Tag Archives: cotton

Letters to my Grandchildren

No, not my grandchildren – I haven’t got any!! This is the last of my pre-Christmas speshal sekrit projects, that I’m now allowed to talk about 😉

A totally handmade quilt, using recycled fabrics and little babyknits, and incorporating letters from the recipient’s mother (sadly now deceased) to her grandchildren.

It’s a quilt covering four generations, and was made for a lady who is now a grandmother herself – she has three children, and six grandchildren – using the baby woollens *her* mother had knitted.

It all came about from the lovely little baby knits that had been saved, and passed down and around the family, so that all the babies had worn most of them at some point or another.

I really, really didn’t want to cut into the knits … they were too darling, and it was in my mind that should the great-grandchildren want to, they could always remove them from the quilt and use them again. There was also the issue that the knits weren’t all wool – some were acrylic and some were cotton, so not amenable to felting. (I accidentally attempted to felt an acrylic jumper once … I’ve never seen anything GROW so much – that’ll teach me to read labels!!).

So …. I made each of these 9 little knits into a separate square for each of the children and the grandchildren, using various fabrics – some fine old white linen, a little embroidered silk, some pale pink flower-patterned satin … stabilising and setting-in the knits to the fabric was a little stressful, but successful, I think.

I hand-stitched the quilting, keeping myself to 4 colours of thread – pink, gold, green and white, because I didn’t want to distract too much from the knits or the other detail – over the top of each quilt square is embroidered the name and date of birth of each of the children and grandchildren.

Because this was so personal to this lady, we decided to incorporate some letters from her mother to her children …. embroidering that amount of script would have been a herculean task, that I’d probably still be working at, so instead I scanned and printed sections of the letters onto printable cotton.

These got cut and stitched together, and form small strips in between the main squares …. and a single, entire letter on a slim bias tube running around the central square. Cross stitch over the top holds everything together (it’s all slip-stitched as well).

I really enjoyed making this … the only not-so-fun part was the printable cotton – it was terribly unfriendly to hand-sew, so I don’t think I’ll be using it again.

The result is gorgeous, and I’m so pleased to have these photos of it in-situ (particularly as I forgot to take photos myself before I sent it off!!), and to see it being used on an everyday basis.

Tree of Life – a bespoke modern patchwork cushion

I had a lovely commission before I went away on holiday … a (belated) wedding gift. It was a fairly straightforward brief – a simple, contemporary cushion cover in white/cream tones, patchworked and quilted. The only unusual part of this bespoke cushion was that the quilting was to be in the form of a line drawing, touching on the artist Rob Pepper’s work, and that (more conventionally) the piece should incorporate their initials and the date of the wedding.

And so evolved the ‘Tree of Life’ … I didn’t want to do a straight copy of a Rob Pepper drawing, but I did want to draw on the spirit of it, but with my own twist – so my design is perhaps less free than his drawings, more stylised, but I felt it appropriate for my medium ;). I’m pretty pleased with the outcome:

Tree of Life - bespoke contemporary cushion, patchworked and hand-embroidered

The patchwork was pretty straightforward – a log cabin variation called ‘Courthouse Steps’, worked in shades of white and cream and a variety of different textures – the geometric lines of a ribbed knit, the denser structure of cotton drill, cotton voile, muslin, silks, linen and cartridge paper (which I interfaced before I started working).

 I loved it as it stood, but I decided on that patchwork structure (rather than a more romantically named block) because it supported the design best, with its strong geometric layout and the way it pulls perspective. I worked the quilting in single strand cotton embroidery yarn – a combination of cream and a dark chocolate brown (using black would have been *way* too heavy) – with gold embroidery silk (again single strand) to work the detail of their initials, wedding date and the lazy daisy stitching to set the leaves on the tree.

I’m pretty pleased with the result … and this project has inspired me to experiment more with different materials in. I already have half in my mind an idea with quilting bark onto silk, with beading …. but that’s for another day 🙂