I’ve finished my Winter’s Comfort Quilt! And, judging by the wind, rain and darkness outside my windows tonight, not a moment too soon!
There are seven snowflakes – completely reworked from an early 20th century design by Nancy Page and ornamented with tiny mother-of-pearl buttons for just a little frosty sparkle. There are patchwork blocks …
…. a charm pack from Moda – Winter’s Lane” – a lovely soft palette of reds, blues and neutrals quilted in circles that remind me of frosty cobblestones on a winter’s evening, hurrying home from the shops, perhaps laden with Christmas parcels ….
…. and, I don’t know if you can see in the top picture, a row of tiny silver stars stitched into the dark blue sashing – to remind me of the brightness of stars on a frosty night in the depths of winter. But I won’t mind the cold outside this winter as I’ll be nice and warm snuggled into my new quilt in front of the woodburner! Oh, and there’ll be two large black furry bodies snoozing gently on the rug at my feet and a mug of cocoa to hand .. bliss!
The pattern for my Winter’s Comfort Quilt will be in the October issue of the Bustle & Sew Magazine that’s published next week.
As summer slips slowly into autumn, life here at Coombe Leigh is becoming very busy indeed. Regular activities, postponed for the summer, begin again and new ones commence. I have a new assistant here at Bustle & Sew – my friend Lisa’s daughter Emily has asked me to teach her to stitch ……
… a very serious undertaking indeed! Or so you might think from how hard she is concentrating on her hoop and needle in this picture. But actually we’re having a lot of fun – she’s so enthusiastic and full of giggles! At seven she’s old enough to start with a “real” grown up needle and floss, and here she’s beginning to stitch her first design, having carefully drawn and then traced her own rabbit and flower drawing she’s outlining the rabbit with back stitch. We then plan to add felt leaves and button flowers to the background to make a picture she can hang on her bedroom wall. I’ll be sure to show you when it’s done.
I’ve been busy with my Winter’s Comfort quilt too….
As I’ve used an old well shrunken woollen blanket for the filling, I can be very flexible with the quilting – there’s no danger at all of the filling breaking up. The snowflake panels are quite large at 12″ square, but they won’t be quilted at all, I’ve simply stitched in the ditch around them. I’ve also stitched around the patchwork panels, but have decided to fill them with free motion quilting – choosing circles and a cream thread so they’ll remind me of frosty cobblestones on a winter’s morning. Still can’t quite decide how to quilt – or indeed if to quilt the navy blue sashing – if anyone has any suggestions I’d love to hear them.
And as well as all the sewing going on, I’m busy in the kitchen too with chutneys and preserves ….
My lovely next door neighbour Julie invited me to take plums from her tree, and I made some Spicy Plum Chutney that smells delicious – a recipe for the October magazine I think. Daisy and I have been blackberrying, though we didn’t get very many – I think we are a bit early, perhaps we’ll go again in a week or so. Meanwhile though, we have enough for a lovely blackberry and apple crumble. And finally – figs from the large and rather thuggish tree at the end of my garden. I have discovered a recipe for Fig Chutney that will use quite a few – it incorporates balsamic vinegar and red onions so sounds rather nice. I’ll let you know!
The weekend after magazine publication date is always quiet here at Coombe Leigh, so I’ve taken the opportunity to work on my Winter’s Comfort quilt project and am making good progress. I have finished piecing the top ….
And have stitched the full “Winter is the time for …” quote from Edith Sitwell for the back….
Just simple back stitch for the text using the same linen and floss that I used for the snowflakes on the front, and highlighting chosen words in green and red to reflect the colours in the other fabrics I chose for the back. I decided upon a patchwork back – for two reasons – firstly, I couldn’t find quite the right fabric to back it with a single piece, and secondly I wanted to incorporate the full quote and felt it would look better as part of a patchwork. I used some Fox Hollow fabrics from Monoluna – not much left now, but I do love them, and some Susie Watson Designs linen too as well as a couple of others….
Just the quilting to go now! I don’t have a surface big enough to lay out a whole quilt on, so I spent a rather painful session crawling around on the floor basting the layers together. It was painful because of that naughty Miss Daisy! Check out the video below – this was our morning walk today across the fields above Stokenham village where the barley has been cut ….
Did you hear poor Ben’s “Owf!” as that naughty puppy charged straight into him? Imagine what that might do to a poor unsuspecting person! Yes, me! Back in May, while charging happily around at top speed, Daisy misjudged her direction and ran straight into the back of my legs knocking me completely off my feet. One moment I was admiring the view, and the next I was flat on the floor with my nose in a patch of mud. My left knee has been so painful ever since and, after finally admitting it’s not going to get better by itself, I saw a consultant last week so am now on the list for surgery. It’s a good thing both Ben and I love that naughty pup!
Phew … the September magazine is now all safely sent out – always an anxious time. Although I’m still in the middle of listing the individual patterns and generally updating the website, I thought it would be nice to take time out to show you my new quilt project -still a wip – that will be included in the October issue (how can I possibly be thinking about October already?!) I’ve called it “Winter’s Comfort” for two – well no – three reasons really I guess …
I’ve completely reworked seven vintage snowflake drawings, originally from Ruby McKim, a wonderful US quilter from the early 20th century. I have changed the stitches, layout and suggested colours completely – she originally suggested a grid of 12 white snowflakes embroidered on light blue fabric – possibly gingham, I’m not quite sure – with white thread and completely different stitches. I chose my favourite vintage linen, and dark blue floss, then added tiny mother of pearl buttons so the snowflakes would sparkle, just a little, as though they were frosty.
Hopefully this should be quite effective as I’m planning to use my quilt to snuggle under on the sofa – mostly by artificial light as the evenings draw in – the first reason for the name “Winter’s Comfort”. The second reason is quite straight-forward – I had a single charm pack of Winter’s Lane fabric left from my patchwork door curtain and the colours worked perfectly with my snowflakes. The sashing is actually an old cotton tablecloth I discovered in a local charity shop.
And the final reason for the name? A quote from Edith Sitwell – an early 20th century poet – which I love …..
“Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home.”
But I can’t finish this post without showing you why I’m actually not very comfortable right now as I type! This is because my two canine “helpers” are determined to be as close as possible to me ….
Which means there is no room whatsoever for my feet and legs under the table, so I’m having to sit with them tucked beneath me as I type. Not the best – and I’m getting pins and needles! Still, I’m sure if I mention the word “T-E-A” then they’ll move pretty quickly!