Wednesday, 5 September 2012

WIP..... are you sitting comfortably.....?

Then I shall begin.  

Many, many, many years ago, I went to school In Lincolnshire, & one of my friends was Kathy.  Over the last 31 years, we've kept in touch, both ending up living in the Reading area, co-incidentally.  Kathy is very musical, playing many instruments herself and is now a music teacher.

Never have we particularly talked about art and crafts or indeed sewing of any description.  Until last summer when I started talking about my new found quilting hobby and Kathy told me she had started making a quilt for her sister's 18th birthday, but never finished it.  We would have been 21 at the time, so this is one or two years ago.....

To be fair, Kathy was very modest about this quilt, didn't give me much info to go on and said it was in a bag in her mum's loft in sunny Mablethorpe.  I said if she retrieved it, I'd help her finish it.  Then last week, I heard the quilt had been found and was ready for more work.  

Well, today we met for lunch and I got to see it, and Kathy has been well and truly hiding her sewing light under a thousand bushels let alone just the one!

This is 80" x 66" in size and is all EPP hand stitched hexagons.  I am in awe!  At the time Kathy made it, her boyfriend's father owned a factory which made christening and confirmation gowns and he donated loads of scraps for the project.  Some of the fabrics are solids, but many are voiles or finer, some are broderie anglaise, and they are just gorgeous.  The whole thing is as light as a feather, and the stitches are tiny and invisible!

Having no proper hexagon template, Kathy drew one out on paper and hoped for the best - she was at Reading University at the time, studying music.  Some of the hexagons still have the music parchment paper in them that she used as the templates.  She'd even gone so far as to embroider her sister's name in one of the hexagons and the number 18 in another one.  You can see from this close up how fine some of the fabrics are.

We took a little trip to Village Fabrics in Wallingford, to see about how best to finish off such a delicate piece - I had ideas but I'm still quite new to this so wanted some expert opinion.

Because of the transparent nature of the fabrics, I'd suggested Kathy add a solid layer behind that so the wadding wouldn't show through... luckily the fabric shop agreed.  We then decided on soft bamboo wadding so the lightness would match the quilt top.

There was a pieces of white on white fabric in the bag too, which Kathy said she didn't know the purpose of.  However, when measured it was the perfect size for the backing so we pretended that was the plan all along!  For the quilting, because it it so light, we decided tying was better than quilting, and so it's going to be tied through the centre of some of the blue sashing hexies.  We picked out some blue for the border, and as Claire's birthday is the 16th September, we agreed to meet up again on Monday to get it all put together and hopefully finished in time for Kathy to get it posted to arrive on the big day - it'll be 24 years late, but I reckon we can blame that on the Royal Mail.....


  1. Gorgeous! Appreciate the idea of a thin backing to the quilt top before it's quilted, I'm going to take that idea and use it with my insane hexagon top. Another dilemma solved!

  2. Wow that is so wonderful!! And what a shock it will be when she gives it to Claire on her birthday! Lovely project :)

  3. Oh wow! Do you think she'll get the quilting bug proper like you have?

  4. what a fantastic story!


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