I’m sure you’ve come here a little confused. This is, after all, a travel/expat life blog not a quilting blog. BUT, alas, this IS expat life right now. We’re still in the midst of lockdown 3.0 here in England with no idea when it will ease. So for now, I spend my days doing virtual workouts and maybe archery and a walk if the weather is nice. But by and large, my days consist of hours spent in my cozy little office creating this lockdown quilt.
Last year, I finally started quilting after a lifelong desire to learn. In March as all this craziness ramped up, my mom bought me a stellar Pfaff sewing machine for my birthday. We had recently bought a new dining table so our old one came to my office to be a cutting table and I was all set to start my journey. I made a lot of small projects in the beginning and have experimented with different styles over the last year or so. But when they put us into Tier 3 in December, my friend Judy and I decided we needed a bigger project to get us through the possible lockdown. And we were right, not a week later they put us into Lockdown 3.0 and she and I were super grateful we had this project planned.
Since Judy and I are both novice quilters, but have plenty of experience sewing, we decided that a sampler quilt would do a good job of teaching us new skills while also challenging us at the same time. We found and purchased the awesome Althea Quilt pattern by The Indigo Quilter on Etsy. I love that the massive quilt pattern (88 pages!) is all digital and super detailed in instruction. There are tips and tricks, colored diagrams of how the blocks should go together and detailed written instructions. The author was very thorough, and it shows.
There are 12 sections to this quilt with each section containing a varying amount of blocks. Judy and I (in our respective homes, obviously) are sewing along and keeping each other updated with photos of our progress. It’s nice to have someone who’s creating the same thing as me so I can bounce ideas off her, ask her if she had any trouble sewing a particular block and whether fabrics go together or not.
We have just finished section 3, completing about a section per week (though the first large section took two weeks). And while I REALLY hope that Lockdown doesn’t last another 9 weeks (good lord, please no), at least I’m set with my project for… “the foreseeable future.” (I know… we all hate that term… but at least this time it was a happy usage right?)
I started this quilt with a goal to match my new couches from Sofology (can you sense a trend? “can’t travel? buy furniture!” is the way of life in this house). I’ve been enjoying pulling together navys, teals, rust oranges and mustards, along with some whites and tans to make this gorgeous quilt. (At least I think it’s gorgeous!) Along with keeping me sane during this tough time, I am taking great comfort in knowing I’m supporting local small businesses who are struggling during these crazy months. Small businesses are some of the hardest hit when the government decides to force them closed so I feel like it’s super important to help them in any ways we can. I’ve got four favorite fabric stores I buy from. They’re listed below if you’re interesting in supporting small fabric businesses in England!
I’ve made several blocks at this point. Some I’m very proud of, some not so much. But I love the imperfectness of it all because I’m still learning. I look forward to having this for years to come and thinking about these crazy times knowing something beautiful came out of it.
If I’ve hooked you now on my quilt progress, then you can follow along on my instagram stories/highlights. Otherwise, I’ll continue to write when I have something wonderful to share.
Until then, love from the farm!