Thursday, 9 January 2014

A cushion that was curiously received


I made this cushion a few days before Christmas as a gift for my father. It's a very unfancy cushion, with simple black piping. It uses a print from Charley Harper's beautiful bird-themed collection of fabric, which was released by Birch Fabrics last month. I love this print and I knew that my father would like it too as it takes in all his favourite colours. Before putting it together, I quilted it with simple lines that follow the vertical pillars in the print and was momentarily delighted when my family saw this and mistakenly thought I'd done all sorts of clever things piecing the actual birds together to peep out from behind it, as the quilting creates the illusion of a seam.


I'd like to add that the fact that this cushion matches its surroundings so perfectly in the photo at the top of this post is actually a freaky co-incidence, especially as grey and red are not common colours in my house! I rearranged the bookshelves to keep my favourite Persephone books out of Nell's reach a while ago and there was a cushion shaped space next to them when pondering where I could photograph it. (I'm not against making photos look lovelier by the way, I just didn't set out to do that here).

I don't know of anywhere in the UK that sells this particular Upside Downside print, but if you want to see more from the Charley Harper range, you can find some of it at M is for Make and other prints over at Ray-Stitch. I imported my Upside Downside from Fabric Worm in the US, as I thought no other print from the range would have suited my father quite so well, although, exhaustingly, he proved himself unworthy of having fabric imported specially for him when he cheerfully announced on unwrapping it: there's a bird's head coming out of the other bird's bottom! What? Even after staring at this print for the entire time it took me to make the cushion I had not seen it like that! I swallowed the wish to throttle him beside the Christmas tree and inwardly muttered apologies to the late Charley Harper. Next year he's going to be getting a golfing mug and some argyle socks*. Upside Downside is still my favourite print from the entire range. Fabric Worm have the whole collection, I think, just be careful about who you gift it to!

In other news, a winner for Issue 3 of the wonderful Love Patchwork & Quilting Magazine. I asked my husband to randomly pick someone from the giveaway comments here on my blog and over on Instagram and he chose Karyn. Karyn, Issue 3 will hopefully make its way through the Canadian snow to you before Spring arrives!


Issue 4 of Love Patchwork & Quilting has just come out and I'm excited to snaffle one out at the newsagents (look at the beautiful quilt above!). However, for future issues, I've taken out an annual subscription as this is the first English quilting magazine I've enjoyed enough to not want to miss an issue - you can find out more here (and even if you don't want to commit to a year, a trial subscription of 3 issues for £5 is insanely good value).

I'd mentioned this on Instagram, but thought I'd mention it here too, as I'm not sure I've ever posted about this before. I'm not a fan of chunky pins for sewing, however, if you happen to have some of the pins shown below (there was also a free pack of similar flower-headed pins on the cover of LP&Q last month) and have wondered about uses for them, I've always found them indispensable for pinning a quilt backing to the carpet when making a quilt sandwich. They're so strong that the fabric won't move even a tiny bit and you can drive them at an angle straight through the carpet's underlay for a completely secure fix - I have tried the more conventional masking tape approach to basting a quilt and found it refuses to hold the bottom layer as taut as I'd like. I've never seen any visible sign of post-pinning carpet trauma, so I don't feel too concerned about what it might be doing to the underlay. In the photo below, the green pin is holding the fabric in place. Sorry about the grainy photo - it was taken in artificial light on my iPhone to post to Instagram a few weeks ago.


Right, I think that's it for now. Wishing you a lovely end to the week,

Florence x

* My father has never played golf.

18 comments:

  1. Oh dear, lovely cushion, shame about the recipient! My boyfriend was another ungrateful giftee of imported fabric - he thinks his PJ trousers in cosy Fanfare flannel are "a bit girly" (blue Bunting print, not pink elephants or anything). And my grandmother thought her scarf was a table runner. Perhaps we should team up and buy the golf mugs in bulk next Christmas? x

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    1. Oh no! It seems like you fared even more badly than I did! I love that Fanfare print - I think it's very gender neutral too! Perhaps you should revisit the PJs next year, but try out the Fanfare foxes next time ;)

      My husband loves wood carving (but can't do it because we need his hands to be intact for work and he kept injuring himself with the knife), and also shiny new art materials, so I thought lino cutting things may be the perfect gift for him as they combine a bit of both. However, by January 5th he still hadn't touched them and we've since had a frank discussion about them and given them to our daughter (luckily, I managed a massive win with one of his other gifts, which he loved, so I didn't feel too dispirited).

      I am totally ready to place the bulk order of golf mugs. Just let me know on numbers. x

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  2. How very frustrating! That did make me chuckle though. I think the cushion is fab!

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    1. Thank you - in retrospect it makes me laugh too :)

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  3. Oh no! Dads... what can you do with 'em? I think the cushion is absolutely lovely!

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  4. Sorry, but I agree with your dad. The craftsman ship is immaculate and your lines are so straight, but the fabric is not my cup of tea.

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    1. But did you see the print in the same way as my father or just not to your taste? ;)

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    2. I also see you fathers point. What I am not sure of, is if that is retrospectively (because you mentioned it first), or if I too would have it as my primary thought about the fabric. I'm not sure.

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  5. What a shame your Dad didn't fully appreciate it, and the work and thought that went into it, it is a beautifully made cushion and a really cool print, like you say, bring out the Dad standard gifts next year. If it's any help, my Dad told my Mum he was disappointed he didn't get any slippers for Christmas, there is no help for some people!! :o)

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    1. Oh no! My husband is always genuinely disappointed if my mother doesn't buy him any socks for Christmas too actually, as by December he's very much looking forward to replenishing his stock of wearable socks.

      In fairness to my father, I think he did actually appreciate having a cushion made for him, but just said the first thing that popped into his head on seeing it - I guess this print is like one of those optical illusions where two people can see the same image in a different way…sort of ;)

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  6. I love the print. Had a hard time figuring out how you pieced it until I read that it was a print. I'll bet your Dad will love the pillow even though he made the comment about the print. It's good for a laugh.

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  7. It's always nice when a print makes it look like you've done something really fancy! He told me today that he does indeed love it and only fleetingly sees it a bird's head appearing from another bird's bottom ;)

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  8. I can highly recommend the Charley Harper jigsaws as well. Big enough to keep adults and children with scarily good non-verbal / pattern recognition skills happy, whilst also having areas that smaller children (6 - 8yrs or so) can manage. We have 3.

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  9. Lovely cushion. I also didn't realise that was the print. It really looks like pieced together:) And after your dad's words don't you see the cushion the way he sees it every time you look at it? I think I would :)

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  10. Sheesh, I never would have thought that about that print, they look like they are playing peek a boo behind a post, I thought! Some people get suprised I guess and say the first thing they think of! My father was the same- always had to give his 'feedback' ie criticsims first, which totally distract from the gift giving. He nevers got handmade again!

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  11. I had two things on my Christmas wish list this year - a Kindle Paperwhite and a new pair of slippers (as mine were becoming dangerous in their worn-out state!). I held on and held on not buying any and did admit to my husband that I was a little disappointed to not find any under the Christmas tree. It's the first time I've ever admitted anything other than joy at my gifts so I think he was a little taken aback!
    I think the cushion is really gorgeous, I really like that print but must admit I did have to look twice at the red birds!
    LP&Q is a lovely magazine - I love their refreshing modern take on patchwork. I particularly loved that quilt you featured a photo of in your last post - I'd started gathering grey, white and yellow fabrics to make a quilt for the spare room but couldn't decide on a design until I saw that one. I had the first three issues in their £5 offer and they've just sent me the same offer again! I just spotted it on sale in the Minute Mart on Eastenders (my secret shame!) too!

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  12. Ha! That's a riot. I can't see it that way as the red headed bird's body is so obviously under his head poking out from both sides of the branch. I'm glad he does like it.

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I now tend to reply within the comments section, so please do check back if you've asked a question or wish to chat.

Florence x