On getting into the swing


My sewing year got off to a bumpy start. Having announced in the first post of the year my intention to sew a house a weekend during 2019, I had fired myself up for the challenge. The first weekend of January came and I dithered about the background fabric. I wanted all 50 houses to have the same background, so it needed to be a fairly large piece. I decided on the size of the individual blocks – 6 x 4 inches – and started going through my stash. The whites were too white, the creams looked too flat, the browns were too boring, the greens too bright or too dull.  I even contemplated a black and white piece with a basket weave pattern (used before as backgrounds) and thought it would be too busy 50 times over. So I did a bit of gardening, took the dog for a walk, and then returned to the heap of possible fabrics spread on my cutting table. That “yes, this is the right one” feeling still eluded me. Then I remembered the yards and yards of sage-coloured cotton sheeting I had bought and stashed in another cupboard. It also looked too flat, but I told myself that quilting stitches in sky and earth colours would brighten it up.

January’s batch of houses

Luckily I had a photograph of houses that I wanted to mimic. (It was taken last year at Mevagissey when we visited and were enchanted by the town on the Cornish coast.) Luckily, too, the choosing of the fabrics for the actual houses went quite quickly. Offcuts of cream canvas were just the thing for walls and in the scrap bag I found the roofing, door and window materials. That left Sunday evening to sew the house.  It was fun to construct it, using machine applique, and a glue stick to hold the fairly small windows and door in place as I stitched around them with my magic darning foot. As it turned out, most of the background fabric was covered by the house anyway. By the next weekend I was keen to make house number two. It was a wider house, so I cut a six inch square piece for the background.  I will use the two sizes for the backgrounds as I stitch my way through the year. The four houses made so far have matching colour schemes and I am not sure what February will produce.


The Romantic poet, John Keats, famously wrote that poetry should come “as the leaves to the tree” or not at all. Well, the leaves for the newly completed quilt Silver Tree with Green Leaves, did not come easily. But I am glad I preserved. I used lurex with embedded sequins for the leaves because of the lovely shiny and twinkly effect of the fabric. The lurex tends to roll up on itself, so to get the leaves to lie flat I  hand stitched a stablising layer of black vilene between two layers of lurex. It was a rather fiddly task and I hope that I made enough leaves for a generous canopy.  I did also redo the bottom binding. This piece was started at least a year ago, and I am relieved (and also pleased) that it is now finished. Unless, of course, someone tells me that it needs more leaves!


11 thoughts on “On getting into the swing

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