My Sew Sheffield Quilt is finished! And it’s ready to cosy up or hygge with, and grace our guest room. Here I share the inspiration and process of making it, with a machine quilt binding tutorial.
A Sheffield Quilt
The Sheffield Quilt was made during a “sew a row round robin quilt challenge” in 2016. Nine others from my quilting group joined the round robin, so we divided into two teams.
In July we each chose our own theme and made our own first row.
What Sheffield means to Us – in Stitch
I decided my theme would be “what Sheffield means to me”.
Sheffield, in South Yorkshire, England, is
- a major industrial city, historically renouned for it’s steel and cutlery
- one of the greenest cities in the UK. 61% of Sheffield’s entire area is green space
- built on seven hills – or is it eight, there seems to be local controversy!
- in the valleys of the River Don and its four tributaries, Loxley, Porter Brook, Rivelin and Sheaf.
The parks, gardens and woodlands made it a wonderful place to grow up. And the rivers were house names at my Junior School.
During the five months of the round robin, I looked forward to seeing how others interpreted the theme. The challenge included piecing, but not quilting, the rows, which were to be between 5 and 9 inches deep.
My Row Design
My Sheffield Quilt row was inspired by growing up and living in Nether Edge and Ecclesall. These leafy suburbs in South Sheffield are on the edge of the beautiful Peak District. So I wanted to include both the city and peaks I love. This combination of a green, culture rich city with easy access to the Derbyshire Peak District makes me love living here. In fact, a third of the city lies within the Peak District national park.
I upcycled some existing patchwork from a worn out skirt, signifying my love of creating with the discarded.
The greens spoke of a lush landscape with varying foliage, and I created a background of hills.
I added a sky-scape for the city of Sheffield, in dark, small floral print fabric. And I used the council logo as a basis for the design, enlarging it and cutting out the dark fabric (with bondaweb on the reverse) with embroidery scissors. Running stitches in black thread attached this to the patchwork background.
I added millstones in a textural fabric and the Peak District arched logo in green satin to blend the City with the Peak District.
As instructed, in August we each took our first row in a plain cream fabric bag. We were also told to include any fabric we wanted in future rows and a notebook with colour or style preferences, theme etc.
I noted the inspiration for my row in my quilt notebook and added that I was happy if the theme was interpreted in any way, with any technique. Furthermore I wrote: ” a traditional patchwork block may come to mind, or it may be an experience of Sheffield you have which inspires your row design”
The group bag monitor then redistributed the bags so each month we each received a different bag. So during August, September, October and November I received a bag containing an ever increasing number of rows and I made a further row. This year I plan to blog about the other sewing, as each completed quilt is revealed. However, here I will share about my Sheffield quilt.
This was the deepest row and ended up at the bottom of the Sheffield Quilt. The team member wrote in the notebook they hoped they weren’t being greedy as they chose five aspects of Sheffield to create:
Henderson’s Relish, because they were born in the previous maternity hospital opposite the factory that made this iconic sauce brand. Made in Sheffield for over 100 years, it’s spicy and fruity and known locally as “Enderson’s”, or simply “Relish”. The comedian Tom Wrigglesworth said that while ‘outsiders’ think Henderson’s Relish is Sheffield’s answer to Worcestershire sauce, Sheffielders think it’s the answer to everything. If you haven’t tried it and you live outside South Yorkshire, you can purchase online.
Stanedge Pole, where the quilter used to walk and learned to drive on the road leading to it. Stanedge Pole, also known as Stanage Pole, is a landmark on Hallam Moors close to Stanage Edge in Sheffield 10 (grid reference SK2468784429). On the crest of the moor the carved wooden pole (and it’s replacements) have helped the weary and confused navigate in driving rain or blowing snow from the 1550s.
Forge Dam Slide, near the cafe and by Ivy Cottage Lane, Sheffield S10, is a long metal slide. As the quilter said in the notebook, “the joys of living somewhere hilly is that you can get long slides”. You can see an image on Trip Advisor.
Cutlery, is what Sheffield used to be well known for, with the first reference to cutlery made in Sheffield in 1297. Now there are only a few small producers, including Ernest Wright & Son (whose stork embroidery scissors I used for the city-scape in row one). You can see sheffield cutlery at the Sheffield cutlery shop.
Wind, which the quilter remembers blowing the cherry blossom in her parent’s garden. The blossom blowing from the tree reminds me of frequent visits to Sheffield Botanical Gardens, from toddlerhood to the present day.
This row, which is in the middle of my Sheffield Quilt , concentrates on Sheffield’s industry. The quilter shared in the notebook how, like me, when she thinks of Sheffield her first thought is of the hills, and her second is of the rivers which led to industry. The quilter used a background fabric suggesting the contours of the earth and appliqued the Bessemer Convertor, strip mills, steelworks and cooling towers. I hand quilted along the rivers in the top three rows.
Five Weirs Walk
Sheffield’s industrial landscape has been changing along the river Don with it’s five weirs since the 1980s. Now it’s a green ribbon of trees known as the Five Weirs Walk. This 8km takes you through the East End of Sheffield, past scenes of Sheffield’s history. There are Victorian buildings and scenes of the city’s industrial heyday: old schools, mills, factories and some contemporary sculptures.
The quilter shares “the leaves represent the regeneration of the industrial sites”.
Sheffield Tinsley Canal
In 1819 the 4 mile Sheffield Tinsley canal was completed between the River Don and a new basin in the centre of Sheffield.
Some trade continued up to the 1970s but then it was neglected. Now the towpath is a walk out of Sheffield for all weathers and seasons, and I have enjoyed a cruise along the canal.
As shared by a reviewer on the park’s facebook page, I’ve been going to this park since the 70s as a child. A shame the lido went, but the cafe and all the facilities brought about by the friends of Millhouses Park have kept this beautiful space totally user friendly and alive.
The park was near Abbeydale Grange, the comprehensive school I atended, and is quite near where I live now. My children were taught to ride a bike without stabilisers on its gentle slopes and I enjoy the cakes at the cafe by the miniature boating lake depicted on the quilt row. I have walked dogs, played tennis and mini golf, and watched my sons play basketball and rugby at this park.
The blocks of the quilt row represent the sports pitches, paths and flower beds.
I added a “love blooms here” print to widen the row to fit the others and represent family times at Millhouses Park.
The common colours in the five rows for my Sheffield Quilt were grey and green. I chose a fairly dark grey textured “linen print” to divide the rows, highlight them and represent the “steel city”.
I chose a light grey with cream spots to represent living above “the snow line” in Banner Cross in Ecclesall.
Batting & Backing
My choice was a bamboo cotton 50/50 blend batting as this is eco friendly and anti bacterial. The makers recommend you hand wash it, so I did this in the bath with soap flakes. I then squeezed and rolled it in a towel to remove some moisture, before drying it flat.
The sashing, border fabrics, and batting for my Sheffield Quilt, were a gift from my son Matthew – from Billow Fabrics. I used a plain grey, soft fabric for the back.
Each month I am inspired by the stitchers at my quilters group. The Totley Brook Quilters are keen sewers and quilters who meet each month to chat and sew. Each session includes “show and tell” and it is amazing to see what has been produced. So this month I was able to show the top of my Sheffield Quilt – pinned and basted, ready to quilt.
I used a walking foot to do straight quilting rows on my Sheffield Quilt, rolling the quilt to work through the machine.
Machine Finished Binding with Mock Piping/Flange
This binding gives a piped look you can completely sew to your quilt with the sewing machine. Use either invisible thread or thread to match the piping in the top of your machine and a thread matching the quilt backing in the bobbin.
Make the Binding
You will need: 1½” strips of your main binding fabric and 1¾” strips of a contrast fabric.
Cut sufficient strips of each of these to go around your quilt plus extra for corners and joining. Prepare the binding by Joining the strips of fabric with a diagonal seam:
- Place fabric right sides together at right angles
- Stitch diagonally
- Trim seam allowance to ¼” and press seam open
Next sew the two colours together along their length using a ¼” seam.
Press the seam towards the main binding fabric.
Fold the binding in half lengthwise, so the raw edges are flush. Then press so a strip of the contrast fabric is visible on the right side of the binding.
Now prepare the beginning of the binding strip:
- Unfold the left edge of the binding, fold the corner in and press.
- Trim the triangle leaving a ¼” seam allowance
- Refold the strip
Attach the binding to the quilt
You will first sew the binding to the back of the quilt. Then fold to the front before stitching again. Place the right side of the binding to the wrong side of the quilt, with raw edges along the edge of the quilt. Using a walking foot stitch ¼” from the edge of the quilt.
To turn the corners, stop stitching ¼” before the corner of the quilt. Then remove the quilt from the sewing machine to fold the corner. Fold the binding up so that the diagonal fold points directly into the corner.
Next, fold the binding down again, aligning it with the edge of the quilt.
Continue sewing ¼” from the edge, all round the quilt, folding each corner.
When you reach the start, trim the binding. Then Insert it into the pocket created at the beginning. Pin and stitch in place.
Complete the Binding
- Fold the binding onto the right side of the quilt so you can now see the narrow piping strip.
- Pin carefully, being careful the match the corners.
- Stitch in the ditch on the piping using a thread matching the piping, or invisible thread in the top of your machine and a thread matching the quilt backing in the bobbin.
You can find a youtube film of this method – Susie’s Magic Binding tutorial
Sewing my Sheffield Quilt during the Christmas holidays was also a time to catch up with family. So I thought how patchwork and family life are similar and I also about this quote from, The Christmas Quilt (Elm Creek Quilts novel).
“A family is an act of creation, the piecing together of disparate fragments into one cloth – often harmonious, occasionally clashing and discordant, but sometimes unexpectantly beautiful and strong. Without contrast there is no pattern, and each piece, whether finest silk or faded cotton, will endure if sewn fast to the others with strong seams – bonds of love and loyalty, tradition and faith.” Jennifer Chiaverini
I would love to hear about your experiences of quilting and/or Sheffield. Please leave a comment below, or contact me
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