Some months ago, I started work on my second ever patchwork quilt, a large blanket made almost entirely out of worn-out cashmere jumpers. As this should have been a far more straighforward project than the famous hand-pieced Quilt of Doom, any normal quilter undertaking the same task would probably have been snuggled comfortably under their cashmere blanket for several weeks by this point. Given the current weather, in fact, they’d probably be using it as a picnic rug, and heading off to the beach to partake of sandwiches and Pimm’s while seated on it, secure in the knowledge that no unfinished objects were lurking accusingly at home.
I’m sure you’ve guessed by now that my quilt is nowhere near finished.
Of course it’s not finished! That would suggest I was actually efficient, and that I didn’t suffer from a chronic case of startitis combined with a dreadful propensity towards procrastination. My current UFO (Un-Finished Object) tally stands at the following impressive level:
- Three skirts: one of these dates from about five years ago, and stalled when I couldn’t work out how to add a lining; the others were cut out last week.
- One Tempest cardigan, which admittedly only requires a button-band, so is nearly not a UFO…
- Two half-pairs of socks, non-matching.
- One Aeolian shawl, which I put down about a year ago because I was afraid of the nupps. And the beads. And the need to combine the two in one large and complicated piece of lace.
- One giant scrap blanket.
- A quarter of a tea-cosy.
Added to the list, of course, is the aforementioned cashmere quilt, which has been languishing somewhat since we moved house. I am, however, pleased to report that it’s in a much better state than the first quilt was, four months in:
As you can see, the top has been pieced, and the quilt sandwich has been assembled. You may be able to see from this picture that I have quilted the first two rows (nearest to the bottom of the picture) which means I’m one sixth of the way through, not counting the edging. Far speedier than the Quilt of Doom!
I pieced the top in strips on the machine, which was a revelation: it went together so quickly! I think the whole thing took about two or three evenings. I used the burgundy cotton edging to neaten everything up, to stabilise the felted fabric and to make it easier to bind the quilt when that stage comes: it wasn’t my first choice as far as colour went (I was hoping for a teal/petrol blue to pick up the blue in the quilt itself), but, for various complicated reasons, I had to buy the edging fabric from Hobbycraft, and I didn’t have a lot of choice there. The backing, however, is another matter:
This is a floral quilting cotton which I found in Butterfly Fabrics on City Road in Cardiff. This shop has a wonderful range of fabrics, carrying everything from tweed suiting to Liberty-print tana lawn, and a whole lot in between. Their customer service is variable – I’ve always found them to be a little stand-offish, and I have heard some reports of downright rudeness – but, if you can overlook that, it’s a great shop for the fabric-obsessed. I pounced on this print as soon as I saw it, certain that it would be a great fit for the quilt. I’m very pleased with the results so far: the colours match pretty exactly with those in the quilt top, and I like the way that the small-scale floral print contrasts with the large-scale geometric blocks. I read in one quilting manual or another that the backing of a quilt offers you an opportunity to play around, and to add something a little bit unexpected to the quilt as a whole, and I think this backing fits the bill.
Here’s a wider view: