Creating Christmas

I wanted substantial parts of this Christmas to be home-made.  And the bits that aren’t homemade are, by and large, vintage.  It just chimes beautifully with the way this year has been, for me.

So inevitably there has been a flurry of crafting activity which I just haven’t been able to photograph and blog, for fear of giving many games away.  However, since a number of you are asking about the Tank Girl quilt, which I have *just* finished (and since I’m bursting with pride at it, and pleasure at having finished it in time) I thought I’d put some pictures up…

 I can’t remember if I mentioned it, but this quilt had no central layer, and is backed with microfleece.  It’s heavy and dense and snuggly warm – just as well, as my son’s bedroom is one of the coldest rooms in the house.  Instead of simply tying the quilt, which was my first thought, I decided to outline quilt each square, using sock yarn.  I wanted it uneven and hokey looking – nothing too polished, in keeping with the ‘upcycled’ nature of the whole quilt.  So I didn’t mark the quilting lines.  I didn’t even baste it – I just pinned it with malenky great big quilting safety pins…  Which meant that the back wouldn’t stay flat by itself, and so in order not to end up with a blocky, wrinkly backing, I laid the whole thing out on my draughty wooden floor, and quilted it in situ.

Normally, when I’m hand quilting, I use a size 10 between quilting needle which is, tip to tip, slightly smaller than 1″ long, and very fine.  For this quilt, I used a size god-alone-knows yarn darner, which was about twice as long and four times as thick as my normal quilting needle.  My normal quilting needle is the top one in the picture over to the right.  For scale, that’s a cat hair it’s resting on!  The needle I used for this quilt is the threaded one just below it…  Ordinarily, you insert a needle in the tiny gaps between the threads of a fabric.  Microfleece doesn’t have any such gaps being, essentially, melted plastic and not woven at all.  So it required some force to get the needle through, and it often landed on the thumb knuckle of my non-needle hand.  Resulting, I have to admit, in a fair amount of swearing and a totally unreasonable amount of Twitter whingeing! 

Still, I persevered bravely, ignoring the pain in my knees from crawling over the floor, and the bruising in my left knuckle (pity me, interwebs!!)  And I think I *did* achieve the kind of uneven, ‘homespun’ effect I was looking for, as evidenced by the back of the quilt…

 A substantial amount of this had to be done while my son was at home, which involved locking myself into rooms in the wee small hours of the morning, and the long dark evenings, with threatening signs taped to doors… And then being very tolerant when the animals wanted to get involved.  The dog is a very old lady, and likes to snuggle up under a blanket.  She is the biggest fan of my knitting/quilting activities!

Anyway, the quilt is, eventually, finished.  I decided not to bind the edges – again, to preserve the ‘homespun’ look, but also because just overlocking them seemed to preserve the masculine flavour of this quilt.  So I ran them up in the overlocker.  Time will tell, I guess, how durable this edging is, but it looks good for the time being…

 Here is a final photo of Tank Girl in her setting.  As I type, the whole thing is going round the washing machine and my heart is, slightly, in my mouth.  I had originally planned to boil wash it and allow the blocks to felt variably.  But that was before Tank Girl who is on a fine mohair patch which I don’t want to shrink so radically that it distorts her.  So I’m washing it at 40 degrees, and will dry it slowly in a coolish tumble dryer… 

Other Christmas crafting has included knitting.  I decided late on that my mother needed an additional something under the tree, so I threw together a cowl using an aran weight wool yarn that I’ve got lying about (who hasn’t…).  I’m quite pleased with the result, although it’s a *bit* big for me: being new, it’s quite stiff, but I’m hoping it’ll soften down with wear.

The pattern was an online freebie, from f.pea, and knitted up very quickly.  I may do it again, in a lighter yarn, and see if that makes it lacier.  I prefer my own cowl, I have to say…!

So that’s Christmas about done, I think.  I hope you all have a lovely time!  

About Vicki

One thought on “Creating Christmas

  1. All lovely things. You will be well within your rights to sell the son if he doesn't love that quilt.

    And the cowl for your mother is lovely, but I agree yours is nicer – if only for the gorgeous yarn 😉


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