Things get a bit patchy

25 Mar

I’ve been working on a quilt for three years…

I first toyed with the idea of making one after reading Jane Brocket’s charming book The Gentle Art of Domesticity and her blog Yarnstorm, which were both full of her amazing creations. She totally changed my mind about quilting being boring.

When about to go on maternity leave I kitted myself out with a rotary cutter, mat and ruler, thinking I’d have loads of free time to get stuck in. Haha. God bless the woman in Country Threads in Bath for not laughing right in my face while I expounded on all my maternity leave crafting plans…
After returning to work, and another year collecting fat quarters, reading Jane’s stunning new(ish) book The Gentle Art of Quiltmaking, and attending a talk by Kaffe Fassett for yet more inspiration, I finally got around to cutting out some squares for a really simple quilt.

I worked on it sporadically from May last year for a month or so, and then it got too hot to have all those layers on my lap each evening. And so it got folded away and tucked on top of a book shelf to gather dust while I got on with other, more pressing work.

Well, a fortnight ago I finished my latest round of design submissions for The Knitter (don’t think I get favouritism because I work on the mag – only two of them made the cut!). Fired up by a trip to Millie Moon in Frome, and my friend Jen’s wonderful quilts, I thought I’d better get cracking!

Despite judicious use of my mat, ruler and rotary cutter, not all the squares line up exactly but I’m going to let that slide on a first attempt.


It’s 160cm by 140cm and will be a giant lap quilt for my other half and I to snuggle under on the sofa. Getting it finished really quickly once I picked it up again has inspired me to make another one right away for my daughter’s third birthday, with all the cute-as-hell fabric I’ve picked up over the last couple of years. More on that another time…

The fabrics in this one are almost all from Country Threads, and the batting is this stuff which is the softest, warmest, most natural feeling fibre you could possibly dream of. I know people like to back their quilts with something spectacular, but I used the lining from an old curtain. It was a huge piece of cotton fabric, a neutral cream colour and, most importantly, didn’t cost me a penny! The binding is upholstery fabric in a favourite design, although with hindsight I’d have picked a lighter weight material, which would have been easier to fold on the corners. The whole project has probably cost me £50. That may seem like a lot, but it was spread over a long time and the quilt will probably be around long after I’m gone!

If you’re hanging back, thinking a quilt is too big a project, my advice, as a novice, is three fold:

  • Don’t try to buy all the fabric at once. Give your collection time to grow organically. It’ll be less financially painful too.
  • Do a bit, and then leave it for a bit if you want. None of the tasks in quilt making are daunting if taken separately.
  • Quilt on your lap, without a frame, and then you can watch a good film and it won’t feel like a job.

Right, my rotary cutter’s a’calling!

5 Responses to “Things get a bit patchy”


  1. Bitchin’ stitchin’ « Nana taught me how - June 25, 2011

    […] work recently said to me: ‘Wow, you really are a stitching bitch’ after they spotted the quilt in progress tucked under my desk I tried to take it as a […]

  2. Quilting, the easy way. Part One. « Nana taught me how - February 9, 2012

    […] Trouble is, making a quilt can seem like a pretty big deal. So I managed to take three years to complete the first one. […]

  3. Quilting the easy way. Part two « Nana taught me how - February 20, 2012

    […] heck, if it’s just squares I say go with what works for you. My first attempt (using three-eighth seams) was definitely […]

  4. Secret birthday project #1: The Test Card quilt « Nana taught me how - February 26, 2012

    […] work shirts, to make him a quilt. It was just before his birthday and I hadn’t finished my first quilt yet, so I knew I wouldn’t get it done in time. I stuck them in the bottom of the airing […]

  5. Quilting the easy way, part 3: Super neat quilt binding « Nana taught me how - May 16, 2012

    […] the ‘wrong’ side of the binding. I just couldn’t get it to look neat on the first quilt I […]

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