Sunday, 25 May 2014

Russian dolls

When I showed you my little birds quilt a couple of months ago, I mentioned that I'd attended another workshop with Elizabeth Wall. The subject this time was Russian dolls and Liz brought along all these examples to inspire us.

The first step to creating our own was choosing the fabrics for our dolls. Initially, I was drawn to the pinks, purples and blues which are very much 'my' colours. I really liked the red dolls though and spotted these 2 red and gold fabrics which would work well as a pair.

The faces were traced from the pattern and coloured in with fabric pens. Even though we all used the same template, it was amazing how different the faces were.

And then the best bit, the decoration. Liz tipped out a big bag of fabrics onto the table and we dove in - a fabricaholic's dream come true!

I had a crisis of confidence halfway through the day. The others had been cutting out fabric shapes and placing them on the dolls as they went, whereas I'd just concentrated on cutting out lots of motifs. When it came to adding the decoration, I felt overwhelmed by all the random bits and pieces and colours. Nothing seemed to look right and I was all for packing in and starting again with my comfort zone colours.

Liz was brilliant; she took me in hand, sat me down and talked me through. 'You chose these colours for a reason', she said and helped me start placing the pieces on the dolls. The eureka moment came when she pointed out that the navy and white motifs made everything 'pop' and brought it all together. By the end I was completely excited again and could have gone on for hours more.

Liz has a saying that 'no-one leaves without feeling they've succeeded'. Well look what we all achieved that day!

You might have glimpsed mine up there on the left, so, here's the finished quilt...

Ta-dah! After my minor wobble, I was really pleased with the way it turned out. The background is very simply quilted, following the pattern in the fabric.


I hope you've been enjoying the weekend, which is a long one here in the UK. Chickpea still has assignments to finish so it's been a quiet one for us. The weather hasn't been great either but that's ok as I had housework and crafting to catch up on.

Today I've been making progress on my quilt which has been sadly neglected lately. I added the sashing between the rows.

You can really start to see what the finished quilt will look like now. I also cut out all the pieces for the back which was very nerve-wracking as it had to be cut a certain way to make sure I had enough fabric. I measured and measured and measured and then measured some more. Then I laid it all out on the floor and measured again. Now I just need to decide on the quilting pattern. At this point I'm planning to do machine quilting but I've only ever gone in straight lines or followed the pattern in the fabric as I did with the dolls. I'm really nervous about messing it all up at the last hurdle but also feel I need to push myself or I'll never master machine quilting.

I've also done some baking and finished my Yarndale mandala and will share both with you soon.

My oriental poppy has just come into bloom. This was it yesterday morning in all its glory though it's a much sorrier sight today after being battered with rain. Tomorrow looks more promising so I'm really hoping we can head out for a couple of hours. Fingers crossed. x


  1. Love the Russian Doll quilt and it sounds like a really good workshop you went to. Gorgeous poppy too.
    Marianne x

  2. Your quilt looks fantastic, well done! What a beautiful poppy too, I've never seen one that colour before.

  3. An amazing doll quilt! It's like you and chickpea all glammed up... ;-) Aren't workshops wonderful? You got out of your comfort zone, but had the reassuring boost from the tutor when you needed it - and look at the gorgeous results! Your othervquiltbis looking spectacular - just go for it with the quilting! I will watch, admire and learn...a big inspirational post, thank you! Chrissie x

  4. I love the colors of your Russian dolls, you are an artist!
    Also love the Oriental poppy too, that is so pretty. xx

  5. The Russian dolls are fabulous and I'd never thought of following the lines of a pattern to quilt something. The large quilt looks fabulous and I love the interesting shot of your poppy.

  6. Your Russian dolls are lovely, and I think that the decorations look very pretty on them! Your poppy picture is amazing, I love the colour of it too and the black spots! Hope that you are having a good bank holiday. xx

  7. That quilt is incredible. It's so detailed, and you can really see how much time and effort went into it. I like your colour combinations, they are vibrant and joyful. x