our lovely friends came to play.
By virtue of some alphabetical wiztrickery, H and A were lab partners at university, realised they'd spotted each other before at church, and we've all been the best of friends ever since. We count A as family, particularly now that he is Kitty's godfather, which mostly means that I don't sweat the tidying up if he's coming over.
His better half, L, has an appreciation for the merits of Persephone books, salted caramel almonds from Hotel Chocolat and all things handmade, so we were always going to hit it off.
They came to spend a quiet cosy Sunday with us; a big roast gammon and sticky toffee pudding lunch, followed by Christmas presents, and an afternoon tucked up in my quilt collections, playing Sonic, eating sweeties, reading, knitting and playing shop with Kitty. It was restful, fun and quintessentially English; if only we had a roaring fire and it had been snowing outside we would have been quite the picture postcard (well minus the computer games perhaps).
But you didn't really want to know about all that (and apologies to anyone whose New Year's virtuosity is wavering because I mentioned sticky toffee pudding (with ice-cream)). Sunday was the unveiling of the final handmade Christmas presents for 2011.
First, there was a large, flat, square, squishy parcel for A, which Kitty assiduously helped him to unwrap.
A 'very useful quilt for snuggling under on cold winter's days when part of your house has a stone floor'
The pattern is Pandora's Box from the Jelly Roll Quilts book by Pam and Nicky Lintott, and the fabric is a Moda jelly roll that I bought from my very first Festival of Quilts. It perfectly fulfils the criteria of 'colours that I have seen A wear' and in fact he turned up in a jumper that perfectly matched the orange border.
It's a really great pattern for jelly rolls and just generally; it's nice and simple to show of the fabric to its best advantage and as it's all mixed up together, the quilt doesn't suffer for the quilter not being able to separate the jelly roll neatly into light and dark.
It also lent itself to a piecemeal construction. On one evening I took the jelly roll apart and did the first stage of cutting, another night I matched the strips into pairs for the centre sections, sewed them together during one nap time, and cut the second stage during another. At the end of each stage, all the pieces could be tucked away from tiny fingers in a bag without loosing my place, or upsetting a precisely piled stack of cut pieces.
Once I'd sewn up the main quilt top I stood back and marvelled at the centre points of the blocks; my quilting has improved so gradually through little bits of practice here and there I forget that I can be pretty accurate now if I take my time to do it properly.
The border is a flaming orange and gold weave; it doesn't feel like a printed quilting cotton but is much softer with more drape. There was just enough on the bolt at Quilter's Den for the borders or I would have been tempted to have a little bit more for a skirt in one of my favourite colours.
I had enough white on lime green polka dots left over from my sampler quilt for the binding, so all that was left was to choose the backing, and what a backing: