Archives for the month of: July, 2014




This carpet is the reason I didn’t continue work on the canvas work for eight dining chairs when we moved here in 1990. As you can see the colours were totally wrong , not to mention the pattern. Its proved very serviceable  over the years, red wine, and small children, but it really wouldn’t have been my (our choice), but it was far to good to change.


But the colours go beautifully in the lounge now. So when I found it while sorting out last back end I decided the time had come to finish it. If you are new to my blog you can go back and look at where I started re-working it.


I got so carried away once I started the final stage I forgot to take photos until I’d got the first two sides on. The learning curve was a bit steep as usual as the canvas work is not quite a square (15 inches in one direction and 16 in the other). I wanted the overall cushion to be about 22 inches square (to fit the pad I already had – 26 inch feather cushion – I like my cushions plump and squishy).


On the photo above the four horizontal stripes were already done when I started re-working it. And although I found most of the original yarns, these have disappeared, used for other projects(?) in the long interim. (I’ll probably find them now it’s finished!). I did pull out some of the original work (the shape of the finished piece had to be different) out but wanted to retain as much of the original as possible.


The fabric is brown denim and has a definite nap which I used to effect. I realised that if I put the short pieces on the longest sides and the long strips on the short going the whole length of the fabric and canvas work with the nap going in the same direction, it would optically make it look square overall (or nearly). The required lots of careful measuring and checking, more than the usual adage of measure twice and cut once. Then squaring off to end up at 22 inches plus seam allowance.

I have not put fabric with canvas work before in this way, so in the end for the first two seams I’d ended up doing five rows of stitching to get it right. I’ve got used to quilting where the pieces are the same size and the seam allowance comes off both sides, so I’d not allowed the seam allowance to add the long strips! Also I wanted the seam to be right next to the canvas work stitches and the first seam wasn’t quite close enough. So three unpicked seams! I’ve spent so much time on the canvas work I didn’t want to spoil the whole thing but not making it up well.

I’m not sure if readers think I am just totally incompetent or whether it’s reassuring that others make mistakes too!


For the back I decided  to put in a zip. Yes, it’s a bit of a pain, but all the other methods I’ve tried, overlaps, buttons etc., have their disadvantages too, especially with over stuffed cushions.

I know that my old needlework teacher Mrs Hirons would turn in her grave if she saw the way I did it, but it seems an easier way to get an even seam overlap putting in what should be the second row of stitches first on a flat piece of fabric (and working upside down!). Then putting the other piece of fabric up close to the zip and stitching from the right side. These stitches are completely hidden by the flap so are much less noticeable if they are not quite straight. They are straight though I’m pleased to say. Looking at it I’m sure Mrs Hirons would have said it was a well put in zip, if she hadn’t know I hadn’t done it correctly. Also I committed another sin, I didn’t tack. Hence the unpicking on some of the seams!



Made up ready for the cushion, not pressed, nor trimmed inside, just in case anything needed altering I’d not burnt my boats.


It fits, it’s worked, it just needs taking out and cutting off the excess fabric and the corners snipping off (see bottom left).


Finished at last. Looks better square in the chair, but will probably be mainly used as a floor cushion. I’ve realised as I’ve written that I haven’t taken any close up photos of the making up. I can’t at the moment as it’s been borrowed to put in a display of work by the Market Rasen group that I go to. If anyone wants to see close-ups let me know and I take some when I get it back in a few weeks time.



While I was patiently (!) waiting for my canvas work to be thoroughly dry, I decided to pick up another UFO.

My first quilt. This was started in 1999. Yes, you read it correctly, and I really did start it 15 years ago. I’ve done the main part of it (I’ll post that another day). I’d abandoned it when it needed a lot of careful hand-stitching to applique the letters and numbers on it. Something more exciting must have distracted me, I’ve no idea what.

But as with many of my returned to projects I’ve learnt new skills in the interim that will improve the finished result. At Embroiderer’s Guild early in the year we had a talk and demonstration by Jean Proud of her Baltimore quilts. She showed us how to make an invisible stitch to applique with, I’m still trying to perfect it, but it’s an improvement on my earlier appliqued letters.

Back to the quilt – it’s a memory quilt of a holiday in Tucson, Arizona at Easter in 1999 with a very dear American friend, each patterned fabric telling part of the story. The patterned quilt fabrics were all bought in America. All that remains to be done is to finish off appliqueing the “Easter 1999” across the bottom. The letters were already made, a hundred plus 1 inch squares of paper with a 1 1/2 inch squares of soft green (the colour of the saguaro cacti) tacked round each square of paper, then invisibly joined together as the letters for “Tucson” and “Easter 1999”.


The pile of letters ready to put across the bottom of the quilt.20140709-171729-62249711.jpg

The back of the letter “R”. This was the tricky one as I had to make two triangles to make it look like an “R”.20140709-171730-62250732.jpg

I recently bought a metre metal ruler and this proved invaluable when lining everything up, and centring it all. I used a water soluble pen to mark in my guide lines, working from my long age drawn out pattern.20140709-171730-62250193.jpg

Ready to start stitching. You can see a bit of the main part of the quilt, but I’ll show the rest when I’ve photographed it all.

At the top you can just see part of the already stitched Tucson.20140709-171730-62250442.jpg

Although my first quilt is not finished yet, I must have made about 20 others all of which were finished relatively quickly.