I must get on and cover the Christmas cake, I nearly forgot about that one. Well, you may recall that a few weeks ago, I started on my first ever patchwork quilt. I've been getting on with that in between the cooking, cleaning and present shopping, in fact I really had to get on with it as it was all over the guest bed so needed to be out of the way for our weekend guests. Here it is, the top finally all pieced together last week.
I had a few wobbles with the pattern of the squares which I had initially deliberated over for hours. I'd carefully take a row through into my den and stitch pairs of squares together, then pairs of pairs and so on until I had finished each row, but somehow, I'd inevitably forget which was the top and which the bottom so the pattern is not quite as perfect as I would have liked but I have decided this gives it "character" (that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it!) With some trepidation, I pushed all the furniture into the corner of the room so that I could lay out my backing (simple but cosy white flannel) which I then taped to the floorboards to stop it moving. Next, I laid the batting on top (more cosy cotton) and finally, the patchworked quilt top. I took a huge pack of curved safety pins and started pinning at regular intervals, from the centre out towards the corners as Kaffe directed me to. Really wished I had some knee pads at that moment! I then began quilting on the machine, just a simple stitch in the ditch. It actually went a lot better than I thought. The pins kept the quilt "sandwich" together very well and I just rolled up each side to keep things tidy and fit it under the machine. There was however, another problem of which Kaffe had failed to warn me ...
Ummm, mummy, this looks ever so cosy! That furry backing and that thick woolly bit in the middle, just so snuggly! Thank you for making this for me.
I can even rest my tired furry head on the edge of your quilting table!
Aaaarrrggghhhh! In an almost comedic moment, Charlie-Boy decided he was truly in lurrrrve with the quilt. It was snowing outside and he clearly thought he'd found himself the perfect spot to hibernate. He's quite a hefty chap, our Charles, and despite moving him several times in the end (I had already walked away to do something else as I was too soft to move him for the first half an hour), he kept returning.
Finally, (I must have bribed Charlie with food, the only thing he loves as much as sleeping), I managed to finish the stitching in the ditch. I laid the quilt out, took out all the pins and stitched all around the edge to secure the sandwich as directed. I then trimmed the backing and batting level with the quilt top and evened up the edges of that too. I then spent a morning with the trusty rotary cutter and joined strips for the binding, a pretty floral retro cotton fabric (all my supplies except the fabrics for the quilt top came from the reliable but very-slow-to-deliver Cotton Patch).
And so that evening, I was eager to get on with hand stitching the binding on the reverse of the quilt. Or maybe not?
And my friends, the quilt is still in that unfinished state, except it has a lot of ginger fur on it!
More sewing then, you might remember a few posts ago, I tantalised you with a peak at some Christmas gifts I was making...
Now that they have found a new home with my lovely pal Vanessa, I can show them to you. Here are a couple of stockings I made for Vanessa and her husband. The main fabric is dyed vintage woollen blankets, the basic stocking pattern drawn out on a piece of freezer paper.
Each stocking has a cuff made from lovely patchworked vintage fabrics (I should think Donna recognises most of those!), trimmed with a vintage ribbon and there's a spotty hanging loop for wherever Vanessa and Hugo decide to put their stockings.
I tried to make Hugo's not quite so girly but my fabric collection is rather floral and pink by nature!
I then spent a fair while very enjoyably making some gift tags for the stockings and hand embroidered them with the Perle cottons I bought from the Bridport Christmas Fair. I loved working with those (for the first time), much easier than embroidery threads which tend to split, and they have such a lustrous quality to them.
Do you see that pretty button in the top right hand corner of Vanessa's tag? That is called a Dorset button, I bought a few of them from the WI craft stall in Bridport. They must have taken one clever person quite some time to make. The other buttons came from my vintage stash. I always enjoy using my precious vintage trimmings on things for Vanessa as I know she will appreciate them.
And now they have happily found a new home hundreds of miles away and will hopefully remind Vanessa of our friendship for Christmases to come.
They did look rather nice in the den though!