Tuesday, 10 February 2009

A quilt

About eighteen months ago, I had a sudden thought that it would be nice to make our friends, N&J, a quilt as a joint Christmas and Wedding Anniversary present (their anniversary is just before Christmas, so this makes more sense than it might otherwise). There only being six months before Christmas at that point, I decided that it would be more sensible to take my time over it, and make it for Christmas 2008. Magazines were perused with care, graph paper pressed into service, and a design was put together. A trip to the NEC Festival of Quilts in the summer of 2008 was the perfect opportunity to buy fabrics in colours I would not normally use, but which I knew they would like.

And then... I did nothing. Or rather, I wrote some conference papers, worked on two chapters of
my thesis, and did some teaching. None of which helped me make any progress on the quilt, which was, even in the last week of November, nothing more than a pile of fabric, and a PLAN. So I decided that as soon as term was over (and term finishes ridiculously early), I would dedicate myself to patchwork and quilting until it was done. After four days of patchwork, I had this:

My biggest piece of patchwork ever, of which I was very proud. I added a small border, made up the quilt sandwich, did some basic quilting (time, remember, was a major issue!)... and this was the result:


It is the biggest quilt I have made (and I've only made 2 before, neither of which was properly quilted), and I'm not mad about the standard of the quilting. It's bunchier than I'd hoped it would be - which may be caused by the size of the quilt, and the difficulties I had in getting it into my machine, but may also be to do with how I put the sandwich together. Any tips? I'm hoping that next time, I'll be able to persuade a friend to come over and help with the sandwiching. By contrast, the binding (which I was dreading, since whenever I've tried to do it in the past it has been a mess), went very smoothly. In the company of Richard Armitage and D. Denby-Ashe, I spent 6 happy (and warm) hours on my sofa, and even got the mitring on the corners to work!

Overall, I'm happy, and looking forward to the next one.. or two... or maybe three (did I mention that I hoard fabric scraps, and currently have 3 boxes of old trousers/shirts that are going to be given a new lease of log-cabin life?). Oh, and having hit that deadline and had a great time in Oxford for the anniversary party... Of course I had to make a dress I'd had the fabric and pattern for for two years, in 48 hours. I decided on the Tuesday that I wanted something new to wear to a works' Christmas do on the Friday, and by Thursday lunch-time, had a new frock:

(I do not photograph well - I hope I'm not this funny-looking in real life:) And from the back:

The plan is to wear it again in a fortnight for a family wedding - a fairly good sign that I felt ok in it!