Happy dance time 🙂
Sometimes the nearer I get to a finish, the more I stitch. I’ve worked a fair bit on my cottage garden quilt over the last three weeks. When I last shared my progress I was half way through the middle row with another block to embroider and the ivy leaves to finish, together with all the fill in squares…
The ivy block didn’t take long to finish at all, just a bit more backstitching to make the veins. In case you’re wondering, the main stem of the ivy is done with a long couched thread first, the ivy leaves are then bondawebbed along it. I love the little ladybird!
It’s partner block is a sweet one with daisy like flowers and bumble bees. I spent ages auditioning various fabrics for the flowers – I’ve more than another set cut out! I finally decided on the dark red with a slightly lighter red, two shades amongst seven flowers. The bees are made with yellow fabric and the stripes embroidered on. I was trying to work out for a while which bit didn’t look quite right and I think it’s that bees have black heads, and probably wider stipes, but they look cute, it’s called artistic license!
I sashed both blocks in a green fabric to help with the general mix of fabrics, I’ve found this fabric very useful in this quilt as it includes both sage green and olive green, together with a bit of red. I also swopped the two blocks round from the original layout as I felt I needed the red flowers on the right side to balance the quilt.
With these two blocks made I could crack on and piece the row together. It all went together beautifully and I was pleased to see the little squares helped to tone down the red churn square blocks.
The next big job was to join the rows together. I started pinning the top to the middle and then had a major panic…it was way out, the top and the bottom were considerably narrower than the middle, not just a fudgeable smidge out!
I double checked all my measurements on the middle row, well that was the odd one out wasn’t it! They were all correct and the finished width was right from my calculations…I then started looking at the top and bottom rows. I eventually realised I had missed off a whole row of squares on the other side of the pinwheels and thus they were over 2″ narrower! I had made the same mistake top and bottom!
I could have just added them somewhere else but that would have unbalanced the whole quilt. It was time to get acquainted with my seam ripper! I also realised the heart log cabin blocks and block of eight squares were the wrong way round too and to leave it would have meant lots of squares on one side and few on the other. That wasn’t as big a job as it sounds as I unpicked the heart and squares as one unit and swopped top to bottom.
I finally stitched it together and the extra work was worth it…
Next task was to embroider four little cornerstones for the border. I puzzled for a while which fabric to base these on as all the other embroidered blocks have been on creamy whites, but I could see with the light fabric I was using for my inner border, these would just merge in. I tried various ones which had a fair bit of plain in, but nothing worked. In the end I introduced a new fabric to the quilt, not ideal at this late stage but I think it works. I used a pale pink Kona solid which is just the right shade of pink. These are 2 1/2″ squares so you can imagine how small the cherry on the cake was! I love the detail on these blocks, though if your wondering, the red splodge of french knots on the label is meant to be a strawberry!
Having stitched these I could sew the inner border with these on the corners and then start cutting out 100 rectangles for the piano key border! I was a bit limited by what fabrics I had left, the only one I didn’t include was the dark red as I felt it would stand out too much, though I am thinking of including it in a scrappy binding with the two darker olive greens. I divided the fabric rectangles into four piles so I had a similar mix on each side then laid them out on my cutting table.
By chance the first strip of 26 worked perfectly when I put it next to a side, none of then were opposite the same fabric square in the quilt. The second side I unpicked and swopped a couple of areas. The third and four sides I arranged on my table, sewed into lengths of four and then played with them til I was happy.
So my quilt top was complete…
I love it, I keep looking at it and grinning! I have enjoyed making this quilt all the way along, from the embroidery to the pieced blocks. The design is by Kathryn Whittingham, it’s in a gorgeous book called The Cottage Garden Quilt which is available from her website, Patchwork Katy, she ships overseas now too. I’ve got her Seaside Quilt to do next but first I need to quilt this beauty!
Having rashly said I’m never going to hand quilt a quilt again after finishing my huge Down the Rabbit Hole quilt, I clearly have a short memory as I’ve decided this quilt deserves to be hand-quilted. It’s only about 60″ square too so a much more manageable size. I’ve already made a backing (with a piano key strip down the middle) and it’s all sandwiched. I’m just waiting for some threads to arrive, mulling over different ways of quilting it.
Hand Quilt Along Links
This Hand Quilt Along is an opportunity for hand quilters and piecers to share and motivate one another. We post every three weeks, to show our progress and encourage one another. If you have a hand quilting project and would like to join our group contact Kathy at the link below.
I’ll also be linking up with Kathy’s Quilts for Slow Stitching Sunday, please follow the link for more hand-stitched inspiration.