Peaceful piecing



There was no possibility of taking a walk today so I’m getting  my exercise this afternoon by starting to piece a quilt for a bedroom we’re in the throes of decorating. One minute I’m kneeling on the floor, the next I’m leaning over a table cutting strips and I’m constantly up and down the stairs to the ironing board. Later I will be in the kitchen, the most well-lit room in the house, starting to sew the pieces together. I am  following a log cabin design and as I don’t like to be too organised when piecing a quilt I’m just using my eye as I place the strips.

I remember reading a blog when the author said she could piece and sew a quilt top in an afternoon. But where is the fun in that? I like to take my time and see how the design evolves, and I’m looking forward to piecing and sewing steadily from now until the week before Christmas. Once the top is pieced I will choose the backing fabric and sew it to size. Now comes the fun bit, basting the three layers together. I use spray fabric glue for this operation which washes out during the first wash and it helps to have a second pair of hands to make sure all three layers are as smooth as possible. I hand quilt using embroidery thread and a free-hand running stitch. This part takes months, but is mostly done sitting down in the evening. Finally I will square off the quilt and attach a length of home-made bias binding.

When finished the double bed-sized quilt is destined for my son’s newly decorated bedroom (still a work in progress). I tested the colour Custard by Little Greene paints on all four walls as well as the window recess and I like it very much. It is a sophisticated yellow, not too ‘clean’, not too ‘nursery’,  just right. The carpet, a very soft grey/green which my mother would have called ‘eau de nil’ is staying as are the blue and yellow curtains which I made in a Designer’s Guild fabric many years ago. I took the curtains down, gave them a shake and decided that they didn’t even warrant a trip to the dry cleaners. They are well-loved and and will add to the lived-in nature of the room. There is a bank of fitted cupboards but the desk and filing drawers I would like to jettison/relocate to the garage. My plan is to replace the desk with a half-moon console table, which would work as a bedside/laptop/dressing table. The table is half of a Georgian D-end mahogany dining table with three leaves so it can extend from a 42inch diameter round table to a 105inch oval table in three stages. I found  this table in a charity shop in Guildford and bought it immediately, even though we have a perfectly good Victorian dining table and a kitchen table. The 20-year-old oak tallboy from Habitat is staying and I have a couple of options in the garage which I can upcycle  for a bedside table on the other side of the bed.

Ah yes, the bed. The bed’s the thing and the driving force behind this project. We will be bringing down from the rafters of the garage our original wooden double bedstead and buying a new mattress. Apart from the mattress, the paint and minimal fabric for the quilt everything is being repurposed or upcycled.  I will re-use a soft green linen lampshade on the central light fitting and we have a pair of black ebonised lamp bases whose drum shades I will cover with leftover yellow fabric. I will leave the choice and hanging of pictures to my son, who has an artist’s eye. I would love to frame some of his beautiful photographs but he may not want me to do that.

The final piece is a Lloyd Loom chair, one of a pair bought from a junk shop during my London flat-sharing days. The chair in this room is painted blue, a colour I mixed myself pre-Farrow& Ball days and on a sunny day I may re-paint with a real Farrow & Ball tester pot. I like the layers of past paint showing through and for that reason I would always paint by hand rather than using an aerosol paint. The blue gingham Designer’s Guild fabric cushion will stay because on the reverse side is the original nursery fabric which featured a marmalade cat. Such happy memories of choosing fabric and paint and preparing our baby’s room.

I do enjoy a spot of decorating and re-purposing and with an almost empty house it is so easy and by doing it yourself completely stress-free.

How about you, have you got any plans to redecorate this winter?



7 thoughts on “Peaceful piecing

  1. It sounds as if it will be lovely, and I like that it’s all re-using things you already have. I put a couple of bedrooms together over the summer, I’m done for now! CJ xx


  2. Gosh Sarah, that quilt looks lovely (and highly ambitious, but I’ve never made a quilt!). I hope your son will love it. Your decorating plans sound great. I love a spot of redecorating, moving furniture, upcycling, etc. I’d do loads more if I didn’t have a household of people who get twitchy if I so much as rearrange a chair! Sometimes, I just have to have a move round and summon my ‘force of energy’ self to make it happen. My husband sighs deeply. Do post a photo of the finished room if you can. I’d love to see it. X


  3. Hasn’t the weather been windy this week! I’m so impressed with your quilting, and the months of work that go into it; I’m a shocker for putting down projects half way through so I admire your perseverance. I love the sound of what you’ve done to your son’s bedroom, especially as you’ve woven lots of memories into the new design – it’s obviously a labour of love. I’ve been rethinking my son’s bedroom now that he’s away at university, switching out the blues of his youth for warm greys; he pops back for weekends and holidays but, in the meantime, I use the room as a sewing room. I don’t want the room to get too monastic so am tempted to put some of his photos and artwork up. It would be lovely to see your son’s room when it’s finished – if you don’t mind sharing. Caro x
    PS. I’m pleased that you’d like to have a go at growing achocha and have tons of seeds to share. Could you send me an email with your address via the contact form on my blog – it’s in the header bar. C x


  4. I had a look at Custard today because I was in a shop selling Little Greene paint. It was more yellow than I expected but I can imagine how lovely it would be in an east facing room – a perfect base for pictures.


  5. I did enjoy reading about how you will make your quilt, and your decorating plans. I could chat endlessly to people about how they decorate their homes. Where is the fun in making a quilt in an afternoon? It’s all about the process – this will be a lovely project to carry you through the winter months.


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