confessions of a fabric obsessive

Tag Archives: Piecing

For me – one bathmat

Ages ago I bought a lovely bathmat from Ikea (I love Ikea – just their fabric section can keep me happy for hours). Well it lasted for ages, looking lovely and blue (my favourite colour and obviously a good colour for my blue and white bathroom) and small and perfectly formed to fit in the minuscule space between the bath, the washbasin and the door. That is, it lasted well until a certain young lady of my family wasn’t as careful as she might have been when colouring her hair and got a big splodge of deep red hair dye on my lovely bathmat.

I put up with it for a bit and then decided that I could use an excess hand-towel for a bath mat instead. I have a whole set of duck egg blue (another favourite colour, which features in my living room) towels in the airing cupboard originally bought to deaden the sound of my son’s drums. When he went off to university the drum kit got packed away and the set of towels went to live in the airing cupboard with their new friends.

I’ve been looking for a replacement for the “dropped towel on the floor” look for a while now.  I’ve seen several I like,

this one:

this lovely one:

this one,

and this lovely one

But while they are all lovely, and importantly, do-able, nothing got me reaching for my clean used towels and quilting cotton stash. Until I saw this photo on Stichery Dickery Dock;

I’ve loved Cathedral Windows quilts since the first time I saw one, but how much work is in one? Too much.

So when I saw the link to Amy’s tutorial on her blog I clicked and then read through the tutorial.

Simple, maybe even easy. I know that this tutorial is for a playmat, but would this work with white towelling for the backing?

Well, I’ve spent all day waiting for the quilting cotton to wash and dry enough so I could iron it. I’ve even ironed all of my laundry while I was waiting for the quilting cotton to dry (desperate times…).  I’ve cut out the fabric circles (using a dinner plate as the template, because I don’t have Amy’s flash circle-drawing thingy) and now I’m stuck.

I have cut too many circles for a start (d’oh!). I think 3 by 3 will be a good size for my bathmat, so I cut out 9 towelling circles, and then 9 each of the two fabrics that I love and want to have in my bathroom. But I only need 4 of one and 5 of the other. Or I could have all the circles in the same fabric, but then I’d have to choose which fabric, and I can’t choose.

So I pinned some circles together to give myself an idea of what the finished mat might look like. I took some photos and I played with them on picmonkey to give myself all the options I could think of.  Now I need some help to decide which is best. Please bear in mind that my bathroom is white, with sky blue and white tiling and pale yellow painted walls above the tiles and pale yellow (non-slip vinyl flooring), and very small. Also the finished mat will be 3 by 3 but  the photos are only 2 by 2.

All batik

All stripe

Alternating batik and stripe


I really love the batik (it’s not real batik, it’s a print but I love it anyway and I don’t feel nervous about using it for something that’s going to get used a lot), but I want to use the stripe too. I suppose I could make two, one of each fabric and alternate them, but two bathmats? really?

I give up. What do you think?


New quilt top (bad blogger)

Bad blogger for abandoning your blog!

You know sometimes when you just can’t get out of bed or off the sofa to do anything, and the list of things you need to do gets longer than the list of things you want to do, or even the list of things you can do? That’s been me the last few weeks. Gotta love that SAD!

Although better this winter than for many years due to eating properly for once (at least 5 fruit and veg a day and no alcohol)  and having a child- and responsibility-free lifestyle now, I guess SAD had to hit eventually (seasonal affective disorder, or depression brought on/worsened during the winter months, I have the milder version known as seasonal affective syndrome, but I’m going to refer to it as SAD because that’s the name that people recognise and you can google it).

Essential tasks only… paying utility bills, occasionally even cleaning  the place. Not much blogging, as you may have noticed…

Although… I did get fed up with not sewing the other day and made a quilt top, and then my sewing machine annoyed me so much (it’s having serious tension issues) that I stripped it down, removed a year’s worth of broken threads and replaced the light bulb that went months ago. Actually, that’s not bad going all things considered: a quilt top and a semi-serviced machine! Yay me!

My plan for a boy quilt (see I even planned) that I wanted to make out of old jeans:

Big squares of denim (some with the pockets attached) separated by white cotton sashing and backed with navy fleece (for softness). Photo as part of my Process Pledge.

Only two problems with this plan:.

1) trying to get the big squares of denim cut from old jeans,

2) not having nearly enough sashing.

A-ha! to plan B! (I’ll just archive this plan for another time when I can make sure that I measure and cut the denim properly and have enough sashing!)

Plan B = Random scrappy quilt using denim and fleece, cut to the same length but different widths (or same width but different lengths?).

Right now it looks like this:

(I would apologise for the less than great photography, but it’s raining right now, and I got wet taking this photo)

Not bad, huh? Looks better now, hanging up than it did on Friday night at never-mind o’clock. And yes, all of the jeans pockets along the bottom actually are pockets you could use them for whatever you want. No matter which way up the quilt is (almost,) you have a pocket the right way up.

I didn’t realise that all of the little-bits-of-fleece-with-sashing-round-them are all at the top.

Things I learnt making this quilt top (I’ll get around to backing and quilting it when someone says “oh I love it, can I buy it” but I’m still counting it as my “Monthly Make” for February)

  1. Small stitch length when piecing works really well.
  2. I can now reverse appliqué (fourth column from the left, top block)
  3. I can improv-piece weird-shape scraps ( 2nd column, 2nd block)
  4. I can piece stretchy fabrics (in this photo, if it doesn’t look like denim, it’s fleece and fleece is streeetchy) by using iron-on interfacing
  5. I need to check that the interfacing I’m using is iron-on before I start ironing, you can iron-on sew-in interfacing, but it doesn’t stay put for long (although it does still stabilise the quilt block)
  6. Sewing denim to something else is physically easier than sewing denim to denim, especially when it comes to joining rows.
  7. Quilt tops look different hanging on my washing line than they do spread out on my “design wall” (sofa).

Actually quite proud of this. Usually I’m really control-freaky about colour and layout, but I just went with the flow on this one, and it looks cool (still going to be all control-freaky on the rest of my quilts, just glad I can go random when I want to).

No idea when I’ll be posting next, I’ll try to make it something interesting.

Thanks for bearing with me,

Claire Bear

Other quilts I made: My Daughter’s Quilt, ZigZag Rainbow Quilt, Rainbow Stack of Coins Quilt

New Quiltalong – Craftsy Block of the Month

As I’ve almost completed my WIPs (apart from a huge bespoke quilt that I’ll tell you about in a few months’ time when I’ve got somewhere with it), so I’ve been looking around for a way of extending my quilting skills. I signed up for this Block of the Month course on Craftsy, mostly because it’s free. You get a video tutorial and a pdf with written instructions for 2 blocks every month.

I’ve decided to use fabric I already have in my stash to do it, so the whole year’s worth of blocks should be pretty cheap inexpensive to make into a quilt.

I’ve been wanting to use this Mono mini-bundle of fat quarters,

Mono fat quarter mini-bundle in Claire Bear Shop on Etsy, 100% cotton, £5 plus shipping.

click to see other items in my shop

that I stock in my  Claire Bear Shop  on Etsy, for ages. I have quite a bit of the pattern fabric and more grey and black in my stash, obviously.

Being me I couldn’t use grey on its own, so I decided to add some of the plain cotton in my stash. After two days of looking at a pile on my coffee table, I have settled on the fabrics below to add a restrained,  fruity splash of colour to my monochrome quilt.

I see pear, lime, lemon, apricot, pale peach and nectarine. I can't stop looking at this combination of colours, it's so pretty!

The proportions of colour in this quilt are going to be; mostly monochrome (white/grey/black) with a just flash of colour in most of the blocks but not all of them (aren’t I being restrained?) I’ll keep you posted throughout the year, so you can see how I get on (or not).

This will not end up being mostly colour with a bit of monochrome. Definitely not.

I can do this!! And yes, I will iron everything first. Promise.

Happy Claire Bear

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