Posts tagged ‘patchwork’

November 3, 2017

Radiotopia quilt

I recently finished a craft project that I started nearly two years ago.

In Radiotopia’s 2015 fundraiser, I offered a bespoke quilt ‘featuring the short epithet, monogram or letter of your choice’, in return for a $1234 donation. The quilt was bought by the generous Leigh. She requested the phrase ‘The news is good’, which is something she and her husband say to each other, when reporting on their inner state.

I sketched out a few different layouts and colour schemes and Leigh chose this one:

And a mere 21 months and c.2,500 patches later, it turned into this:

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October 6, 2015

I, Cushion

I cushion on sofa

First A, then P, now I – only 24 more to go before the entire cushion alphabet is complete! And at this rate, it’ll be done by the time I’m 70.

This one is now owned by my new baby friend Ilithyia. About 80% of my friends seem to be dropping babies this year, so I’m miles behind with the gifts – Ilithyia’s came first because her initial has no tricky curves or diagonals.

(BTW parents, tell me if I’m off the mark giving cushions as baby gifts: I figure they’re ok, as baby gifts go, because everyone seems to receive a million quilts and onesies and toys. The babies can puke on them without the stains being too obvious, and if the babies/the parents really hate them but don’t want to hurt my feelings, they can pretend the cushions were destroyed in a poster paint accident/house fire/misbegotten fondue-dunk.)

Here comes the science bit: the front is some 16 inches square, made of hand-sewn one-inch cotton patches; I machine-sewed the border and back. I was trying to restrain my usual motley palette to blue and green, but of course strayed a little.

A few details:

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May 10, 2014

Doing Something

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Here I am in today’s Do Something supplement of the Guardian!

Click here for more of my patchwork; and here’s how I began it.

March 17, 2014

entry-level patchwork

Here’s why I started doing patchwork.

It was almost exactly three years ago. My wedding was a month away, and I was going nuts – from the venue going bankrupt; from the fact that nobody had had a wedding-free conversation with me for nearly a year, aside from the brief respite when I served on a deadlocked jury; from the general hatred of wedding planning I’ve mentioned before.

Crafts are soothing. Crafts are mood-transforming. Crafts are a good way to avoid doing the tasks you’re supposed to be doing. Thus, having not done any patchwork before aside from one single small log cabin block, I began to sew a flurry of tablecloths, scaling up traditional designs for some, going off-piste for others.

Afterwards, I gave them all away to friends and family; but recently I had to borrow back a few for something. It was nice to see them again, although I can’t look at them without thinking about what I’d do differently now, which is why I give away all the things I make.

That said, I’m feeling reluctant to return this crabby tablecloth to my shellfish-loving sister-in-law with whom it now lives, because I WANT IT:

tablecloth crab

It’s a massively simplified variation on a Log Cabin: just a central crabby square surrounded by strips of other fabric.

A brick pattern is very easy for a beginner because it’s all straight lines and you don’t even have to match any corners. It’s even easier at this size: the whole thing is about six feet square, so the bricks are about 12×16″:

tablecloth bricks
tablecloth hangers detail

Next: some random stripes, trying to make pastel chintz peacefully coexist with bright African wax prints, old pyjamas and Ikea cotton:

tablecloth stripes

Zigzags! Made up of 10″-square two-colour pieces, which are a cinch to make: lay two squares face to face, sew around the edges, then cut diagonally across from corner to corner, thus begetting four two-coloured squares. This is much simpler than matching up triangles and trying to get the fabric grains to cooperate. I vividly remember watching Babette’s Feast and Infamous whilst making this. (Also, once you get the impression that the maroon and pink print is a bunch of dicks, you can’t unsee that.)

tablecloth zigzags

This one barely counts, as it’s just three teatowels and a vintage tablecloth joined with yellow and blue herringbone stitch. But I like it.

tea

tea stitch detail

There were around a dozen tablecloths in the end. Here they are in action on Wedding Eve. The amazing marquee was from Hector’s Haus.

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January 3, 2014

P is for…

…patchwork, and also Pepper, my three-month-old babyfriend. She is the daughter of my friend Amy, recipient of the 2012 A quilt; so, hellbent on filling their house with alphabet patchwork, I threw together this for Pepper’s Christmas present:

P cushion

(Modelled by the Veronica Mars blanket.)

It’s a 16-inch cushion formed of 1-inch handsewn squares, like last year’s 100% OK piece. Accidentally I kept slicing slivers off the edges of my card square template, so cut smaller and smaller patches that didn’t line up properly. Not that Pepper will care; she’s currently more interested in chewing her own fist than criticising sloppy patchwork.

Details:

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June 16, 2013

100% OK

In this post last year I proclaimed that I was too pathologically lazy ever too make patchwork out of small pieces.

So why did I just end up hand-making a quilt out of 462 one-inch squares?

Because I hate myself. It’s the only possible explanation.

But perhaps my self-hating streak knows me better than I know myself, because it turned out I LOVED working with the tiny patches, and I also love the result:

quilt wall

This is a present for my friends Racton and Eleanor. ‘100% OK’ is a stock phrase of Racton’s, a synonym for ‘whelmed’.

One of the delights of small patches I discovered is the opportunity to play around more with prints. In patchwork I’m always seeking a slight jarring effect between one patch and the next, and when there are 462 patches, that’s a whole lot of potential jarring for me to enjoy. There was room for far more variety, making fragments of prints appear out of context. Plus, if I found one patch boring, I knew another would be coming along within ten seconds.

Here are a few details:

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I mentioned before that whatever I’m making becomes forever associated in my mind with whatever I was watching whilst making it. In this case: Arrested Development series 4 and series 3-6 of the American Office.

100% OK quilt

statue hides

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October 30, 2012

chromatography quilt

In October, the darkness and greyness really sets in. A colour hit was necessary. Enter the Chromatography Quilt.

chromatography quilt

At junior school, when the science teacher was bored and we’d already set fire to all the available magnesium ribbon, we’d be told to make chromatographs. Did you ever make them? You cut two parallel slits to the centre of a disc of filter paper, dab a droplet of ink in the centre, then leave it with the stalk dipped into a beaker of water and wait for a spectrum to spread itself across the paper.

If you’re wondering why that was considered a treat, bear in mind we only had four TV channels at the time.

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I wanted to play around with traditional Log Cabin patterns, so made four blocks three feet square then sewed them together. It was pretty quick to complete; I can’t imagine making a quilt out of normal, small blocks, because I’m so pathologically lazy I would never finish it.

Not sure why, but I hardly ever keep the stuff I make, and duly this quilt is now living with my friend Jim. For once, I think I’ll miss having it around the place.


October 15, 2012

A is for…

…a three-months-late birthday present for my friend Amy.

A quilt

This quilt is about six feet square and is composed of four-inch strip patchwork. ‘Strip patchwork’ sounds like a racy game that crafters play. It isn’t.

The ‘A’ material is a sheet that used to cover our toy snooker table in the 1980s. The rest of the fabrics include pyjama legs, my husband’s shirt, tablecloths, African wax print and a New Look dress (ie a dress from New Look; I didn’t cut up a piece of Dior’s New Look). This little lobster – cotton print from Ikea – is my favourite:

I intended to stick to a limited palette of red and blue shades, but failed by the third patch. As the front was so busy, I opted for all solid colours for the back:
A quilt back

Well, almost all.

This is a variant on the traditional ‘Chinese Coins’ pattern, which I could pretend I chose because Amy spent her formative years in Hong Kong rather than because it’s easy and nice.

The main thing is, Amy seems happy. And warm!

December 26, 2011

patchwork dog

Alas I only had time to make a couple of Christmas presents this year. I’ll post about my favourite one tomorrow. This patchwork Scottie dog, which I gave to my sister-in-law Kate, I do like well enough; but because I used a pattern and didn’t invent it myself, it didn’t involve the three-act drama I enjoy so much during my improvised crafting endeavours: first act, optimistic experimentalism; second act, panic; third act, relief/horror at the end product.

Anyway, if you want to make your own patchwork dog, you can find the pattern here. Behold my effort:

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I’ve never done patchwork with small pieces before, but it was very quick to sew by hand. Plus it was pleasing to work in some of my sillier fabrics.

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I deviated from the pattern by sewing a border strip out of 30 squares instead of one fabric, which meant the dog could have a rather apt piece for its mouth:

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And, entirely by chance, it ended up having quite an apt little bit of pattern at its far end too.

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UPDATE: here’s another for the litter. A gift for a Philly girl, hence the map patch.

Different colour scheme for the flipside:

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