Firstly, thank you so much for all your comments on the Charlotte Bartlett quilt. I went away for the weekend (more on that in another post) and on the few occasions when I had some reception I could see my inbox was full of your lovely comments, which made me smile as I read them. I love that Charlotte is a much recognised character in your own lives too. I have returned with renewed vigour for spending hours piecing together small scraps of fabric and am determined that its final size will at least equate to two mackintosh squares. Luxury.
A few weeks ago I mentioned that Liberty had very kindly sent me some of their forthcoming range of quilting weight art fabrics to make something with. I've always enjoyed making things with their delicious range of Tana lawn - from men's shirts, to silk dresses, apron bindings, rainbows of pencils to bookmarks and cake toppers (and let us not forget the English paper piecing obsession that I'm currently gripped by). However, a quilting weight cotton opens up new avenues of possibility - its weight and substance mean that it lends itself to more utilitarian purposes that I wouldn't consider subjecting a Tana lawn to: oven gloves.
Liberty have never before produced a quilting cotton, so its introduction is something of an excitement. When I met up with Katy, Claire and Rachel for the day a few weeks ago, Claire brought along the whole range of sample swatches that she'd been perusing for her shop. I found it interesting when looking through them that a base of quilting cotton seems to display prints in an entirely different way to any other substrate - while Liberty prints tend to have a familiarity and a very definite look of being a Liberty print when printed on lawn, corduroy, silk or jersey, the coarser weave of a quilting cotton lessens this effect and gives the prints a more anonymous and retro feel reminiscent of the vintage bed linen sheets that are so popular with quilters. To clarify this I looked at the prints from the collection online, where the range is shown as actual print images, rather than photographs of the fabric, and here, divorced from the open weave fabric, they revert to looking clearly identifiable as a Liberty fabric. I hadn't realised before quite how much a base cloth can determine the final look of a print.
For my oven gloves I chose to use three of the red prints that Liberty had sent me. These (along with the blues) are my favourites from the new collection - the colours are rich and saturated and the colour makes me happy as it picks out the red that is slowly infiltrating our kitchen (none of it is actually in evidence in this shot, as the cooker is resolutely steely, but it's there, lurking).
For the main outer of the glove I used the very painterly print. I love this print and while its obviously drawn from a time long before this, for me (and I suspect I may be alone in this) it also reminds me of the style of the Australian artist, Ken Done, whose work was very popular when I lived over there as a child in the 1980s. For the pads I used the print that print that feels enjoyably 1960s, while the binding is in a small scale ditsy print that is a good blender and unites the two prints well.
Finally, when I had nothing hot to hold and was not doing any cooking whatsoever, I asked my husband if he'd mind taking a few photos of my oven gloves in action. I am pretending to hold a particularly lovely dish of baked butternut squash, feta and rosemary (a recipe which I somehow never make quite as well as my mother, so it's glorious in its invisibility).
The Liberty quilting weight fabrics will be available from August. Claire will be stocking many of the lovely red and blue prints (they seem to be everyones favourites) and I've also seen that Annie has chosen a really lovely selection that works well together. And I recently learnt that Fabrics Galore will be stocking all 55 prints in their shop in London.
And just in case you were wondering...my invisible dish wouldn't burn my hands even if it were real. I used two layers of thermal heat proof batting inside those mitts. If you want some to keep your own paws unscathed you can find it here. It's needle punched so quilts easily.
Last week I also made a friend some oven gloves to celebrate her birthday. I ordered a William Morris print as he's one of her favourite designers and I thought this one would pick out the mustardy coloured blinds in her kitchen. Whenever I'm making something for someone else I tend to sew with far more caution: so my friend has three layers of thermal wadding as I didn't want her burnt fingertips on my conscience. My sewing machine seems to relish this kind of challenge - I nearly added in another layer just for the fun of testing whether it ever reaches a point of complaint, but as I wanted the gloves to retain some kind of malleability, rather than morphing into two peculiar stiff boards of fabric, I refrained. I'll save that fun for another day.