern feel, and as all their fabrics the colours feel so fresh and vibrant whilst staying cottagey. It’s about 52” x 56” (I’ll check those figures at some point, but they are about right, a perfect sofa quilt size anyway).

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I used the “double slice” pattern for Layer cakes demonstrated here by the ever-perky Jenny from Missouri Quilt Company :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jxC-0T5lXw4

It’s a great pattern, so quick and easy. I made another quilt top (which I’ll show another day as it’s a gift) with it recently – in an evening, and a real pleasure to do, easy but not too monotonous.

I used wool batting for the first time – Hobbs’ Tuscany wool batting. It’s gorgeous to use, really easy to quilt. It gives a puffier result than cotton, but not nearly as much as high-loft polyester – it makes it feel very cosy. I’m worried about washing it, but I’ve read lots of forum posts by folk saying they’ve cool washed – and tumble dried! – with no problems, so fingers crossed when that time comes. It’s drapes so beautifully. My little boy keeps cosying up in it which makes me smile a lot.

And here it is on our futon sofa ready for TV watching with the husband when the boy is in bed (if I ever get off the computer/ off my sewing machine – ha!)

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Till 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/

Baby Emily arrives! well, she’ll need a baby quilt (and her mummy needs a bigger bag)

My good friend, Jane, just had a baby girl, whom I met for the first time today, just days old! She’s so gorgeous, and tiny and precious. I got all clucky! The kiddo liked her too, but loved more that I had taken car lego with us to keep him entertained – I don’t think he is champing at the bit for a sibling – just as well!

Anyway, I had made her a baby quilt – the collection is Sophie by Chez Moi, cotton batting, stipple quilting, a pretty rose print cotton from Ikea for the back. It’s a charm pack quilt with 1” white sashing, 38” x 43” ish, I think. I just remembered to photograph it as we were getting into the car to go see her, so the backdrop of my driveway is less than inspiring, but here goes!

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And she had requested a changing bag, as her previous one was too small already for her 3 year old, let alone a baby too. The spec –  “not too girlie” “some flowers would be nice” “maybe purple” but “husband would like gender neutral”… Hmmm. I chose a large messenger (15” x 12” x 5”) style, charcoal grey exterior and interior, waterproof interlining (actually I just sewed in some of Ikea’s acrylic coated fabric), interfaced with fusible fleece and flap made from Amy Butler’s Memento in Mulberry from her Love collection. It was hard to keep faith that it would look nice whilst I was working with ALL THAT GREY but once the flap was on, it looks just great, and I hope she’ll be able to use it as an overnight bag/ large bag when her 2 kids are no longer needing changing equipment!

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She LOVES her bag and it got a full seal of approval from hubby, so hurray! And I got to use purse feet which I love, I have no idea why I love them so much! Maybe because they are easy to use, but makes the finished bag look so much more professional, win-win. 🙂

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I’m kind of jealous of this bag. I think I might have to indulge myself  with something smaller but similar. Even with a three year old you still need a big enough bag to lug the water, snacks, sticker books, cars, trains, change of clothes (he’s a boy, if there’s mud, water or muddy water to be found, he’ll find it)… It’s so easy to get bored of the one you have (ahem, ones you have)… I feel some freebird entering my life very soon 😉

till next time,

Poppy x

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

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