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Elma Embroidery Family Finished Kitty Quilting Sewing

Silk wrapped


It’s raining again.

That glorious hot windy sunshine of the weekend has whistled through on its way to warmer climes, to places where they can’t truly appreciate the bliss of a peerless summer’s day.  Places where they know where to find the suncream without a mad scramble in the bottom of the nappy bag for the bottle you impulse bought after a shard of light pierced the cloud in April, never to be seen again.  Places where they (shock horror) hide from the heat.

But here in our very green little England, we have water pouring from the skies once again, and the national equilibrium of chilly and damp has been restored.  All is well with the world again.

And in our little house we’re tucked up cozy and warm, not least because I’ve got a newly finished quilt.
It’s taken its time to get from the pieced top that I finished while waiting for Elma, to the quilt that I can wrap around my bonny baby, but I’m so glad I persevered.

I pieced the backing and basted it all together on a very chilly January night with a tiny sleeping baby tucked up in her chair next to me, and set about a little quilting and binding.  Silk frays if you so much as think about it; any time I moved it even from one side of the studio to the other, a parade of shimmering threads danced in our wake so it wasn’t going to sit around and play nicely if I left any raw edges for any length of time.  I sewed the binding first and then in odd moments, in evenings and nap times, and lazy Sunday afternoons I’d pick it up and sew a little line of running stitch just along side each seam.

The backing is cotton, Cosmos by Dan Bennett in Phenomenon, a wonderfully wild pattern that must have been designed with quilt backings in mind.  What you can see is two lengths sewn together in mirror image down that central turquoise border; it means that some of those flowers are a bit upside down, but it looks more natural than the two stuck side by side.  Incidentally, the backing is why the very sharp eyed among you might notice that the quilt has shrunk.  It was 8×10 and is now 8×9; I just couldn’t justify the extra backing and wadding that I’d need, so I sliced off a row and some day a really lucky dolly is going to get a great quilt.
And for those who like to know these things, the binding is a Kaffe Fasset spot (GP70).  For the quilting I used some imitation silk thread picked up years ago at a Knitting & Stitching Show, and as much beeswax thread tamer as I could get on it to help it slide through the silk without having to stop and detangle every 30 seconds.  For the record, cotton embroidery thread would have been much easier.

I’m not sure I’m entirely converted to the merits of hand quilting, I’ve got a lot of lumps and bumps that might ordinarily have been smoothed out by the machine, but for this quilt it adds some texture and irregularity to lift what is otherwise lots of really big squares, and I love the memories that are sewn into those lines; memories of our first weeks as a family of four, and the start of Elma’s introduction to my obsessive need to make things.

But I’ve got no doubts about the finished quilt, and it seems the family rather agree, putting it to the test in their own individual ways…


… a backdrop to gorgeous smiles (although I swear she’s plotting something in the first one – possibly world domination)…



… a dance floor for ‘circles’ and a bed for sleep dancers …


… and a cape.  Of course!