Monday, 21 December 2009


Here we are again, another week starts but a very special week, isn't it? The Munchkin is going to burst with barely repressed excitement before long! After a hectic weekend with guests, I feel almost at a lost end today (it won't last for long!) Much mince pie making has taken place, a few are stashed in the freezer as Delia suggested, so hopefully that's the last of those I'll be making for this year though at the rate the Munchkin gets through them, who knows?!

I must get on and cover the Christmas cake, I nearly forgot about that one. Well, you may recall that a few weeks ago, I started on my first ever patchwork quilt. I've been getting on with that in between the cooking, cleaning and present shopping, in fact I really had to get on with it as it was all over the guest bed so needed to be out of the way for our weekend guests. Here it is, the top finally all pieced together last week.

I had a few wobbles with the pattern of the squares which I had initially deliberated over for hours. I'd carefully take a row through into my den and stitch pairs of squares together, then pairs of pairs and so on until I had finished each row, but somehow, I'd inevitably forget which was the top and which the bottom so the pattern is not quite as perfect as I would have liked but I have decided this gives it "character" (that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it!) With some trepidation, I pushed all the furniture into the corner of the room so that I could lay out my backing (simple but cosy white flannel) which I then taped to the floorboards to stop it moving. Next, I laid the batting on top (more cosy cotton) and finally, the patchworked quilt top. I took a huge pack of curved safety pins and started pinning at regular intervals, from the centre out towards the corners as Kaffe directed me to. Really wished I had some knee pads at that moment! I then began quilting on the machine, just a simple stitch in the ditch. It actually went a lot better than I thought. The pins kept the quilt "sandwich" together very well and I just rolled up each side to keep things tidy and fit it under the machine. There was however, another problem of which Kaffe had failed to warn me ...

Ummm, mummy, this looks ever so cosy! That furry backing and that thick woolly bit in the middle, just so snuggly! Thank you for making this for me.

I can even rest my tired furry head on the edge of your quilting table!

Aaaarrrggghhhh! In an almost comedic moment, Charlie-Boy decided he was truly in lurrrrve with the quilt. It was snowing outside and he clearly thought he'd found himself the perfect spot to hibernate. He's quite a hefty chap, our Charles, and despite moving him several times in the end (I had already walked away to do something else as I was too soft to move him for the first half an hour), he kept returning.

Finally, (I must have bribed Charlie with food, the only thing he loves as much as sleeping), I managed to finish the stitching in the ditch. I laid the quilt out, took out all the pins and stitched all around the edge to secure the sandwich as directed. I then trimmed the backing and batting level with the quilt top and evened up the edges of that too. I then spent a morning with the trusty rotary cutter and joined strips for the binding, a pretty floral retro cotton fabric (all my supplies except the fabrics for the quilt top came from the reliable but very-slow-to-deliver Cotton Patch).

And so that evening, I was eager to get on with hand stitching the binding on the reverse of the quilt. Or maybe not?

It's mine!

And my friends, the quilt is still in that unfinished state, except it has a lot of ginger fur on it!

More sewing then, you might remember a few posts ago, I tantalised you with a peak at some Christmas gifts I was making...

Now that they have found a new home with my lovely pal Vanessa, I can show them to you. Here are a couple of stockings I made for Vanessa and her husband. The main fabric is dyed vintage woollen blankets, the basic stocking pattern drawn out on a piece of freezer paper.

Each stocking has a cuff made from lovely patchworked vintage fabrics (I should think Donna recognises most of those!), trimmed with a vintage ribbon and there's a spotty hanging loop for wherever Vanessa and Hugo decide to put their stockings.

I tried to make Hugo's not quite so girly but my fabric collection is rather floral and pink by nature!

I then spent a fair while very enjoyably making some gift tags for the stockings and hand embroidered them with the Perle cottons I bought from the Bridport Christmas Fair. I loved working with those (for the first time), much easier than embroidery threads which tend to split, and they have such a lustrous quality to them.

Do you see that pretty button in the top right hand corner of Vanessa's tag? That is called a Dorset button, I bought a few of them from the WI craft stall in Bridport. They must have taken one clever person quite some time to make. The other buttons came from my vintage stash. I always enjoy using my precious vintage trimmings on things for Vanessa as I know she will appreciate them.

And now they have happily found a new home hundreds of miles away and will hopefully remind Vanessa of our friendship for Christmases to come.

They did look rather nice in the den though!


  1. Love the quilt and those stockings are the nicest thing I have seen.
    I'm making mince pie today (and stashing some in the freezer as per Delia. I have 3 helpers today so it's slow progress.
    Have fun this Christmas.
    Love to you all,
    Rachael XX

  2. Wow how clever and fast for a first quilt! It looks lovely so I can't wait for the final reveal.

  3. Yummy mince pies!!! Love them. WOW! You got that quilt rolled up and under the arm of your sewing machine and done. Wanna come over and quilt all my UFO's? Cute wool stockings! And your Charlie is just adorable. (I have a special place in my heart for yellow kitties.)

  4. What a wonderful quilt, and I love those stockings. You have given me a lovely idea with the labels. Have you ever been on this site I really recommend this site, I buy things regularly from them. Once I emailed a picture of a piece of material that I was short of before I went to work they emailed me back to say they had one piece left and saved it for me till I was able to phone them with my credit card details that afternoon.

  5. Just taking a break from the see that you have been in yours, working hard!
    Hope you and your family have a wonderful time,Hen!

  6. Congratulations on the first quilt, it looks lovely! Yes, our furry friends do covet them, it's a gift LOL! I used to pin my quilts with safety pins, then I discovered 505 fabric adhesive spray and I'm a complete convert. When you make your next quilt (and there will be a next, it's an addictive hobby!), I'd be more than happy to give you some tips on using the spray adhesive. I use it for everything now :o).

  7. Today must be baking for christmas day - we're making mincepies and christmas biscuits here.

    Kitchen looks like its been snowing in there!!

    Love your quilt :)

    Thinking of starting a 5th one in the new year - see it is addictive :)

  8. I can see what your gorgous kitty has on his christmas wish list this year I am not surprised that quilt is looking fabulous and I adore the stockings you made, the vintage fabric patchwork is great and I LOVE those tags I may have to make some myself .
    I am planning on making another batch of mince pies today the first lot dissapeard in minutes its nice to think that all over the country there is mass mince pie baking.

  9. Cats always love to sit on something new and clean don't they!
    He was just showing his appreciation for your amazing handiwork.You have such a talent, and those stockings!!...Well... They would cost a fortune to buy in Libertys or Harrods.I wish I had the patience to make a quilt like yours.I've started knitting a blanket of squares,but I think it'll be a cushion now!

  10. That Charlie boy knows a good thing when he see's it!
    Well done, I feel very lazy and have not made anything for ages!
    Merry Christmas!

  11. I love the beautiful quilts and pretty stockings! Enjoy the holidays!

  12. My goodness, I can't believe you're making a beautiful quilt in the midst of all the Christmas rush! What an industrious girl you are. And the stockings are so adorable. Well done!

  13. Your first? Congrats; it is a beauty! Kittens on quilts. A common problem with no common solution. A hard-hearted woman would just lock the kitty away from the sewing room. I can't do that! I would lose my favorite sewing companion. I have found my Kitten loves a piece of folded plaid wool that I will now leave on my sewing table forever. Try giving her a mini quilt of her own. Karmen

  14. I can't believe how quickly your put your first quilt together... and its amazing!! I love your stockings too, your friend is going to love them - I know I would. Happy Christmas. x

  15. Hi
    Thank you for showing us your lovely quilt and the super stockings. Also for the pics of your decorations around your lovely home.
    I have 2 cats and they do similar things !
    I have really enjoyed your posts the last few months, this time last year I didn't even know what a blog was , now I am addicted and I love it, maybe in the new year I might get around to getting my own.
    Thank you for sharing your crafty life with everyone and I hope you have a very happy Christmas and new year
    Best wishes
    Sue Fry

  16. My goodness you have been busy! You were very kind to put so much effort into the quilt for your cats!!! I bet Vanessa and Hugo were thrilled with their Christmas stockings and will treasure them. I promised myself I would make stockings this year but alas, they are still on the 'to do' list! x

  17. The quilt is absolutely beautiful! I ♥ all the soft colors you have put together. The stockings are the nicest I have seen in sure that Vanessa & Hugo will cherish them.

  18. Hello Hen, I love the kitty pictures, he look so cosy on there, maybe he wants one for himself!

    New year job for me, to make a quilt, I hope to have the time then!

  19. Hi Hen

    You must be really pleased with the patchwork quilt, it must have taken of lot time to make! It is a beautiful quilt.
    Who can blame Charlie Boy for having such good taste!

    It was nice seeing the Christmas Delia after such a long absence. I remember seeing her first one 20 years ago, that Christmas I made one my best Christmas meals ever, all from her recipes. Turkey, red cabbage & apple, potatoes and other veg, cinammon ice cream and rich chocolate torte.

    Have a wonderul time, I wish you all a very merry Christmas!

    Thank you for your good wishes.

    Warm wishes
    Isabelle x

  20. Hen where do you find the time!! Making mince pies and patchwork quilts you're an inspiration!

    Victoria xx

  21. Oodles of loveliness as usual. Charlie-Boy has such good taste and obviously great stealth and speed!

  22. What a lovely quilt -- I really like your idea of taping the backing to the floor and knee pads are a very good idea. I really had to laugh at the cat, though. I have a little cat named Charlie who decided he had to help me with a quilt I was working on yesterday for my cousin's little boy. Every single time I spread it out on the bed he had to test it so I've decided to include a little note that says the approval rating on the quilt is 100% -- tested by Charlie....

  23. Wow you are always on the go!!!! What a great quilt, I think it looks pretty perfect!!!
    Love the stockings, lucky Vanessa and Hugo!!!

  24. Hi there! I love your blog....we have so much in common...evena ginger moggie! I'm busy like you making a quilt for our bed and have left it out to do little bits at a time....your quilt looks gorgeous, some great fabrics there.
    Feel free to pop in and say hello if you have five mins
    Chistmas hugs for now
    Karen x x x

  25. Oooh those stockings get me whenever I see them! They are so beautiful; I love the colours - so rich and vibrant as well as the cosy softness of the fabric. I loved every last thing you sent to Vanessa - lucky lucky people both of you! One of my favourite things is the incredibly neat embroidered names written with your new threads - they seem to have a lovely sheen to them. I am amazed by the speed with which your quilt has come together - the idea of rolling up something that big and putting it in my machine terrifies me. It really is stunning Hen - the colours and fabric designs are very good together; you are going to have an exquisite heirloom to be so proud of. Haven't cats got incredible timing? - they are onto the sewing/woolly stuff in a millisecond. I am like you regarding this - I cajole, I plead, I ask very nicely but ultimately if they insist on plonking themself on my stuff I have never the heart to turf them off. Isn't Charlie a handsome boy though - who could posibly deny him his wants? Just time to mention how much I do like that cushion behind Charlie-Boy (he sets it off so well too) - that ballerina fabric is rather nice I feel. Mince pies? Well I'm a huge fan and have just been chomping on one - what would Christmas be without them?

  26. I am beyond, BEYOND impressed with the stockings, they are beautifully made & designed...


  27. Whichever vitamins you are taking Hen.. I would like some please. You always manage to achieve so much and make it look so inviting.. especially your beautiful festive home.
    I liked your dietary supplement for your fox friends, and followed suit yesterday by making our local foxy friend some honey sandwiches.. I just hope he finds them amongst the snow.
    Have a wonderful, cosy and very happy Christmas.
    Michele x

  28. Beautiful quilt. I have made many quilts, but my favourite is the random patchwork one that I made from lots of different fabrics.

  29. Your quilt is absolutely gorgeous, and you're going to enjoy that for many years to come. As well as Charlie-Boy, I'd say! My pets have always done the same thing when I'm working on a quilt. The dogs always burrowed underneath while I sat and hand-quilted in my chair. I love the sidebar pic of that cat of yours!

  30. Charlie really does love that quilt & who can blame him!!!
    Lovely stockings too, you've been very busy.
    Merry Christmas :) x

  31. Well what can I say about those stockings? I spotted them on Vanessa's blog and of course I know each and every piece of fabric that you bought from me! What a beautiful gift to make for your friend, something they will cherish for many years to come. What a lovely lady you are.

    I hope you, Mr HH and the gorgeous Munchkin have a happy Christmas and a wonderful New Year xxx

  32. Hi Hen,

    I really don't know where you find the time to be a mum, do all that cooking, piece together fabulous makes (which put my stitching to shame!) and take all those beautiful pictures!

    I just stopped by to say thank you for your lovely comments on my blog this year. I love stopping by to see what you have been up to, your projects are always an inspiration!

    Wishing you and yours a fabulous Christmas & New Year!

    Rose XXX

  33. The quilt looks fantastic Hen and as a first attempt, brilliant! Well done. Hope you and your family have a happy and safe Christmas and New Year, Kathryn. XX

  34. What a beautiful quilt - and the stockings you have made for gifts are beautiful too! Of course, none of this wonderful work would have been possible without the expert guidance of Charlie Boy!! What a star!

    Willow xx

  35. Wishing you and the Henhouse family a fabulous Chrismtas and a very happy New Year!!!
    Special wishes to the Munchkin!

  36. Have a very happy Christmas!

    Pomona x

  37. Lovely quilt and lovely stockings, I expected to see Charlie sitting in one of them! Have a lovely Christmas, Jane xx

  38. hope you have a very merry christmas!
    fliss xx

  39. Have a wonderful Christmas Hen xxxx

  40. LOVE the stockings - just that you got our names wrong!
    Where did the Poppy Treffry catalogue you gave to Vanessa come from? Could I get one too?


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