Saturday, October 8, 2011

Rag Quilt with Characters from Beatrix Potter's Books

My first rag quilt that I made was for my granddaughter when she was born.  I had so much fun machine embroidering the Beatrix Potter Characters… I decided to make two quilts!  A summer quilt and a winter quilt!  I made both these quilts out of flannel fabric which is soft to the skin and very warm.  The summer quilt is two thicknesses of flannel and the winter quilt is three thicknesses, because of the extra thickness and the color combination I was able to get a nice contrast of colors in the winter quilt.

Summer Quilt

Winter Quilt

 I have always been greatly inspired by Beatrix Potter’s artwork and her stories.  These stories will continue to touch the lives of all that read them, especially young children, because of the whimsical animal characters that come to life.  What child wouldn’t want their pet to talk to them!   Just think about it… wouldn’t that truly be a great friend!  You can even enjoy these stories of Peter Rabbit and his friends on dvd now!  This is great way to spend a cold raining day with children, reading these wonderful stories of Beatrix Potter to them or watching these animated characters on dvd.

Helen Beatrix Potter (28 July 1866 – 22 December 1943) was an English author, illustrator, natural scientist and conservationist best known for her imaginative children’s books featuring animals such as those in The Tale of Peter Rabbit which celebrated the British landscape and country life.

If you would like to learn more about Beatrix Potter, here are some good sites to visit.

This last website listed above even has information if you were planning to visit the Lake district area.  Place to stay, place to visit, just a regular old visitors guide to the Lake District.  You will find the information on the home page, under the heading (Addition Information Online Resources).  There is so much more I can't even list it all, so take a gander thru the life and times of Beatrix Potter!

I thought that this one was neat, if I was to go to the Lake District to visit I would want to experience it this way here at Yew tree Farm!  

Here is a video of one of the properties in the Lake District, that Beatrix Potter once owned and is now part of the National Trust.  They have turned it into a B & B and I think it is still a working farm as well.  This is also the property that they used when they filmed the movie Miss Potter.  I just love the country, and this countryside looks so inviting, doesn't it?  I think you could really get some R & R here!

Hill Top Farm, New Sawrey, Cumbria. The working farm Beatrix bought in 1905 and the setting of many of the Little Books. Since her death in 1943 Hill Top has remained as she left it - a museum to her art and story.

Castle Cottage at Castle Farm, Near Sawrey. Beatrix purchased the farm, just across the road from Hill Top in 1905 with the help of William Heelis whom she married in 1913. It was their home for 30 years. And the place she died in December 1943.

The World of Peter Rabbit
(The Original Peter Rabbit, Books 1-23, Presentation Box Set in Hardcover) on Amazon,
click on this image below!

The 23 Tales

Other Books
Sister Anne (illustrated by Katharine Sturges) (1932)
Wag-by-Wall (decorations by J. J. Lankes) (1944)
The Tale of the Faithful Dove (illustrated by Marie Angel) (1955, 1970)
The Sly Old Cat (written 1906; first published 1971)

  Other Books
The books described below can not really be considered part of the 'Tales' series. They were written or illustrated throughout Beatrix Potter's life and show a different aspect of her life and artistic abilities.
Some of these works were never published during the lifetime of the author, but can now be found in The Complete Works of Beatrix Potter, published by F Warne and Co.   

Three Little Mice
Even in the early 1890s, long before the publication of Peter Rabbit, Beatrix Potter had sold several pictures for use on greetings cards and as illustrations to other peoples works. Some time in the early 1890's she set out her own booklet; its theme was taken from the children's nursery rhyme:         
Three little mice sat down to spin,
Pussy passed by and she peeped in.
'What are you at my fine little men?'
'Making coats for gentlemen.'
'Shall I come in and cut your threads?'
'Oh no! Miss Pussy, you'd bite of our heads!'
Each of the six lines was accompanied by its own picture. It was never published during the author's lifetime. Some of the images were later used in The Tailor of Gloucester, and these drawings are critically acclaimed as being some of Beatrix Potter's finest art work

The Sly Old Cat
 The Sly Old Cat was written in 1906 but was never published. The original manuscript was given to Nellie Warne, youngest daughter of her publisher.           
The drawings were never truly finished and are mainly just pen and ink sketches. A few pictures show splashes of colour here and there, but the book was never completely finished

The Fox and the Stork
The Fox and the Stork is the story of a tea party between two characters who are not on the best of terms. The story was written in 1919 and is loosely based on one of Aesop's Fables. It was never published at the time, as Beatrix's publisher said of the tale 'It's not Miss Potter, it is Aesop'.

The Rabbits' Christmas Party
This is another set of six paintings, dating from the early 1890s. There is very little dialogue, just a few words and the pictures, showing a group of rabbits enjoying a traditional Christmas.

In this map above it shows all the properties that Beatrix bought up over the years.  I didn't realize that there was that many, wow what a conservationist! 

Oh my... getting back to the assembly of the quilts.  After embroidering all the characters on the squares, I laid all the squares out so I could see what the quilt would look like when it was completely finished before I started to sew.   

Then I cut all my alternating squares. 

After that, I arranged all the squares to get the color combination that I wanted for the finished quilt.  I started sewing the squares together to make columns.  Then, I sowed the first column to the second column and so on, until I was finished sewing the whole quilt together.

After the whole quilt was sown together, I started clipping the edges about every ½ inch on every sown seam, being very careful not to cut thru the seams.  This includes the outer edge because I even sowed around the outer edge of the quilt.  Then I washed and dried the quilts about three or four time each so that the clopped edges would fray nicely.

 Here’s a couple close-up pictures where you can see the characters just a little better.  After I made these two blankets I almost kept one for myself,  I guess I’ll have to make another for me!   

I'm so happy with the .........Embroidering these little characters brought me so much enjoyment that I can't wait to do another one of these rag quilts.

Please share your thoughts with me on rags quilts, your special finishing techniques, or what would your favorite characters be that you would embroidery on a rag quilt? 

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