Posts Tagged ‘quilts’


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).


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Quilts for Christmas

Chickadee is all done, including the buttons, and I did have a go at photographing it yesterday, but I was tired and my hair needed a wash, so I’ve decided not to inflict those photos on you! I was going to have another go today, but it’s pouring down outside – maybe tomorrow. Here’s a quick snap to be going on with –


I have managed to finish off the quilts I’ve been making for my nieces for Christmas though, which I’m glad about – they could so easily have been being done on Christmas Eve!


The idea was shamelessly stolen from Jen’s lovely quilts – as soon as I saw them I thought I could do something similar for Daisy and Holly for Christmas. I was going to buy a jelly roll, but in the end I decided that actually using some of my stash would be a better (and cheaper!) plan. I bought eight fat quarters of lovely Tanya Whelan fabrics from Grace and Jacob a while ago, and I cut 2.5” strips from them. I decided to go for a green border for Daisy, and a red one for Holly (it seemed appropriate, somehow), and I laid the strips out slightly differently for each one, but the general idea was the same. For the first one I sewed the strips together one after the other, but for the second I made blocks of four strips, then sewed the blocks together, which was easier to manage.


Next I added a 4” border of a plain white cotton, and then I made my first foray into the world of free motion quilting, using my darning foot. It was great fun, even if it’s not as even as it could be – the second quilt was better though, as I got used to it. I used gloves with rubbery fingertips which made it much easier to move the fabric about, and did the centre section first, then the edging.


I was very pleased with myself for thinking of adding their names to the edging! I drew them on with a disappearing ink pen, then carefully sewed over the lines – it wasn’t so easy as the completely random stuff, but they’ve not come out badly.


I had a bit of trouble with the bindings – for baby quilts that are likely to be washed a lot, I wanted to sew the binding by machine rather than by hand, so instead of heming it on the reverse, I sewed through both layers. For the green one I sewed on top of the binding on the right side, but it did miss a few bits on the reverse, and the red one was worse, for some reason. I painstakingly undid the whole lot and did it again, stitching in the ditch this time, but I’ve still missed a few bits – I’ll sew them by hand, I’ve had enough now!


The back shows the quilting better than the front.


But the fronts are pretty! The quilts are about 30” by 40”, so about cot sized, but I’m thinking they’ll be useful for playing on, or for Daisy to cover her dolls with (she’s very fond of putting her dolls to bed, then tucking them up, heads and all).

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