Saturday, 12 November 2011

I have had an incredible urge to create quilts lately. For months, I have been piecing together a queen sized quilt for my mom, involving hundreds of small squares. Because it is such a long process without an immediate result, I developed a strong desire to make a few quick-ish baby quilts that I could put up in my shop too. My style is usually very modern and somewhat minimalist, but I'm drawn to vintage fabrics and very traditional motifs too. So I decided to use a pattern from Jelly Roll Quilts that had a floral design that was both traditional and modern, at least to my eyes. Certainly, it's the most traditional quilt I've done, because it's really got that old-fashioned quilt look. I enjoyed putting it together and really love how the high-loft batting gives it such a squishy feel and soft look.

I used a mix of vintage sheeting fabric and some new reprints of 1930's floral designs. Can you tell which are new and which ones are vintage?


I really like how the binding and motifs puff out after the stitching. I added a number of hand-tied bits of embroidery cotton to it and the ties come out at the back, leaving an interesting cross stitch on the front.

A friend recently remarked on how she goes through sewing spurts of creativity that quickly die down after a few projects. As for me, if I had nothing else to do, I could just sew, and sew, and sew all day, every day. So it's possibly a good thing that I have many other things to take me away from it!

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Crewel Work

tapestry work on church cushions, Wansford, England
  As the days get shorter (and in England they get pretty short in winter!), I tend to spend more time on the couch watching series box sets and working with my hands, rather than spending the extra time on my sewing machine. This autumn I have been teaching myself more crochet, embroidery, and...crewel.

a different motif, each taking hours and days to complete

The art that can vary from fabulous to ugly...or maybe just misunderstood. When I think of crewelwork, I think of thrift store cast offs in terrible browns and yellows. But when I found this book, I discovered it could be something different. And learning the techniques, I have found a new appreciation for hand work that I may have found dull in the past - dull, maybe because I didn't really understand it.

Wansford Church, a local and surprising source of inspiration 
my current effort, split stitch and turkey work techniques

I did some poking around Etsy and found crewel work to be very under-represented there, but I did find a 1970's DIY kit for just $8 on Etsy. The finished piece is meant to be wrapped around a brick for a bookend or doorstop - honestly, if I had more wall space I would frame it. You may find them terribly ugly, or terribly cool, like I do. In truth, I find this piece unapologetically retro...and it's totally possible that it is a piece only a mother could love. 
16th Century worn tapestry cushion, Haddon Hall, Bakewell