Every year as the long summer holidays loom, 12 year-old Harry and I begin to discuss a fun project he can work on to span the weeks; something that can fade into the background when he has something more exciting going on, but can rush in and fill any empty days or hours in between (here’s last year’s!).  This year, he decided to have a go at making this beautiful quilt from a pattern by Modern Handcraft, to hang on the wall of his bedroom.

In June, it struck us both as a very realistic, fun and straightforward summer make for an entirely novice sewer and his slightly-more-competent supervisor.

Come September, Harry’s apt reflection is that ‘we should be very proud, and also remember how many new things we have learned about sewing and patience and about NOT GIVING UP’.  Indeed.

But isn’t it awesome?

The first task was to cut out all the pieces, in 8 tonal fabrics.  The pattern gives a great guide on choices; we limited ourselves to colours I already had, resulting in a rather strange array of textures from shirting to canvas, but it all fitted together.  To make the measuring and cutting easier, I cut the shapes out of cardboard first so they could be simply drawn-around.  Here’s Harry doing some kitchen-floor geometry;

Once cut, the mountain range pieces are sewn together in 8 columns.  After a while, we figured out a simple way of keeping on top of which was which; toilet rolls!

Teaching Harry to use a sewing machine was a heady premonition of teaching him to drive a car; a job I will in future be outsourcing.  He rode the pedal with terrifying bursts of speed and agonising pauses, testing both our reflexes and our nerves.  The cats learned to leave the room when they heard the machine start up, as reels and bobbins shot projectile-like across the floor.  The seams now reflect the whole spectrum of stitch length and tension (including nervous tension), but are no less impressive for that.

Once we had the quilt all stitched together, we laid out Harry’s mountainscape on top of the quilt batting and a cool backing fabric.  Charlotte the cat contributed significant amounts of hair and chewed up almost every single quilting pin used in this process.

Once it was pinned, Harry spent an afternoon zig-zagging back and forth on the sewing machine to quilt it together.  The beauty of this design is that there’s no specific pattern needed, and random, careering lines in every direction just add to the design.

I helped by sewing on the binding – a fiddly and precise job; we briefly considered a gorgeous sea green but in the end went for tonal blue-grey.

And so with two days left of the school holidays, Harry’s quilt is complete (and majestic, and beautiful).

You would not necessarily choose to hike along Harry’s mountain range, which has sudden drops and crevasses where the columns couldn’t quite be made to line-up.

Were you to view the quilt through a critical eye, you’d notice where we mixed up our backs and fronts and discovered only afterwards that some colours were indeed different when turned around. One colour we ran out of entirely and had to cut up an old shirt.

The purist would notice where the piping ran out and we switched colour halfway around the edge, or the infinite tiny pinpoints of needle-prick blood spatter that sprinkle every mountain peak and valley fold.

But mostly, you’d notice an awesome job, commemorated as the Great Summer Project of 2022!

If you fancy having a go at this project, we used the Range pattern here.  Our backing fabric is ‘Sumi‘ by Harlequin in Azure, and our cat is available on loan, on request for any seams you need ripped up or binding you need chewed.  The ‘Circa 2022’ label is by KATM (the coolest labels in town!).

Have a great week, wherever you are and whatever you’re upto.