I love this time of year: the whisper of winter swirls about us with early morning mists and evening chills, but the days are glorious with colour bursting from every corner of the landscape. It's time too, to prepare the house for colder days and a chance to get out one of my favourite quilts.
I made this quilt a couple of years ago form a lovely book called 'Quilts from Lavender Hill Farm' by Darlene Zimmerman. It's actually a bit of a mixture of two quilts in the book, but the main blocks are her 'Pumpkin Patch' design.
For at least two years I have been planning to make some decorative pumpkins to go with this quilt, but somehow, have never quite got around to it. This year, I decided to have a go and I am delighted with the results. I sort of used a combination of ideas from house magazines and quilting books and after a bit of experimenting, I think it worked pretty well.
You need a petal shaped pattern. I used a china plate to give me the curved edge that I wanted and then drew pointed ends on it using a ruler.
You can always check that everything is even by folding it in quarters and trimming it too.
Then once you are happy with your shape you can photo copy it and change the size of the segments by reducing and englarging it. You can download the template if you want to use my diagram here.
Cut out six segements. I then decided that because I was using woven check fabric and it was a fairly loose weave, to put some interfacing to stiffen it alittle. I simply photocopied the pattern and cut out the inner shape for this.
Once the interfacing is ironed on - stitch the segments together using a lock stitch at the bottom to secure it and leaving a quarter inch at the top for the opening for the stalk and gathering thread. Also don't forget to leave a small opening half way down one segment for the stuffing.
Clip the curves on the seams and turn your pumplin right side out and it's ready for stuffing.
Fill your pumpkin up so that it's reasonably firm, but not over stuffed because you want to gather it up around the neck to make it look less like a ball and more realistic. Close up the opening with a few handsitiches.
Where the segments meet on the bottom of your pumpkin, stitch on your button. I just picked one out of my old button box, but it's worth noting that this will be what your pumpkin stands on, so maybe it's a good idea to try to pick something flatish that will act as a base. Or if you are going to have your pumpkins jumbled up in a bowl, then a more decorative button could be fun.
Stitch on your button pulling the segements tight and snug around it.
With the top opening - use a strong thread to make a few running stitches around the neck so that you can gather it up a little once you have put the stalk in place.
Next make the stalk using a small peice of rolled up felt and handstich to fix the edge.
Having got this far, I wanted to make the segments stand out a bit and I used some perle cotton #8 in a matching colour for this. Bring the thread up at the stalk and lay it in the channel formed by the seam on your segment. Pull it tight and wrap the thread around your button to secure and then bring it up another segment back to the stalk and secure with a stitch. Go around your pumpkin till all the segments become a little more defined.
Finally make the leaves. You can use pretty much any shape for this. I used scaps of felt, wool and cotton autumnal fabrics. Trace the shap onto fusible web and iron it on to the wrong side of the top fabric. Cut out he shape and peel off the backing and then iron it on to the bottom fabric. I prefer to stitch the edge on the machine using a blanket stitch, before I cut out the final shape
Add your leaves and then if you want, a rather nice touch is a little curly florists wire, wrapped around a pencil to give it some shape. In fact, my totally fab cotton reel pencil is so perfect for this because it has some ridges already around it. (I got it on Etsy at 'WorthyGoodsTextile').
So, all done and time to make some more for a seasonal display. I think these are pretty cool and add a lovely autumnal touch to your home.
I hope this tutorial is interesting to you guys. I am just learning how to put together this kind of thing, so all comments and advice either here or on instagram would be much appreciated.
See you soon, Ruby x