Thursday, 27 January 2011

In defense of what has been called 'magnolia'...

I often struggle with colour. I look on Flickr and at other people's blogs and will occasionally so fall in love with the way that someone else uses colour in their home that I am overcome by the wish to emulate their boldness and flair. We are having a new bathroom put in at the moment and I began planning it a few months ago with a resolve to be adventurous with colour. I chose tiles with beautiful and definite colours and began picking out paints and floorings that might complement them...but while I could appreciate their beauty to the point of absolutely loving them, my heart did not feel warm with happiness at the thought of having them on my walls. I realise now that I felt guilty and self-conscious for not challenging myself more with colour in my home. But choosing tiles, paints and colours for this bathroom has eventually made me realise that I do not veer toward shades of white and cream through fear of colour, but more through an utter appreciation of them. When I have sat with my husband or friends and looked over paint charts they have surprised me by not discussing colours with me, but simply saying 'but that's not you at all' when I have pointed at a deep plum paint....and thank goodness that they seem to know me better than I know my self at times.

So sitting in boxes, waiting to be laid on walls are these small mosaic tiles that just felt so right as soon as I saw them, with all their calm, understated pearly iridescence that in certain lights make me think a petrol-spattered puddle.

All these choices that have needed to be made have made me think a lot about colour and how one can feel that one is not being brave and fearless if one does not splash it about with abandon. Before Christmas I was sent a review copy of Orla Keily's Pattern (full review coming soon - it's fantastic, and what is written below is in reference to one paragraph in the entire book, the rest of which I thoroughly enjoyed). I read much of it over the holidays, and was struck by one paragraph because of how passionately I disagreed with it.

"Despite the widespread availability of colour in every area of life, from clothing to wallpaper and paint, from bed linen to pots and pans, many people fight shy of it. While fashions in clothing and interiors do go through their periodic patches of monochrome - 'black is the new black' - there are those who remain ill at ease with colour regardless of what is in the shops or featured on the pages of a glossy magazine. perhaps this is Because they are daunted by the sheer choice of colours available and the fear that they might get it 'wrong' or perhaps they are simply uncertain of how to handle its emotional power or worry about standing out from the crowd and calling attention to themselves. All of which might account for the rather depressing popularity of 'magnolia' as a safe wall colour. Whichever is the case, life without colour is not merely cooking without seasoning, it's cooking without half the ingredients." - Orla Kiely, Pattern.

Firstly, I think Magnolia is a derogatory term. The word magnolia reeks of all that is soulless, bland and without personality. It makes me think of settling for living in a colourless box because B&Q were selling 10 litre cans of magnolia paint on special offer the weekend that decoration was carried out. So to write off the whole spectrum of creams, whites and pale oatmeals with the word 'magnolia' makes me feel as though, for all her brilliance, Orla Keily is missing something. I realised through this bathroom choosing process that whether it is technically correct or not, I, and I know many others, very much see shades of white as colours : colours that allow room for other things to speak, such as light, texture and reflection. These shades of white make my heart sing with their subtlety and calm and just how many hours I can lose every year enjoying and appreciating all that they allow to be seen: the way that light bounces off them in such a pure, undiluted way and the canvas for shadows that they provide.

These two pictures were taken a few months ago within five minutes of one another as the winter sun sank down.
I think Orla Kiely's take on things disregards texture, light and reflection and her handbags have always seemed an example of this to me: for someone who displays such brilliance when it comes to pattern and colour, I've always found it odd that she chose to ignore the importance of texture in the equation and created her beautiful handbags in a laminated fabric where practicality was allowed to reign with a total disregard for texture and its many nuances (to me her beautiful patterns look trapped and dampened behind this shiny veneer). When I choose colours from within a spectrum that Orla Kiely describes as 'magnolia', I am not seeing depressing nothingness: I am appreciating the unadulterated dry, chalky finish of a paint; the pattern and structure of a cashmere blanket's weave; the iridescence of a tile finish; and the way all of these things interact with the light and shadow around them. I am not just choosing a blank canvas: I am choosing a subtle but richly patterned canvas that has the ability to be changed, altered and made other by the things around it, without the need to assert its own dominance. I guess you might say that I am choosing pure, unadulterated 'emotional intensity'!

It is rare for me to say anything bordering on feisty on my blog. Whenever I'm sent books to review I feel incredibly mindful that the author is a person just like me who may be hurt by a negative review after months of hard work spent bringing their book to life and so I tend not to write about books that I haven't enjoyed (I'd never expected the author's themselves to read all their reviews across the blogland, but I've now heard from five lovely authors having mentioned or reviewed their books, so I'm now doubly mindful of this). For the most part I loved Orla Kiely's book and intend to write a full review of it in the next couple of days (while sipping tea from one of her mugs), but this paragraph in the book provoked an odd reaction in me, I think partly because she asserts her view as though the use of colour is the superior choice when, call me sitting-on-the-fence-girl, I think that the only thing that matters is whether it makes your heart flutter. I've thought about it often since reading this in December, so please forgive me for sticking my head above the parapet*, but occasionally one must for fear of turning into the equivalent of a can of magnolia paint.

Florence x

(*Yes, Joanne, the parapet has been peeped over twice in 24 hours - lawks! This is unprecedented).

Monday, 24 January 2011

A Negroni shirt for my husband (part 2)

This weekend I finally got the chance to take some photos of my husband and the Colette Patterns Negroni shirt that I made for him. Every time I look at it I want to leap straight in to making another one - this shirt was just so lovely to sew together. The fabric was very kindly supplied by Rachel of Ray-Stitch (Rachel was keen to have a photo of a finished Negroni shirt for her shop's wonderful gallery). The fabric I chose can be found here - it's a an organic crossweave cotton in pale blue, which almost looks grey at times (I love fabrics where you can't quite pin down the colour). I'm told it's the most lovely material to wear at this time of year as it's slightly thicker and warmer than regular shirting.

The shirt is wonderfully slim fitting, not in a too-small sort of way, but more in a fitted-by-design way, which is perfect for my tall and lean husband. For reference, my husband is 6ft 2 and I made him the shirt in a size Medium (if I was making it for a shorter man I think I'd shorten the sleeves a little, as they are generous on my husband's unusually long arms).

It's the details on this shirt that really make me happy:

I really love the little button loop beneath the collar (turning this loop the right way out was actually the most difficult aspect of making the entire shirt). At the back of the pattern Sarai suggests some ways that you can add interest to the shirt, one of which is adding in contrasting facings. At the back yoke I used some of the fabric Lauren Child designed for Liberty, bought for me by my husband as an anniversary gift. It's not particularly clear on this photo, but I also cut the fabric for the pocket on the bias, and there's something lovely about seeing the weave travelling in a different direction.

The patten instructs you as to how to flat-fell all the inside seams, so there's not a raw or overlocked edge in sight. Below is a photograph of what the shirt looks like inside...the appearance of these neat flat-felled seams have made me so happy that I have had to restrain myself from insisting that my husband wear the shirt insideout.

I have wanted to learn how to make a sleeve placket for a few years now, so to have finally made a shirt complete with sleeve plackets is something of a wonder for me - the instructions were incredibly clear (which is so refreshing as I've frequently studied this technique in my dressmaking books and never found the instructions to be clear). I can't wait to start using plackets in the patterns that I draft for my own clothing.

This photo above is one of the only ones that shows vaguely what the shirt is like from the back - it has a small pleat at either side (and creases where people have been illegally sitting down).

As I said to blogless Nina Y, my husband said that having a bespoke shirt made for him was only comparable to having a custom built guitar made...that says it all really: he likes it a lot. If you like sew-alongs (I don't, as I'm hideously impatient and would undoubtedly try to persuade everyone to stay up until midnight so that we could just do the whole sew-along in one day*, however, I do like watching them from the sidelines) then Peter of Male Pattern Boldness is running one for the Negroni shirt. I can't recommend this pattern highly enough: yes, it's been one of those posts where I've had to go along stripping out multiple adjectives, as so frequently happens when I really love something.

Florence x

*I wonder whether an Impatient Seamstress Sew-Along has ever been held before, where everyone makes the same thing over 12 hours...I'm imagining frantic hourly blog updates and all manner of mishaps and unpickings being shared.

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Gifts from my husband

I mentioned in my last post that I was making a shirt for my husband to celebrate our wedding anniversary (hopefully I will show you this in my next post). Some years we tend to make an effort with anniversary presents and some years we don't, depending on whether we can think of something that is just right to give. This year he surprised me by ordering some fabric for me from Liberty featuring Lauren Child designs (of Charlie & Lola wonderfulness). I had shown him the new Liberty collections a few weeks ago as we both love her work, as well as that of Quentin Blake who was also asked to design for Liberty, and it was a complete delight to see their designs translated onto fabric. You can read more about them on the Liberty blog.

The brighter print at the top of this post is destined to become a summer top for me, perhaps based on this pattern. The design featuring trees I put straight to use and worked into the Negroni shirt that I made for my husband (the shirt pattern didn't arrive until after our his gift is a belated one) so that snippets of it appear inside: I thought that it might be nice to have a secretly tree-lined neck.

This is not the only fabric-related bit of goodness that my husband has been up to recently though - for Christmas he made me some beautiful fabric coasters. He ended up learning back stitch, running stitch and ladder stitch - quite impressive for a man who has never touched a sewing needle before (apart from to remove the occasional stray needle that I leave in our bed. They regularly seem to implant themselves in the thickness of the duvet and their presence is only discovered when they pierce someone having broken through to the other side of it...I am always stunned by Mr Teacakes' good humour in the event of these unprovoked attacks).

Having raided my fabric drawers, he stitched these entirely by hand. He picked fabrics that might represent each season so that I can use them in rotation at my sewing desk.

A few days after Christmas I asked him where he'd found the paper that he had layered in between the coasters...he'd apparently bought them especially. I felt more surprised by this than the actual coasters in some ways...that he has noticed that it's not just about what something is: it's the way it arrives; the way it is packaged; the details that are remembered even after they have been discarded, that really make me love something.

So it is a decade that we have been married and nearly fifteen years since I met him as an eighteen year old and he is still surprising me and still paying attention to what makes me really happy. And it is this that makes me feel incredibly lucky and makes me think that he is so fiercely fine. This, and his cheekbones.

Florence x

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Thoughts on men's shirts (Negroni: Part 1)

Last week it was exactly ten years since I married my lovely husband. I have always known that he was bigger than me, but it wasn't until I started cutting out the pattern pieces to make him a shirt that I realised that men, all men, are just big...a different beast entirely when it comes to dressmaking (or should that be tailoring?). When you look at the grading lines on a men's pattern, they aren't just a fraction apart, they are whole inches apart, as if man's very maleness has trickled (or stamped) its way onto the pattern and refused to be effeminised by any curves closely following one another, one size ready to be easily merged with another. Each line stands alone: certain, distinct and self-assured.

The moment I saw the Colette Patterns Negroni shirt I fell in love with it and was quite desperate to make one for my husband. I'd had it in my mind to make him a shirt to celebrate our anniversary, but unfortunately the Negroni pattern took its time arriving in England, so my start on it has been a little delayed. However, that has ended up being no bad thing, as Ian has really enjoyed seeing the shirt coming together and deciding on some of the details. There's something special about a handmade shirt.

Silk Matka
Over Christmas I started researching fabric. My first thought was Anna Maria's voile, but I worried that some of the magic of the gift might have disintegrated in the wardrobe if he had to wait for four months before it was warm enough to wear it. However, Ray-Stitch have an amazing collection of apparel cottons and Rachel sent me a beautiful selection of samples to choose from.

Organic Cotton Crossweave
Organic Handloom Cotton
These are some of the fabric samples that I considered, before choosing the pale blue Organic Crossweave in the second photo. It was a close call between that and the soft grey organic handloom cotton.

A man's shirt is beyond my own pattern drafting skills and I had impatiently begun to think about whether I should buy an envelope pattern when the Negroni spent so long making its way to England (the very thought now makes me want to sit in a darkened room weeping at the fun that would have passed me by) - I'm so pleased that sometimes it takes a while for me to act on a thought, because the Colette pattern has been so worth waiting for. The techniques involved in making a shirt are far more complex than many that I've tackled before using an envelope pattern, and yet they were all undertaken without the strokey beard moments that one would usually expect because the instructions and diagrams are so transparent - I am in love with how Sarai writes a pattern - it feels to be part pattern, part masterclass with an expert seamstress. Perfect.

Working through the pattern has taught me so many new techniques: how to flat fell seams on both a curved and straight seam; a fiendishly clever way of putting the back facing into a shirt that I would just never have guessed at; how to make a sleeve placket, which is something that I've been longing to learn as I will be able to use this so much in the clothing patterns that I draft for myself. 

I can't wait to show you the finished shirt, but it could be a few days as during winter my husband leaves for work in the dark and arrives home cloaked in it too. I am thinking that it would be inappropriate to ask him to go in later one day for blogging purposes, no...?

Florence x

Friday, 14 January 2011

And back to the dressmaking...

Firstly, thank you so much for the bath mat enthusiasm - if you're interested in making your own then do take a look in the comments section as Kerry gives a rather wonderful tip about some latex backing that also gives a non-slip effect. I said in my last post that I've been dressmaking this week. I'm wondering whether making a 'muslin' is the correct term for a trial run when the garment is made of a stretch perhaps toile is a better word, but this is just one of the many toiles that I've run up this week, and I actually decided to hem and bind this one as I think it's probably wearable (or at least I hope it is, as I've been wearing it today).

You might remember the liberty fabric from this post, well, I've been determined not to cut into it until I have the perfect jersey dress pattern. I started the week by drafting patterns myself and I think there might be a few toiles in amongst my experiments that might be made wearable there too (all in plain black or navy knit), however, when I was looking through my favourites on Flickr one night I was reminded of Mame's beautiful dress and then found that she'd also made this one which I think that I love even more. The pattern for Mame's dress came from the Built by Wendy Sew U Home Stretch book...a book which was already on my shelf. At that point I abandoned all the patterns that I'd been drafting myself and broke into the Built by Wendy pattern envelope at the back of the book.

Using this book, as opposed to just reading it, was such a revelation. I have to admit that I hadn't originally been impressed by it - it seemed too basic and simplistic and wasn't quite what I'd hoped for, which is why I hadn't mentioned it on my blog before now. However, I was so, so, thoroughly wrong about this book: it is wonderful. I think I'd completely missed the point of the book. The patterns are simple, but they're created this way deliberately so that you can change which bits you use to produce several different dress designs - the individual pieces almost work as pattern blocks to be built upon. They are also perfectly cut. While the next time I make this dress I will substantially alter the skirt element of the dress, I have never had a top half of a dress fit me quite so perfectly - I love it. My measurements are smaller than the sizes given for the extra small option, but I think the patterns are either meant to fit very tightly or run a little small, as while the top half fits perfectly, I would say that the skirt portion could do with a little more room in there as I'd prefer less clingyness across the stomach and bottom areas which need a little more concealment for me to feel entirely comfortable. Life is less fun when you have to remember to keep your stomach muscles held taut.

I am also in love with Wendy's design at the shoulders, which calls for extreme gathering to create the puffed sleeves effect - it prohibits easy cardigan wearing, but the end result is that the dress feels special and unlike something I might find at the shops. Wendy, you completely rock.

These are the variations I'd like to try next with this pattern if I manage to find the time and material to make it three more times:
  1. Make a gathered skirt section that skims the stomach more for those days when one wakes to the feeling that one may have unexpectedly acquired a small watermelon in one's tummy.
  2. Create a dropped waist and a self-fabric thick wrap belt that ties at the side for ultimate problem area concealment
  3. Make the main body of the dress from one whole piece of material, rather than sewing together a bodice and skirt portion and make the bottom half a little more A-line.
The BBW knit dress could just run and run...
Wishing you a lovely weekend,

Ps. Sorry for the slightly gloomy and dark photos - they were taken at 7am by Mr Teacakes in between his spoonfuls of cornflakes.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

A bathmat for my mother

To look at the last three posts one might think that I'd given up on doing anything other than quilting things in the run up to Christmas. It did seem like that at the time. There are non-quilted things to come, I promise. Some of you might remember some hexagons that I was working with before might also remember a Kona cotton jelly roll. Both of these things ended up being turned into a bathmat for my mother.

For such a small thing, this bathmat has an unbelievably large amount of work in it. It is quilted very densely in lots of different directions in the hope that it would create a more slip-proof grippiness to the towelling backing. I love the way that the quilting looks on the towelling - an unintentional bonus.

The colours were all chosen to (hopefully) go well with my mother's bathroom's pale aqua glass tiles (why did I have one of her bathroom tiles in my house? Because I asked for one to use as a coaster last summer because they're so lovely).

Here it is in its new home.

I loved piecing this mat together - from the hexagons, to the solid border, to the rows of rectangles, it all felt like the kind of intricate piecing that I never normally have the patience for.

While I did enjoy the actual quilting, it was also far more time consuming and painstaking than I'd anticipated. To avoid snagging the towelling backing, every single time I turned a corner, or began sewing a new line of diagonal stitching I had to lower the feed dog teeth and then raise them back up again once I'd repositioned the mat...which left me feeling slightly on edge as this was done hundreds of times (no, that really isn't an exaggeration). I had thought of placing a layer of stitch and tear beneath, but the denser the sewing the more it tends to leave behind tiny white flecks caught beneath the stitches ...which may have been more irritating.

I think I'd quite like one of these for our new bathroom once it's finished...but first I'd need to decide what colour we will paint the walls. Inspiration for making a bathmat came from Katy and her beautiful and wonderfully photographed really hadn't occurred to me that you could actually make your own bathmat until I saw hers.

I also made this little drawstring bag to hang on the back of her bathroom door.

There's something pleasing about using metal hardware. It makes me feel as though I haven't made it myself.

It's odd to be blogging constantly about things made in December, which seems a long time ago and isn't at all where my head is now. The detachment of not being still wrapped up in the excitement of a project as I blog about it makes me feel as though I'm doing a child's Show & Tell to you. And just in case you're wondering where my head currently is, then I'd say that half of it has possibly gone missing without trace, and the other half is immersed in dress patterns and having quite the most amount of fun imaginable. This week I have woken every morning with a chest full of butterflies at the excitement of another day of drawing, tracing, cutting and sewing - it's a lovely feeling to be almost on the crest of making what you hope is going to be a really wonderful dress, even if never turns out quite to be that thing when you try it on (so many abandoned muslins this week). In fact I sent a text message to Mr Teacakes one day this week suggesting that it should be illegal to have so much fun with a chalk pen, some pins and a few metres of jersey fabric. Well, imagine truly believing that the fun couldn't get any better, and then reading that you have authorisation to go downstairs and eat one of your husband's own birthday chocolates...

Florence x

Monday, 10 January 2011

A quilt for my father

It was something of a quilty Christmas for me, and it was actually this quilt (rather than the one in the last post) that came first, made for my father. My father is one of the most energetic, lively and busy people I know, but he is also incredibly good at carving out time for an afternoon sleep, so I thought that he'd find a quilt a useful sort of gift. When it comes to colours he is a simple, unfickle creature and it was easy to guess at what might suit him. He has always loved black and white (this may even be the foundation for his love of licorice) and doesn't object to some grey thrown in with it. My only problem with this was that when I went to investigate these colours locally, I found that the Moda's Bella Solids does not include a great range of greys and blacks. It was then that I turned to Robert Kaufman's Kona Solids, which by contrast has a quite breathtaking array. I love the way that this range has been formed and that they have answered a need for several shades of black, giving us a plain black, pepper black and charcoal black (all of which were used in the quilt), and a similar generosity of palette around grey: Coal, Slate, Medium Grey and Ash (all were used apart from Slate, which was unavailable in the UK in November, but oh how I wanted this). I also chose Snow from the range of whites and creams.

Have you ever heard of Colour Synesthesia (where words or letters are seen as colours...or at least come to mind attributed with a colour)? I think perhaps everybody has this to some degree, but in our family we have always had strong opinions about what colour different words are and can happily spend hours debating (and arguing) about the colour labelling of different words and my daughter has easily slipped into this with us (while my little boy doesn't seem to have any opinion on this, so I'm guessing that he has got Mr Teacakes genes in this area, who looks similarly blank on the subject). I don't know if there is an official name for it, but I think that I also do this to a lesser degree with people and nature, so while I'd mentioned in the last post that my husband had an oak tree and owly feel to him, my father has always, and I think will always, be very much a bird in my mind.

I loved making this quilt - the colours were incredibly satisfying to work with. However, I encountered some problems when I came to quilt it. My work area suddenly felt too small to quilt it easily and in frustration I took my sewing machine downstairs and spent a happy couple of hours quilting it at the dining room table. Of all the quilts that I could have taken downstairs, this was the one that I should never have done that with. While my sewing room is a cat-free zone, downstairs they leave their naughty hairs liberally about the place almost unseen until you look at a quilt full of shades of black and grey and find that it has been decorated unexpectedly. I had to carry out extensive brushing, individual hair removal and washed it several times before I felt that the fabrics looked pristine again...the idea of giving a gift with cat hairs is an upsetting one.

You can see why I took it downstairs now...working a large quilt so close to a wall is not fun.
And on the washing front...apparently always a cold wash with Kona Cottons and then a spell in the tumble dryer. The colours didn't run or fade at all, which I was delighted by as I had felt anxious about mixing so many dark colours with a snow white.

This is the quilt patch that I made to go on it.
I gathered a large dose of inspiration for this quilt from looking at the quilts of Cherri House - I love the way that she uses solid colours and the urban inspiration that she looks to for her quilt designs. I don't have her book City Quilts,but it's been on my wish list for a while and looks wonderful - do you have it? Have you made anything from it?

This week I am feeling excited about getting back to some dressmaking and also having a wall knocked down in our house...just a small wall, but a wall nonetheless. I'm hoping that we will soon have a much larger and fully functional new bathroom (I say fully functional as we have been living with a partially functional one for the last four years). So for now I am enjoying a last dust-free day for a few weeks...

Florence x

For UK readers: not all the colours that I wanted for the quilt were available in the UK and it was too late to risk sending for them from overseas, however, I managed to get most of them from Pollyanna Patchworks and The Fabric Loft - I mentioned in this post how wonderfully helpful Lizzet of the Fabric Loft was - I am still incredibly appreciative of her downright loveliness and she now has even more Kona colours in stock.

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Oak tree quilt

This was one of the many Christmas presents that I made this year. It's a quilt for Mr Teacakes: not a quilt for our bed, but a quilt for lounging under on a Sunday afternoon watching films with the children. He told me he was happy with anything...but then said that it had to be neutral enough to blend in with the colours of our sitting room so that I didn't try and tidy him away whenever he got the quilt out; that he didn't want it backed with quilting cotton as that wasn't warm enough; and also that it mustn't be at all girly. Mmm. I spent two evenings researching fabrics and then declared that his brief was impossible. Until I suddenly remembered Joel Dewberry's Modern Meadow range (sometimes it helps to think of male designers when trying to find a more masculine print), which makes up the bulk of this quilt...and then I found that the colours from that range are a perfect match for those in Cloud 9's Beyond the Sea and My Happy Nursery ranges (the use of the latter should not imply that my husband is a giant baby, rather that the Happy Nursery range is stylish enough to transcend the baby's bedroom boundary and make its way down to the sitting room).

I was feeling utterly confused about the backing until I realised that Anna Maria Horner's Forest Hills in Moonlight had the beiges, golds and soft turquoises in that I was looking for and comes in an incredibly soft cotton flannel.

So here's the finished quilt, being held up in the remnants of the snow (which has all melted away now). The inspiration for the tree comes from Material Obsession's The Seasons quilt, which I've loved since first seeing it (I've only just discovered this morning that the Material Obsessions girls have a blog- if you haven't seen it then do go and take a look, as it's overflowing with quilty inspiration). The quilt in the book features four seasonally changing trees, however, for Mr Teacakes I wanted a simple, lone, solid tree, as he has a distinctly Oak tree feel to his person.

This is a picture of the reverse of the tree as I pieced it together - the way that the Material Obsession book suggests that you construct this is so clever and means that while it looks like a complex thing to make, it's actually far easier than you'd think. You can find the book on Amazon here - it is a really wonderful book.

Mr Teacakes was delighted with the quilt and I can see exactly why he said that he wanted it backing with something other than quilting cotton - the flannel is so snugly. And the quilt does actually look at home in our sitting room too, which is a relief - the main colours in the room are the light coloured sofa and the faded turquoise rug...other than that it's all shades of cream.

My favourite bit of the quilt is actually the bit that shouldn't really be in there. Fran and Jo of Saints and Pinners (where I bought many of the fabrics for the quilt) very kindly sent me some samples of flannel from the Forest Friends range which I didn't end up using, as I decided the dark lines that surround the owls would be too heavy for the room that it had to go in, however, when the tree was finished I caught sight of the sample and thought how nice an owl would look perched in the here it is.

The owl felt just right for the quilt, because my husband, as well as having an Oak tree feel, also has an owly feel at times too...sort of tawny, fast and sharp-eyed...with a thick neck (his footballing friends tease him that he must spend hours secretly doing neck crunches to have cultivated such a neck...I had never noticed this until they pointed it out).

The quilt patch message features one of Joel Dewberry's trees, as well as the other owl that I managed to salvage from the fabric sample (thank you so much Jo and Fran).

I quilted this on the machine in simple diagonal stripes to go in the same direction as the leaves that are being blown from the tree.

I was a little sad to finish making this quilt - I adored every minute of its construction.

Oh, and the fabrics, for UK readers: the Joel Dewberry fabrics came from three different shops as no one place had all the prints that I wanted, but between M is for Make..., Saints & Pinners and River Fabrics I found them all. The Cloud 9 fabrics are also from Saints and Pinners, as well as the flannel owls. The wonderful Anna Maria Horner Forest Hills Moonlight flannel is from Seamstar.

Florence x
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