We enjoyed amazing walks through the parkland of the estate and along the South West Coast Path on the Lizard peninsula - the weather was so good that we felt we were in an advert for the English Tourist Board. The weather is not usually so good for our summer holiday, I can assure you, but when the sun shines you can't beat the UK for gorgeous scenery, in my biased opinion.
The only sewing I managed was to finish hand stitching the bindings on two quilts I had machine quilted the week before we went away. So they are finishes this week technically, but I feel a bit of a fraud as it hasn't really been a sewing week.
First finish is Strips that Sizzle (last posted about here). I think I am most pleased with this finish of all my finishes this month because the blocks were mostly made such a long time ago, and I feel that I rescued them by making them into a finished quilt which can be used and enjoyed.
I am also pleased with my machine quilting, which took quite a long time but which was all achieved with a walking foot and no puckers - phew!
It gives a great finish to the reverse as well, where I used another variegated thread. I found a plain thread looked too solid and dull for the mainly spotty backing (ex-stash and not quite big enough so I pieced in some extra interest).
Finished at 55" square.
My other finish was also retrieved from the pile of UFO's. This blog is such a spur to finishing old projects: if you are like me and prefer starting to finishing I can recommend making yourself accountable to a group of virtual or actual quilting friends to increase your productivity.
The quilt top was pieced a couple of years ago from a couple of rolls of ready-cut strips purchased from Kim Porter of Worn and Washed who specialises in tempting bundles of recycled fabrics. I have made several tops from such bundles in the past and have always been very pleased with the results: Kim has a great eye for colour and it is such an easy way to make a vintage looking quilt in a really short time.
The only reason this top has sat in the cupboard so long is that I thought I wanted to quilt it with big stitches and thick thread. I started but wasn't happy, and so the project was abandoned. I later tried quilting with ordinary quilting thread in a different design but didn't like that either. Finally this month I decided it must be tackled: I ripped out all previous efforts and machine quilted parallel lines with a soft yellow thread on top and a variegated orange thread on the bottom to blend with the zany plaid.
The wadding is polyester which I wouldn't normally machine quilt through, but remember I had layered it up for hand quilting and I really didn't want to start all over again. I therefore was worried that I would get a lot of drag from using the walking foot, but I adjusted the pressure of the foot on my Juki and it coped fine.
My other recommendation, should you find yourself in a similar situation, is always to quilt in the same direction; so rather than turning the quilt when I had worked from the centre to the right hand edge, I scrunched it all up under the arm and kept going from the centre to the left hand edge, still working from top to bottom. Fortunately it is not a terribly big quilt (47"x 56") and the polyester scrunched up easily.
Polyester makes it a very lightweight quilt and, as the wadding will dry quickly, maybe it will be a good choice for a picnic blanket or for a youngster to drag about. The quilt drapes beautifully as the fabrics themselves, having been worn and washed many times, no doubt, have none of the stiffness of new-bought fabric.
Binding: backing plaid cut on the bias, of course.
Since we are looking at a pink/yellow/orange quilt, this might be a good place for these photos of pink/yellow/orange flowers from our holiday. As I took the pics early in the morning of the day we left, the Californian poppies in the first photo are not fully open so their sublime orangey-ness is not so apparent, but I hope the picture conveys some of the zing and excitement of the combination. The everlasting flowers in the second photo are more restrained but still a delicious mix. And the different greens are refreshing as a background - so many colour lessons in nature.
I managed to visit the wonderful Cowslip Workshops on the way home - we were passing within a couple of miles so it would have been rude not to stop and buy something, surely? I restricted myself to backings for tops already pieced, which showed great restraint as I would have loved at least a fat quarter of everything in the shop...
I also have another treat coming up later this week: on Thursday I am spending the day at the Festival of Quilts at the NEC in Birmingham, the UK's biggest and best quilt show with lots of lovely traders including some from Europe. So I am feeling very spoilt to have so much to look back on and forward to, that I am racing around madly doing the post-holiday laundry and associated tidying-up before I start any sewing this weekend....
And I haven't forgotten my promise of the Honeycomb Ice Cream recipe made in my last post: my daughter and I will be making some specially tomorrow so we can photograph the stages, so be patient a little longer and check back soon. Till then, enjoy these huge hydrangeas, almost emblematic of the West Country.
Crazy Mom Quilts and Lily's Quilts.