Essential sewing keeping me clothed and sane

Not Everyone’s Cup of Tea


I have enough clothes but I love sewing so I turned to quilts to fill the gap. I thought I wouldn’t like it – too precise, too twee, too only for old ladies! Mostly brown or pastels with flowers and triangles that resemble china tea cups. Not my cup of tea. while I fully appreciate and acknowledge the skill and work that goes into sewing such a quilt – the style is not for me.ste-marie-aux-mines-1-795650b1117_g12

Except, I’ve fallen for patchwork! I was warned that it was addictive and I have to admit – it is. I suppose it’s like sewing your own clothes, patchwork can be whatever you want it to be – size, colour, design and pattern – you take control.

I started with a cushion cover, then a scarf and matching skirt, then moved swiftly on to a full size quilt that was so bad that I added a plastic shower curtain to the back,  a couple of ties, rolled it up and called it a picnic blanket!

The next attempt was supposed to be for my son, who, DV, is going off to uni in September. I ordered fabric online and when it arrived the first thing he said was “Is there no material without flowers on it?” Mmmmm

One night I couldn’t sleep so I got up and went into the sewing room where I pulled out all the fabric, the cutting mat, rotary cutter and ruler and started cutting strips. After a few hours I had thousands of them! I had all this fabric that he didn’t like so I made a quilt to practise. Now the problem with this quilt is that there isn’t enough contrast between the colours and the pattern sizes are too similar and there’s no real block design and so what you get is a blurry, washed out, mis-matched heap of fabric roughly in the shape of a square. But I promised myself that I would never start a quilt without finishing it and so I kept going.


In the meantime I bought 2 books: Kaffe Fassett and Improv Quilts and realised that what I have made is possibly a combination of them both! Fassett mixes colours with apparent abandon and Lucie sews with apparent abandon – nothing twee about either of these styles.


Fassett’s quilts are rich and deep; tropical fruit and equatorial flowers: his fabrics are luxuriously detailed, saturated and complex. He has the gift of colour. They may not be everyone’s cup of tea but it’s fascinating how colours, designs and patterns merge to become a cohesive whole. Fassett explains colour here.


Planning colours

Lucie Summer’s style is the polar opposite – pared down designs with plain and small print fabrics that create a clean and light quilt.




It doesn’t matter if the points don’t meet, or the strips are different widths, it’s the overall effect that’s important.






I like modern quilts and Google images has me drooling and planning in the most unrealistic way as there will never be enough time and in all honesty, it is rather expensive. I also think that patchwork and quilting has to be the most futile of pastimes –  you buy perfectly good fabric, cut it up and sew it back together again! Nevertheless, I’m hooked.

I’ve bought equipment too…an extension table for the machine and a darning foot with bits for free motion quilting. This what a big quilt looks like when you try to machine quilt it, free-hand


I need a bigger sewing space!


There’s a lot of learning to be done but that’s why I’m enjoying it and it can only get better….



17 thoughts on “Not Everyone’s Cup of Tea

  1. I too enjoy quilting from time to time. Yours looks absolutely lovely. Enjoy the process 🙂

    • It’s such fun Rhonda but I’m impatient and so accuracy goes out the window in my rush to complete. I’m trying to learn to be patient, trying…….

  2. I just love those colours. Nothing twee about it.

  3. I can see why you are hooked. Your quilt and those in your post are gloriously rich in colour and style.

  4. You are having fun. No further explanation needed 😀👏

  5. I love your quilts! I am fabric obsessed but I cannot start p & q-ing…no way….I simply cannot afford the time, the space and more importantly the money to take this up…..but I love seeing quilts, touching the fabric…..drooling at jelly rolls….augh….but no, simply out for me….I did try a few hexagons by hand years ago and after about 3 of them I thought there’s more to life than these little stitches..I know I could machine them now but I am not exact enough…that Lucie book is probably me…….but totally understand how it is a challenging fascination for you.

  6. Kaffe Fassett? That’s it – you’re lost! And the quilting books look lovely too… just don’t look at crazy quilting on pinterest, promise?

    Seriously your quilts look great, and you’ll soon develop your own style from what we’ve seen.

    • Fassett is either love it or hate it – I just find it fascinating: colours, patterns, designs. Ooops, accidently went to crazy quilting – now how did that happen? Thanks Su

  7. Pingback: Quilt Guilt | thedementedfairy

  8. I think your quilt looks blooming fab! I fear that I too may be sliding down the slippery quilting slope. I’ve been hoarding a pile of fabric scraps with the vague idea of making something quilty with them – maybe a cushion cover, and even bought a quilting magazine last week… I need to start quilting like I need a hole in the head! Then I think about how tricky it is to get a big quilt under the needle of a normal sized machine, and I catch myself on. I love the more modern quilt designs too, and Kaffe Fassett’s colours are beautiful. My friend in England’s mum went to a talk he was giving recently, and said he was great. Happy quilting!

  9. Quilts and quilters…I admire them but never want to partake in the practice. It all depends on where you view them…want more impact 10 feet away or up close? You fabrics are so special and hold their own and are quite happy colors up close and would be lovely in garments but quilters want maximum impact and that WOW factor so they go for outrageous color combos and shock value. It is a compromise between harmony and style and plain kick-ass features. Have fun and keep at it, Ruth…all sewing should be fun!

  10. I don’t often laugh at sewing blogs but yes, the line about the futility of cutting up and resewing 🙂 Your colour combination is lovely and I recognize your colours in there.. you clearly have a favoured palette that sneaks into your work.

    It’s exciting that your son is soon going to uni though (you’ll have a bit more time to sew no doubt!).

  11. Pingback: and counting… | corecouture

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