BORIS

A few years ago a small black cocker spaniel puppy was brought into the family, and his charmingly foppish character and behaviour not dissimilar to a well-known British politician earned him the name of Boris. Fast forward a couple of years, and Boris was joined by Cara, the small I made the Spanish Dress for. Fast forward even more years (OK, only two) and I finally managed to finish Cara’s first birthday present, and my first ever quilt!

Baby Cara wearing the Spanish Dress, sitting on daddy's knee.
Baby Cara wearing the Spanish Dress, sitting on daddy’s knee.
Boris welcomes his new little sister to the world, moments after she is born.
Boris welcomes his new little sister to the world, moments after she is born.

And yes, I did give it her first birthday present to her for her second birthday. #craftlife, am I right?

Boris

I don’t know where my desire to make a quilt came from, and even less do I understand why I decided to make it in the shape of Boris, but nevertheless, out it came. Aside from the quilting, which was basic in the extreme, there are a few elements of it that I am super proud of.

Proud me with my first ever quilt!
Proud me with my first ever quilt!

It was entirely made up.

I drafted a cross-stitch-inspired pattern and blew it up thousands of times to get this beauty. The only guidance I had in putting it together came from watching a Kirstie Allsopp show and a quilting square I’d bought years ago for my dinosaur wall-hanging.

My pattern sketched out and ready to go.
My pattern sketched out and ready to go.

All but the purple fabric is entirely John’s old clothing.

I made John go through his wardrobe and choose some shirts he didn’t mind losing to the sewing machine. It was delightful cutting them up and using them, not least because it was going to his niece. I was also really happy knowing that no matter how much the quilt got washed, the fabric would never shrink. It’s the small things!

Boris in the middle of assembly. And no, John doesn't have any black shirts left.
Boris in the middle of assembly. And no, John doesn’t have any black shirts left.

When it goes wrong, go with it.

I made a few mistakes when I was putting the quilt together. I’d drafted my pattern and laid it all out fine, but when it came to sewing some of the diagonals together, I got them the wrong way around, so my seams were right side up rather than wrong side down. I went with it and just quilted the heck out of them. The perfectionist in me would probably have made me redo them if I hadn’t run out of fabric as the shirts John was willing to donate ran out. I think it adds a bit of charm to the finished object!

Full sewn together and only lacking a background.
Full sewn together and only lacking a background.

I found paw print fleece and decided to back the quilt with it.

My original plan had been to go with straight lines, quilting on a normal wadding and fabric sandwich, but when I went fabric shopping the fleece jumped out at me. I absolutely loved it, and used the paw prints to create the quilting pattern. This gives the front of the quilt paw prints, as well as the curly hair on Boris’ actual body. It was such a good idea and I was very pleased with it!

My incredible backing fleece showing the curly quilting from the fur the best way I can.
My incredible backing fleece showing the curly quilting from the fur the best way I can.

I didn’t break a single needle while quilting the thing.

I’ve tried quilting many times before and always had problems. These usually resulted in snapped needles, and once I even managed to get the entire mechanism in my sewing machine jammed and had to buy a new sewing machine. I somehow cracked it with this one, and was more proud of myself than I can say. Thank you, Kirstie Allsopp.

Quilting and breaking exactly no needles. Result!
Quilting and breaking exactly no needles. Result!

I’m really proud of this one. It’s not often I finish a project that I’ve started for somebody else that I don’t want to actually part with, but this was one of them. I hope it gives Cara many years of pleasure, and I’m looking forward to the next time I brave the sewing machine!

Much love,

Corrie xx

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4 Responses to BORIS

  1. Diane says:

    What a nice quilt! I’m sure she will love it. Grats on another wonderful finished project :)

  2. Marie says:

    oh my gosh … I LOVE your Boris quilt!!! You are so very clever!

  3. Jennie says:

    Aw lovely to read this Corrie, I was just showing a crafty friend your blog and saw this!! I can assure you that the Boris quilt is very well loved, it lives on Cara’s bed and she won’t go to bed without being tucked up under her Boris blanket. It’s a big comfort to her, and such an amazing thing for her to keep. If I ask her who made the Boris blanket she knows exactly!! “Corrie made it!” It is so special, thank you Xxx

  4. asteride says:

    Congratulations, the quilt is amazing! I admire the work and the perseverance. I can say that because I have two quilts in progress and I really need to check this Kirstie Allsop videos somewhere…

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