Or 'how we went quilting together and greatly confused everyone by wearing matching hand knit socks'
I've been a lax blogger again of late; long working hours and a renewed if unwilling interest in the gym have been eating into my time and whilst long business trips can be quite productive on the knitting front (there's only so much work you can carry to do on the train), I don't have the facility to blog on the move which is probably a good thing! Trust me, you haven't missed much. I've been knitting with Cocoon and I love it!
However, Saturday was one of those days that goes in the diary in a bright happy colour, usually with smiley faces and a big arrow pointing at it. Way back in the summer, when Christmas was still a snowflake in St Nick's eye, Mandy suggested that we both go on a course to learn to make quilted Christmas tree skirts. As I require no more than the barest whisper of persuasion to do anything crafty I signed up straight away and started to look forward to it.
Saturday morning dawned bright and chilly as I loaded up the sewing machine and set forth on our great adventure.
In short, we had a wonderful time. There were three of us on the course, Mandy and myself and to my very great delight, R, a friend from church so the day was full of easy banter as well as the usual furrowed brows and deep concentration associated with learning anything new. It made the day even more fun; some courses can be wonderful in terms of learning but rather stilted on the conversation front as no-one knows anyone else - this was the best of both and the perfect antidote to a busy week.
And to top it all, my sewing machine decided to co-operate and played nicely all day, a distinct change from its usual inferiority complex induced sulkiness when it hears other machines doing clever electronic things!
I didn't have my camera there on the day so I have Mandy to thank for our "in progress" shot. This is what we had achieved by the end of the day:
Pretty much a tree skirt between the three of us. Mine is the top left, Mandy's the bottom left and R's is the one on the right with the wonderful red tree.
I came home having quilted and appliqued all of the panels, just needing to put them all together and put the binding on, and on Sunday afternoon it looked like this:
You can't see the fabrics in great detail in these pictures; the cream is covered with gold stars, the main green is mistletoe and the trees are showered with more gold stars.
I couldn't find any red with stars that matched the colours so it's gold sprinkles instead. The whole thing shimmers in the sunlight, and a few points of the trees have background stars right at the tip, as if they're dangling off the branches.
It's really very serene for me, I'm so often all about the crazy wonderful brights but I was obviously in a very chilled out mood with the sewing and the good company!
The pattern that we were following had a series of small christmas presents to applique underneath the tree and although I cut out a dozen or so presents and played around with the placement underneath each tree, the colours just didn't look right so I left them off - I suspect there may be a few fabric present tags on Christmas presents this year though - I'm not letting all of that cutting out go to waste!
The final job was the binding - machine sewn with zig zag stitches in gold, rather than the usual slip stitching which given the length involved turned out to be a wonderful treat, and adds a bit of glitz to the edges.
If you'll excuse the flash photography, my tree skirt can be unveiled:
And with the all important label on the back
I've also embroidered the date underneath - I can't decide whether to just have the date I made it, or think about embroidering a year on every year that we use it - only time and my inclination for embroidery in 2010 will tell.
All the fabrics came from Quilter's Den in Warwick and I have no idea who made any of them or what they were called - I just picked the ones I liked.
And last but not least, those matching socks:
Spey Valley socks by Nancy Bush in Misti Alpaca sock yarn in Taos - perfect x 2
Whose feet are whose?