A couple of years ago, I moved into my first house in London with a garden. Despite my terror of creepy-crawlies, I cleared it and planted some pumpkins that I’d grown from seed. Unfortunately the pumpkins succumbed to some kind of parasite or something after they flowered, so they never grew to full maturity.
I moved house again in September. Even though my new house also has a (nicer) small garden, gardening was pretty far down on the list of my priorities. However, I did buy some cute hedgehog-shaped herb planters from the shop at the Wellcome Collection.
All of these things convinced me to switch the focus of my limited amount of gardening time from outside to inside. I occasionally worry about the fact that I am dying a slow death due to to levels of air pollution in London. Someone once told me that going for a run outdoors causes more harm to your health than good due to the dodgy air. No idea if that is a fact fact or an alternative fact, but it stuck with me and I decided to buy some plants that claim to have air-purifying qualities; a peace lily and two varieties of aloe vera.
I also bought these from This Way to the Circus on Etsy.
* Cat with heart eyes emoji*
Soon after my plants arrived from the internet. (Garden centre, what??) I followed the directions as best I could to re-pot them.
I’ve got to say that I’m thrilled with how they’re looking so far. I am considering creating a spreadsheet for perceived levels of air cleanliness over time.
Before long, I was struck with the fear that I may not be able to keep my plant babies alive. I have killed many a plant in my time. Hopefully the investment I made in these plants will help encourage me to look after them properly. If I manage, I can see more greenery in my future.
Part 3: After the wedding
This is where most of the work and creativity in this project lies, as well as a lot of the fun.
Create your centrepiece
See this post for further information.
Buy batting and fabric for the trim and backing, if you haven’t already
I spent a long time looking for flannel or brushed cotton for softness and settled on this baby-friendly bunny print. I had to improvise slightly and use some binding fabric either side as the fabric wasn’t as wide as the quilt.
Check and double-check the instructions on the fabric pens. You may need to iron the design onto the fabric in order to make it colourfast.
I had to iron mine for five minutes. 50 squares. For five minutes each. Yep.
Decide on final design
Lay your squares out so you can see what your finished quilt will look like. I decided that I didn’t want any matching prints to touch each other. I wanted an even balance of colour too.
Here’s an early draft.
Here the balance is off, with more light patterns at top left and more dark bottom right. I later realised I had enough white squares to make an alternating pattern, which helped with balance.
If you can’t keep your squares laid out like this for the duration of the project, pick them up in order, row by row so that you can sew them together in your chosen pattern.
Sew squares together
Mum convinced me that we should overlock the squares together. While this gives a strong seam, I would recommend using the sewing machine. It’s easier to stretch the fabric in undesirable ways when overlocking, and I think simple machine stitching would have given a more uniform result.
Also watch your seam allowance and try to keep it uniform even if this means cutting people’s messages. Unevenness will come to bite you in the arse later, mark my words.
I sewed each column together first, marking their order with post-its.
Then carefully pin or baste the column together.
And stitch the columns together.
Iron your patchwork thoroughly. Do not iron seams open as this can allow the batting to come out. Instead, iron towards the darker fabric.
Also iron your backing fabric.
On a large, flat surface, lay your backing out RS down.
Lay your batting on top.
Finally, lay out the quilt on top, RS up.
Carefully pin and/or baste all three layers of quilt sandwich together, starting in the centre and working out. This step is essential for a neat final result.
It’s time to stitch the quilt together. You must use a walking foot on your machine. Seriously. Again, use the start in the centre and work out rule-of-thumb. Don’t sew top to bottom or left to right. Instead, start in the middle and sew to the edge.
Roll the quilt up like a scroll to make it easier to fit into the crook of your machine.
This will also help with not sewing multiple quilt layers together, which happened to me and was infuriating.
Also stitch or overlock around the edge of the quilt to aid with the binding.
I’m in a bind
Make your own if you’re a masochist like I am. Follow an online tutorial. I was going to write one but I don’t think I used the best method.
Start by stitching the binding to the back of the quilt. I followed this tutorial for mitered corners, which I think looks pretty good and was nice and clear. This is how my corners turned out.
Here’s what the back looked like at this stage. Apologies for blurred pic, it was raining.
Flip the binding over and top stitch.
Snip off all of your loose threads and basting stitches. Neaten the corners with hand-stitching if you need to. Rejoice, for you are done!
Here I am presenting the blanket to the bride, who by this point had been married for nearly six months. Oops.