I am sad I finished my patchwork blanket. I really enjoyed making it and I can't wait to start another one. But first, let's celebrate this cheerful sunny blanket. Here it is hanging on my whirly gig, catching the early spring sun. It makes me so happy to see it in its full glory.
I started with a pile of 4 inch squares, most of them ready cut randoms from Ebay, others were cut from my not inconsiderable stash of quilting cottons. I bought a pack of random squares because I wanted the blanket to be a true mix of designs and colours, something I could not achieve with my largely coordinated stash. I spent some time sorting out really dark squares, and some with colours that I just didn't like that much. I made sure to keep the majority of squares which would not normally be my choice. Then I sorted them in to a roughly rainbow coloured pile and spread this out like a deck of cards. From this I pulled out squares working form the top or the bottom of the pile, creating a random sequence. Well, not entirely random. I avoided two of the same next to each other. As the blanket grew, my pile became more and more messy. I dared myself not to think about the sequence of squares and just sewed them together as I pulled them out of the pile. It was immensely liberating not to be dictated by the need to create the perfect colour distribution but it took a couple or rows to completely relax and trust my first instinct. I generally like things to match, whatever this may mean. I am trying to be more relaxed in life and this project certainly helped to chill on a small scale. It was so easy to make rows, join then on the go, until the size was just right. I made it the size of another patchwork blanket I made about a hundred years ago, it is just perfect to snuggle up under on the sofa.
I agonised for a short while over the backing. I was tempted to piece it from larger scraps but in the end, I decided to go for something neutral and bought a cheap grey flannel bed sheet. Grey is a great colour I think. I spent a fun evening pinning the sandwich of top, batting and back together. I taped the back on the floor with masking tape, smoothed the batting (cotton/polysomething 80/20) over it and did the same with the top. I used curved safety pins to hold it all together.
I am not a big fan of heavily quilted blankets, I like the quilting to be subtle and soft. I also like the quilt to look worn and washed (if this makes sense), an effect you can only achieve with hand stitching I think. It was such a relaxing way to spend an evening, stitching one row after the other. I can honestly say that no knitting or crochet project has ever had the same effect. I find crochet boring and I am a little out of love with my knitting needles, too. I was disappointed to finish the last few stitches after weeks of stitching.
I used stash fabric for the binding, all of it also used in the quilt. I made continuous crossgrain binding following this tutorial (Amanda Jean is my quilting goddess). Geometry not being one of my strength, I find it difficult to grasp how with a diagonal stitching line you end up with straight strips.... I am not actually sure why it is better to have a mitered seam and not a straight one. Maybe it reduces the bulk when sewing the binding on? It is quite a narrow binding but I like it that way. I machine sewed the binding to the right side of the quilt and hand stitched it to the back with the tiniest invisible slip stitches. It was oh so enjoyable. There is something about hand stitching that is immensely satisfying. I don't think I would consider piecing a quilt by hand but I am not saying never.
I have fabric to make quilts for Sam and Annie but I am not quite ready for those yet. I am going to make a bedcover quilt for the spare bedroom, which will get a makeover this summer. Currently I am using an old linen bed sheet with a delicate crochet border of about 30 cm width. It was made by my great aunt. It is tremendously beautiful but also very delicate and the kids do a fair bit of jumping around in this room and I worry the crochet border will get damaged. A sturdy colourful quilt is just what this room needs. I'll be sure to share my progress, once I get started. I am eagerly awaiting the delivery of a large fabric bundle from Nebraska. Even taking into account the shipping costs, and the customs charge (which sometimes is added on but not always), it is worth it and adds up to less than I would spend here on similar fabric. The selection of fabrics in the US is so much bigger than the than that of any fabric shop I have ever visited here, it is amazing.
To make the waiting more bearable, I am finally going to finish James' stripy jumper. It has been in the making for a long while.
Wishing you a wonderful week, with lovely spring weather and no stress whatsoever. I am off with the kids and hope for some adventures.
Thank you for stopping by and saying hello, I much appreciate it. Thanks for sharing some of the things that make you grumpy, I am glad I am not the only one. xx