Sunday, 28 November 2010

Quilted Things: blue & purple container

I just realised that I never blogged about my second quilting project (not counting the pot-holders) from last year.

Here it is:

A view of the inside:

And the whole thing laid flat (I inserted a zipper across the diagonal in the bottom layer):

Here are a few views of the assembly process:

I since discovered that I am not using the correct techniques because I am basically self-taught.  I had tried to find classes before I started but didn't find any in or easily reachable from central London, or they took place at the wrong time of day.  There were some really nice ones I found: a whole weekend thing with accommodation which sounds really wonderful, however, way beyond my financial means.

I then tried my favourite method of learning something: self teaching from books.  I found a good book which does cover basics - but unfortunately at several points I just didn't follow the explanations.  I was left bewildered and confused!  And I like to think of myself as someone who does pick things up easily.  But quilting is very much something that you learn easily when someone shows you, but it is not at all easy to describe.  Even diagrams or photos don't necessarily help.

I also kept going onto the Internet (sites like and did find quite a bit of information that I could follow - like chain-piecing, or how to do the inside pattern.  The one thing I didn't think to try YouTube!  Would have been too easy I suppose.  That's the place I finally learnt how to attach the binding that goes round the edge, something I hadn't figured out yet with this project (but I have since!).

I don't think that it mattered too much with this project that I didn't have a clue what I was doing.  I think my idea for putting a zip into the bottom (to lie the whole thing flat when not in use) is, not to put too fine a point on it, rather fabulous.  Imminently practical anyway...

The idea was to make a container you can put into the boot of your car: any of those loose items that keep rolling about in there (you know: loaf of bread, a couple of water bottles, bunch of bananas, that sort of thing: the stuff you end up putting down separately because you've run out of space in your grocery bags or collapsible boot boxes) - you can just chuck them into that, fold the top over a bit, and Bob's your uncle!

It was a present (Christmas last year) and my Mum was delighted.  I have the sneaking suspicion that she likes everything I make for her, but I also feel that she was really taken with this...

So much so that she declared it was much too nice for putting into her car!  She would, at times, use it unzippered, as a quilt, in the house too.  That's fine, I'm very pleased that she is finding more uses for this than intended, but it was meant to live in the car!

I guess the best thing to do would be for me to make her a proper quilt, wouldn't it?  Sounds like a really good idea... {update to follow}


  1. Ingenious! Maybe you could make one in denim or dark-colored canvas for the boot.

    I particularly love the look of the inner part at the top. It's gorgeous. Your technique appears to be producing lovely, flat piecing. Great work!

    I, too, am self-taught from books when it comes to quilting. It took me years of reading and re-reading books on the subject (before Internet), and then more pondering to apply it to actual fabric and needles and thread. lol

  2. I'm really pleased to hear that I'm not the only self-taught quilter! Thanks so much for your lovely comment!
    Yes, flat piecing is exactly what it is. I am usually so happy to have done everything else that I haven't tried quilting through all the layers yet, I just wibble-wobble stitch along some of the seams (not a word, I know) to puff up that area a little bit. I like it!
    If I ever manage to get a sewing machine that allows me free motion then I would love to give quilting a go! I find it way too much work doing something like this by hand.
    The inner pattern is called 'seminole strip', I copied that technique from the Internet.

  3. The only actual quilt I've made was done without batting. We needed a summer cover that wouldn't make us hot, so I made a quilt... pieced and hand-quilted, but with nothing for batting. It was pretty easy.

    Have you tried lap-quilting? I love doing it that way.

  4. A summer quilt sounds lovely!
    I am not sure what lap-quilting is (I am self taught), I'll look into it! Thank you for mentioning it.