That was an extremely unusual Easter all around, I think. A time when many people, regardless of belief, like to get together with family but this year couldn’t. We’ve barely left the house since the lockdown started, with much of our shopping being done by my brother-in-law and a very kind neighbour who works in Morrisons. As such, there was not a vast quantity of chocolate eggs floating around the house this year, but since commercial Easter eggs are typically a lot of packaging and not all that much chocolate, in recent years I’ve tried to make something for my family in addition to or instead of chocolate. Here are some of this year’s creations!
I’ve made my mum quite a few cushions, but I realised that I hadn’t given my sister one. Last year I enjoyed a really fun weekend trip away to Oxfordshire with the Quilt Group ladies and we did some classes at Village Fabrics, one of which was folded patchwork. I took along some beautiful blue and white batiks that I’d had for a long time – I bought them on my first ever trip to the Festival of Quilts! They’re also colours I know my sister really likes as well. They worked really well for the folded pattern and I had great fun fussy-cutting the circle prints for the cornerstones. The block finished at 18 1/2″, perfect for a good-sized cushion. To add a bit of detail, I found my sashiko supplies and quickly discovered why sashiko on batik isn’t widely recommended! But I adored the look of the crisp white stitches against the blues and blacks, so I persevered.
For the quilting, I decided to do some very simple walking-foot quilting so as not to distract from the clean, elegant look of the piecing, in blue and white cottons. The back and binding of the cushion was some pretty bird fabric that mum found for me, which suited the style of the cushion.
For mum, I decided that a new table topper would be a nice thing to make; I made her a Christmas one when I first took up quilting, but it’s a bit season-specific. A Spring/Easter one was definitely due! For this, I used five different Moda Ombre Confetti prints from a half-yard bundle I had in my stash – one white/cream for the background, a gold, a purple, a pink and a green. As our kitchen table is round, I decided to make another hexagonal topper – plus I do love sewing equilateral triangles! I started cutting and piecing without being quite sure how it would all go together, ended up cutting some more strips to get a decent number of triangles, then splotted everything on my design wall and moved bits around until a pattern fell into place. It zipped together in an afternoon.
I decided to really go to town with the quilting on this piece, with an assortment of dense fillers and floral/leaf motifs. Although it’s not a big piece, it still took a good amount of time to get it quilted – it still takes me by surprise how mentally and physically intense this kind of quilting can be! And of course I had to try and do it as secretly as I could – not easy when you’re in lockdown with the person you want to gift something to! Still, I’m really pleased with how it all came out, especially the big flowers. And it looked great on out Easter Lunch table!
The last gift I actually have photos of is a bag that I made for my niece, Nia. She needs a bag to take swimming and she loves mermaids and seashells, so I used these motif to make her a cute little tote bag. The internet provided a nice scallop shell, but I couldn’t find a mermaid in the pose I pictured, so I had to draw my own – and humanoids are not my favourite things to draw! I am rather chuffed with how it all came together in the end – enough that I may have to play with the mermaid design a bit more!
I used a faux-punto effect under the shell to make it really puffy and dimensional, enhanced by fairly dense echoed paisley shapes quilted around it.
I am particularly proud of the magnetic tail fastening, the addition of some extra stabiliser really helps to keep the fin shape looking perky! Assembling all the disparate bits into a bag in the right order took a little bit of pondering and puzzling, but I picked my way carefully through it. To make it actually useful as a swim bag, it’s lined with some waterproof fabric left over from when I made a change mat for Nia before she was born! I am not sure when the local pools are likely to be open again, but I’m sure she’ll think of other things to carry in it until then.
I also made a quilted panel wall hanging for my little nephew Aled (who is too young for chocolate anyway, even without his dairy intolerance issues) and a cork fabric wash bag for my brother-in-law – and I failed to take photographs of either of them while they were still in my possession! I can certainly say that, for me, boredom over the last few weeks has NOT been an issue!