Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Hand quilted hot water bottle cover

Hand quilted Cath Kidson hotwater bottle cover
Oh me, oh my! Why oh why did I choose to hand quilt this thing? Because I had way too much time to spare, obviously. Procrastination? Hmmm, possibly- I do have a big piece of academic work on the stove top which is currently frightening me. But really, this is the answer: Cath Kidson made me do it!

I have her book Sew! and finally I am making my first project, despite me having bought the fabric a year or so ago now. Golly, it amazes me how long these things can incubate inside. Anyhows, I digress. I have diligently followed her instructions for a snuggly quilted hot water bottle (or 'hottie' as Cath calls it) cover and was obviously going to quilt it on machine. I estimate I would have been done in half and hour. But Cath says to try hand quilting and there was just something about her pictures I couldn't put my finger on, that did persuade me. Maybe I am slow, maybe it is because this was my first attempt but it has taken me ... days and days to finish the quilting!

But why do I need a hot water bottle cover in the first place? 
Simple, this house is heated by an old coal burner which runs two radiators only. Thus upstairs is a tad nippy. It is not necessarily comfortable here in the winter but more realistic I like to think. We'll try burning wood this winter too, seeing as it is supposedly carbon neutral. I do so hate the cold, but also think there's nothing better than an unheated bedroom in the middle of winter, with a cosy bed and hot water bottle as sole source of comfort and survival.

I could, I suppose buy an electric blanket but somehow it doesn't appeal. Not rustic and gritty enough? Not sufficiently old fashioned?

I know that we're fracking everything these days and discovering more oil now that the arctic ice is melting but even so, I would rather things this way round than an oil fired central heating system (and before you ask, there is no mains gas where I live). West Wales, nowhere quite like it (apart from west of Scotland and Ireland, of course. Cornwall too? Whatever ... Celtic Fringe). And that's why I love the place.
I do plan subsequent hot water bottle covers for general household use but I'll probably machine sew them as this is the ONE, the special hot water bottle cover. Just for me.

Cath Kidson's 'Quilted Hottie'

Hand quilting tutorials
Not having a clue what I was up to, I found a great little tutorial by way of introduction, over at Aneela Hoey's blog, comfortstitching. Aneela explains how to use a quilter's knot, which is mighty handy. If you want to be super pro, however, you could do worse than to follow Sarah Fielke's video tutorial at her blog, the last piece. Wow, she's good!

I needed: wadding (or batting), lining, pretty outer fabric, a button, ribbon and thread.

Marking out the quilt lines with tailor's chalk

Hand quilting

I have read that quilting thread should be used but that standard cotton thread does just as well. Sarah Fielke says that traditionally, the Amish use waxed cotton but that she prefers Perle 8 cotton. I used standard thread until I ran out and then had to raid my stash of heirloom threads from my Grandma's kit. I'm not sure what this thread is, exactly, it simply says, 'silk substitute' and '40' but it was amazing to use, so much more satisfying than the normal cotton. I think it might be thicker, I'm not sure, but I would very much recommend you test out various threads.

Grandma's thread

Ready for making up by machine

And pretty much, I loved every minute of it. I found the hand quilting to be a sort of spiritual 'experience', I don't know why. There is more to this crafting than meets the eye, I tell ya! Maybe it has connected me to an activity more often carried out in olden days- certainly it thoroughly boggles my mind when I think of the vintage quilt upon my bed which is made from thousands of teeny tiny hand stitches! Who put so much love, care and attention into it? So much TIME into it. I'll never know.

And the finished product? Why, here it is!! I do confess it has now had four months of daily use and has de-puffed a bit. BOO. Never mind, 'tis the way of these things. Even so, I adore it.

I refuse to call it a 'hottie', however

UK survival gear. YUM

P.S. Have you tried hand quilting? If so, did it affect you? Did you become dreamy or other such surprising states as it did me?! Do they have an asylum for crafters?

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