a gift for friends who are emigrating. it occured to me right at the last minute (the day they left :roll: ) that i could make a little something as a welcome to your new home gift. there’s something i find so comforting about just looking at a quilt, so i thought a mini quilt for the boys’ (5 & 2) new room might be a good plan. when i realised i could use welsh wool for the appliques i was sold on the idea.

everything came together so quickly thanks to G rediscovering her equilibrium and napping for 2 hrs+ which gave time for the idea to emerge and crystalise, for me to get the fabrics selected and appliques cut before she woke. unfortunately it’s unlikely there’ll be much more of that around here now the holidays have started and there are infinitely more exciting things going on than sleeping in the mornings.

the wool is blanket scraps from melin tregwynt - this stuff is so soft, so beautiful, it will definitely be making appearances in more quilts around here.

the stars and heart-shaped rocket blast were cut from an alexander henry(?) fabric i’d stashed “just because” a little while ago. i got a few colourful funky kid prints at the same time. it won’t be any revelation to those who’ve been sewing/quilting a while but may be to any wouldbe quilters reading, just how important it is to stash when you can see a fabric you love and you can afford it, it doesn’t matter that you don’t have a project in mind. i feel incredibly indulgent when i do it, but it makes the creative process so much easier to have a wide selection of fabrics, all of which speak to you in some way, it makes combining them a real joy and unexpected combinations arise unbidden. everything i used was from stash. the chambray i bought in a fit of excitement after seeing shannah’s wonderful red cross quilt, the embroidery cottons were part of my haul from a swap night i organised with local crafty friends - i managed to get rid of more than i acquired, which left me feeling very virtuous (lol, yeah, if i could feel the virtue through the hangover…)</p>

appliqueing the stars was a little trickier than i envisaged. i ended up sewing over a sheet of paper for stabilisation (worked a treat - you just tear the sheet off afterwards) while litfting the presser foot and pivoting every couple of stitches to get round the tight curves. as it was the machine wasn't totally happy and skipped a lot of stitches. since i was using brand new needles and swapped to a heavier one, the remaining potential culprit for the skipping was the upper tension being too tight (i only just looked it up now), since i'd dialled that up before deciding on the paper stabiliser. luckily i wasn't over-fussed on a perfect finish for this one. i had a good tip from the button shop lady on this one - to use a double thread in the top bobbin, but regular weight thread, rather than using a heavier thread. where it wasn't skipping the finish was excellent.

i have to say all that pivoting - along with the skipped stitches, which i thought at the time was just the machine being temperamental - had my mind wandering to this little beauty that i have my beady eye on. i realised just how much use a knee lift would be if i was going to be doing a lot of this kind of thing. while i can't find much info online about the silver viscount model it appears to be the exact same machine as the babylock quest which is getting rave reviews over in the states. i'd been tentatively scouting the market for larger throat machines for a while but couldn't bring myself to seriously contemplate either a) a straight stitch only machine or b) the thick end of a grand. but for a smidgen over £500 this one looks like a steal.

the quilting was my favourite part of the whole thing, although my fingers aren't thanking me for it. i used a perle(?) cotton which took a little persuading through the layers, but it was worth it for that heavy, hand-stitched look. the inspiration for this came from the habitat quilt i mentioned in the last post, which is just multicoloured lines of heavy thread quilting onto soft-as-butter neutral fabric. i really should have hooped it in some way to stabilise the layers (it's all enveloped together) since it was so small i thought i could get away without but its puffing up rather unevenly. i busked the quilting lines, just scratching the next stretch onto the fabric with the needle.

i'm pretty pleased with this, it's taken less than a week start to finish, with G in "not sleeping in the evenings" mode too. i love quick projects. and it's been a good warm up for my next new project in the pipeline (heh, ignoring the wip that's been cluttering up the sewing room for the last fortnight) with all that hand quilting...