There he was, sitting up high on a shelf in Girls' Own Store in Bridport on Saturday, with his cheeky little chimp smile, just begging me to bring him home to the cosy comforts of the HenHouse.
Meet Edward Priestnal, so named as this is my grandfather's name and monkey, with his furry face, reminds me of my dear grandad. For every Christmas for as long as I can remember , Grandad has sported a very fine bushy white beard.
It just so happened that a week or so before monkey was discovered, I also came across a most marvellous book. I have many many books and many quilt books. Lots of them contain patterns, which I find inspirational but rarely follow to the tee, but I also have books which just have photos of quilts and these are the ones I inevitably take to bed with me each night for a good pleasurable read.
I found this book after a tip-off on Amy's lovely blog and I ordered it and waited patiently for it to arrive on these shores from America. Very cheap it was too and it arrived very quickly. I'm not interested in what I suppose is the book's primary aim, a guide to valuing quilts, I'm interested purely in drooling over the many photos of divine vintage quilts of all types. But crikey, I pretty much either want to own or make them all!
I was particularly loving the colours and naive simplicity of this doll quilt, a simple one-patch of cotton fabrics circa 1945, without binding but the edges simply turned in on themselves ("knife-edge binding") and finished with a red blanket stitch.
I also was very much drawn to the setting of this quilt at the top of the page. It's again a simple one-patch but with the squares set in diagonal rows, circa 1940.
Well, there was only one thing to do. I mean, it's been very cold recently, and how could I welcome Edward Piestnal to the HenHouse without gifting him his very own quilt?
I used a mixture of modern and vintage fabrics and rather than having identical sets of matching squares in each diagonal row, I switched in a few slightly different fabrics for a bit of a scrappy make do and mend look.
I decided to tie the quilt rather than hand quilting it, to stay with the child-like theme. I used a white wool yarn. I put a very thin batting in the middle and went with that knife-edge binding with red blanket stitching. Finally, I (gasp) immersed the finished quilt in a tea bath (yes, a sink full of tea of the drinking variety) to give it a bit of an aged look. Of course, it then dried a little crinkly.
So there sits a very happy monkey in his vintage crib, found thriftily by my sister a good while ago now and waiting for just such a moment.
I made him a pillow and finally, a pillowcase from vintage feedsack.
I've loved every minute of this indulgent project, it has to be said!
But EP was a little lonely so some vintage friends hopped in to join him!