Saturday, 26 December 2015

Kärshult cushion complete.

This post is a version of the explanation that goes with the cushion as it was a gift for some very kind friends.

When we were at the summer house in May I was inspired to create a quilt. Quilts are, however, long in the making. That first spark of an idea needs time to develop in the back of my brain.  And once I decide on colours and themes and select the fabric there then follows the actual sewing and quilting. It’s not instant gratification at all!

I’m pleased to say the quilt is done. You can see them in this blog also.

 We had a wonderful time at the summer house and because of that I also wanted to create a smaller version for the summer house. So you will see there is a cushion. I thought you might like an explanation of the colours and design I used.

This side of the cushion is a Log Cabin block chosen, as you might have guessed, in honour of the summer house. The Log Cabin block is an old design, it is found as a design on the clothes of Egyptian mummies! It was made popular during the American civil war as a symbol of the pioneering spirit. It consists of strips of fabric sewing around a central square. Traditionally the central square is red or orange to represent the hearth of the home. I was inspired by the fire in the house.

The surrounding strips are traditionally arranged with the lighter colours on one side, this is the side of the house in the sunlight, and the darker colours on the other, the part of the house in shade.

The light green is the moss in the forest, the darker green the trees, the brown is for a moose we saw and the yellow in the inside of the small flowers that grow all around. I looked them up and in English they are called wood anemones. The pure white is the petals of the wood anemones, the patterned white the bark of the birch trees and the light blue the colour of the lakes. You will see on the quilt I made a colour change; I swapped the yellow for a mid blue. That blue was the colour of the sky one evening just at dusk. I used it for the quilt as I felt it represented what I wanted to show better in that format. For the cushion the yellow worked best.

Log Cabin blocks are arranged in many different ways when sewing up a quilt. You can see from mine I sewed four blocks together to create a star shape. That design is called Starry Night and I chose that to remember a night we went outside to look at the stars. It was beautiful. Of course there is just one block in the cushion so I couldn’t create a further design that way. I did quilt a radiating design on the darker side (as I also did on the quilt) for the twinkling stars.

On the other side of the cushion I used the blue sky fabric and created a different design. The white triangles are called flying geese units. You will see they are also on the quilt in different colours used as a border on two sides. On the last day we were at the house I sat outside thinking quilt thoughts (as I often do) and pondered what I could use as a border. As I sat a pair of geese flew over the house. As if by magic

Hopefully this cushion will find its way to Sweden and live its days in the summer house. 

Tuesday, 22 December 2015


I have eventually settled on a coaster method that I like. It is very basic but it seems to produce good results and is fairly quick to do.

In this picture I have the coasters arranged on a Christmas Table Runner I made from the same fabric. 

To make them I cut a square of fabric 6 inches by 6 inches. I then cut a piece of wadding the same size and quilted the fabric to the wadding. In these examples I only used straight line quilting however my plan is to try free motion quilting when I make some non-Christmas ones. Just to try it.

Once the quilting was done I trimmed them to five and a half by five and a half inch squares. I then cut squares of the same size in the backing fabric (though they are reversible). I pinned the backing fabric to the quilted square, right sides together. Then I sewed a quarter inch from the edges all around, leaving a small gap to turn inside out. Trim the corners then turn right side. 

Sew an eighth inch around all 4 sides. This tidies it up and also closes the gap I left to pull it the right way. My only negative was I don't like the finishing off of this last stitching. It looks a bit ugly on such a small piece if I sew back stitches at the start and finish. While it didn't bother me as much for these as they are just fun Christmas coasters I think it will bother me for any others so next time I will try finishing them off by not back stitching but burying the knot in the layers. I know it will be more time consuming but it will make me happier.

These can be made in any size of course and the same method used for placemats.  

Kärshult. Complete.

My Kärshult quilt is now complete. Hans very kindly took me to Roker beach to take photographs of it.

I like it more than I thought I would. Originally the colours weren't as pleasing to me as I would have liked. This was due to them being more inspired by the situation than being what I would have chosen myself. I do think they come together quite well though. I especially like the flying geese, which is strange as I disliked doing them at first. 

I learned so much from this quilt. Mainly that it is much more difficult than I thought to manoeuvre a quilt of that size through a small machine. Yes it is doable but it can be frustrating. I think if I had been more proficient it would have been less tricksy. So I'm going to give the quilt as you go method a try for my next project. Or something small and manageable so I learn the skills I need. It's not easy to learn to quilt on a large project. 

I would also like to do more free motion quilting but again it was outside my skill level on such a large piece. Having said that I do love straight line quilting. I'm very pleased with what I achieved. 

 The quilting enhances the starry night pattern. I just stitched in the ditch with the flying geese units. The white borders have straight lines also. 

All in all it was very successful and the quilt is now on my bed.