A few years ago I decided I wanted to give this patchwork lark a go. I bought a few books, asked people who might know a few questions and then got on with it. That pretty much sums up my approach to anything new that I want to learn. The interesting thing with learning new skills is the fact that you never actually stop learning. There is always more to try, more to think about and more to get excited about.
The first patchy thing I made was a trivet. It wasn't this one actually. The one I made is in a beautiful 1950's rose fabric and is still being used every day. My mum loved it so and asked me to make one for her too. This is hers, so that makes this my second ever patchy make.
If you're new to patchwork I'd say starting small like this is a pretty good place to start. I tried out most of the things I needed to know without me running the risk of screwing up loads of fabric.
Then I moved on to other useful things that weren't too time consumming. I made a fair few patchy cushions handcutting all the pieces. I've never got my head around a rotary cutter and a big measuring square thing. This is a thing to be tackled this year. I'm wasting a lot of time now my patching dreams are getting bigger and grander.
As I got a wee bit more confident patching simple squares on the machine my head turned to thinking of different shapes. Then I saw a mini hex made as a patch and knew I had to have a go. I grabbed my jeans with the huge knee rip and got going with learning about paper piecing and the difficulties of cutting the perfect hexaganol shape.
As I started to get more confident with patchwork I began making it my own. I added rows of colourful running stitch to add extra zing to the patterns. I stripped thin slivers of polka dot fabric and handstitched that between the odd row of squaress.
Finally I felt brave enough to have a go at my first ever quilt. I chopped up as many of Little Bun's old dresses and favourite images as I could into large squares, stitched them all together and then found it wasn't quite big enough. To save the situation I added a white border before making my first quilt sandwich. I didn't know then that there are different types of wadding so this is a squodgy quilt as I used synthetic rather than cotton which is thinner. Once I'd pinned all three layers together I wimped out of sewing through them. I chose to thread through handties of red floss.
Next up I made my first ever proper quilt. I'd learnt quite a lot from what I'd done wrong before. I always find I learn more from going over all that I've done wrong more than I do from what I've done right. This is the teacher in me, we're taught to constantly reflect on our practice and so you can't blame me for doing this in my making too.
Miss Rosey's quilt took an age as I chose to handstitch the entire thing. One reason was because I prefer the look of handstitching. I love all the colourful rows running in different patterns and pressing the fabric down far more softly than machine stitching does. The other reason was because I'm not as neat with a sewing machine and I didn't want to risk cocking up all my hard work.
In between times I stitched yet more cushions to sell at market and gibe my pitch a colouful backdrop. These two are now owned by my friend Ruth who swapped them for her car when we needed it.
Now both the Bun's had quilts of their own I wanted one for our bed so I started chopping again. I went for oblongs laid out like bricks so I didn't have to worry too much about all the corners lining up. I really like this stage where I have all the pieces cut and then I can lay them out moving them up and down until it all looks right to my eye.
Alongside working on this quilt I started on a larger project (one I wonder if I'll ever finish). I was so taken with an image on Mary's blog that I couldn't get it out of my head. In the end I drew up my own plan and got going with my own large hexie plates. This one's good for taking out with me to work on so perhaps one day it'll be a quilt as well.
I'm sure you'll remember my most recent quilt? The one I made for my mum for Christmas. My most ambitious yet working to a nine square pattern. The diagonal stitching is my favourite thing about this one. Without it I don't think it would have worked so well for me,
Now an absolute age before I started the Christmas Lap Quilt I'd cut and sewn up a quilt made from tons of triangular flag shapes. I had to forget all about it so I could get mum's made in time for the 25th.
This Playday Flags Quilt is my biggest yet. It was too large for any of the sheets I had to back it with and so it just lingered in a basket until a friend, who makes great things, passed a good idea on to me. The tip was to use a blanket to replace the wadding and backing. Last Friday I pinned the two layers together with my proper curved quilty pins and then put it aside to be handstitched over the next few weeks.
Then it got really snowy cold. This Friday we all had a home day. School was cancelled, Mr is self-employed and set up his office by the woodburner and I had the day off anyway, but had no school run to dictate my sewing hours by.
I woke up thinking we need that really big quilt now and so I decided to machine quilt for the first time ever. Handstitching is all very well if you don't need the quilt in a hurry. I set up the walking foot on my machine (I think that's what it is?) a bit fell off, but it still worked and off I went stitching in the ditches.
Later on we cosied by the fire, me under the blankie quilt while I handstitched the binding along the edges. I had already started handstitching this one so it does have four rows to jolly it up.
Last night Little Bun piled it on top of the first quilt I ever made and snuggled down for a cosy night.
I'm now officially hooked to this patchy lark and fancy trying out all sorts of patterns. I've sorted myself out with a decent rotary cutter as I don't think I can face handcutting hundreds more mis-matching squares. Pretty much all the way along I've followed advice when I couldn't work something out or I've just had a go at doing my own way. My quilts aren't at all perfect, but then my mum did tell me they weren't going in for a competition when I was coming over all critical. The only question left then is what will we do with all of these quilts if I get obsessed?