I was recently rummaging through the box of blankets that we keep under our bed when I came across this quilt. I don't think I've used it since we moved here two years ago, or for quite some time before that. I'd gone off it a bit, grown bored of it, and packed it away.
But I found myself looking at it with fresh eyes. There are a lot of memories in this quilt, a lot of our family story. It was one of the first things I made on my sewing machine, the first big crafting project I ever completed, and I was so proud of my efforts even though it's full of mistakes. I made it back when Angus was a baby, long before I started this blog, and worked on it in the evenings when the kids were asleep.
There are a lot of memories in the fabrics. The quilt started when John cleared out a load of old shirts - mostly blue or white - from his wardrobe and I decided to cut them up and use them in the quilt. I was deep into my "make do and mend" phase then (we were probably quite skint, too) and so I tried to spend as little on fabric as possible and I think this does show. I bought very cheap, too-thin cotton from places like Hobbycraft and some fabulous bold-printed slightly-too-heavy cotton from IKEA (the pattern with the log cabins) which really would have been better suited for something hard wearing and utilitarian like a peg bag or cushion cover. I then splurged on tiny amounts of Cath Kidston cotton and Liberty tana lawn which I used sparingly.
I'm not saying I know much more about quilts or sewing now, but I think it's probably best to try and keep the weight of the fabric fairly similar and consistent. Also, if I was going to make another quilt again like this, I think I would spend a little more on good quality fabrics that I really love.
The pattern is simply squares of fabric sewn into long rows which are then joined along the lengths. Once backed, you then sew diagonally over each square, corner to corner, to create the quilted effect. It's beautifully simple and a great beginner's quilt.
Some of my corners line up perfectly, others are way off. The back of the quilt - an old double bed sheet - is an absolute dog's dinner. I didn't have a quilting foot so just pushed the top, bottom and wadding through my poor sewing machine, scrunching it all up as I went. Now I would know to pin, pin and pin some more, using safety pins to keep the layers in place as I sewed. Or I might even hand quilt it.
The fact that it's a bit rough around the edges means I'm not remotely precious about it. It's been through the washing machine many times and makes a good mat to sit on in the garden. It has quite a country feel about it, don't you think? Not perhaps what I'd go for today, but I like it's softness. I think that's maybe what a quilt should be about, softness and comfort ultimately, rather than perfectly executed geometric patterns (although I would strive for that too!)
Thank you so much for your comments on my last post, particularly those around dog training. I've really felt this week that I'm failing at dog ownership (well, dog training really) because she's not perfect and definitely has some areas that need work, so it was really helpful to be reminded that this is still early days for Molly and for us and that we are all doing ok.