Tag Archives: quilt

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!

Tribal Textiles

The magpie has been out collecting again …

I had a glorious weekend away, and one of the highlights was a trip to Healey and James near Alton in Hampshire. It is an aladdin’s cave of glorious, beautifully hand-crafted oriental textiles – scarves, throws, quilts and clothes – in an out-of-the-way little business estate … if you didn’t know it was there, you’d never find it by chance. Rachael Healey, in addition to being an incredible artist, is hugely knowledgeable and wonderfully enthusiastic about the textiles, so I had an amazing hour pulling out and caressing any number of beautiful pieces. 

I was brought up in the middle east, and I think my love of tribal textiles stems from there …. I always remember being surrounded by vivid colour and texture, and all the reds and oranges. And so I have always collected – a little bit here, a little bit there.

Last year, I acquired this horse breastplate:

I just adore the detail of the embroidery with the shisha mirrors, and the beading and fringing around the edges.

So this year, I added to my indian textiles with this:

I adore the vibrant colours, and the detail on the stitching is incredible … I wonder if I would have the patience to sit and work something as complex as this?

Last year, I had a covetous moment over a huge sami quilt … but the price put it out of my reach, and the size wasn’t practical for anyplace I could use it. So I was delighted that this year there were some smaller sami quilts …. the only problem was choosing which one I adored most. In the end, I made a departure from my usual colours and went for this vivid green:

I think it works well with all my reds, and I kind of like to be a bit on the eclectic side 😉 The colour drew me (even though it is a rayon), but the stitching was what sealed in for me …. the layers and layers of running stitch, with those spashes of intricate repeated detail … just glorious.

I’m already looking forward to going back again, next year.