Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Monkey Business

I'm in the throes of a new love affair, readers.

There he was, sitting up high on a shelf in Girls' Own Store in Bridport on Saturday, with his cheeky little chimp smile, just begging me to bring him home to the cosy comforts of the HenHouse.

Meet Edward Priestnal, so named as this is my grandfather's name and monkey, with his furry face, reminds me of my dear grandad. For every Christmas for as long as I can remember , Grandad has sported a very fine bushy white beard.

It just so happened that a week or so before monkey was discovered, I also came across a most marvellous book. I have many many books and many quilt books. Lots of them contain patterns, which I find inspirational but rarely follow to the tee, but I also have books which just have photos of quilts and these are the ones I inevitably take to bed with me each night for a good pleasurable read.

I found this book after a tip-off on Amy's lovely blog and I ordered it and waited patiently for it to arrive on these shores from America. Very cheap it was too and it arrived very quickly. I'm not interested in what I suppose is the book's primary aim, a guide to valuing quilts, I'm interested purely in drooling over the many photos of divine vintage quilts of all types. But crikey, I pretty much either want to own or make them all!

I was particularly loving the colours and naive simplicity of this doll quilt, a simple one-patch of cotton fabrics circa 1945, without binding but the edges simply turned in on themselves ("knife-edge binding") and finished with a red blanket stitch.

I also was very much drawn to the setting of this quilt at the top of the page. It's again a simple one-patch but with the squares set in diagonal rows, circa 1940.

Well, there was only one thing to do. I mean, it's been very cold recently, and how could I welcome Edward Piestnal to the HenHouse without gifting him his very own quilt?

I used a mixture of modern and vintage fabrics and rather than having identical sets of matching squares in each diagonal row, I switched in a few slightly different fabrics for a bit of a scrappy make do and mend look.

I decided to tie the quilt rather than hand quilting it, to stay with the child-like theme. I used a white wool yarn. I put a very thin batting in the middle and went with that knife-edge binding with red blanket stitching. Finally, I (gasp) immersed the finished quilt in a tea bath (yes, a sink full of tea of the drinking variety) to give it a bit of an aged look. Of course, it then dried a little crinkly.

So there sits a very happy monkey in his vintage crib, found thriftily by my sister a good while ago now and waiting for just such a moment.

I made him a pillow and finally, a pillowcase from vintage feedsack.

I've loved every minute of this indulgent project, it has to be said!

But EP was a little lonely so some vintage friends hopped in to join him!


  1. What an adorable monkey, I can see why you had to buy him and give him a good home. He looks pretty comfy with his friends in the crib! Love the quilt you made as well..such a pretty combination of fabrics..

  2. So lovely. I just adore old toys like that! Hope you're having a good half term.

  3. Great story and pictures. But. . . argh -- I have a bunny that looks very much like your bunny except a bit more worn. Um, it's very difficult to realize one's own toys are now VINTAGE! LOL

  4. Oh my...the first picture brought back some childhood memories. I was an avid Enid Blyton reader, and loved Mr. Meddle, Bimbo and Topsy amongst others. Your little monkey friend looks very much at home in his nice of him to share ;)

  5. Beautiful old monkey and beautiful old / new quilt! Love the last photo all buddies together!

  6. Hello Edward Priestnal hope you have settled well with Hen and wonderful family.
    I love your cosy quilt - you all look cosy and warm on this chilly day under that quilt.
    Julie xxxxxxx

  7. I absolutely LOVE that quilt, love that you were inspired by the same pages as I (I'm dying to make one of those diagonal quilts) and your execution is perfect. I also love the idea of a tea bath. The sweetest quilt! I'm inspired again!
    xo amy

  8. What an adorable quilt. I love the blanket stitching round the edge. They all look very cosy in the crib. xx

  9. What fun to see your quilt and the inspiration. Isn't that book a good resource? I'd like to mention that several of my quilts appear in this book. It is fun to share them and document them in print at the same time.
    Maribeth Schmit
    NQA Certifed Quilt Judge

  10. That Rabbit reminds me of one I had that fell apart, I cuddled it so much.I still remember the day he had to go, kapok spilling from all over, despite being patched and mended.He had a lovely red tail coat,green waistcoat and stripy trousers.I remember him as very tall, but he was probably only about a foot high.His replacement, a wool fleece cat, suffered a similar death by cuddling and ended up almost completely bald.
    Great crib and contents!

  11. I love the quilt and the little cradle, all dressed up with its pillowcase and bedding, is adorable.

    Now I'm going to check out the quilts listed on your sidebar!

  12. I absolutely adore your new man and his bed is just to.die.for!!!!!

  13. I think Edward's smile got a little bigger after you set him in his little bed with his new quilt. You have made me decide to make one just like it.

  14. That's one lucky monkey!! Love the edging on the quilt, it looks fabulous.

  15. oh what fun Hen!! EP looks so cosy under his new 'olde' quilt which he's sharing with his friends LOL!!
    I've got a soft spot for vintage toys too and i adore vintage quilts. I love your darling little quilt..30/40s fabrics are just so much fun! i've never thought of tea dying my doll quilts, what a great idea :)) cheers, Marian

  16. Awwwww... what a neat new friend you have! Love the crib for him too. I have a fun antique cradle too, it's oak and the ends are bent like a bentwood chair. I have kept toys in it too. I put a pillow in for the mattress and found a neat little quilt that is just the right size for it. It's fun not to grow up! ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

  17. Your little monkey is adorable; I can see why you didn't want to leave him behind!

  18. What a wonderful find and oh my you know I have a weakness for pandas!

  19. oh my, this quilt and this monkey are so lovely :o)
    And the quilt looks so *old* Hen! I adore it! My youngest daughter loves it too!! She thinks the pattern is brilliant!
    I love the Golly on the little patch as well (Am I allowed to say that?) Sorry if I'm not!

    You've inspired me to make a little quilt Hen!
    The first one I'm going to make is going to be a little picture quilt for my youngest daughter, and it's all down to you and your wonderful blog! Thankyou Hen :o)

    I made a big quilt last year, but have never thought about little quilts until now.

    I wondered if you would kindly tell me what wadding you use? Is it a 100% cotton one? I used a thickish poly wadding on my big quilt last year, but thought a thinner one would be better for little quilts, and just wondered if you'd mind if I asked you?

    Take care Hen, I hope you've got round to finishing your beautiful flannelette quilt during this half term!
    Take care,
    Love Donna xx

  20. I love the old toys, your panda looks just like one I had.
    Beautiful quilt, brave to 'tea' it but it really worked!
    I picked up this ( patchwork and quilting book in Aldi today for only £2.99! Some nice designs and full size patterns.
    Carol xx

  21. Lovely post Hen. I would have wanted to bring him home too as he's a gorgeous monkey. The quilt looks perfect for cosy bedtimes.


  22. That quilt is beautiful Hen & I love the monkey :) x

  23. what a gorgeous little doll quilt, I'm making my first mini quilt at the moment too - it's so fun! Love the little crib too, super sweet. Jessie, xo


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