Wednesday, September 2, 2015

I pay homage to obstacles | The thin line between honour and horrible

I've had the honour of being my husband's carer for most of this year - originally it was "little things" like doing all the cooking, cleaning, washing, gardening, general picking up and general cheerleading ("Your hip will get better! Give me an S! Give me a C!"), but since he had hip surgery a few weeks ago the 'honour' has evolved to dressing him, putting on slippers, getting him in and out of the car/bed/chair, ordering mobility equipment, driving him to one hour physio sessions that leave me freezing in the car, and worrying. I am a worrier.

Seven garden maze quilt in progress

In the middle of all that, and 7 weeks before he was booked in to have his surgery, I injured my back really badly. I do it every winter - it doesn't take much, I never know how I've done it, but I'm out of action for weeks. But this time I decided to ignore all the crap diagnoses that physios and doctors have given me over the years ("it's just hip bursitis!") so I got a CT scan and x-ray done, and the diagnosis was that it was bad. Permanently bad. If-it-had-been-diagnosed-correctly-8-years-ago-it-wouldn't-be-permanent bad. By the time I got the diagnosis I could no longer feel the sides of my legs, couldn't stand for more than 3 minutes without screaming at the boiled eggs that were supposed to peel themselves faster and couldn't actually walk without being bent over in half. I couldn't take time off work because of something huge happening there so I worked from home for a couple of weeks and took a mega load of opiates and muscle relaxants. I had a few months of husband-caring coming up and all I could think was "how on earth am I going to afford a nurse for a few weeks when he comes out of hospital?" because I certainly wasn't able to look after him any longer.

Luckily I have an excellent physio these days and he has me standing up! I'm stronger! I can feel my legs! I have tummy muscles now, for heaven's sake. On Sunday I walked a 4.5 kilometre bush track for the first time since early June. I can't emphasise what a big deal this was. For someone who normally rides to work every day and likes hiking up bush tracks in her spare time, suddenly being quite physically disabled was horrific, especially when someone else is relying on you.

There have been three things that have comforted me in the last few months: Psalms 23, Hilltop Hoods, and English paper piecing.

Seven garden maze quilt in progress

I've been working on my Seven Garden Maze quilt for over a year now - my dear friend Cathy Miller designed it and gave me the pattern on the condition that I actually make it. So I did. I'm using half inch hexagons as per Cathy's pattern, and it's my favourite size to use. Cathy's original used silk dupion, but I'm using homespun (or as the cool kids say - "solids").

I rarely get more than a 15 minute pause to work on this quilt. It sits beside me on the couch in a tin, and I pick up a little when I get a break. I took it to the hospital and worked on it for the hours and hours he was in surgery, and it stopped me freaking out as much I usually freak out when it comes to hospitals. When he got out of hospital and took lots of naps, I was able to work on it a little longer. If he's watching a TV show he really loves but I don't, I get to work on it some more. Seven garden maze quilt in progress
I had it at this stage by last Friday. But I've been on flex leave the last week (thanks to all those extra hours at work) and he returned to work on Monday so I've been able to finish the first three rows of the fifth maze.

Seven garden maze quilt in progress

I love this quilt and all it represents - getting the mind out of the maze of pain, following a path that is true and right, and friendship. Because a friend made this quilt first and gave me the pattern. And also because friends filled my freezer before and after his surgery and allowed me time to sit with him and stitch instead of standing in pain and cooking dinner from scratch.

Occasionally I think to myself that's it's been a pretty shit year so far in Michelleland. But then I remind myself of the wonderful experiences I've had, the friendships made and built upon, the help provided, the movies seen, quilts made and great food eaten. 

It's actually been a fantastic year.

"You know that pain can hang in the air like cigarette smoke right?

Sometimes trying to live and let go
Is like trying to talk with a mouth full of cinnamon though
I'm trying to crawl out the skin I'm in so
I can see through the eyes of a loved one, eyes of an enemy
Rising above sometimes takes a pedigree
That I fear that I don't possess
And turns hope into hopelessness, but I won't regress
Won't let life wear me down
Staring down as the travellers all rush past
Some part their weary brow
And wear a frown like a handlebar moustache
So I live by forgive and forget
Rather that than to live with regret, it's like living with debt
It's a weight that'll curve your spine
Living with hurt's like serving time"
- Live and Let Go by Hilltop Hoods 
(M. Lambert/D. Smith/A. Burford/A. Newman/M. Stafford)

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Finished: The Problematic Apricot - a group quilt

This is not the quilt that Michelle made.

The Problematic Apricot - a group quilt

This is the quilt that Jan K, Jan M, Tracy H, Tracey B, Ronnie, Margaret, Pam, Merrie, Gerda, Emma, Valetta, Kay, Tina and Michelle made. We are fourteen members of the modern quilting group of Canberra Quilters and we decided to make a quilt to enter into the Canberra Quilters Members Exhibition which was held earlier this month.

The Problematic Apricot - a group quilt

And guess what? We won third place in the Group Quilt (Open) category!

The Problematic Apricot - a group quilt

So back to the quilt. I suggested at our first meeting this year that we could make a group quilt for the exhibition. We'd made a group quilt before, as an emergency hug for our group's founder when she was unwell, and not only did we produce a fantastic quilt but we worked extremely well together.

We decided to go with the same idea again for this quilt - HSTs are a good option when there are so many of you making the quilt, and it also allowed us to play on the design wall and that's usually the best part. Jenny had sent me a photo for colour and fabric inspiration and so based on that I purchased 22 different colours for the quilt.  There were a lot of pastels in there, much to most of the group's initial dismay, but those pastels worked really well to brighten up the darker maroons, greens, reds and purples.

The Problematic Apricot - a group quilt

It was entirely my fault that I didn't get the chance to book in available dates at the Canberra Quilters rooms until May, so in the end only 14 people could join in, and not the 20-odd that had expressed interest. It was all OK in the end though, but I know a lot of people were disappointed they couldn't be there to help make it. (Next year I'm hoping it won't be a nightmare year of household health issues that this year has been and I'll be able to be more organised.)

The Problematic Apricot - a group quilt

A couple of the ladies (Gerda and Emma I'm looking at you, you crazy chicks) got creative with the backing. Yes that is a pieced pinwheel back. Yes, that centre point lines up perfectly thanks to Tracy H. And yes, we tried really hard to centre the backing under the centre of the quilt when we basted it and got extremely close!

The quilt top was done in a few hours on a Saturday. The backing was sewn, and binding made, and we had about 6 sewing machines on the go while others cut, matched and trimmed with a couple of BlocLoc rulers that we had brought along with us (I cannot emphasise how wonderful the BlocLoc rulers are - and no they don't pay me to say that!).

The Problematic Apricot - a group quilt

We had a lunch break when most of the blocks were sewn - from the far end of the room we kept assessing the placement and then finally one of the ladies got up and starting rearranging at our bidding.


We named the quilt "The Problematic Apricot" because even though we had heaps of people sewing the apricot blocks, a lot of those blocks had to be unpicked as they were just causing too many problems when sewing the strips together. We don't know why - there was no obvious stretch, the fabric wasn't slubby or open weave, and in fact I think the apricot was the most expensive of the fabrics I'd purchased. Jan K and Tracy H did most of the unpicking, saying "This apricot fabric is proving problematic" and the name stuck.

The Problematic Apricot - a group quilt

(Here you get to see the full horror of my backyard, a victim of two wounded gardening soldiers - poor yard! These photos were taken over a month ago - it's much worse now!)

We spent an hour one evening a week later basting the quilt, and then I took it home to quilt it. I decided to use my favourite Aurifil 28/2 weight thread in my favourite grey colour 2605. I really do believe the heavier 28 weight adds great definition to the quilt, especially when using thinner cotton batting. Unfortunately half way through quilting it with concentric circles I seriously injured my back (not from the quilting though.). Luckily I could still sit at a sewing machine for periods of 10 minutes and the circular quilting gets much easier (with less wrangling) the further out you go, so the rest of the quilt was done in no time. But I must admit I'm not happy with the quality of the quilting at all and I feel it's the one thing that has let down the quilt. From the back of a galloping horse though, it looks great!

I attached the binding and then handed it over to Tina to stitch down by hand with only 4 days to go until the quilt was due to be handed in. She did the best binding job I have seen in my life. Labels and sleeves were attached the evening before the handover, and we had ourselves an entry!

The Problematic Apricot - a group quilt

I'm the very last person you'll find getting competitive in a quilt exhibition, but I was so proud when I got the phone call to say that we had been awarded third place in our category. It was such a great group effort, and we can't wait to do it all again next year.


Pattern: Random half square triangles
Size: 60 " by 60 " (5 inch finished blocks)
Fabric: Various solids by various manufacturers.
Quilting: Concentric circle quilting done by me on my cantankerous Bernina
Thread: pieced with every thread under the sun by various quilters, quilted with Aurifil 28/2 Weight thread colours 2605.
Batting: 100% unbleached cotton
Started: June 2015
Finished: July 2015

Friday, August 7, 2015

Finished: Trip around Honshu

Before you read anything more about this quilt, you need to go and read this post. Go on. I'll make a cuppa while I wait for you to come back.

Trip around Honshu

Read it? You sure? Great. You are now permitted to read on.

Trip around Honshu

I finally finished my Japanese trip around the world quilt.  I called it "Trip around Honshu" because that's what I did last November during some of the happiest few weeks of my life. I tripped.  Around Honshu in Japan.  So cool.

Trip around Honshu

I finished the quilt top in about August or September last year, around the time that my quiltjo went walkabout. I really didn't like this quilt at all. I'd just come off making a bright rainbow of a quilt, all my other UFOs were bright and loud and sassy, and then there was this beast just sulking in the corner, neither of really caring whether I got it quilted or not.

Trip around Honshu

I take a lot of pride in quilting most of my quilts myself (because then they really feel like they are mine, and not a team effort), but the true beasts I tend to send out to a professional because I worked out long ago that professional quilting is cheaper that physiotherapy. I hadn't used the long-arm skills of my friend Gemma from Pretty Bobbins before, except for an emergency hug quilt our modern group had made that she kindly (and very beautifully) quilted, so I thought now was the time to get her help in working out what the heck to do with this monster. I was keen on something geometric but really couldn't decide, and then at the last minute she showed me a wavy edge-to-edge pattern and I was sold. It really is the perfect pattern for this quilt. The thread is King Tut, from memory. It's kind of a variegated dark pink to red colour and it's perfect for this quilt.

Trip around Honshu

As I've already mentioned, I'd stopped caring about the quilt and just wanted it DONE, so rather than piece a back like I usually do, I bought a wideback fabric online and had it sent to Gemma's studio. It was perfect.

I got the quilt back home just before we left for Japan, but I took aged to trim it, then bind it. In the end I finished the hand binding in only 5 hours on the couch (with breaks). That's 8.5 metres of binding. Is that a world record or something? Totally should be.

Trip around Honshu

I have a lot of favourite blocks. A couple of them have the fabric that my beautiful niece had in her wedding invitations - they remind me of her and her wedding day. I also have blocks that have scraps from skirts I'd made. And lots of blocks with fabrics I remember the exact shop in California that I bought them from. But my favourite block is the one made entirely of owls. I bought all the fabrics from Shuji and there are owl squares throughout the quilt, but I figured I had to have at least one entire owl block in there, right?

Trip around Honshu

So there's my quilt, my Japanese scrappy trip around the world. I showed it to Shuji last weekend at the SCQuilters retreat and he loved it and could identify all his fabrics. People at the Canberra Quilters meeting last night loved it as well. From a distance it has a tendency to sparkle with the lighter creamy fabrics, which is what I think people love about it. It's definitely one of those quilts that is full of memories for me. and I am growing to love it, even though it's not really my style any more. But that's totally OK with me. It might even get a turn on the bed this summer.


Pattern: Scrappy Trip Around the World (tutorial by Quiltville)
Size: 84 " x 84 "
Fabric: FQs and F8s of Japanese and American Japanese fabrics, collected since 2003
Backing: Wideback from
Quilting: An edge-to-edge pattern by Pretty Bobbins quilting.
Thread: pieced with Rasant, quilted with King Tut.
Batting: 100% bamboo
Started: January 2013
Finished: 4 July 2015

Friday, July 24, 2015

Finished: Maple leaf quilt

All the way back in 2011, there was a little exhibition in New York which displayed over 600 red and white quilts from the one private collection. The event lit up the online quilting world and all over were amazing visions of red and white vintage quilts in cabinets, and hanging from the very tall ceilings. It was just breathtaking (and I so wish I had been there to see it!).

So when The Quilters' Guild of NSW announced that would have a special category in 2015 for red and white quilts, I knew I had to make one and exhibit it! My original plan was for an improv art quilt inspired by a particular favourite work of mine by Piet Mondrian, but even though I sketched it out, bought all the fabric and made several blocks, it just wasn't coming together on the design wall so I scrapped the idea.

In the end I went for a simple design using the fabric and quilting to create the impact, and I am so glad I did. Friends, meet my red and white quilt, which I've named North-West.

No, I did not name it after a Kardashian baby. No, I did not even know who the Kardashians were until recently, and I certainly didn't know there was some poor child named North West or Drain Pipe or something.

(Seriously though, Drain Pipe would be a pretty cool Kardashian name)

I used a simple maple leaf block. Can I just say how much I love this block? I have no idea if there was a faster way of making it, but I worked it out in my head and then realised it needed a stem, so I just flew by the seat of my pants on that too. Everything was made too big and trimmed down to size using my Bloc-Loc ruler (the greatest tool ever invented for quilters).

Anyone who knows me will know that red is my favourite colour. So I thought I had quite a substantial red stash. Turns out I did not. I had red with other colours, but not enough reds that "read as red" which was one of the quilt show rules. So my good friend Bron allowed me to raid her stash one afternoon. I cut enough fabric for four blocks (thanks Bron) and then realised much later that I hadn't cut any stalks out. Wah! But I don't mind embracing the quirky in quilting, so I added some of my favourite ever text fabric by Kumiko Fujita so that each of Bron's leaf stems has a little message.

All 25 blocks of the top came together very quickly, and then my battle was how to quilt it. I've mentioned before that I had stupidly described the quilting as "swirling through the leaves" in the catalogue description, but in the end I didn't have it in my to do circular or curvy quilting. This quilt was screaming out for directional straight lines in a thicker thread, so I used Aurifil 28/2 weight thread in 2024 White.

I started from the middle edge of the quilt and turned the quilt 90 degrees at the middle point and made my way back to the other edge. I was after an arrow in the north-west direction. Sigh. You just can't take the geographer out of the geography department. I echoed this design every half inch. I wasn't intent on perfection and was happy for some wobbles here and there as it gives the leaves more movement, like they are about to blow away (I don't know where they'd blow. East South East perhaps? Down the Drain Pipe?)

This half inch quilting was going really well. It was mindless, I could meditate or listen to music ... and then I realised I was going to run out of thread. And I didn't have any way of getting more of that thread. And also I was really, really getting sick of the half inch thing. So in the last row of blocks at the North and West side, I quilted straight lines an inch apart, intersecting them within the furthest most north-west block (known to non-geographers as the top left hand block).

And the concept worked really well! It definitely prevented the quilt from looking too boring and this is where using the Aurifil thread in the heavier weight definitely paid off.

Here's the back. I don't know why I'm showing you. It's pretty boring but I like how you can see the shape of the blocks through the back.

The label however is not boring. It was provided by the Guild when I got my acceptance letter and I love it. It's based on Maree Blanchard's red and white quilt exhibited at the 2013 show. Maree sadly passed away earlier this year, but she and Bob James still had a beautiful red and white quilt in the show.

As for the show, well what can I say? It was spectacular. I managed to get laryngitis just before the show and I wish I'd been able to ask permission from the quilters there to show you more quilts ina  blog post.

I was lucky enough to do white glove duty in  the Red and White category section on the first day of the show. There were over 110 quilts in that category! I did not intend to dress to match the quilts but there you have it. It was really busy and everyone loved seeing the quilts. If you want to see more of the winning quilts, check them out here.

What else can I say about this quilt other than I absolutely love it? Even though it's been made with my usual simple block design, the fabric selections and the limits of a red and white palette make it quite different to my usual quilts which tend to be a cacophony of fabric and colour. Because of my general dislike of sashing, there is nowhere for the eye to rest, but you also get some interesting secondary patterns in there too. I don't think this maple leaf quilt will be my last, do you?


Pattern: Traditional maple leaf pattern
Size: 60 " by 60 " (12 inch blocks)
Fabric: Scrappy "reads as white" background, and fabrics from my stash and Bron's stash for the "reads as red" leaves
Quilting: Straight line quilting done by me
Thread: pieced with Rasant, quilted with Aurifil 28/2 Weight thread.
Batting: 100% white cotton
Started: January 2015
Finished: June 2015

Sunday, July 5, 2015

That finishing feeling

In terms of deadlines, my life is pretty cruisy at the moment. One Canberra Quilters exhibition entry is done, and the other - a group quilt - is basted and waiting for me to quilt it. I also have a birthday quilt to co-sew with a friend by Spring. It was started a year ago but I can't find the pieces.  Actually, there is a lot of misplacement of good fabric and patterns going on here lately. You'd thing living in a bigger house this wouldn't be a problem. You'd be wrong.

In the process of searching for things I'm also unearthing long-forgotten projects. I have more than a few projects that are only a couple of hours from completion, and as I'm sick of them taking up space on the spare room floor, sewing room floor and study (floor) I'm aiming to complete them as I see them..

Trip around Honshu - binding

I had this Japanese fabric Trip around the World quilt top quilted by a commercial quilter last October before we left for Japan. I trimmed it for a show and tell lunch one day, and then it has sat folded neatly, with the backing trimmings piled on top so I could use them as binding, on the floor in the spare room ever since.  Yesterday I made the binding and attached it, and then spent a few hours last night stitching the binding down. 320 inches of binding in 5 hours - I was obviously on a mission! Photos to come soon.

City Lights quilt - innards

In my searching I also found this Oakshott quilt which my husband has been nagging me for 18 months (that's how long since we finished renovating) to finish so he can put it on the study wall now that it's painted. I want to quilt it with a circular pattern, so I will do this before I quilt the group exhibition quilt (practice! The group quilt will be quilted the same way!).

Scrap piecing the back

I never had enough backing for the quilt, which is why it has festered for so long. So yesterday I also put together some of the Oakshott scraps to make up the difference. I really love how this fabric sparkles. I don't love how it frays.

In the meantime I still haven't found the lost birthday quilt project, but this morning after swimming I found the energy to clean up some of my fabric shelves. With the frantic stash- and scrap- busting that went on with my Sydney exhibition show quilts the shelves got into a right royal mess. Add some stash enhancement to that, and you have yourself a bit of an organisational disaster.

Sewing room stash management

 I've finished seven of the sixteen shelves, but I seem to have run out of storage for all the greys I seem to have acquired.  Wish IKEA made a bigger Expedit. Not that my sewing room would be big enough to hold it.

Sewing room stash management

A lot more work is required, so it's time to put the music back on and get back to it. I'm pretty pleased I finished one UFO this weekend - if I can finish the backing for the Oakshott and find the birthday project we'll know that I had a winning weekend!

Sunday, June 28, 2015

The City Lights Dress and a little Canberra Frocktail

When a sewer loses her confidence in sewing after more than 24 years of doing it, it takes some serious real-talk and pepping to get her back to her former sparkling self. This is what happened to me a few weeks ago. I made an Astoria top and it was a disaster. All over the internet people were making Astorias that look fantastic, and I couldn't get a simple muslin to be even close to fitting. Seams were taken in, shoulders were raised, but it just didn't work. My body measurements have changed recently, and now the usual shape I expect to sew for just isn't there anymore. And with that one simple, stupid top, all confidence I had went out the window.

Silly isn't it? As a beginner sewer 24 years ago I was self-drafting pinafores and making crazy crushed velvet knit tops. Making boxy Chanel jackets from raw silk. Inserting pockets in everything and pleating like a boss. Anyway thanks to a few friends who talked me down (one even extending her friendship to going through the online Simplicity, Butterick and McCalls catalogues with me via email one morning. Bless you Siobhan) I found a dress I thought could give me my confidence back, and also double as a Canberra Frocktails dress.

Simplicity 1466 - City Lights dress

It's Simplicity 1466, which on the packet photo has a top and skirt and pants, but over to the side in a teeny drawing, a dress.  A lovely, princess seamed, yoked, tabbed dress with a flared skirt and a certain vintage feel to it. No lining. No bodices. Plenty of seams to take in and take out if needed.


Due to some time pressures at home and work, and being away for a week prior to Frocktails, I knew I wouldn't be able to cut it out until the Saturday before Frocktails. What I wasn't counting on though was injuring my back quite badly (again) the week I was away, and coming down with a chest infection and asthma the moment I hopped on the plane to come home. The spirit to sew was there, but my body let me down big time. I managed to cut the dress out on Saturday afternoon when I was still feeling ok, but sewing was done in five minute blocks eveery few hours in between naps. I didn't expect to finish the dress, but I wasn't stressed about it at all mainly because I was feeling too sick to give a toss.

Simplicity 1466 - City Lights dress

I finished stitching those buttons on at 10.20 pm on Friday night. It's a dress that could normally be cut and sewn within a few hours. 

Simplicity 1466 - City Lights dress

Construction wise, this dress was a bit of a doddle. Contrary to instructions, I basted all the seams first and tried it on without the yoke attached. Immediately I knew I would have an issue with the neckline gaping - I seem to be about two sizes smaller in the upper bust than the actual bust, and I have narrow shoulders. There wasn't too much I could do about it as I had no fabric spare to redraft the yoke, so I forged on. It worked out ok on the night but could have been better. I also did away with the zip. It was stretch sateen, so didn't really need the zip, but I also had to be clever about how I spent the time I could at the machine, so the zipper went out the window.

The fabric was a cotton sateen I picked up in Spotlight on Anzac Day when I went shopping with Siobhan and Kirsty. They are fantastic enablers. It reminded me immediately of city lights, kind of like this:

Sydney at night, from Potts Point

That was my view from my apartment in Sydney last week. 

Unfortunately the fabric was a complete disaster from the get-go. When I pre-washed it, it lost all of the sateen finish of the fabric - and I was left with lumpy, flat, dull, dusty looking fabric. Then when ironing it before cutting it out, noticed a lot of faults - brown streaks going all the way through the fabric. It wasn't in the pattern as it was irregular, and definitely a fault. By this time I lost my temper at the fabric and at Spotlight, especially as I could have found a replacement fabric in Sydney the week before, and also I wasn't in any state (with a bad back and laryngitis) to go back to Spotlight and argue the point with them. So I cut the fabric out and hoped for the best, and ignored the fact I'd ever seen the faults. This self-brainwashing seemed to work, because when doing the final press I couldn't find them anymore.

Overall I'm really happy with this dress and I will make it again but I will also take in the upper chest seams and redraft the yoke in response. The tabs are a visual replacement for a bodice - bodices on me tend to sit mid bust, not below the bust, and these just provide enough of a break in the dress to give it interest. I used vintage buttons from my collection. The top patternin the envelope has a sleeveless version, so I can see this being a summer staple in my work wardrobe.

Simplicity 1466 - City Lights dress

Photo by Myra.

Now, on to Frocktails. Some friends and I got together and decided to hold a Canberra Frocktails. For the uninitiated, Frocktails is where the online sewers of Australia get together to drink, eat and wear fabulous frocks they have sewn. There have been Frocktails held in Sydney and Melbourne before, but we thought hey, what would be great about holding a Frocktails in Canberra in the middle of winter?

Absoutely everything, we said. And we were right. It was a fantastic evening. We had 27 sewers from Canberra, Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane join us last night at Hotel Hotel.

Shoe game




Liz and I

With Liz. She was also wearing Simplicity, although vintage. I'm sure she'll blog about it.

So the sewing confidence is back, but I've realised in the last week I have an enormous stash that is scattered across the house and I'm starting to misplace fabric, like the lovely black ponte I was going to make a jacket from. No idea where it is, but this afternoon, as a hangover cure, I'll be sorting the piles and giving everything a bit of a spring clean. And then I will start cutting out things and actually sewing them to wear. Winter here in Canberra is long and cold and I'm desperate for some more warm clothing. Stay tuned!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Marg's Star

I'm in Sydney for the quilt show this week, and I have a couple of hours spare this afternoon back at my apartment. It's pouring with rain outside and I can barely see the view of the city. I have a few packs of Marg's Star blocks and some fresh fabric from the show, plus some fresh juice from the guy in Llankelly Place which he swears will cure my laryngitis.


If I can work out how this beast comes together I may have a new addiction.

Also how cool is this fabric I found?


Sunday, June 7, 2015

The "Stealth Pyjamas" Knit Skirt

A few weeks ago, just when we were starting to get a taste of what winter in Canberra was likely to be this year (answer: freaking cold and windy and OMG get me a hot toddy STAT) I rocked up to my local fabric store and spotted some gorgeous red faux quilted ponte stuff. Except it was snuggly in ways that ponte could never be. I resisted that day because all I could think to make was a self-drafted elastic-waisted straight skirt and that's just boring. So I bought some other fabric for other projects, and put the thought of the red quilted snuggly knit out of my mind.

Until a week later when I went back and bought half a metre of it because I couldn't get it out of my mind, like the insane woman I am.

Red quilted knit skirt

I sat on the fabric for a couple of weeks while I quilted quilts, until my friend Amanda made and blogged her Moneta/Violet Frankenfrock from the same fabric (but in black) which she described as "stealth pyjamas". Are you kidding me? Get me on the PJ train!

The first day I had free from quilts (oh blessed day that was) I made this skirt. To be honest, it would have taken me less time to buy the Colette Mabel pattern, print it out, stick it together, cut out the fabric and sew it. Except I don't really like the Mabel pattern, and I'm a bit stubborn.

First I measured my hips, and sewed up a back seam using those measurements for a snug fit. I realised then that the bulk of the skirt with an elasticated waist would end up being mega bulky, so I created some side seams and shaped them to be less bulky at the waist.

Red quilted knit skirt

My only problem with this method is that I should have switched the single back seam to a side seam and created another side seam on the other side. That would have done away with a back seam altogether instead of having a knit skirt with three seams. I can be such a sewing noob at times...

Red quilted knit skirt

I constructed all the seams with my overlocker, and they bubbled like crazy to the point I couldn't even steam out the wonk. That's when I realised my new overlocker had a very close stitch. I lengthened the stitche length to 4, and redid the seams (no I didn't unpick them - I just took another run and made the skirt a little, ahem, slimmer.

Red quilted knit skirt

I absolutely adore this skirt. It's comfortable, and it really does feel like I'm wearing stealth pyjamas. I can see me wearing this every single day through winter - it's warm and cosy and I'm not forever pulling my skirt up like I do with non-elasticated ones.

Red quilted knit skirt

The fabric gets a lot of comments because it is quite unusual and begs touching. And did I mention comfortable? I can see me getting another half metre in the black and pulling another skirt out of the hat, except without a back seam next time, and maybe less waist again.

Red quilted knit skirt

Because a girl can never be too comfortable when it's freezing cold outside.