The Cactus Quilt

Gosh, it is Friday again already....time flies when you are busy sewing and this week I have been especially busy.   Let me set the scene!   It was Easter weekend and the weather was unbelievably rubbish.  The boys were watching endless sport on TV and in order to escape not only that, but all the tempting chocolate lurking in every corner of our living room, I retreated to the sewing room with the idea that I wouldn't work on any patterns or kits or plans, but that I would just sew something for our home.  It took me all of 30 seconds to decide what.  Sitting in a basket on my cutting table for the last few weeks has been Elizabeth Hartman's Greenhouse pattern.   It is an absolutely lovely design and every so often I would pull it out of it's cellophane wrapper and flick through what is really quite a substantial set of instructions.  It looked complicated and I always thought I didn't have time, but this weekend I did.  

Cacti 4.JPG

I had already seen that although the quilts on the front are spectacular, just on the inside is a rather more manageable version for a first pass - a single row of flowerpots that look as if they are sitting on a shelf.   I felt this was the best way to go initially, as although I am a reasonably experienced quilter there did seem to be an awful lot of instructions.   I knew exactly which fabrics to pick from my stash as well.  I wanted it to go on the wall just outside my kitchen, so the colours needed to coordinate and having just got some bolts of the totally gorgeous Essex linen for embroidery purposes - I saw flowerpots in this lovely textured linen immediately.   I also picked some teal coloured Moda Crossweave and prints from Vanessa Christenson - metallic Confetti ombre, which is just fabulous for plant type piecing and a more modern geometric print from her spectrum range, along with a scrap of Karen Lewis fabric which has a graphic red and white print on it.  I felt this all worked brilliantly for the space in which it was going to hang, so I set to work.

There are alot of small pieces in this quilt and I would wholeheartedly recommend that you cut them out in an organised way and do exactly as Ms. Hartman instructs.  This can seem a bit tiresome, but I think in this case it is the best way to keep it all in order.

Cacti 6.JPG

Some of the pieces are very tiny, but the pattern goes together beautifully and I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed myself.   I decided after 3 little cacti, to simply repeat the first 2 to make up the shelf.  There are 2 other flower designs which I didn't use this time, but the fabrics seemed to work so well with the first 2 and these plants most resemble my own little cacti collection on the kitchen windowsill. 

5 little flower pots.jpg

I think it is just absolutely fab and it was really quick to do once I had understood how the pattern worked.   I think that the ombre fabric is just super for such a project and although you do have to fussy cut it a little to get the right amount of gradient in the colour, it is well worth it.  Being the embroidery nut that I am, I couldn't resist to just add a little bit of red stitchery on the pots to   give a little extra detail.   Then I was ready to quilt.

Cacti 2.JPG

As you know, I am normally a vintage girl, but this time I felt that a  more modern quilting approach was needed.   I did the straight line quilting on the teal fabric first and was pretty pleased with it.  I consulted my bible 'Leah Day's free motion quilting' book for ideas for the top and was sure that I didn't need anything swirly - I went for a sort of retro cityscape effect - kind of like you are looking out of a kitchen window.  I know I live in Yorkshire, but I can always pretend it is NYC!!!!!   It all worked swimmingly and with the red binding on, it was just ticketty-boo.   I stitched two channels on the back of the quilt, top and bottom and put a net curtain rod in the bottom one to help it lie flat against the wall.  Finally I added a little label.  'Happy Cacti' - oh yes, I think they are.....

My Happy Cacti Quilt

My Happy Cacti Quilt

ps.  I got my pattern from and they have some pretty cool fabrics too.

See you next time, Ruby x