The quilt of calm

blue patchwork quilt

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Thumblenina quilt close-up
Hello everyone – if you’re here in the UK I hope you’ve been enjoying this most glorious of spring weather! We’ve just returned from Meribel, where the sun also shone bright and warm, giving me my first experience of skiing through puddles. This break meant so much to J and me; we seemed to have barely raised our faces from the grindstone for the past few months.

Of course I would have finished a quilt just in time for the heatwave. I’m always a season behind with my sewing, sometimes two. Anyway, for the winter now past, I have been sleeping under two duvets. It’s not that our flat is particularly cold, or London particularly cold – it’s just me that is particularly cold. A quilt was the obvious solution for a sew-er, but my as usual my ‘dreams of creativity’ brain segment kinda overlooked the business that the other half of the brain was still beavering away on, and hence I ended up with a large in-progress quilt sprawled across the living room floor, flaunting its half-finishedness whilst I tried to finish instead the really big project. And we were still sleeping under two duvets.

After I launched my patterns, I finally turned my attention back to the quilt, and during a binge-watch of the brilliant series Taboo, I completed it. I think we had it on the bed for a total of two nights before the weather turned and it was thrown off.

Anyway, it still adorns the bedroom during the day. I love it, because it’s the easiest quilt I’ve ever made, so I can admire it with no painful recollections of mismatched corners and seemingly endless hand-quilting. (My last bed quilt was for my sister and it took, no joke, about five years – for some now unfathomable reason I’d chosen to do a fan design and hand-quilt it, whilst studying for a degree and moving house multiple times. It’s pretty, but I still have very mixed feelings when I look at that quilt.)

The fabrics for the patchwork were all bought at The Cloth House. J has spent a lot of time studying and working in Japan, and I particularly like Japanese art prints, so I tried to choose Asian cloths. Some of them are actually Japanese fabrics, others are I believe Indian, but the geometry of the patterns and their cool hues will go well with the kind of artwork I have in mind for the walls of the bedroom.

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It’s a sign of how little brain space I actually had available around that time that I cannot for the life of me remember where I bought the five metres of navy poplin I used for the back. The filling is medium-weight wadding. Each front rectangle measures 24 x 17 cm. I used my cutting mat for the measurements and managed to be precise enough that almost every ‘crossroads’ is perfect. This is a tied quilt, so each crossroads is also the location of a little knot made with heavy duty thread.

Thumblenina quilt detail

I find the finished effect elegant and calming. It also slightly counters the feminine prettiness of other aspects of the bedroom. I now want to replace the bedside lamps so they are matching (rather than so glaringly his ‘n’ hers!) and to add some of those long-admired Japanese prints to the walls. Then hopefully our bedroom will become a longed-for haven of tranquility away from the work-dominated zone of the living/kitchen area – anyone who has worked from (a relatively small) home will appreciate the draining effect of being permanently surrounded by reminders of your job. Unfortunately we can’t take a mini-break to the mountains every time work gets a bit intense so it’s important to have these separate spaces. If anyone has any other tips or tricks for striking this balance please do let me know! x

Thumblenina quilt

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DIY Tool Hanging

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As part of the two-homes-into-one moving-in process that has dominated our domestic environment for the past few months, we’ve ended up with a lot of stray odds and sods, including tools. One day, J announced he’d found an ingenious solution to the tool storage issue. ‘Velcro!’

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