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Stitchers have friends too

My friend and I had no idea when we were performance poetry-obsessed, urban Uni flatmates that thirteen years later we would choose to sit inside on a sunny afternoon by the coast, each with an embroidery hoop, rather than swim in the sea or build castles on the beach.

Here we are, though, having a whale of a time. She’s making an incredibly detailed cross stitch picture based on a Victorian wallpaper. I’m embroidering a toy patchwork tortoise shell for my son. Both are far more useful to the world than performance poetry. Discuss.

Embroidery friends

Embroidery friends

Embroidered tortoise shell

My embroidered tortoise shell

My friend’s cross stitch

My son more-or-less demanded that I make him a patchwork tortoise after he helped me so expertly to wrap one up for a new baby last week. That was the second one he has seen leave the house destined for the clutches of other children. I think he was right to suggest that it was his turn to own one. As I said in a recent post, every baby should have a patchwork tortoise.

Here are some pictures of the patchwork tortoise under construction. I am using the English paper-piecing patchwork technique, which makes a lovely change from all of the sewing machine chain-piecing I have been doing for my quilt.

Pieces of shell pinned to paper templates

Pieces of shell pinned to paper templates

Back of tortoise shell. Pieces sewn together with tiny hand stitches. Paper will be removed when all shell pieces are sewn together.

Back of tortoise shell. Pieces sewn together with tiny hand stitches. Paper will be removed when all shell pieces are sewn together.

Front of tortoise shell almost complete

Front of tortoise shell almost complete. You can see the basting stitches I used to keep the paper in place under the fabric.

Every baby needs a patchwork tortoise

While taking time out from my quilt for making those tremendously tricky decisions mentioned in my last post and finishing off the academic year, one of my greatest friends had a baby. This, of course, meant that I was compelled to make a present or two for the little one. Here’s the first:

Patchwork turtle

Patchwork tortoise

And here’s the second:

Books not sewn or included in baby's present

Books not sewn or included in baby’s present

Because every baby needs a patchwork tortoise and matching, personalised bunting.

I’ll get back to my quilt soon, as soon as my summer holidays start. I know you’re all waiting with bated breath for quilting news.

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