Hello, I’m back!

…After a very long pause, I know – the first quarter of the year has been all-consuming at work and in life, and whilst I’ve continued to squeeze in craft projects, they’ve been of the ‘midnight oil’ variety; relaxing and restorative but not conducive to natural light or good photographs.  But spring is here at last, and with it brighter mornings and longer days and a chance to record and share some of what I’ve been up to, starting with this project – a paintbox quilt for Harry!

I’d had the idea for a while to stitch a quilt that resembled an artist’s paintbox; a myriad of vibrant palettes sewn together to create a colourscape.  I took inspiration from the legendary Sennelier Paris colour chart; the names alone sound so mystical and beautiful…

I decided to work with silk dupion (itself a lesson in slippery complexity for this novice stitcher!); I sourced a batch of individual squares and began matching them loosely to the Sennelier colours. I then used fabric transfer paper on white linen to add borders, mimicking the classic half-pan shapes in a paintbox;

Once I had all my paint-pans completed, I laid them out on the floor and spent a while arranging them in rows, trying to work out what sequence of colours worked best.  I looked at them in different lights (mostly bad light; this was late winter in England after all);

And finally – finally – I began to piece the quilt together.  I used a satin fabric for the panelling to mimic the natural wood of a box, and added batting and white cotton to the reverse; avoiding a slippery underside in the hope it stays on the bed at least some of the night.

Despite being as potent as catnip, it miraculously survived several rounds of hide-and-seek by the cats, who took it in turns to pounce as the quilt hung and took shape;

…and now adorns both Harry and his bed, alternating between the two.

A few notes if you fancy trying this yourself;

  • I sourced my silk from this local supplier, who sells small pieces, fat quarters and longer lengths.
  • I always use Epson CoolPeel paper for fabric projects as it gives a long-lasting, natural result.  Remember to print any text you’ll use in mirror-image as it gets reversed in the bonding process
  • This felt like a ‘prototype’ project as I learned so much along the way; if I was remaking it I’d use a cotton for the panels to achieve flatter seams and for easier sewing.  I’d also probably have more, smaller panels and colours; I was balancing the expense of the silk vs the symmetry of the design, so if you’re using inexpensive cottons, I’d go all the way and incorporate as many colours as you can!

Have a wonderful week, wherever you are and whatever you’re up to.  It’s good to be back.

Kate