Finished in February


It’s a great British tradition to complain about the weather and in January and February this year there was plenty to complain about. One of my favourite ways to keep reasonably fit is to walk in the glorious countryside around here. This January I regularly found myself paddling or sinking to my ankles in mud. In February it was the turn ‘The Beast from the East’ and storm Emma and general biting cold winds that upset us so much.

But – and it’s a very positive but – there was no golf, no gardening and so – there was a lot of sewing time.

Enough time to finish Olivia’s  just-about-begun quilt, a story cushion for her birthday and a story cushion for Heidi just so that she didn’t feel left out.

And enough time for a few little projects along the way. The red scraps made their annual appearance just before Valentine’s day.

Olivia’s quilt had been an embarrassingly long time in the making. I was in the middle of making Dougie’s Quilt when we went on one of our long trips to Spain and I decided that while we were away I would hand appliqué the elephant patches. So far so good.

Well when we got back it was summer.  Summer = golf + gardening = very little sewing. Then of course came the autumn and it was all stops out to finish Dougie’s quilt in time for Christmas. So the little elephant quilt was the no.1 priority for January. It was easy to piece together with yellow, grey and white patches to match her bedroom.



It needed a little bit of planning to get the balance right before piecing and once that was done 



the next step was simple and speedy and I soon had the batting and the yellow and white pin-spot backing together and ready to quilt.

I wanted a quilting design to fit in the yellow, white and grey squares, the elephant squares would just have simple outlines.  Here’s what I call ‘the pink claw of quilting’. My quilting gloves are actually cotton gardening gloves that have a fantastic bobbly surface perfect for ‘getting a grip’!

Now the next bit is worth posting, I’ll know where to find it rather than having to think really hard to remember it. I don’t have any idea why, but the sequence for binding around the corners  just won’t lodge itself in my brain. So here it is – in pictures.

and in words:

  • having pressed a diagonal fold at the beginning of the binding (see last photo) sew the double thickness binding strip leaving a 5cm tail at the start, using a quarter-inch seam
  • stop a quarter-inch from the corner, secure and break thread
  • fold the binding strip 90º to the right
  • fold the binding strip back on itself level with the edge of the quilt.
  • sew across the folded edge stopping and turning the corner a quarter-inch from the edge. Do this on all corners
  • trim and tuck the end of the binding inside the folded tail  before sewing the last 5 cms.

The   corners turn back really nicely and it’s on to my favourite bit, sitting quietly folding the binding over and hand stitching to finish the quilt.

I hope Olivia enjoys her quilt, if she’s like Dougie and Heidi it will become her relaxing quilt probably becoming part of the soft furnishings of the teepee we gave her for Christmas – which leads nicely on to the next project  … Story cushions’ But that’s for another day.