Tag Archives: lilac

Summer Quilt

The summer holidays are upon us, and I’m winding down for a couple of weeks … family holiday time – YAY!! I’m so looking forward to spending a couple of weeks with the family, without all the rushing about that seems to attend term-time life.

Of course, that doesn’t mean I’m not sewing 😉

I’ve started a little summer quilt – it’s only 1 metre square, but will make a nice little lap quilt, or throw, perhaps.

Lovely subdued shades of blue, turquoise and lilac woven into grey and smokey faded blue denims, seven delicious boro-woven blocks, on the hoop and ready for the surface embroidery that’ll hold it all together.

This is rapidly becoming one of my favourite ways of working … a little more time-consuming than conventional patchwork – even hand-pieced patchwork – but I love the way the stitching and the strips of fabric come together to make a new, complete fabric.

I’m keeping the stitching pretty simple, though – mostly just closely spaced running stitch, but with some detailed work in the two central diamonds … a little lazy daisy, overlaid with trellis stitch, and cross stitch to heal the edges. It is odd how working with stitches in this way sometimes reveals the original functional elements of a stitch that is generally used for decorative purposes: cross stitch is an excellent stitch for hemming (as is chevron stitch, I note in passing).

I have used the vivid orange just for a splash of contrast colour … I don’t think there will be a lot more of it, maybe a couple of lines more, enough to make it a coherent statement, but no more. I don’t want it to dominate.

I have been looking at Sami quilts, and admiring the way that fabric is so simple, but adorned with the rows and rows of running stitch, broken by stitched pattern here and there, uniting layers of fabric to a single and warm hole.

I’m experimenting with the same technique here … I haven’t put any wadding in this quilt, but there are four layers of fabric, not counting the quilt top, to manage the structural elements and cuts and twists I’ve made.

The weight is quite satisfying, and the softness of the worn fabric makes this quilt a pleasure to work. And its simplicity means that it’s a great project for the holidays ….

If you’re on your holidays, I hope you’re having a wonderful time. I’ll be back in the middle of August, hopefully with batteries fully recharged!


This week has all been about developing some of the starter pieces I wove for the Cloth-to-Cloth workshop … this piece was the one I liked ‘least’ – it was overly pastel-pretty for my taste, but the regularity of the strips and construction meant it was perfect for experimenting with some of the different techniques, so that it evolved into a kind of sampler, with a little bit of everything going on. In its cut and unstitched state, it looked fragmented and forlorn, so I started putting a few stitches into it – partly to hold it together, and partly to see where the process would take me.

The idea of a sampler translated itself into a lot of stitching … some of it quiet & simple – single thread backstitching or double-thread split-stitches, but then there’s some detailed embroidery going on as well. It was such fun letting it evolve without overplanning – other than to keep my stitch ‘palette’ down to a handful of different ones 😉 – cross stitch, trellis stitch, fly stitch, chevron stitch and tete-de-boef where the mainstays, and an exuberance of French knots. I love a French knot, me.

What interested me was that as I was thinking about directions and applications of the technique, a pair of compasses emerged from the shifted circles.

It’s a little bit more ‘busy’ than I would normally stitch, but overall I’m pleased with result … I feel that the stitching has, in a way, healed the fragmented pieces of cloth and made it a single, coherent whole. It’s not a process that could be rushed, or skimped … it simply took as long as it needed, and I just kept stitching until it was time to stop. It’s slow, it’s absorbing, and it’s totally satisfying.

It’s such a shame that I can’t share the texture of the cloth with you … it’s *just* amazing 🙂


I’ve put more photos of this piece on my Flickr photostream if anyone’s interested in details: http://www.flickr.com/photos/magpieslaundry/sets/72157624960235109