Monday, 27 December 2010

What to Give?

... to the people who have everything? Namely my parents!

I was in a quandry, as usual, as to what to get them for Christmas and only decided a few weeks before Christmas that the obvious answer was of course, a quilt! I scoured the web for some fabric suitable for my parents' home and decided on the Fresh Cottons collection by Moda. Of course, the snow meant that my parcel took an age to arrive, it didn't land at HenHouse central until about the 13 December, the exact same day as the civil war fabric from America which I had also been waiting on to complete a Christmas gift. Aaarrgghh!!!

I had seen a quilt design way back on a blog somewhere (apologies that I have no idea where) and mentally kept an image of it in my head. It seemed simple enough to recreate: nine patch blocks combined with heart applique blocks on a white background. I bought a layer cake of the Fresh Cottons fabric (this is a pack of 40 10" squares) which is a good and easy way to get a co-ordinated palette of fabrics. It's not the way I usually work, piecing miscellaneous fabrics together, but it was very refreshing to have the colour and design leg work done for me, especially at such a late stage! And so began a very busy week. Up working on the quilt at 7am, sometimes hand quilting at 11pm at night!

Thank you, Mr HenHouse for your very-long-quilt-holding-arms!

I drew out the design on paper, I needed 24 of each type of block to reach the desired size. The quilt can be a throw on the sofa (my intention I suppose) but I made it large enough to go across the foot of a double bed if desired. I was aware I needed to be careful in my cutting to get the most out of the limited fabric. So I first cut out 24 hearts using a handmade cardboard template using the more vibrant coloured and patterned fabrics (as these were to be appliqued onto a white cotton background). I was then able to cut the remaining 10" squares into 3" strips. I strip pieced these and cross-cut them for the nine-patch blocks. I also cut out small 3" squares from the fabric left after the hearts had been cut and laboriously pieced these individually too until I had the correct number of nine-patch blocks. Phew!

I used spray baste to temporarily position the hearts on the white background squares. I then used the blanket stitch on my machine to secure them, using co-ordinated thread. Once the quilt "sandwich" was together, I hand quilted round each one with a simple running stitch in different shades of Perle cotton.

I used for the first time, the deluxe weight of my favourite Dream Cotton batting. This has a thick loft and it did feel very pleasingly snuggly! It did make the quilting a bit heavy going due to the weight but as this was only simple "in the ditch" quilting, it was no big deal once the machine was adjusted to the correct tension.

Once all that was done, my quandry was what to use to bind the quilt. I hadn't bought any yardage of the co-ordinating fabric and there was nothing in my stash in a large enough piece as these were not really my usual colours (I usually find I need about half a metre to bind a quilt, depending on the size, of course). I decided therefore to make a scrappy binding. This was the first time I had done this and I absolutely loved the result! I used any tiny little bits of fabric I had left from the layer cake and cut them all to a uniform 2.5" wide. I added in two dotty fabrics in suitable colours from my stash and simply end-pieced all the strips together before making double-fold binding in the usual way. I think it suits the homely, folky feel of this quilt and wasn't actually that time consuming.

I backed the quilt with a 108" wide backing fabric which I did still cut in half and piece to save on wastage. I was really pleased with this. It was a gorgeous fabric that had a really soft feel to it. A vintage embroidered patch was the finishing touch.

My mum and dad seemed to be very pleased with it. Phew!


  1. AH! What a wonderful quilt! I'm delighted!

  2. Another pretty quilt. It is beautiful
    Julie xxxxxxx

  3. Phew what a lot of hard work! and at such a late stage! you need to sit in a jacuzzi with a glass of wine tee hee! (did you see my post?) jennyx

  4. Ah Hen that is so pretty :) I hope you had a wonderful Christmas :)

    All things nice...

  5. I'm sure they were more than pleased! I can imagine they were delighted.

    Well done :-)

  6. That really is a lovely quilt - I bet they were thrilled. You work so hard! Abby x

  7. I love seeing your quilts, I bet your parents were so pleased.

  8. wonderful quilt what batting did you use it looks very cosy

  9. It's gorgeous Hen - what a thoughtful gift!


  10. I bet your parents weren't just very pleased with the quilt, I imagine they were absolutely delighted and very proud of their talented daughter.
    It is so beautiful, the hearts such an appropriate representation of the love you so clearly put into it.
    A lovely quilt journey which was a real pleasure to read (then again so are all your blog posts).
    Have you ever run a quilt making course? I tnink it would be very popular!
    Carol xx

  11. It looks wonderful Hen. gorgeous and such a thoughtful gift. Well done.

  12. what an absolute beautiful piece of work..!!
    i think i would have cried if i had been given that as a present .. cried with joy i mean not sadness!!
    im sure your mum and dad love it and even more so with the effort and love and time that you put into it..
    well done!!!


  13. Sooo pretty! I love the hearts!!

  14. I love looking at your blog. Thanks. I get lost in all the pretty things

  15. I really appreciate the work you do and how beautiful your quilts look, and seeing the pics of this quilt I absoloutely fell in love with the binding- it just finishes it off perfectly.

    Hoping that you had a truly great Christmas, and wishing you everything you wish yourself for the new year.
    Thanks for making such a lovely blog to come over and visit

  16. A really lovely quilt, I'm sure your parents were thrilled.

  17. What a beautiful quilt Hen ~ such an amazing gift x

  18. If my daughter had made me a quilt like that I would be over the moon.I think it is gorgeous and you did it did it so quickly.You are so talented.

  19. Wow! What a beautiful quilt. I'm sure that they were thrilled with it. All the best for 2011.
    Love Lesley XX

  20. I bet your parents were just thrilled to bits, when they got this for Christmass. They would know how much work there is involved in making a quilt and would be so happy that you have made such a beauty just for them. Not to mention being bowled over by your talent and very very proud. It's really lovely and fascinating reading about all the choices involved and the putting together of the quilt. If it was anyone else I would say that I couldn't quite believe that you could make so many great quilts in so short a time. (Maybe those early morning starts and late nights are a clue to how industrious you are too - It isn't the fairies helping you as I was beginning to think!) Your quilts are all uniquely beautiful, how lucky are some people this Christmas?

  21. p.s. from Siobhan!

  22. Your quilt is absolutely are a very talented lady!

    Naomi x

  23. Another lovely quilt. I believe I saw this design on Lace Hearts' blog a long time ago, very pretty indeed!

  24. What an absolutley beautiful quilt, lucky Mum and Dad!!

    It's been an age since I visited your blog, but I wanted to do something 'crafty' the other day and headed straight here for inspiration! Thanks for creating not only beautiful objects, but a beautiful blog too!

    Happy 2011!

  25. ahh so pleased I have just discovered your blog, just love it and your from London too - perfect! :)

  26. Another beautiful quilt, Hen, I bet your parents were overjoyed to receive it.
    Hope you had a wonderful christmas, and heres wishing you a Happy and Healthy New Year.
    Love from Linda O xx

  27. I simply love it. I am a big fan of this fabric line! I am now on my 3rd quilt from this designer. I am amazed to how fast you cranked this out. I am not at all that fast........I look forward to comming back for a visit. HUGS MARY

  28. That is one lovely quilt! Amazing that you could make something like that in such a limited time.


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