Well I’ve got my dancing shoes on….
In February when I had a couple of weeks off I decided to concentrate on getting my Secret Garden quilt finished. This is a gorgeous design by Andrea of Raggedy Ruff Designs, I bought it as a BOM kit ages ago, I did the first block and then bottled it! I think at the time that first block also seemed so busy and bright I was having second thoughts about it…but having counted up just how many Raggedy Ruff kits I have, I decided to give myself a stern talking to and crack on with it! I have to add at this point….I absolutely love it now!!
The final block was the central one with a view into the garden and a cat sitting washing himself. Whilst he did look like a cat I had many years ago, I decided instead to try and incorporate our three dogs which we had up to the last couple of years.
I found some old photos of the dogs wandering down the back lane which was the perfect pose for them, it also helped me to get the size right, as the difference between Rosie the golden retriever and Lucy the bichon frise was huge. When Lucy came down the garden she would peer round the wall at the bottom of the steps, looking very cute, so I pictured her looking round the door. Andrea makes the designs look so relatively simple…it’s not!! My respect for Andrea as a design was already high, it’s now through the roof!!
I drew an outline of the three dogs, traced it onto freezer paper and found some batik which was the right colour. I cut them out and stitched round the edge with my usual gutermann thread. I then carried on with the rest of the block.
Once all the flowers were stitched I turned back to the dogs. I tackled Zach first, using a dark blue/grey/purple thread to give his shape and a bit of detail. My only issue with Zach is that he was a smooth, glossy coated dog and the batik has frayed very slightly as I’ve stitched near to the edge and he looks a little straggly…but I can live with that!
Lucy had a curly coat, a bit like a poodle, so I just did lots of curly stitches in a variegated off white. I did all the eyes by hand with French knots as I didn’t trust myself to do such a small black spot.
Rosie was a big fluffy lump, I used a variegated sandy thread initially, but it just looked a bit flat, so I added some highlighted areas. Both her and Lucy just didn’t seem quite right, I couldn’t put my finger on it at first. I slept on it and it came to me overnight, they needed more of an outline. I outlined them both in the same dark brown, grey thread which was quite a bit heavier than the original outlined thread. It made all the difference. It would have been better to outline in the heavier thread first and then have the feathery detail over it to soften it a little, but on the whole I’m happy.
Having finished the final block I could start to put the quilt together. I trimmed the stabiliser from the back where possible and stitched the top and bottom blocks on. I’d already stitched the two sides blocks together but I added another buddleia flower and a couple of blooms where the delphiniums met. I also added a few stems over the join to give the continuity.
Here’s my completed quilt top…
I’m well chuffed with it, I just need to quilt it now, I have a few thoughts on how I’m going to do that but I think I’ll mull it over for a bit longer.
If you fancy making one of these quilts, do follow the link to the Raggedy Ruff website. She’s just about to start a new Block of the month, the quilt looks gorgeous, and this time as well as the written instructions like I’ve always used, she’s also made videos of the making of each block, so you can see how she does it more easily.