Friday, 1 August 2014

Holiday finishes

We are just back from a lovely family holiday in sunny South Cornwall.  We stayed in a beautiful flat/apartment which was the upper floor of an old stable building on an estate now owned 'for ever, for everyone' by the National Trust.

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.

I am linking today to Crazy Mom Quilts and Lily's Quilts.


  1. I love the look of your vintage up cycled quilt! And I completely agree about how wonderful it is to be accountable to a virtual world of quilting buddies - having a blog has made me much better at finishing things so I can share them!

  2. I love your use of color and inspiration

  3. The blues and the pinks on the sizzle quilt work so well together.

  4. The colors in nature are so inspiring, just like you said. I have some pics of birds that have gorgeous colors - the first thing I thought when I saw them was that would be a great quilt color combo! :)

  5. Your vintage-cloth quilt is really nice! I must investigate where to get those fabrics!

  6. Beautiful quilts. LOVE the back of Strips they Sizzle. Quilting looks great.

  7. You are all so kind, visiting me and leaving such lovely comments. Thank you. Alison

  8. Oh my goodness, what beautiful work you do! Found you through Lily's Quilts.

  9. I love the colors you choose for both quilts, so bright and fun! Especially the "Strips that Sizzle"...your choices are brilliant, I like the way the colors play together. Great job!