Friday, 10 February 2012

Moving On

We've already had one big hooray this week when I finished the "Time on the Prairie" quilt and now, here's another... HOORAY! I'm not sure what's more exciting really; finishing a quilt or starting one? So today was a starting day.

For some time now, in fact over a year, I have been stockpiling, hoarding fabric. This is not news, no? But I don't mean just any old fabric but fabric of the furry kind, to be precise, flannelette.

Now I'm aware flannelette might be a Marmite type thing. Personally, I adore it, have done since childhood and still do. You can't beat its cosy warmth and even more so when it has pretty flowery patterns. So, today, I amassed my flannelettes and wielded the rotary cutter with its fresh blade. Oh joy. If only Vorey hadn't made his latest bed on an abandoned cushion on my cutting table things would have been even easier.

My collection of flanelettes has come from various sources. I've bought some "pre-loved" sheets and pillowcases, I've bought some rather delectable vintage pieces from Ms Flower, I've picked tiny scraps up at rag markets (Ilminster springs to mind). I've received some new ones from my dear sister, I've bought the odd new FQ myself, many of which have looked startlingly vintage really, I've chopped up the bottoms of a Cath K children's pyjama set. I also had a chubby roll of pre-cut and pre-loved strips from Kim at Worn and Washed. I've mentioned Kim before as we always see her on her stand at the International Festival of Quilts, it's one of mine and my sister's favourites. I've had my bundle for a few years and now, it is finally having its moment with all its flannelly friends.

Kim collects second-hand fabrics and offers pre-cut bundles in a fabulous array of patterns and colours, tending towards shirtings/plaids, florals and flannels in soft colours. She produces quilts with them which are beautiful in their simplicity. It's a quilt like that I'm after.

And so the long process of ironing and cutting began late this morning. I enjoy really looking at each fabric, thinking how they will work together and discovering old markings on the selvedges. This fabric told me I wasn't about to set myself on fire if an errant spark flew out of the log fire, but golly did it smell really dire when it was ironed! Goodness knows what they treated it with but it will get a good washing once the quilt is finished.

Truly scrumptious, don't you agree?

Finally, the piles of fabric ready to sew began to emerge. I cut all the strips 5" wide, so they would be the same as Kim's, but then I cut randomly sized "bricks", anything from 3" to 9" long.

I attempted to lay my variety of strips out on a chair beside me to work but there were so many they spilled onto my table. Hmm, another area where cats and cushions seem to be eating into my workspace! This is patchworking of the most enjoyable kind; just randomly pick up a couple of bricks, sew them together, then sew the pairs together and so on, into long strings. In my case, I want them to be about 82" long. Ah, lovely stuff.

And it's been a productive day. There are no bricks left on the table and the chair looks like this...

Not bad as I didn't give a second thought to how many bricks to cut! The ironing board looks like this...

I've already bought a lovely vintage flannelette sheet to use as a backing from the Country Living Fair and I am tempted to hand quilt with big utility-style stitches in yummy sorbet shades of silky perle cotton.

But that will have to wait until next week!


  1. Oh Helen, you've collected some gorgeous designs there! I love the pretty florals and flannelette is so cozy!
    Have a lovely weekend
    Rachel x

  2. Oh My Goodness Hen I think this is quite possibly THE most gorgeous thing I have ever seen. I can't wait to see it finished. I am flanelettes biggest fan!! it reminds me of my childhood. xx you are so clever
    Sophie x

  3. What a beautiful fabric. It's looks like spring :)
    Have a great weekend.

  4. Goodness, this looks like it's going to be a stunner. I love all those colours and pretty prints together!
    Have a warm weekend

  5. oohh those fabrics just look warm and yummy already. What a nice idea to use that. Your cats look so snug bless them. You have a lovely sewing room. Have a fun with your quilt. dee x

  6. Those fabric's are beeautttiful, what pretty patterns. Your quilt is going to look so so lovely. I can't wait to see the finished result. :-)

    Ashley xxx

  7. Wonderful colours, wonderful fabric!
    Can't wait to see it appear day by day on your blog.
    I love, love LOVE my Cowboy Quilt. I was so precious at first, no cats allowed, but now it's a free for all on the bed! Mind you, try as they might, the kitcats get unceremoniously shunted off when I go to bed! It's mine, all mine!
    Have a great weekend!
    Z xx

  8. That is going to be one yummy quilt. I love those same kind of fabrics. Looking forward to seeing the finished quilt.

  9. How could anyone NOT like flannelette? This is going to be one gorgeous snuggly piece of heaven! Can't wait to see it!

  10. Hi Hen, that is going to be a really lovely quilt. I'm a flannelette fan too, perfect this time of year.
    Thank you for taking us through the preparations with you, look forward to seeing it completed.
    So lovely to see yours cats on their cushions, what a lovely crafting environment.
    Sadly the quilting workshop I hoped to go to tomorrow as been cancelled, I was the only person to apply!
    Have a lovely weekend.
    Carol xx

  11. I really love the look of this, I think it is going to be so pretty as well as cosy. Can't wait to see it finished.
    Ann x

  12. Really pretty - and it will be so cosy too! I love flannelette - sheets and pyjama bottoms - and if I remember rightly it was called winceyette once upon a time when I was small?

    Pomona x

  13. So pretty! You have some very beautiful fabrics in very vintage looking designs! I love flanelette, so warm for my little ones PJs. Looking forward to seeing the finished quilt x

  14. Love flannelette- had a favourite pillowcase when I was young in lovely candy stripes.Wore it out. Hand stitch with perle threads- oh yes indeedy, so nice to work with soft fabrics- I find big Shashiko needles work really well for stitching quilts with perle.

  15. It looks like you're in your element! I look forward to seeing your next post. I just did a post about a wool spinning workshop I attended day before yesterday in an old school in the countryside of Oregon. I spun up some alpaca mixed with silk. It's dyed berry colors. ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

  16. Lovely & nice to see your furry friends :) x

  17. All my bed sheets as a child were flannelette. I didn't appreciate them at the time because all my friends had cotton sheets - funny how you appreciate things long after they are gone!
    Loving this quilt!
    The cats sleep with you while you are working because they love your company!
    Julie xxxxxxx

  18. I love flannelette too! Have loads of the stuff and just adore its softness & warmth. I tend to use it for backing my quilts and think it's just perfect for dolly quilts! Love your colours & patterns - that was quite a collection going on there. Big fan of bricks too - so versatile - well done, can't wait to see it finished!

  19. wauw its so....... what can i say , this is the sky off home sweet home , i enjoy your blog and pictures of the quiltmaking anfd i idore your lovely sweet cats, , love marion , holland

  20. I love flanelette especially in the form of PJ's and sheets. It is affectionately known as wincy-pea-et as this is what my youngest used to ask for as in 'can I wear my wincy-pea-et pj's tonight mummy' so cute. I am also a fan of washed and worn after seeing the rolls/bundles in Liberty. A participant at Hope and Elvis brought a roll in to make a quilt from it was gorgeous. Happy quilting.

  21. Hello Hen, This is going to be one very special quilt. I've never stopped wearing flanelette nighties and will save anything worthwhile for you in future! Looking forward to seeing the finished article. Mary xx

  22. Really love flanelette - takes me straight back to childhood. That is going to be one very cuddly quilt - perhaps I ought to take courage and cut into my precious flanelette hoard!

  23. i love flannelette...we always had these sheets at home in the winter....mmmm might be tempted to start collecting.

  24. Such beautiful fabric!!... I am in awe of your patchwork quilts and makings... you are so talented and obviously very passionate about your craft... it is a pleasure to read your blog :)

    Louise xx

  25. Beautiful fabric colours, your quilt is going to look beautiful when its done ... :0)

  26. What a delightful and cute blog! I found you through Serendipity Patch. Love your pictures and projects.

  27. What a gorgeous collection of fabrics. This will make such a beautiful snuggly quilt. Your pink cutting mat is Very Cute too, I've only ever seen drab green ones?!

  28. Wait till next week, I was on the edge of my chair to see the finished top & I have to wait??? Lol it's worse than an Aussie soap!!! I love flannels & I envy your gorgeous stash. I also collected flannels but unfortunately the majority of them are BRIGHTS!!! & although I loved them at the time, my taste has settled to soft & pretty. Mind you, you have reminded me I started a hex flannel quilt many moons ago in soft greens/mauves & purples. When the weather cools down I'll dig it out.

  29. Love the idea of flannelette, just reminds me of being home with mum and dad as a child. Isn't it strange how emotive a simple piece of material can be, one of your cut pieces I spotted was almost identical to a sheet I remember on my nanna's bed ...I hadn't thought of that for many years .... what lovely memories .. that's why every scrap of fabric in my stash is precious - each one has a memory.
    Can't wait for it to be finished,
    hope you enjoy making it - thanks for sharing.
    Fleur xx

  30. Dear Hen,
    I think my comments on Saturday evening all went AWOL :o(

    This is going to be a stunner!
    How absolutely scrumptious can you get? !!
    Thankyou so much for showing us this 'how it's done' post. You are a total utter inspiration my dear, and I can't wait for the next part...

    OOooo, all those flannelettes in one place!! :D
    So, so pretty.

    As well as your quilts, I also love your little round wire cotton holder on your desk, and your gorgeous Pfaff sewing buddy!! Look at all that under arm space to fit those quilts :) :)

    Have a great week Hen, I hope it's warmed up in London now..We're due there tomorrow for long awaited hospital results..yikes!

    Happy day my dear,
    Love Donna xx

  31. Lovely to see Kim's method of quilts, your fabrics look perfect for one, so pretty. Kim runs courses only about 10 miles away from me, at Olney, Buckinghamshire. A friend of mine is treating herself, and going to one in April, and I am booking one for September!! I can't wait : )
    Happy quilting,

    Sharon x


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