Finished! Postage Stamp Quilt

I’m very pleased to have this one bound and finished in plenty of time for Christmas. It was a fun, easy quilt from start to finish. I think it’s a very rare thing to be able to say that so I’m just going to revel in that moment for a while…

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This quilt has been nothing but a gentle, stress relieving joy to make. I really hope it can bring those feelings to my sister when I give it to her. She’s had a tough time recently so I’m delighted to be able to give her a ‘hug she can keep’ with this quilt.

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I’ve got a couple of earlier posts about the piecing, progress and basting for this quilt. All that remains to comment on is the quilting and binding.

Quilting: Some people call the pattern I used Dogwood, others call it Orange Peel.

I’ve used this pattern on a couple of quilts now and it’s a great all over pattern that I find more interesting (and less likely to look shoddy) than stippling or meandering. I think it works nicely for the structure of this quilt by softening the squares without distorting them.

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Binding: I did have enough of the backing fabric to complete the binding to match. I almost did do that. However, as I was attaching the first side of the binding I began thinking about my sister…

She has a very important, professional job where she does amazing, complicated and serious stuff with money and maths that I couldn’t begin to understand. When she needs to be she is the epitome of a smart dark grey suit (the kind of smart that my Mum would describe as “so smart it makes your teeth ache”). Kind of like the colour I used for the backing and binding of the quilt.

But my sister is also the kind of person who brings the sunshine into the room when she enters. She’s the brightest, most colourful firework at the finale of the display. She is every colour all at the same time. Just like the front of the quilt. So I couldn’t resist adding in a section of bright hot pink to the binding to reflect the flash and spark she brings to all she does. It’s an added bonus for me that the pink fabric is actually left over from the lining of a bag I made for her a few years ago. Just a nice link back that makes me smile.

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Here it is sat next to our Christmas tree just before I take it upstairs to add the label and then wrap up ready for her to open and snuggle up with in a few weeks time.

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Finish!! – Quilted Jungle Panel

Just one week after finishing my Circus Panel quilt I was itching to keep on making stuff for the baby. So I quickly turned my attention to the second panel I’d ordered online, a jungle themed printed animal scene.


With the green flannel bed sheet as backing like the circus panel and my usual batting I happily basted and quilted around all the animals to stabilise the quilt. Then I decided to have just a little more fun than I did for the circus quilt. I changed colours and outlined the vines and leaves in green and the elephant’s ear in blue. I then felt inspired to fill in some of the big gaps with some more green leaf outlines even where they weren’t printed on the panel. I only did a few, but I quite like the effect it has.


It did mean I had quilted off the edge of the top so using the backing as a binding would have meant careful (or boring) unpicking. Instead I grabbed some dark green fabric from my stash to make a binding. I machine stitched it to the back before pulling it round to the front to also machine stich along the edge there. I’ve found it to be the neatest way of machine binding, which I definitely wanted to do so it had the durability to withstand regular play and washing.

After washing it occurred to me that I should have prewashed my binding fabric because it has shrunk more than the quilt itself (which was prewashed). Oh well. Live and learn.

Now both my quilted panels are rolled up and lovingly stored in a cupboard with the presents friends and family have given us for our new arrival so far. Fingers crossed they’ll all be being used by a healthy baby in about 4 months time.

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Finish!! – Quilted circus panel

I’m trying really hard to not buy a ton of ridiculously unnecessary baby stuff too early. The compromise I worked out in my head was that I could start making stuff now because it takes longer than buying so I couldn’t make stuff at the last minute.

I like the idea of having a couple of non-precious quilts that can be wall hangings, play mats (dog free zones for the baby), or snuggle wraps when cuddling during the early months. I found a couple of sweet gender neutral animal themed panels online and couldn’t resist. They feel more like poly cotton than pure cotton, but they do look cute. I then spent ages looking for mint green flannel fabric for the backing but just couldn’t seem to find any (so frustrating). Eventually I ordered a king size flannel bed sheet in exactly the right shade. Everything got washed (I don’t normally prewash my fabrics but because of the different fabric types involved here I thought it might be best.


The quilting was simple and pretty loose. I wanted them to be soft and snuggly so I didn’t want to over quilt. My main issue with this one was how to manage the large empty space in the middle. In the end I liked the simplicity of the radiating lines idea. I then just outlined all of the carriages and animals.

I tried a new (to me) technique here of bringing the back fabric round to act as the binding. I felt it was safe to try on this occasion because the printed panel gave me confidence my top was square (ish) without needing trimming. Also, for once I hadn’t quilted off the edge of my top so it was easy to trim the batting to the edge of the top without also cutting the backing fabric. I’m pleased with the way it turned out. We’ll see how durable this binding method is once the quilt starts getting used and washed regularly. 

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Learning Curve

Back in 2006 my mother announced that as I had left home she was going to redecorate my bedroom as a guest room. Whilst I had no particular objection to my room being used by guests, for some reason (I don’t remember why now) I took exception to the fact that she planned to choose the colour. I can only describe this as a belated fit of teenage pique. 

I declared that the room should be cream with red highlights. To cement this I began work on a red quilt for the bed. Prior to that I had only made one quilt. A paper pieced single bed sized quilt of 4″ squares. The red quilt would be an altogether different animal. 

This has been a difficult quilt. I didn’t know quilting shops existed when I chose the fabrics, so the quilt was comprised of the small range of reds, oranges and yellows stocked by the tiny haberdashery in my parents’ home town. 

I hadn’t seen any quilts in real life (other than the one I’d made) at that point so I had no design ideas to reference or any real technique. I wanted a sort of spiral swirl coming out from the middle. It’s okay, even as I was doing it, I knew it wasn’t pretty or captivating. I persevered. The top was machine pieced on my mother’s sewing machine during holidays from university. It was a little hodgepodge but it held together. 


The one part of the quilt that I was instantly pleased with was the embroidered centre piece. I spent a summer creating the bullion knot fire motif. I then whip stitched it onto the centre of the quilt. Now I would have a much better technique for doing the appliqué, but back in 2008 I didn’t even know what appliqué was. 


Some time later (I don’t remember how long it took) I finished the top and basted the quilt sandwich. I decided that each fabric would have its own quilting design. Initially I hand quilted, but when I eventually got a sewing machine I started experimenting and trying different techniques. 


I got very bored of burying my quilting ends, but wasn’t really sure how else it could be done. This, combined with the fact that I wasn’t enamoured with the fabrics or the design, meant that it was slow going (very slow going). It was often ignored and shoved to the back of my cupboard. Little by little it inched forward before being abandoned for another few years. 

A couple of weeks ago I realised I wasn’t even sure how close I was to finishing it. I pulled it out of the bag and was extremely surprised to discover that all it needed was binding! I must have finished quilting and squaring it last year sometime. I probably then got distracted by something else and it ended up just packed away.

I set myself the challenge of using a lunch break (just 45mins) to see how far I could get with the the binding. I finished it with 90 seconds to spare. 😀🎉. 


Later that evening I made a quilt label. A few days after that I attached the label and… voila!!!


It only took 11 years but my second ever quilt is finished at last. Now it can take its place in my childhood room in my parents’ house where I’ll only have to see it on the occasions I visit. 

I Spy a finished Jigsaw Quilt

I’m so excited to share my latest finish with you today. This quilt is for my godson as his christening present in a few weeks time. I’m delighted I got it finished in time.

Thank you for your comments and suggestions on the layout. I trialled (what seemed like) every combination of block placement possible. In the end I felt that the quilt needed something smooth and flowing to balance the riot of colours, images and corners. A rainbow effect seemed to tie everything together and give the overall Jigsaw coherence. I’m really pleased with how it turned out.img_0802.jpg

 

It’s a really busy quilt, but I like that the busyness of the patterns mean that it can cope with so many bright colours. The images were gathered over a series of months from scraps and fat quarters that caught my eye. I also asked his mum for some of his old baby clothes so I could include them as well. That’s where the larger motifs and the two pockets came from. I’m hoping that the I Spy element of the quilt will keep it fun as he grows up and starts learning to talk.

The finished size is 39″ x 44″. I quilted in the ditch around each square and then free motion quilted around each Jigsaw protrusion. That was hard going but I got better as I went along. For the larger blocks I just picked out a couple of shapes/lines in each to quilt over to stabilise it.


It’s been washed (very gently in the bath) and it didn’t fall apart, so when I’ve worked up the courage I’m going to try it in the washing machine. I want to be able to confidently tell his mum that it can withstand normal household usage. Fingers crossed.

The quilt itself is nice and snuggly. I was very cosy with it on my lap whilst I buried my quilting ends. However, for an 8-month-old I figured a play mat would be just as useful as a blanket. So I came up with an idea to make it suitable for both indoor and outdoor play. Here it is in its outdoor mode.

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Don’t notice much difference?

We’ll look closer at the corners. On the underside of the quilt I placed a button hole in each corner.


Then I got a piece of vinyl table cloth and cut it a little bit larger than the quilt. Using the leftovers I made a button hole square and attached it to the underside of each corner of the vinyl.


And voila!! Now the quilt can be used outside without worrying about it getting wet or muddy. Simply attach the two layers together with the buttons in each corner.

2017 Finish 1 – New tea cosy

For Christmas 2016 my sister got me a beautiful Emma Bridgewater teapot and 4 cups. I’ve blogged about my ‘slight’ tea obsession before (here, here, and here).

I felt that a new teapot obviously deserved a new tea cosy to help keep it warm. My old tea cosy was looking a little tired (though I still love the fabrics in that one). In some places the piecing was beginning to come apart and it had some tea coloured stains inside from spillage over the years.

IMG_0637Does it sound like I’m working to hard to justify my need to make a new tea cosy? Probably.

I put it down to the fact that my husband has now introduced a strict ‘one in one out’ policy on teapots. The total number of teapots in my possession cannot exceed 5. It’s a tough rule!

I’m really pleased with the new tea cosy. I picked the colours to match the pattern on my new tea set (more or less). All the fabrics came out of my stash and it was fun to play with tiny squares (1.25″)

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A quilt for my uncle

My Grandmother died early in 2015. Her eldest son (my uncle) asked me to use some of her favourite clothes to make a quilt. He gave me a huge pile of clothing but picked out a bright red skirt and a purple paisley skirt as most important to include. He also requested that I include the image of a ship. Recently, he and Granny had enjoyed going on cruises and he wanted their shared hobby to be reflected in the quilt.

The design for this quilt was a long time coming. However, in the end I picked a few more items of clothing that co-ordinated with the two ‘must include’ items. I then ordered some nautical themed fabric to help with the overall coherence of the quilt. I experimented with some scene-based layouts but I’ve never done an ‘art’ quilt and it just didn’t feel right to me. I eventually decided to use equilateral triangles all over. I felt this had a nice link to signal flags used on ships (so enhancing the nautical theme) but also gave each of the fabrics a chance to be recognisable in their own right and so do the job of being a memory quilt

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Granny’s red skirt was given pride of place with a single triangle to make it really stand out. I also added a flange to the border using the red fabric so it encircled the whole quilt. It felt like the best way to include it without throwing off the nautical colour scheme.

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Archer decided that he had to be in all the pictures of this quilt. There is just no arguing with him when he’s that cute.

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I embroidered a ship in one of the triangles made from one of Granny’s old bed sheets. The quilting was simple wavy lines to evoke the sea in an otherwise very angular pattern.

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This quilt was a really strange journey for me. In the beginning stages it was all about remembering Granny and doing something to work through my own feelings. However, the more I stitched the more it became my uncle’s quilt. My thoughts shifted to him, his relationship with Granny, my relationship with him, and how this quilt could help stitch our family closer together. Finally I made the quilt label. Instead of naming the quilt, I just embroidered a message that summed up everything the quilt had come to be.