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Entries in quilting (9)


Quietly clanking

Another post about a thing I've finished and hadn't got to blogging. 

Both Clarkie and I have accumulated a whole lot of medals from various running races. I used to hang mine on the door to my study back in Brighton, and they clanked like hell when the door got shut but it didn't matter, because if we had guests I wasn't using the study. When we moved, I switched them to a set of hangers on the side of a big bookcase, and no more clanking. 

Then Clarkie decided she wanted to hang hers too. The only place, really, was on the back of the guest bedroom door - cue the return of the clank. This time though, it is a problem when we have guests. Particularly if the guests (say) want to use the bathroom in the night. So, I had to fix it. 

Medal backing

It's a pretty simple fix. I made a very small quilt, from a single piece of material and some left over blanket. It sits behind the medals and dulls the noise they make when they hit the door as it stops moving. 

The material is patterned with bunting, which seemed appropriate. I quilted it along the lines of the bunting on the pattern. 

Medal backing

The curves were an interesting challenge! 

To hang it, I sewed a couple of tabs to make use of the same hooks that the medals are hung from. 

Medal backing

I took the medal off that hook to take the photo, the hook is still usable. The weight of the hooks and the stiffness of the quilt holds it flat to the door, and the noise when you open and shut the door is now gone. 

Guess we need to invite some people to stay to test it properly! 


Get there eventually

Remember this quilt?

Finally Finished Quilt

I posted about making it back in 2013.

Well, I just finished sewing in all of the ends. Yes. Really. 

Don't get me wrong, it's seen a lot of use. The cashmere on the back is just beginning to go bobbly in places, and it's faded from sitting on my office chair in the sun. But yeah, I only just got around to sewing in the ends. 



It's quite strange what this focus on running is doing to me. I had a horrible run a couple of weekends ago. It was supposed to be 20 miles (or at current pace somewhere around 3 hours 10). But all I could really focus on was how much other stuff I wanted to be doing instead of running, and at 10 miles I just stopped and wound up sobbing in frustration. Poor Clarkie was with me on the bike. It wasn't pretty. I do say nothing makes me quite as emotional as long distance running, but that was a bit extreme!

One of the big things I've been missing is good, solid, making-stuff time. I've been squeezing bits in here and there, but a good big chunk of time hadn't happened for ages. So I took some. Just a day, mind. Not that I got the project I'm about to show finished in a day, but I broke the back of it. It was lovely. I felt significantly more me afterwards, and managed some good runs last week too (not a 20-miler yet though - this weekend maybe).

So, the project. Mum occasionally throws some odd bits and pieces at me, and one time she arrived with a large, pale turquoise, cashmere tunic. The kind that you would expect tall Scandinavian women to wear with leggings and boots. I think she bought it cheap in Florida, it's the kind of thing she does, but sadly this one had been found by moths. Mum thought there was still a lot of cashmere there though, and knows I like a challenge, so had brought it to me to do with what I wanted. I started by throwing it in the freezer, to try and kill off any remaining moths, and then I let it kick around for a while. I don't think I was especially enthusiastic, but, y'know, cashmere.

One day I happened to be working from home. Our house gets a little chilly in the afternoon, what with the heating only being on morning and evening, and I found myself with the cashmere tunic over my legs like a blanket. It was good. Then I noticed the quilt swiss (or jelly) roll pack I had, which was kicking around waiting for me to come up with a cunning plan for it. It was a present from Annie. It had a dark turquoise fabric in, which suddenly seemed to match the cashmere rather well. And lo, a plan was hatched for both. 

I started out by darning the holes in the top. Initially I tried a few different wools I had around, and none of those worked terribly well. In fact, they looked terrible. I got a little disheartened, and decided to switch to unpicking a seam to get it to lie flat. Expensive woollies are mostly knit to shape, so you can unpick the seams without the thing unravelling (cheap ones tend to be cut from a big knitted sheet and fall apart). I did that, and realised I could unravel the shoulders and use that wool to darn the rest. Much better. 

bad darning good darning

Then I made the quilt top, and in one of a number of happy coincidences with this project, the swiss roll created a quilt top of just the right size. I went for a pretty simple pattern. I had three of most of the fabrics, two fabrics in turquoise, two in red and two in brown. So I made squares, then randomly distributed the squares into a top that more or less matched the slightly odd shape of the cashmere. 

With the top made and the bottom sorted, I found I had a piece of cotton batting just the right size left over from another project. Another of those coincidences. So I put a patch over the lousy darning, and got it all pinned together still with the neck and remaining sleeve attached at this point. I left it as late as possible to actually cut the cashmere, to avoid any unravelling. The quilting wasn't the easiest I've ever done because of the stretchiness of the backing (even with a walking foot), so I kept it simple and just followed the shape of the top. This bit always takes loads longer than I think. Longer than making the top, especially when the strips are ready-cut. 

I finished binding it a couple of days ago. I went for a pale cream/beige binding, which again just happened to be in my fabric stash, no idea where from. I had one strip of the turquoise fabric left, which I've interspersed with the cream just to tie it in a bit better. I did a hand-finished binding, which again took longer than I expected. I prepared the binding strip (2.5" wide, ironed in half) then finally trimmed the quilt. I machined the binding strip onto the right side, then rolled it round and hand-stitched down the back. 

Cashmere-backed quilt

There are still a bundle of ends to be sewn in, but that's done enough for me. There are a few imperfections in the quilting too, but it works. You can see the odd shape of the tunic in that photo. The neck and sleeves would have been on the left. It is a perfect length for me when I'm working on my laptop, as it covers from just above my waist to the floor (another coincidence?).

Cashmere-backed quilt 

I find it pretty amazing how binding the project changes the way it feels. Until then, it felt like a lovely piece of cashmere that I was adding extra layers to. After the binding it feels like a single object with a really soft back. I'm intending to spend a lot of time working at home over the next few months, working on a certain large document. I suspect this quilt will see a lot of use. 



Hark! Is that the sound of time's winged chariot whizzing past once more? I believe it may be. Whoops. Time for a quick round up, I guess. 

The weekend after the Bath Half it was Clarkie's turn. The Cambridge Half this time. The weather had changed somewhat, and not for the better. It snowed for the build up and the first... oh, hour I'd say. Wet, sleety snow. I, however, was perfectly dressed for my role of jumping up and down and cheering like a loon as all the runners went filing past. 


Note to self: Get rid of that hat. It doesn't fit. In that jacket and my waterproof trousers I often feel like I'm in my own reeeally small tent. I stay so dry and cosy. I had a cracking time, and it turned out I knew about 6 or 7 runners. Plus the first three home were from Brighton Phoenix, and at least two are regulars at Brighton & Hove parkrun (not that they knew me - they normally whizz past so fast they can't possibly see anything...). Sadly, although I had Clarkie's big camera with me I failed to take any decent photos, because she'd been playing with the settings and I didn't think to check. She didn't do as well as she'd hoped, but did finish in spite of the awful cold she had and the atrocious weather, so I'm calling that a win. She even (apparently) indulged in a sprint finish, due to a slightly larger gentleman trying to overtake her. Nothing if not competitive. 

Clarkie'd been playing with the camera settings to take photos while I indulged in a spot of parkrun tourism at Cambridge. Fortunately I thought to take my trail shoes, because it was fun! Oh, and muddy. 


A fellow runner told me it was the first time they'd seen someone running in a woolly cardigan, but it was colder than I had expected. I think I took around 4 minutes off my Cambridge PB, but it's been around 3 years since I last run it which is cheating. Actually I beat my Brighton PB too. Looking forward to getting back to it. 

Last weekend I was a bit tired. I didn't exactly mean to, but I went and spent Sunday making a new cover for my Kindle. It worked out rather well in the end. 

Patchwork kindle cover

The material was a birthday gift 2 birthdays ago from Emma, so that's probably why they tone so nicely. I followed a tutorial from Clover & Violet, and I am really pleased with it. 

Tomorrow we are off for a few days in Berlin. Should be... Well... A little chilly I suspect. But fun even so. March has been really quite a good one so far! 



Fabric scarves

I worked from home last Wednesday, and whilst my code was compiling I came up with more plans for crafty projects than I think I could achieve in a year. Fortunately most of them will disappear back into the ether, and I won't miss them. I did carry through on two of them yesterday though. 

Last year we did a kind of mini quilting bee in my knitting group. We nearly made it all the way through before the motivation failed, although I still owe Kate her square (it's made, just never been delivered) and Annie hers (I never quite found the right material - lame). I did get four squares for my turn though, and I never quite decided what to do with them. 

The four squares

Well, I decided. As a further experiment in slightly smarter dressing, I thought I could experiment with some scarves. I found a site that gives me many options on how to tie them (the Knot Library), and I reckon it's worth a go. I joined the four squares with the blue, spotty fabric you can see above, and backed them with a bit of an old white duvet cover. I think it came out pretty well.

Half 1Half 2


That's a fake knot, right there. Thanks to the quilt bee participants!

The other scarf I made was with fabric that Emma gave me for my birthday, and a left over butterfly print. I wanted something long enough to tie around my waist, to brighten up my black and white dress maybe, or possibly around the top of my new shorts. I worked it out, and went with a pretty basic square pattern. 

Square piecework scarf

That there is 60 6cm x 6cm white squares, with 30 of each of the other two fabrics. Oh yes. I spent a large part of yesterday playing with my other birthday presents, like so: 


One of my very favourite types of days. Pottering around making stuff. I love being able to take three pieces of almost square fabric and recombining them into a long, thin piece instead. Very handy, and kinda fun.