this has been a long time in the making, it seems like it's been hanging half-done in my little room for weeks and weeks, although there really wasn't too much to it. the fabrics are globaltex furnishing fabrics, a little heavy for a quilt but they should be perfect for the matching cushions that are past the planning stage but not yet actually in the making stage... they're a lot more traditional than my usual taste, alarmingly kidstonesque in fact, but i reckon that's acceptable - indeed mandatory :D - for camping/picnic purposes.

i wanted to do something simple, and inspired by recently reading making welsh quilts, i went for a traditional "strippy" top. i was undecided on the quilting until i'd done my practice sandwich to judge tension etc. and realised i wanted to do something curvy that crossed over itself. this pattern is traditionally used on borders, called a welsh trail in the book, although can't find any other reference to it as that (anyone recognise it by another name?). i ran it horizontally, the chequerboards where the points cross staggered so the curves fit neatly against one another. it's not too easy to see as the batt is poly and i prewashed the fabrics as i didn't want it to look too quilty this time. where you can see it's mostly because my pencil markings haven't quite washed out (my usual disappearing marker disappeared before i could get it as far as the sewing machine).

the backing is PUL, i got the fabric from a cloth nappy maker, it's used for making wraps. i looked long and hard at waterproof fabrics and PUL seemed the most fabricy, less rustly than ripstop nylon, more lightweight than cordura. i briefly considered shower curtains etc, but having sewn with them before i thought i'd go for something designed to be sewn AND repeatedly washed. we'll see how well it stands up to use - i could have gone for a thicker waterproof coating that might make it more stone-proof, but that would have had to come from the states. on reflection i don't think pale blue is the ideal choice either, but we won't be looking at that side much :) obviously, to maintain the waterproofing, i didn't sew the quilting through the PUL, just the top and batting. since the PLU is stretch (which i didn't twig until it arrived) there's a little bagging as it's only joined at the edges and the blanket is ~120cm by 150cm, but nothing terrible.

putting it together was a dream thanks to my new discovery: 505 basting spray. it lasted beautifully through all the hefting about during quilting, and only lost its grip in the odd place on the smooth-surfaced PUL. while it's not cheap i reckon it beats pins into a cocked hat when it comes to ease of use. kim at spoonflower recently pointed out a study that shows basting sprays are damaging to quilt fabrics in the long term, but whilst the conclusion drawn by the researchers is to avoid all basting sprays, in fact their finding was that 505 was the one brand that didn't show any difference to the control samples. certainly for this project i had no qualms, and i will use the 505 again, but i may be more circumspect if my quiltmaking ever improves beyond the lets-see-if-we-can-make-it-hold-together-past-the-first-wash stage and moves closer to the realms of heirloom quilting ;)

i considered various strap arrangements i could attach to the blanket, but in the end decided to keep it simple with a separate long strap, looped at either end, that slips over and allows it to be carried over a shoulder. the polkadots that proved so elusive on the binding show much better on the strap (i cut along the grain not the pattern, not thinking they would be that far misaligned), although i actually think the now-you-see-them-now-you-don't effect is rather charming.

this is going for its first outing next week when we go on our traditional music festival summer holiday, i'll report back on its fitness for duty and whether it floats in mud :?