‘Twas the night before Christmas when all through the flat
Not a creature was stirring, not even a cat
‘It’s so disconcerting’, Lynne Pussycat said
‘They’re being so quiet it fills me with dread…’
‘You’re awfully suspicious!’ said RR to Cat
‘They’re being angelic, let’s leave it at that!’
And so off to bed went the whole family
And left out for Santa a large G&T
A carrot for Rudolph, a plate of mince pies
‘Cos from the North Pole it’s a long way to fly!
But then at some godawful hour in the morn
(Don’t know when exactly, but way before dawn…)
A tremendous commotion broke out in the flat
‘Oh, what the heck’s happened? And where are the cats?’
RR ventured forth, to have a look-see
And discovered the kitties had toppled the tree
Had trashed all the presents and munched the mince pies
And sent Santa’s G&T soaring sky-high
Till it fell to the floor in a broken-glass puddle
Those dastardly cats, what a horrible muddle!
They were charging around as if they were possessed
Leaving in their wake such a terrible mess…
And so Christmas morning, at quarter past three
Was spent re-erecting the darned Christmas tree
Re-wrapping the presents, and calming the cats
Restoring tranquility throughout the flat
And two hours later, both tucked up in bed
Lynne Pusscat and Richard lay down weary heads
And said as they snoozed off and turned out the light
‘Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!’
Well I never, I’ve only gone and finished a project! My Alaska lap quilt is now sewn together, quilted and bound, and ready for use, just in time for the cooler autumn and winter months.
I know, it’s hard to believe, isn’t it? Especially when you consider that I actually started this particular quilt quite early on in my sewing life. It dates back to 2009, when I was living in the US, and I signed up for a Mystery Quilt class, billed as a “Mystery Tour to Alaska”. There were 2 different colour ways on offer, and I choose this palette of icy, watery blues.
I eventually finished putting the quilt top together about 18 months ago, and, until very recently, it had been languishing in my Cupboard of Unfinished Quilt Tops. I know exactly why, too – and for once it’s not just a case of laziness and Quilter’s ADD!
First off, the quilt’s pretty enough, but my tastes have certainly changed over the past 5 years since I started it. Now I liked this quilt, sure, but I didn’t love it. Looking at it now I find the colours to be a bit ‘meh’, and it’s all rather, well, uninspiring and triangular, really.
Secondly, I was totally lacking inspiration about how to quilt the blasted thing. I knew that it needed some carefully-chosen quilting to turn it from somewhat bland into something special, but I didn’t have the first clue about what that quilting should be.
And so in the cupboard it went, and in the cupboard it stayed, until I decided to tackle it as part of my Q3 Finish-Along list.
Unquilted top – bland, dull and meh…
It was my lovely friend Ms E, who first suggested that it needed feathers. Now, I’ve never been a massive fan of feather quilting, I’d always thought of it as rather dull and old-fashioned. But I had to agree that the idea of feathers, with their flowing curves, would give the quilt the illusion of movement. And once the idea was in my head, that’s where it stayed. And grew. Until one day I went out and bought some feather stencils. And the rest, as they say, is history…
Loving all the curves in those feathers!
Quilted circles to complement the curves in the feathers
Close-up of quilted block
The design in the dark blue triangle is a smaller version of the one in the pale blue triangle
Feather quilting in the outer border, too…
Close up of border quilting
The best thing about doing this was it was so liberating! I wasn’t totally in love with the quilt top. It wasn’t intended as a gift, it wasn’t going to break my heart if I totally screwed it up. I didn’t let myself get hung up about ‘perfect’ quilting. I was brave and chose a dark colour thread, which would show up prominently against the mainly pale background fabric. I just went with the flow.
And do you know what? I actually really like this quilt now!
What’s more, it looks like Mr. Boy agrees with me 🙂
Linking up with Audrey over at Glory Be Quilter for TGIFF – why not pop over and check out some more lovely finishes this week?
Over the winter months, I tend to do less dressmaking. In the summer I love wearing flirty skirts and pretty sundresses, both of which are fun to make, but during the winter I usually feel less inspired. I’ve been working on the same dress for a couple of months now. It’s a simple shift dress, made from an off-cut of beautiful grey wool which I picked up for a song in New York back around Thanksgiving, and I’m lining it with a gorgeous turquoise coloured satin. The dress is coming along well – all that’s really left to do is line and hem it – and if I like the end result, I’m planning to use the same pattern to make a dress to wear to Miss S and Mr E’s wedding in May, using some glorious pale blue French linen I bought in Paris a few weeks back.
Shift dress Lining
But as February is coming to an end, my thoughts have once again been turning to the warmer months ahead, and, in particular, to our upcoming holiday. In two weeks’ time, RR and I are flying away for some summer sun in the Caribbean. We’ll be spending 3 days relaxing on Barbados, followed by a week-long cruise aboard a Clipper ship. Needless to say, we’re looking forward to it immensely! We’ve never been to the Caribbean, and we’ve never been away in the winter to some place sunny, and we love Clipper cruising, so we’re both very excited! But what to take to wear??? Back in January, I had a massive re-organisation of my sewing room, and since then all my dressmaking fabric has been moved from the top shelf of the spare room wardrobe. It’s now temptingly on display in my glass-doored fabric cupboard, bang in the middle of my sewing room. I see it every time I’m in there or walk past it (which is most of the time, to be honest!) And sitting on the top of the stack of dressmaking fabric are some beautiful prints, ideal for making pretty, summery skirts and dresses. So the combination of our upcoming holiday and having all my fabric on view has got me inspired with my dressmaking again. So far, I’ve made two summery skirts, and I’ve earmarked some fabric to make a sundress to take with me on holiday (which is also turquoise – my new favourite colour, it seems!)
A-line skirt with wide yoke and box pleats Panelled straight skirt with flared hem
I’m back in the UK at the moment (hopefully the skirts will still fit by the time I get back home!), but now I’m absolutely raring to go with the sundress and my wedding outfit for May. And I’m pretty sure that when I do get started next week, I will have plenty of ‘help’ from my chief sewing assistant, Mr. Boy. Whilst Mimi Bubba likes to help me quilt, usually by plonking her not insubstantial bulk on top of whatever I happen to be piecing or quilting, Mr. Boy prefers to help out with dressmaking. And his favourite activities to help with are stealing tape measures and lying on top of crinkly-sounding pattern paper. What a helpful boy! It’s a good thing I love him, isn’t it?!