Last Wednesday I was on a lunchtime wander round York, when I passed a curtain shop with a small sign saying they had roll ends from £3 per metre, and bags of scraps from £5. I couldn’t resist a look, and was amazed to find that the bags of scraps were enormous bags of big pieces of lovely fabrics, much bigger than I was expecting. I did go a little bit crazy, ending up with two big bags of ‘scraps’, for £10 each, and £50 worth of roll ends. I had to leave them there as I couldn’t manage it all on my bike, and hold my impatience until I could go in in the car on Saturday. But it was worth the wait! I was like a child at Christmas as I unpacked it all :)
This is the two bags of scraps – all William Morris Sanderson prints, mostly full widths of fabric, and varying between about 20cm and half a metre. There are multiple pieces of some of the fabrics too. I’m very pleased with this lot!
And this is the bigger pieces, more Morris, and a few pieces of more contemporary designs.
This is my very favourite piece, it’s a half width, but it has the full repeat of this beautiful tree on it, which is about 60x80cm. My first thought was to frame it, and I’m still thinking along those lines, but now I’m thinking it’d be nice to embellish it first by sewing over some areas with embroidery thread. So that might be a project for the future.
But my first project was to make a quilt, to keep on the sofa for chilly evenings. I’d come across this old wool blanket a few weeks ago, and was thinking of upcycling it, so this seemed like the perfect chance, especially with the heavier upholstery fabrics. I reluctantly discarded some of the coarser weave ones, thinking they’d probably fray too much, and decided on six floral prints, with a leafy one for the background and backing – that was one of the ones I’d bought a roll end of, and there was more of it in one of the bags.
I did some sums, and decided that for the size of my blanket, I needed 6” squares with 1.5” sashing in between.
So I spent an evening cutting out squares, doing a bit of fussy cutting to centre the bigger designs.
Then worked out a layout that looked random but does in fact have a pattern to it – the first six rows have one of each fabric in every row and column (think sudoku!) and the last row is a repeat of the first one.
I took these photos on my ipad, and it was very handy when it came to checking the layout as I sewed the pieces together – new technology helping an old craft!
I sewed all the smaller sashing pieces in first, then inserted the long horizontal strips, before adding borders.
I didn’t want to quilt this, due to the thickness of the blanket in the middle, so I’ve tied it, one tie in the centre of each cross of the sashing. I hope it holds!
I did sew the binding on by machine, using my walking foot, but as I suspected my machine really didn’t like it – it kept skipping stitches, leaving very long stitches, and generally misbehaving. But I got there eventually, and then spent an evening handsewing the binding down on the back.
And this is the finished thing! It’s lovely and warm, and a good size for the sofa (about 45” x 51” – the blanket was a single bed size, but I think it had shrunk when I washed it years ago).