Thursday, 7 February 2013

Buttons and blooms

When I started this quilt back in February 2005, I had no idea it would be a full 8 years later before the final stitches would go in! Not that it's actually taken 8 years of stitching as, for most of that time, it sat in a corner waiting for me to regain the enthusiasm to pick it up. But eventually, pick it up I did, and today it gets its  moment of glory.

Other than the pink sashing, plain calico and backing, all the fabrics were from my stash. I started this quilt as a way to use up all the small floral fabrics I bought when I first started quilting. Of course, the problem with doing scrap quilts is that you only use scraps so I still have lots of fabric left.

I also wanted something I could sew in front of the TV - I find it really hard to sit passively staring at a box and like to have something crafty in my hands. The design was inspired by a lady from my quilt group who had appliqued hexagon flowers onto her quilt. It seemed a better option than an all-over hexagon pattern as it required a heck of a lot less hexagons!

The flowers were made using the English paper-piecing method where you cut out the shape, cover it in fabric and then stitch the shapes together. The paper is usually only removed when all sides of the shape have been surrounded.

The quilting is very simple and is a combination of hand and machine. The sashing was machine-quilted in the ditch. For me, there's really no point hand quilting this part as you don't see the stitches anyway. I prefer to save the hand quilting for where it will be most effective - in this case, a double layer around each flower and a single layer around the hexagons in the border. To be honest I think it could do with more quilting but I so wanted to finish it that this will have to do.

Buttons were sewn in the middle of each flower for extra texture and colour. Some were from my stash and Mum's button tin and some were purchased over the last year. I laid the quilt out on the floor to decide where to place the buttons and then photographed each flower as a reminder.

Finally, the last button was stitched in place...

Ta-dah! During the 8 years it took to make this quilt, I fell in and out of love with it several times. I'm glad to say that I'm currently in a love phase! More importantly, Chickpea loves it too which is just as well as the quilt was made for her. She also chose its name which will go on a label on the back. I liked 'Buttons and Blooms' but she prefers 'Chickpea's Flower Garden', and I do mean Chickpea rather than her real name.

So, what's next on the quilting front? Well, as mentioned, I still have lots of scraps left and I really want to practice machine quilting, so I'm going to make a very simple quilt and have a go at covering it in fancy patterns. There's also the matter of this year's Bolton Quilters Challenge. And the fabrics I've been collecting for something bold and contemporary. And about a hundred more ideas swirling around in my head! So many quilts, so little time...


  1. My word- that's just beautiful. I could sit and look at it for hours! The fabrics, the textures, the Oh those sweet buttons! Really, a big congratulations on it. I'm amazed you did so much by hand. wow...did I say that?! Heather x

  2. The quilt is absolutely beautiful, just stunning it looks so perfect! I love the colours and the buttons in the centre of the flowers, your stitching is just lovely. I agree about having something crafty to do whilst watching tv in the evenings as I am the same, in fact when I go to the cinema (which is not that often really) I feel quite lost without some knitting or stitching in my lap to work on!
    M xxx

  3. Wow!!! Truly gorgeous :) You did a fabulous job on this quilt - it was worth waiting 8 years for.

  4. It's wonderful, it really is. Well done for completing it. I love the way the hexies sit in their own squares - it makes them stand out and look like flowers. I'm glad you love it - I love it too!

    Gillian x

  5. Wow! And I do mean Wow! I have done a little bit of quilting in years past - but actually, machine piecing would be more accurate :) I love Chickpea's name. Such a piece of artistry and unforgettable heirloom.

  6. It's a gorgeous quilt. It will be at least 8 years before I finish my quilt! I liked your cable stitching on your heart quilt, it was so neat. Was it tricky to do, it's looks like it would be difficult to get it so even. Thank you for your comment on my blog.

    1. Hi Anne and thank you for returning my visit. I made the cable template from a pattern in a book. Keeping it neat and even wasn't difficult, though I'm naturally a neat sewer anyway, but I think the key was that the wadding was very thin. x

  7. Lovely! I love how you quilted it. And it takes me years to finish a quilt too:)

  8. that quilt is completely amazing. I am not surprised they are putting it in your newsletter. Fabulous!

    Nikki x