Firstly, thank you for all the lovely comments on the cellar studio! I’m still on the hunt for a pottery wheel, stalking eBay sellers and scanning small ads.  In the meantime I became briefly distracted by the idea of making a bedspread from my vast array of fabric scraps, and have spent a cheery few days cutting and arranging and stitching and taking a very cavalier approach to designing as I go…but it turned out pretty well!

I’ve only made a couple of quilts before; one from Harry’s outgrown baby clothes which I love and which is still Harry’s go-to comforter to snuggle under in front of the TV…

The second was my ambitious celestial quilt which took months of embroidering and needle-prick injuries (thank goodness the backdrop was night-sky coloured so you can’t see the blood-spatter).

I am very proud of it, but it still has the power to cause me to break out in a cold sweat when I catch a glimpse of it.  So this time, I wanted something less high-stakes to experiment with.

I had a length of cotton-linen fabric that I’d bought as a remnant for a bargain price.  It was 3m long and 1.3m wide, which I figured was big enough to drape across a king-sized bed yet small enough not to be a daunting proposition.

I dug out other, smaller scraps in tonal neutral colours; a charcoal length of wool-felt, a silvery piece of upholstery fabric and a metre of chalk-coloured, textured cotton.  I wanted to make something with organic, fluid shapes; pebbles or rings or both.  I gathered up lots of different sized plates and cups to use as templates, and a chalk pencil to mark all my fabrics up.  I drew the pebble shape freehand and then cut some smaller cup-sized circles from the charcoal wool, and used my plates to create the rings on the other fabrics, laying them inside each other to create the ring shape.  For the largest one I deployed a giant pair of compasses (a junk shop find; I think originally they came from an architecture practice), to create a 60cm ring.  I then draped the fabric over the bed and laid all of my shapes in different combinations until I was happy with them.

I tacked the shapes into place before machine sewing them; for the wool-felt I was able to just raw-aplique them in place as the fabric isn’t prone to fraying; with the others I just carefully turned in a fine hem as I sewed.  They are imperfect if viewed with a beady-eye at close range, but few of our overnight guests will offer such judgement and scrutiny.

Once all the shapes were stitched on, I sandwiched the top layer with a similar fabric for the back and a fusible cotton batting for the core, and then borrowed our table tennis table as a quilting table whilst I laboriously hand-sewed my sandwich together, observed closely by the cats for whom the constant ebb and flow of a needle proved just too tempting to resist.  Claw-marks joined needle injuries on my weary quilter’s hands.

I decided to use a contrast moon-white running stitch at intervals along the quilt, and was pleased with the result; it gives it further definition and helps the shapes to pop.

And so now the finished quilt lies in-situ and looks mighty fine for an on-the-fly effort made with scraps.  True to form, the cats have decided their new absolute favourite place to sit is right in the middle of the black pebble-shape, ensuring it has a constant fine shadow of discarded grey fur and the frequent attentions of a lint roller.

If you fancy having a go at something similar, here are some of the materials I used….

  • This fabric was the remnant I used for my base; Petersham in French Grey (now on sale!).  It’s gorgeous and looks and feels like a heavyweight linen.
  • The large chalk-coloured circle and ring are in this fabric, which comes in a range of beautiful colours.
  • My batting was this one (in truth, ordered because it was the first/fastest delivery time I could find, but it proved to be a good choice!)
  • My top-stitching was with this DMC light effects thread

Have a great week ahead, wherever you are and whatever you’re doing.  With the first unlocking of lockdown here in the UK I’ll be going to the hairdresser for the first time in 5 months and I AM BESIDE MYSELF WITH EXCITEMENT at this event I previously viewed as a bit of a chore 🙂