Welcome to the New World where social distancing has become a byword, self-isolation essential to save lives and staying at home has never been so important but for us quilters, where get-togethers, knit and natters and quilting groups are part of our being, it is difficult to be so isolated.

I consider myself lucky in that I am locked in with my family, although they are all men so I am now fed up with the full re-run of Marvel films from the beginning all the way through. (Apparently, we are in phase 3 at the moment! Of the films, not the virus…) So what have I been working on to keep myself busy and sane?

‘Harebell’ designed by Monkey Buttons, made by Helen Kent

Firstly, UFO’s (UnFinished Objects) were top of my list. I had recently started a removable footstool cover which matched a wonderful wall hanging kit called Harebell from Monkey Buttons. I bought it as a kit some time ago and started it on the Bloggerati Retreat last November. Normally I don’t go for patterns or kits, usually designing my own, but I’d admired this for so long I treated myself to the full kit at a show the year before. I have to say, I was really impressed with it. A wonderful selection of beautiful fabrics that were also more than generous. We hear of a lot of kits which barely contain enough to finish the project which is probably why I don’t tend to go for them. Plenty to finish the wall hanging, enough to play with the fabric placement and, yes I do keep all scraps, sufficient to use as a basis to create a cover for a rocking chair and footstool that need recovering. I’ve added some denim, from old jeans, and some additional matching fabric, which I used for the backing of the wall hanging. I now need to start on the chair cushion!

Footstool cover
Big Stitch Quilting on wall hanging

Another project I finished, which wasn’t really a UFO but an OBR – Orphan Block Repurposing. As I was tiding-up my worktable I discovered two blocks. 10″ Squares of fabric, one with a large heart in the centre and the second with three mini English Paper Pieced hearts appliquéd. I remembered this was from a workshop demonstrating the different techniques of bond a web appliqué and EPP. They used fabrics from the same range so I simply joined and layered them and used the little mat to practice some free motion quilting. I divided the mat into three sections and then did three different designs of quilting. I think it turned out quite well. It now sits in pride of place on a little bookshelf outside my sewing room/office and makes me smile every time I pass.

Free motion quilting practice
Finished mat

I think this is the key to the lockdown… Finding little joys that will cheer us up as the time moves on. So, have a rummage and see what projects you can find to finish. I think my next will be the wall hanging that is half-finished quilting and maybe the next stage of my landscape challenge issued some time ago that I’ve not done anything more with?

Until next time, stay safe!