Winter’s Comfort Quilt – wip

by Helen on August 29, 2013

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 …

Winter's Comfort Quilt - wip

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.

Winter's Comfort Quilt - wip

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 …. 

My helpers!

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!



A little spare time …..

by Helen on October 25, 2012

Thank you so much to all those who left comments on yesterday’s post or emailed me about this month’s magazine.  I’m so pleased everyone seems to be enjoying it – the November 2012 issue is definitely one of my all-time favourites and I’ve loved putting it together.  The days leading up to publication day are always a little tense, but now the ezine is safely delivered to all my lovely subscribers I have a little time to relax.  But that doesn’t mean no sewing – of course not!  I’ve been working on a couple of projects for Coombe Leigh for a while now and thought I’d show them to you.  The first is a quilt for our bed …..

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It’s a very simple design – there are 3o blocks with 9 x 5″ squares in each block – 5 rows of 6.  This means that there will be plenty of quilt to hang down at the sides of the bed and to wrap around the sleepers!  I’ve chosen fabrics that remind me of the beautiful natural world all around me here in Devon – and my selection includes “Across the Pond” and “Fox Hollow” as well as “Curious Nature” and all sorts of other bits and pieces ….

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This quilt is going to be very large so, after doing lots of reading and watching some very helpful videos on YouTube, I’ve decided to try the “quilt as you go” method.  I’m assembling the horizontal strips, then will join them once quilted.  I’ve quilted the sashing in parallel lines and stippled the blocks – trying to capture the feeling of the natural world enclosed by man-made boundaries.  

I can’t relax in the evenings though, without some work in my hands, so my second project is a throw for one of the armchairs in our living room.  I’m working my way through the 12 different snowflakes from the vintage quilt design by Nancy Page (Florence la Ganke), published in US newspapers in the 1930s……

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I’m stitching the snowflakes in dark blue floss on natural vintage linen (yes, my favourite mangle cloths again!) and am wondering about assembling them into a patchwork throw with some Harris tweed patches.  I love combining this linen with other colours and textures and think this might work well.  I’ll let you know how I get on!  I took my projects out into the summer house to photograph them – it’s been a very grey day here today so indoors was a non-starter.  Whilst in the garden I was delighted to spot some late foxgloves… 

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As well as a beautiful little autumn-flowering cyclamen nestling amongst the fallen leaves …

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I was less pleased to discover, however, that somebody has been leaving his toys outside to get wet in the rain again …

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Poor battered bear!  Ben is in disgrace for more than this today though – I took him down to the beach at Lannacombe this morning where he found a heap of smelly rotting seaweed and proceeded to roll and roll and roll in it.  By the time I reached him (yes, he made sure I was some way away), he was covered.  He has been scrubbed and soaped, but the smell still lingers ….

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He has gone outside to sulk – which I think is the very best place for him!