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Elma Embroidery Family Handmade Handmade for Elma Quilting Work in Progress

Red, white and sewing


With Pip now warmly clad for the winter it’s been time to turn my attention to the forthcoming season.  Not so much the one that begins with a C; I’m willing myself into a state of blissful denial about the relatively short amount of time I have in which to produce anything handmade for that one but first, and most importantly, we have Elma’s second birthday and I’m making her a quilt.

Technically I was making her a quilt for her last Christmas present. And then when that didn’t happen I was really truly going to make it in time for Easter. Well we all know how that plan turned out but I am determined to finish it before 12 December, and not just because Kitty got a quilt for her birthday and I feel that the years of rigorous sibling equality are upon us.

It’s a companion quilt to the one I made for Kitty when she was one (yes, I know, sibling equality!), made up of 25 squares of various Il Était Une Fois prints.

But where Kitty’s is all Les Manoues prints, Elma’s is a mixture of some of the Les Manoues prints that I didn’t use for Kitty, and some of the gorgeously irresistible Part à la Mer – including all the ones that come ready to be embroidered.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life


I’m going to claim that that’s made it all a little more time consuming, the bit that I’m clinging to as my excuse for why it’s taken quite so long to make what is really a very simple quilt.

I’ve been stitching a little bit here and there, but usually got diverted by a more pressing deadline or just the lure of a little knitting, but I’m being good now, and virtually monogamous.  Virtually because very little will stop me queuing up projects on Ravelry during the night feeds and then piling up little balls of yarn on the end of the sofa to match.  My stash organising is turning out to be both very helpful and extraordinarily distracting!

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

I’m making it sound like the embroidery is a chore to get through and truly nothing could be further than the truth, I just like having lots of things on the go at once.  I’m actually finding the simplicity of the sewing incredibly relaxing.

All I need is the hoop, the current block, my needle and the red thread (DMC 666 if anyone’s curious) and I’m good to go.  I don’t even have to draw the picture, just colour in the lines with backstitch and a few hundred french knots.  It means I can pick it up, sew a couple of stitches and abandon it again without loosing my place or having to consult a pattern, two of the key criteria for any sort of crafting for me while the little ones are around.

I’ve sewn sitting at the table while the girls finish up their lunch, listening to audiobooks with H in the evenings, and I did try to take it in the car recently, though I think that’s going to stay the domain of knitting that I don’t have to look at; potholes and precision being rather mutually exclusive.Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

And through the summer and autumn lighthouses, gulls, little boats, big boats, a tiny crab or two and the cutest little beach huts have all taken shape.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

This is the last of the embroidery squares.  One more beach hut and a border of running stitch and water droplets and I’m done.

I know my hands won’t be empty for long, not least because it would probably be a good thing if someone could sit down next to me without risking being overwhelmed with a wooly avalanche but I think I might have to unearth some of my embroidery projects from the tower of waiting that lives in the studio and tuck them on the end of the sofa.

Just not yet. Because I still have a beach hut and a border to sew and then and on to cutting filler squares, squaring up the prints and trying to find an order for each of the picture blocks that tells a story. And I’ve promised myself that on her birthday my littlest girl is going to unwrap a Mummy-made quilt.  Third time lucky – I hope.