Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Sweet dreams are made of this: adventures in quilting

As the temperatures fall, and now that I have two socks and an almost legwarmer on hand to keep those stocky legs cosy, I have been wondering how to counteract the chilly nights. The Head Chef and I have been married so long that our duvet contains only a memory of goosedown, and thus needs some supplementary layers to ensure that I at least wake rosy with the dawn rather than blue and shivering under the eaves.

Thus some years ago, before I knew a layer cake from a jelly roll, I bought one of each in the misguided notion that I would have to  do barely more than untie the ribbon and hey presto! a king size patchwork quilt would appear before my very eyes (at least that is what the woman in the shop led me to believe - and she showed me one that she had whipped up herself in an hour or two).

The fabric (Sanctuary by Three Sisters for Moda) also caught my eye, jumping out as it did amongst the bolts of midnight blue printed with gold pharaohs and tabby cats sitting amongst daffodils, and so when I signed up for the Learn to Patchwork Day I also took possession of a selection of matching fat quarters, without any clear idea of how it would all come together in a quilt. Then six months later in the sales I pounced upon some half-price end of rolls in yes, you have guessed it, Sanctuary (there is a theme emerging here, you may say to yourself [remember also that I was quite innocent back then regarding the temptation inherent in the concept of the online fabric store]).

And there things rested, getting dusty under the bed rather than keeping me warm on top, until I had read the prettiest quilting book and practised on some baby quilts here and here, and graduated to Princess size here, and spent some time as a Farmer's Wife (yes, it's still a WIP, but I am getting there very slowly).

And hey presto! here is a very large (by my standards) quilt top made from the jelly roll and some of the yardage. The pattern is Blue Lagoon (which as you might have guessed is a blue and white quilt, so perhaps I should call mine Pink Pond), from this excellent book by the talented Lintott mother and daughter team. I just added a double border to increase the warmth factor.

I am now on such a roll that on Sunday afternoon I cut up the Sanctuary layer cake and have laid out the pieces for a companion quilt in order to be extra cosy. (I did make the mistake of using the largest dog-free floor space in the house, which is in the B&B sitting room, and no, I don't mind potential guests ringing up at 4pm on a Sunday and saying are you vacant, could we be with you in an hour, we'll ring you right back. It is no trouble at all to pick up 196 squares and transport them upstairs and tidy the floor and plump up the cushions and move it all upstairs and then find the squares can't fit on our bed and bring it all down again when you realize that they are not going to ring back, no trouble whatsoever, says she smiling sweetly.)

Dog-free zone

And did I say dog-free? Well, except for a Little Black Dog who shall remain Nameless who sneaked in while no one was about and scuffed up one corner, and I know it was you Little Stranger because of the nature of the discombobulation and the little bits of black dust and grit scattered so artfully on the white sheet.

This quilt is also based on a Lintott pattern from here - a very simple one called Charming Flowers, but I am afraid I had to line up the asymmetrical stars. (Such is my need for order in my life that I can't cope with too much asymmetry and had to arrange them evenly.)


There is just the sticky question of backing and quilting a big double quilt - a bit too big to hand quilt, I think, and I am feeling slightly nervous about the whole thing. I have a walking foot, unused, and occasionally eye it with trepidation.

Maybe a bigger sewing table and more space in which to manhandle the quilt and pin it out would jolt me out of my impasse ...

Hence my latest project for the Head Chef: turning our luxury shed into a bijou super-deluxe office (which can of course be used as a sewing studio when no one is feeling officious).

But knowing the Head Chef's capacity for procrastination (which puts my efforts on that front into the shade) I have a feeling that I will be shivering quiltless in my bed for some time ...

He promised to take me for a walk last Wednesday ...
There are some newbies on the block to welcome to the jolly band - hello to Gilly at Gilly Makes (she has just done some very pretty quilting), Bee at The Linen Cloud (very nice granny blanket on the go), Su at Living on the Edge (I love her beachy textile creation),  and Sweet Posy Dreams (who is busy decorating) - Blogland is such a hive of industry that I think we can all pat ourselves on the back.

Now what shall I make next ...?


Sweet Posy Dreams said...

The quilt tops are fabulous. I especially like the second one. I am very impressed that you have any area in your home which is dog free. Well, actually my living room is pretty much dog free, but not, somehow free of dog hair. Hmmm.

Thea said...

So very clever it all looks so pretty (despite people and doggies getting in the way)
Thea x

noknittedknickers said...

Gosh, these are just lovely! I began a quilting class last winter but was struck down with lurghy in the middle of it and fell behind. My pretty fabric is now lurking in the back of a cupboard but your post makes me want to dig it out. Maybe a baby blanket would be a sensible place to start. And I have an ongoing periodic tiff with Mr. P on the subject of a dog in the House of NKK. I want, he doesn't. I shall not be showing him your post... Callers who don't call back - gotta love 'em *grits teeth and smiles*. C.x

Tangled Sweetpea said...

Oh such beautiful fabrics Pomona! I wish I could sew!
Victoria xx

Down by the sea said...

Your posts always make me smile! Your quilt looks so lovely. Hope you are able to have the space to finish it without any further interruptions!
Sarah x

driftwood said...

oh so very lovely! for a really big quilt that you don't think you could handle to hand or machine sew you could try tieing it, which is quite an old fashioned way, but actually gives a very lovely effect.

Nicky said...

Er hehum ! You can't say what shall I make next as you haven't finished making this have you? That is unless you are a serial starter like me - in which case go right ahead!

Anonymous said...

oh, so so pretty!! just beautiful :)

pattypan.2 said...

Hello Pomona

Thank you for the warm welcome. Those quilts are just beautiful. I am in the proceeds of collecting recycled shirt material/dress material to make a recycled quilt. I am a novice have only done some small bits but am aspiring high. I just love quilts they keep you nice and cosy and lovely warm crotchet blankets. I have nearly finished a cream, green and yellow single blanket. Will show when completed in the process of joining the squares.

Take care



Su said...

It's lovely and will certainly keep you toasty at night, once it's finished :-)

greenrabbitdesigns said...

I'm very impressed by your quilts, they are lovely! Quilts in general impress me, I would so love to make one but not sure that I would complete it if I started one. Having said all that I have no idea how to deal with a jelly roll!
Not so sure about 'Pink Pond' though!! ;)
Vivienne x

Mise said...

The industry evident in all of this is impressive and the technical terms most beguiling to the hungry non-quilter (moi). I shall never ring a B&B again now that I know what bravely-borne turmoil ensues. Your quilt is beautiful and looks ever so cosy.

Mrs. Micawber said...

I do like that four-patch in those lovely serene colours. And of course you had to line up the stars in the second quilt - there is much to be said for symmetry. :)

Though afeard of sock-knitting, I am a dauntless quilter and encourage you to get out that walking foot and get your money's worth. (If it's as pricey as mine was, you need to justify the expense.) Rather than wait for the dilatory Head Chef to convert the luxury shed, you can always set up an extra table or some chairs by your machine to catch the fabric overflow.

At the risk of encouraging further expense, may I say that I think either or both of those quilt tops would look lovely with some free-motion meandering (stippling) - which would of course involve buying a free-motion foot. (Or - happy thought - is there anyone in your area who would be willing to barter quilting for, say, vegetables?)

Good luck with your projects. :)

Lola Nova said...

Oh my look at you go! So beautiful! I am very impressed and I do know the temptation associated with a found love of putting those patchy pieces together and the oh dear moment of how to finish it all. You have done well!

As for me, my days seem to be filled with administration duties, business dealings and no time at all to make stuff; I just want to make stuff! Like a quilt for example.

oh, I've finally sent off your prize, the book is on it's way!

Ellie Foster said...

Dear Pomona
Beautiful quilts and excellent use of 'discombobulation'! The writer of the quilt book (Jane Brocket) has a blog called 'Yarnstorm' where she posts all sorts of lovely things, usually accompanied by beautifully colourful photos. Well worth a look if you haven't seen it yet. Her tulip photos in Spring are particularly fantastic.
I am in awe of your quilting. It is something I would love to do, but I am a bit slap dash and am not sure it would all line up properly. Maybe one day...
Best wishes

Vintage Sheet Addict said...

Beautiful quilt top, the fabrics are wonderful! We are both in the same position! I think I might hand quilt mine, it's not quite a big as yours! Ada :)

Elizabethd said...

Get someone to do the quilting for you, so much easier. Then you can spend your time plumping up the B/B cushions.
I love the colours you have used, so gentle and calming.

Hen said...

Love it! The quilts, fabric buying, doggies, horrid non-guests...but most of all, your lovely way of putting things! Thank you for the chuckle.
Hen x

Hen said...

Love it! The quilts, fabric buying, doggies, horrid non-guests...but most of all, your lovely way of putting things! Thank you for the chuckle.
Hen x

Draffin Bears said...

Hi Pomona,

I love the quilts you are making, good luck with finishing, so you can keep warm and cozy.

Happy week

Liz said...

Love the fabrics - the quilt is going to be gorgeous!
Liz @ Shortbread & Ginger

ted and bunny said...

I also love Su's beachy creation, and the prettiness of your pink quilt.
Blogland is quite inspirational isn't it?
Thanks for being part of that inspiration

Jooles said...

"What shall you make next?" gosh i think you should take a rest!
your quilts are looking mighty lovely.
Your post made me chuckle .... i needed that x
love jooles x

KC'sCourt! said...

Lovely quilt - I must finish mine - I have three work in progress!
Julie xxxxxxxxx

the linen cloud said...

Beautiful quilt top ... will be very pretty to snuggle under when completed ... thanks so much for the lovely welcome .. Bee x

Jo said...

They're beautiful, such pretty fabrics. I don't have a clue about quilt making but just love looking at the masterpieces which others create, I'm in awe.

Karen L R said...

Oh, Pomona,

I got my daily dose of jollies reading this post. It's quite dreary and wet here at the moment, and I did so need a bit of cheering up.

Many thanks for being here, friend.


gillyflower said...

Gorgeous quilts Pomona, such lovely soft colours. Loving the layout and fabrics of the Charming Flowers one.
The quilting issue is one i am pondering at the moment too - have nearly finished hand quilting my large quilt but woudlnt recommend it from a time issue! I have never quilted large items on the machine either. I need to get the quilt table attachment for my machine first I think. Be interested to hear how you get on - good luck!
Gill xx

gilly said...

Thanks so much for the lovely welcome, and for popping over to say hello too.
Your quilt is going to be so gorgeous and cosy warm for the winter. I struggled quilting my last big quilt as I had to keep rolling it to fit through the arm of my machine, but I persevered and was happy with the outcome.
I dream of a dog(hair)-free zone in our home ;-)
Happy Wednesday,

Jenny said...

Oh great work. We could do with that as our winter duvet that has been on the bed all year round just isn't keeping us warm enough. Hope you are soon cozy and warm under that lovely quilt.

Olallieberry said...

Hello Pomona,

Thank you for stopping by my blog the other day. I am so glad you did as it has allowed me to take a wander through Little Cottage Comforts and discover a piece of your lovely world. I'm absolutely loving your quilt, gorgeous fabrics! Loving your writing style too!! :D


Helen Philipps said...

Lovely patchwork, Pomona. I love the colours you've used and the patterns too, really pretty. The possibility of creating a new office/sewing room there looks very exciting!
Helen x

Gillian said...

Very nice - these will keep you super warm. I made a quilt a year ago and it was a nightmare to back - no-where in my house was big enough to spread it all out and work on it, and it is full of mistakes and ruckled up fabric. But I would like to make another, one day...

Sarah Jane said...

What a beautiful quilt! You've done a very good job on it. You should be most proud of yourself :-D
Enjoy the weekend and take care!
Sarah xoxo

menopausalmusing said...

The section where you mentioned Layer Cakes and Jelly Rolls made me laugh because before blogging I didn't know what they were either! Lovely work there. Just lovely.

Elizabeth Musgrave said...

But you see at least you did it right - you made some smaller quilts, you got the measure of the thing, I hope! I decided for some reason which is totally lost in the midst of time that my first ever quilt would be a king size creation for the holiday cottage. Now for what seems like half a century I have a nearly finished quilt top (well half finished) and a whole terrifying wad of quilting and no backing material because the stuff I bought didn't match and it all sits in the corner of the bedroom glowering at me.
Yours is beautiful and clearly will make it. Mine is the quilting version of the friend you haven't rung for too long. Help.

Annie @ knitsofacto said...

Oh dear, no such industriousness chez knitsofacto just now I'm afraid. So I will forego my pat on the back and donate it to you: two quilts is the fabric equivalent of the London Marathon in my book!

Cottage Garden said...

Lovely quilts and socks Pomona. I wish I wasn't so hopelessly uncreative!

Sorry to hear you've had the lurgy - all better now I hope.


Lulu said...

beautiful....love it...


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