My Patchwork Quilted Room – Da Da.

Here is the open door into my completed ( well just a few more pictures to put up) patch-work room, using fabrics from the Kaffe Fassett Collective. It has taken 6 months to achieve. I started 2020 during the last Covid 19 lockdown in England and we are still not entirely unlocked mid way through 2021.

I aim to take you around the room to see how it all has come together, here the door from the porch has a vitreous enamelled finger plate – now I want to make more of these for inside the room…the enamelled fireplace can be seen with our old furniture and carpets safely back into place.

turning left is the view into the small panelled room, our 2 Irish Terriers and the enamelled fire surround – see previous post for making this….luckily my much loved vintage Deco glass shade tones perfectly…now how did that happen?

Above are 3 views of the chimney corner with 2 different totally different Flag representations. the row of flags at the sea side is an old painting by Stephen Jacobson next to a ghostly silk organza flag by Nigel Hurlstone. this piece of work proved pivotal for me to see how the room could hang together using cooler colours

Once we had started to put the room back together our 2 Irish terriers, Maeve and Murphy took a particular if very relaxed interest in it.

I found on Ebay a beautiful discounted Zoffany silk striped fabric and bought enough to make 4 very large padded curtains for the big Victorian windows in the room. The fabric cost me about 4 times the amount I had spent on the rest of the room…but they work well once I had trimmed them with some vintage woven ribbon that I over – dyed to suit the colour of the paintwork – as you do! And then I found these mazing brass tie backs on-line at my favourite store for just about everything decorative, Anthropology.

Continuing around the room…

In the the corner between the windows hangs an old (and much loved by me) painting by my husband, Stephen Jacobson, of my father’s greenhouse that he built in my family’s garden on the Wirral in north west of England.

From the photographs I have posted so far it is hard to see that the patchworks are all padded and quilted, but it is evident that my ‘in the ditch’ sewing is slightly better placed than my hammering in the copper tacks that fasten the fabric to the battens. On the tiled table is a flowery flower vase by Tean Kirby.

the opposite end of the room to the fireplace with the bay window looking out on the overgrown garden

one of a pair of window seats with an old canvas work cushion sample and the luxurious silk curtains and brass tie backs. Then to the other new thing I bought for the room – the glamorous mauve velvet mini chaise – from a TK Maxx sale!!!!!! Well I had to balance the spend on the curtains.

Coming Into Port – Stephen Jacobson

Above is ‘ Coming Into Port’ – I leapt on this for the room when it came back early from a “closed for Covid” exhibition and it fitted perfectly. Basically our house serves as a venue for our joint work. I made the large cushion especially – it uses all the major colours of the room, and in fact the whole house, in my wonky version of Flame Stitch; and I have been commissioned to make a design from this by Ehrman Tapestry so look out for it next year if you stitch canvas cushions.

So here we are at the porch door again – and the gingers are waiting for us – well actually for Stephen with the biscuits to get them to pose….

and that is it – at last after so long – finished enough for people to see it – with the doors and windows open and only 4 visitors at a time!

My Covid Project – Getting There:

Sunday 7th March : Downstairs sitting room

So, by the beginning of March I had at last finished stitching all the patchwork panels, and between long bouts of quilting them, I managed to paint all the woodwork and window reveals in the sitting room.

Sunday 7th April : Upstairs studio

I had decided to make a strippy quilt for the chimney wall, partly to save time but really to overcome the problem of awkward door frames and lots of corners. I calculated the width of the strips on each wall, even taking into account my inexact machine sewing I managed to get them fairly evenly spaced. Well 4 cans of spray starch and a hot iron helped.

I seem to be a lot better at stretching the panels than I am at machine sewing them. We decided to work around the room from the least visible area. I wanted the walls to look like a total piece of fabric or a massive quilt that is just wrapped around the walls like a cocoon – but I had to make some adjustments to the finishing as things progressed….we sort of started with a vague plan trusting to nouse to see us through…..Things were beginning to take shape but I soon hit a construction problem, my errant stitching had made some of the panels far too big and they needed to be trimmed after stretching and folding, securing them neatly was difficult now that they were padded.

Above, the edges of the panels are secured with iron-on fusible web tape and staples to vertical battens before stretching across the entire wall. Then the diamond corners are further secured to horizontal battens with copper tacks.

The large window wall panel was joined to the alcove panel to assist tight and neat stretching into the corner- making it up as we go along!

Having negotiated the large wall panel I now assessed the look of what we had covered so far but was still concerned about the strength of pattern overwhelming everything else in the room ( we have very faded vintage furniture, carpets and fabrics in the house and I did not want to start making new covers and buying more carpets). I tried to think of ways to make the patterns less brilliant… I remembered a patchwork organza flag made by my old colleague and friend, Nigel Hurlstone. It was in a massive pale oak frame, sadly too wide for this alcove, I removed the flag and held it in front of the bright wall, the central stripe was the same size as the strips – it was meant to be.

I asked his permission for showing this de-framed (but as he gave this to me as a present for helping him decorate his first flat about 15 years ago) I thought he may agree and he did. The thing is that the addition of this piece of work suddenly changed the atmosphere of the room, it became more relaxed and so did I!

Over the next 2 weeks we worked our way around the whole room stretching, stapling, tapping copper tacks, while dealing with light switches and plugs using a combination of glues, bondaweb strips, an iron and spray starch.

finally the room is covered, just one last strip to join it all together – under the window. Now to start finishing, covering the staples with wooden picture rails and skirting boards and quadrant in the corners. BUT before we finally put the mirror back into position I write this dedication on the chimney breast -I am hoping it will be many many years before this house is sold and some one else uncovers it!

and here I am again before sorting out the rest of the room – flag in place and now to make tiles for the fireplace and then there are the curtains……possibly one more post ?

Cold Feet

It is the last day of February and have been working for 2 months making my patchwork wall coverings. When I started this blog I vowed to show the journey of the work that I design and make – to explain the problems and possibly the solutions……but this latest project has been keeping me awake and I am still not certain that I will get it sorted and onto the sitting room walls. I am suffering a severe case of Cold Feet!

After I had stitched a wall full of the original design I kept feeling that there was just too much going on – all those colours and stripes and collisions of patterns (all the things I normally love) just looked like porridge – multi coloured porridge – something had to go….What went was the yellow stripes – leaving me with Mauve, Blue and Green strips – this took quite a lot of grief and several days ( and nights) to decide to change things – somehow the well-honed critical faculty I use for all projects, professional as well as personal, has deserted me during lockdown. But once I had pulled apart the original piece and made another wall-full, things started to look possible. I made another design chart this time with repeating patterns built in – once a textile designer…….

the new highly coloured “working drawings” for the main sitting room walls

Things get back on track by mid January – the first panel is on the studio wall padded and quilted using the new walking-foot on my favourite old Bernina sewing machine.

By February the work gets properly underway – a whole stitched wall – full – but still very uncertain about this entire idea.

I try these first panels around the room seeing how the whole thing will look – trying to imagine it without those brilliant pink walls is hard…and how will it look behind all our pictures – yikes – it really needs to accommodate paintings and other art works that cover every other wall of this house…I start to realise that what it needs is more GREEN.

Trying the panels on other sitting room walls – it needs more GREEN to reflect the garden

back to photoshop to play with a version of favourite “Green Blue” or is it Blue Green” by Farrow and Ball which is used throughout the house

I decide that if all else fails the patchworks will look lovely in one of the bedrooms. But this still leaves us the problem of the damp disfigured walls and meanwhile the rest of room is being demolished …. did I mention we are cutting and making verdigris copper tiles for the fireplace?