My Quilt Stories
Welcome to my Quilt Stories. Some of the quilts I've made and the inspiration, fabrics & techniques behind them
Stars Quilt (2016)
Finished size 46" X 62"
I made this quilt as cot bed size but as it was all created in pieces built into strips, it was a design that could be easily made bigger, by making more squares and more strips.
I love stars, and they are a reoccurring theme in things. The first photo of Laura at a few hours old, she is wearing a babygrow with Twinkle twinkle star motifs. Then she had the book Laura's star. I made star quilts for my twin niece and nephew!!
So, when I was creating cot quilts at some point I had to make one with stars on. These stars are slightly different, they are soft pointed and they are appliqued on with bias binding round the edges.
I went with matching blues for the stars, squares and bias binding. The different size stars were stitched onto background squares, then made into strips with blue fabrics as infills.
I made three strips, they got layered and quilted. The strips are machine quilted with stars and round the background squares. Then they are joined together and the edge binding stitched one.
I used coordinating fabrics but this design looks really lovely with different coloured bias binding round the stars.
This quilt isn't one that has been used, it's folded up and kept in the teaching quilt cupboard.
Purple Starter Sampler Quilt (2007)
Finished size 50" square.
This quilt in many ways shows how far I have come as a patchwork quilter & as a teacher. This quilt could possibly be said to be the half way point.
When I learnt patchwork & quilting, we started with a hexagon pincushion then immediately started on making a full size bed quilt, mine was a single with a grey background and Liberty cotton's for all the patchwork (I think it's tucked somewhere in a box in the loft as Tony wouldn't let me throw it away!).
So, when I first taught Patchwork & Quilting in my early 20's I taught the same way - started with a EPP hexagon pincushion and then a full size bed quilt using traditional patterns and mostly hand made. When I took a break from teaching, I had already begun to question whether this was the right way, was a full size quilt off putting & scary? Was it too expensive for someone just starting?
When I returned to teaching I had a rethink and I still started with hexagon pincushion (& I still do teach that as the first project!) but I taught this lap quilt. It wasn't so big, it still built up skills and covered all the important techniques at the time. And it wasn't hugely expensive to make and not as scary as a full size quilt. In a ten week course most could complete this quilt.
Of the four squares two are paper pieced, the Tumbling Blocks made from diamonds and the Dresden Plate. The other two are needleturn applique, one harder than the other. The squares were stitched together with the sashing and the borders added, with flowers appliqued on.
The quilt top was layered & then along the edges of the squares and borders machine quilted. All the rest of the quilting, from the details on each square to the borders was hand quilted. Finally the binding stitched on.
This quilt was mostly about hand stitching. I have made this design and variations of it a number of times while I was teaching it, each was used for demonstration and then given them away as gifts.
This quilt I kept and it's folded up in the 'teaching' cupboard with other quilts I keep for demonstrations or display, along with the numerous files of teaching notes & instructions.
Why I said this quilt marks a half way in my teaching journey is that it shows the changes I made, from completely hand made, traditional full size quilts to small more manageable.
Since then I have travelled on, I no longer start any beginner/newbie on making a quilt. I still start with a hexagon pincushion but then I have three smaller projects, each teaching a different technique, the second piece is still the Dresden Plate design, either on a bag or cushion. The next is a butterfly design which is hand work, needleturn applique and hand quilted. The final and fourth is a machine made design, from machine stitched applique and piecing blocks to machine quilting. These four smaller, quicker projects are less daunting, they show all the skills and let the newbie work out what type of work they prefer - hand, machine or a combination of both, and importantly they aren't hugely expensive initial outlay and use basic sewing equipment. Patchwork & quilting isn't for everyone.
Once the starter items are made, then we talk about making a full size quilt, using techniques they want and one square at a time, quilt-as-you-go method, they don't have to think about the quilt as a whole just a square at a time, much more achievable and not as scary!!!
This quilt also illustrates the size and layout that I guess I would say is my style. I prefer to make square quilts varying from lap size of around 50" square to topper (sit on top of a double bed from below the pillows) of 70" square, with squares in the centre, four or nine and then a wider border round the edge.
Fabric Conversation Quilts (2016)
Finished size 54" square.
I was rather surprised when I realised that is quilt was six years old, I just hadn't realised it was made that long ago!
The fabric is Makower Haberdashery, when I saw it on their website, before it came out, I knew I had to get it. It's just got the vintage sewing theme, I can remember a lot of the old style packets and bits and bobs as my Granny had them. And I just love old sewing machines the ones with black bodies and decorative patterns on them - I have my Mum's old Singer hand machine.
So, I went and bought a metre of each fabric, there was nine of them. On Makower website they recommended a red, I think, from their Spraytime range as a coordinating fabric, but I preferred the dark plum which I have used for the joining strips.
I didn't need a metre of each fabric, I designed this pattern to use fat quarters. So I have lots of it still sitting in my fabric cupboard!!! I will use it up one day.
I looked at lots of designs but in the end I designed this simple rectangle & square design, it's bigger pieces - so shows off the fabric, simple to piece and can be made from Fat Quarters - if you bought nine Fat Quarters then you can make the quilt squares.
Once I had pieced the squares, I layered and quilted them. I designed two basic outline shapes of a sewing machine, one smaller than the other and also an outline of thread reels, I made templates of these, drew round them on the fabric and machine quilted them.
I then joined the squares together with the dark plum and also used it for the binding.
It's home was over the pile of boxes in the workroom - boxes full of quilt tops waiting to be finished & dress making stuff!! Recently I have swapped it to over the bannister's on the landing & the scrap quilt from there has gone over the boxes.
Cot version (made in 2019)
Finished size 37" X 55"
I had the fabric for a while intending to make up the cot version to use in class, but I didn't get round to it for a while. The main fabric that I chose was the hedgehog one and the others coordinated with it, it's made from six fat quarters plus the fabric for the joining strips & binding.
Like the haberdashery version it's machine quilted using the quilt-as-you-go method. The quilting is an outline of a hedgehog!!
This design is a simple quick one to make, designed to work with novelty or conversation prints, hence the name Fabric Conversation, it shows off the fabric.
Tulip Field Quilt (2020)
Finished size 66" square.
I thought I would post this quilt next, as it's tulip 🌷 season! I love this quilt, it lives folded over the back of my workroom chair, bringing colour and a smile to my face!
The fabric is Lewis & Irene's Tulip Fields, the theme is tulips, windmills and mice - think of the song A Windmill in Old Amsterdam, and this fabric is that. Except the mice don't have clogs on!!! As soon as I saw this range in preview I knew I had to buy it, even though I wouldn't normally go with fabric with orange in it. But I love tulips - which if you follow me on any of the social media platforms or read my Rambles, probably have realised! And this fabric was a must.
There were fifteen fabrics in the range, and I got a fat quarter of each plus two fabrics from the Bumbleberries range to coordinate.
For the design I looked at different patterns, including ones I have designed especially for this sort of range of fabrics but none felt right. I then remembered a photo I had taken of the floor tiles and the pattern they made in the Royal Delft factory & museum when we went to Holland.
It just felt right to use the floor tiles to inspire my design for this quilt.
I made up nine squares, layered and machine quilted them with the outline of tulip I had drawn using the fabric design as the inspiration. I created a cardboard template which drew round with air erasable pen and then quilted, using my walking foot and a Gutterman Sulky thread. The tulips are just scattered across the surface of each square as if I have just thrown them down.
Once the squares were all quilted I put them together using the grey fabric for the joining strips and finally used the grey as the binding.
It definitely feeds my slight Tulip 🌷 addiction!!!
The left over fabric has been used in a tulip themed wall hanging and also to make a fabric protection slip cases for my phone when it's in my bag!
Laura's Bookworm Quilt (2022)
Finished size 74" square.
I regularly look at different fabric manufacturers to see what is due to come out, see the current trends and just keep up to date with fabrics.
While looking, I came across Lewis & Irene's Bookworm range, at the time it wasn't out, I showed it to Laura, thinking that she would like it!! Well, she does love books, and we call her bedroom the library. I was right and so I offered to make her a quilt in it - not that she needs any more quilts!
I sort of made a promise to myself, that I wouldn't buy any more fabric, except Essentials that will be used to mix with the fabric I have to use it up. But this was an exception, after all it's for Laura.
Laura & I went through designs, I have over the years designed three quilt patterns that are for sets of fabrics. There is 'Fabric Conversation' which uses bigger pieces, ideal for bigger patterns, then there is 'Tulip Fields' and also 'Faded Glory' (I have already posted the quilt story for this one). We had a good think....
The Bookworm range has fifteen fabrics in it, plus it coordinates with a number of fabrics in the Bumbleberries range. I buy Lewis & Irene fabric from Woolwarehouse, they always show the range & also the coordinating Bumbleberries on the same page, this just makes it soo much easier. Plus they say how much metreage is available, add in the very good service and swift delivery, makes them a company that's a pleasure to shop online with.
It was decided that I would use the 'Faded Glory' design and make up nine squares. As Laura likes things organised, she doesn't do random! I would have all the squares the same way, with the big square all in the same corner.
I was allowed to mix the fabrics around! So, each square is different. For the borders Laura wanted it that the Bookworm fabric created a border all the way round.
We got Fat Quarter of all fifteen of the fabrics, then decided on the Mid grey Bumbleberries for the border (they did a book brown but we preferred the grey) and indigo for the joining strips and Black for the binding. We had to wait for the range to come out. But as soon as it did we bought it. I spent a morning cutting out the fabric for the nine squares, then over a few days pieced the design together. They were then layered and machine quilted.
In keeping with my promise to use up fabric, I decided to do so for the back of the quilt, I pulled out lots of fabrics from the brown drawer of my stash. I had loads of them, over thirty years I have ended up with lots and yet brown isn't a colour I use much. Some have been given to me, individually there were lots of lovely fabrics but I had never had a project to use them. I decided to cut them into strips, sew together and roughly cut to size. It made a lot more work, but it used up a lot of fabric. And rather than waste the trimmed pieces, these got pieced together with more fabric for the borders of the quilt.
Again it was a joint decision for the quilting design, we wanted something in the book theme but not so it over powered the fabric. In the end I drew up the outline of books on a shelf. This was easy to draw straight onto the fabric, just measured and used an air erasable pen to draw the lines. Once all the squares were finished, I joined them together and started on the borders.
The first two borders were straight forward but the other two needed a bit of maths and also careful piecing of the joining strip so that it blends in, but it was worth it. The quilting on the borders carries on the bookshelf effect.
Finally the binding was stitched on and Laura has another quilt!!!
(I am not in anyway supported or sponsored by any company and it is just my personal opinion that I express).
Machine Sample Quilt (2019)
Finished size 62" square.
This is another one of those quilts that is a utility quilt, to be used anywhere - house, garden, on holiday, I don't mind where!
When I started on my patchwork quilt journey, we were told to practice our quilting, practice, practice and more practice, till our, at the time hand quilting was perfect! Well, the teacher's version of perfect!
We were told to buy Calico as it was the cheapest fabric, and just create lots of samples. A friend doing City & Guilds was told to create lots of sample squares, that they then, I think had to dye and make into a quilt - showing their hand quilting journey.
I have two problems with this, well three if you go with the idea of hand quilting 'police' - there shouldn't be a set rule to size of hand quilting stitches, you should quilt, if you want to hand quilt, your way, your style, it's your work, as long as you are happy with the finished piece and enjoyed creating it, that's what's important.
Well, one of the problems, is this idea that Calico is a cheap fabric that should only be used for samples. I love Calico, a good quality one is soft and natural, it gets softer with age. I use it for backs of quilts and also fronts occasionally, especially utility quilts which take lots of washing & wear.
The other problem, is samples - I really can't see the point of them, they are a waste of fabric and time. I rarely make a sample, well not one that isn't made into something I can use.
This is a quilt completely made from samples!! The whole thing is a sample of machine quilting using decorative stitches on my sewing machine. Like most machines mine has lots of decorative embroidery stitches, they don't often get used, I wanted to try using them to create decorative patterns. If I used them on their standard settings then they aren't right size, too dense to work for quilting, but playing with the length and width of the stitches, changes the look and makes them work for machine quilting.
I layered up nine squares of Calico with Hobbs Heirloom, I then drew a grid of nine squares with wiggly lines - these got quilted first. I then filled in each of the nine squares with a different stitch or combination of stitches.
Three squares were stitched in dark grey cotton, three with little grey thread and three with natural coloured thread, making the quilt top a bit different.
Small Whole Cloth Quilt (2012)
Finished size 40" square.
Plain whole cloth quilts never really look spectacular when photographed it really hard to get the 'feel' of this type of quilt. When you actually see them, in person, the pattern created by the stitching, the texture and feel of the quilt to a thing of beauty.
I always wanted to make a Whole Cloth Quilt, there is something romantic about this style, be it the Welsh or Durham ones. For me it's also about the threads of history, part of my family a few generations back came from Northumberland area and I always hoped that one of my ancestors was a quilter, creating the beautiful stitched whole cloth quilts using traditional Durham designs.
I felt that I didn't have the technical abilities, or the mathematical skills to draw up a whole quilt, so I asked for a preprinted top for a present.
This top is one of the Benartex range of whole cloth designs. They range from cushion size, through to cot quilts, they used to do these smaller 40" square ones (but they don't seem to do them anymore) to big full size bed quilts. In the kit you get the preprinted front, printed in a blue water based dye, so they wash out at the end, and also the backing fabric. This lets you decide on the type of wadding you want to use. I went with my usual Hobbs Heirloom Cotton.
I loved quilting this. I quilted in a frame and this quilt is quilted to the stitch standard I was taught - 10 to 1" - basically 10 stitches, counting those on the front & back to each inch. It's a very small stitch!!!
I will say at this point I don't quilt with the rocking motion stitching that is sort of standard quilting method, I stab stitch - I prefer this, I am happier with the results and I find it better for my hands and wrists.
Not long after I finished quilting this quilt, we went to York for a long weekend and The Quilters Guild had an exhibition of Amy Emms, lots of her whole cloth quilts. It was a big light bulb moment, her quilting wasn't this tiny stitching I was taught, her stitches really varied in length and her patterns weren't perfect - she obviously drew up the design as she went, so sometimes had to fudge them to get it to fit. And yet the quilts where stunning, the patterns and textures!!!
You didn't notice the fitted in patterns or stitch size, it was just about the overall look of the finished quilt. It made me relax about my quilting, now I stitch bigger stitches and I know that if I wanted to I could design a whole quilt top myself! Maybe one day....
This quilt is used all the time, it covers the rebounder (mini trampoline) that is in the sitting room. It has cushions and knitted and crocheted throws/blankets thrown on top of it. It's also used as a background to some of my social media photos!!
It's used, washed and loved and as the years go on, it wears but that's part of its charm.
Random Squares Quilt (2009)
Finished size 62" square.
This quilt sits folded up behind the sofa, to be pulled out when Laura's friends are round, either in the sitting room or out in the garden, to snuggle into and for warmth.
It's another of those quilts that I call a utility one, to be used and washed, indoors, outdoors, on holidays , where ever it's needed.
It is made up of pre-cut 5" squares that I was given. I think the fabric is Laura Ashley. I was given the pack by a friend of my Mum's, her daughter was moving and clearing out stuff. She, the daughter, had bought the pack thinking to make them into a quilt but didn't ever get round to it.
I decided to randomly sew them all together and added the blue borders, cut to 5" the same as the squares. It was layered with wadding - Hobbs Polydown and a blue Dorma cotton sheet.
Extra wide cotton backing fabric wasn't available at the time and so I had for years been buying Dorma cotton flat sheets in sales or when seconds were available for the back of my quilts.
I used a dinner plate to mark circles on the front and then machine quilted the circles and lines going to and from them. I also quilted round the border before adding the edge binding.
Sometimes simple quilt designs are best!
Coloured Houses Quilt (2010)
Finished size 47" square.
This isn't a very big quilt, just 47" square, so not a bed topper, more of a snuggle quilt. Most of its life this quilt was folded on the back of my workroom chair, originally on its own, then with the Faded Glory quilt and later with the Tulip Fields on. But for the last couple of years it has been rolled up in a box with fleece blankets, crochet throws and woven runners in the sitting room. I pulled it out to do this Quilt story and hung it on a kitchen chair, I think that's where it's going to live from now on & I think I might use it on my wooden chair in the garden during the summer!
I can't remember why I made this quilt, it's made of scraps of fabric for the houses and binding. The houses are all machine pieced with Calico for the background and border fabric. The green was yardage I had, I used to use a lot of this range - Robert Kaufman 'fusions' fabric and had it in lots of different colours.
The top was made as a whole, layered with wadding and backing, which is Calico. Then I have machine quilted round the houses, squares and borders before hand quilting - clouds, trees and cars.
It's been used and loved and has a soft worn feel to it, it's a quilt that deserves to be used.
P.S. Laura has just remembered why I made it. I set the class a challenge to take the house pattern over summer and work it in their own colour way and add decoration, I had made lots of them as a demonstration so decided to put them together into a quilt.
Rose of Sharon Quilt (2020)
Finished size 65" square.
The Rose of Sharon design is one I have used time and time again. It inspired the big Floral Quilt and I have used it in different sizes in sampler quilts.
This version I designed for a Flower Sampler quilt that I was teaching - each of the nine flowers in that quilt used a different technique.
I decided to use the Rose of Sharon design for the hand applique square, it is stitched onto a 12" square, then a very narrow border is added before the wider is stitched on. Roses are appliqued in the corners and the embroidered design stitched. The square from the original version was made in pinks.
I needed to demonstrate, hand applique, the narrow border and the embroidery, so I decided to remake the square and decided on the grey & black colour way. The embroidery is done in a DMC stranded cotton in a variegated black to grey colour. The squares are machine quilted in white thread.
From the two squares I used to demonstrate in classes, I added two more to make the centre. As the middle is all floral, I decided to go with a square design on the border to create a frame. I made the blocks for the border in two colour ways, the black and the white version.
The Rose of Sharon design looks so different in this colour way. It's not a quilt that is used on any of our beds, it sits folded up, along with two others on the exercise bike in the corner of our sitting room.
Scattered Flowers Quilt (2017)
Finished size 55" square.
This is a quilt made from bits used as demonstration pieces in classes. The centre flowers in the pieced squares were used to show the use of fusible web and machine applique. The four squares are made up of a combination of Half Square Triangles and Quarter Square Triangles, and whole squares, again used to show cutting basic squares with rotary cutter and rulers and then creating the pieced squares and making up patterns.
I decided to put all the pieces together and made the four squares, which I then joined together with Calico sashing and borders.
It felt very plain and so I decided to add more applique flowers and randomly throw leaves across the whole design.
Once the top was made I layered it with wadding, in this case a Vlieseline Cotton wadding, it hadn't long been on the market and I wanted to try it, as the wholesaler I use was stocking it as well as my normal make. It is a thicker (higher loft) then my usual one I use - Hobbs Heirloom Cotton. It also can be quilted further apart.
I added the back, which was made up of a pack of fat quarters I had been given, it wasn't in colours I would usually use but it makes a different looking back to my usual plain Calico and it was in line with my using up bits theme with this quilt.
The thicker wadding gives a slightly different feel to the machine quilting. I quilted round the designs on the squares to add depth. Then using a deep green thread I quilted from the flowers to the leaves across the whole surface, using curving lines. Once it was finished I used Calico to bind the edges.
This quilt is what I call a utility quilt, one to be used everyday and loved, it can be used indoors or go out in the garden, I am not precious about it. I really like it, the combination of pieced squares and the flowers, it lives folded up on the exercise bike in the sitting room, with a couple of other quilts and depending on how I feel, depends on which on is on the top and seen, at the moment it's this one!
Hexagon Quilt (2016)
Finished size 66" square.
This is another quilt that is Laura's but it doesn't live in her bedroom, it's folded on the back of the sofa she sits on in our sitting room.
The fabric used is Tilda 'Sweet Christmas' from her 2014/2015 range. We both just saw it and liked it. It's not in any way Christmassy, all warm Grey's, soft pinks and reds with roses and small florals. So, it may be called 'Sweet Christmas' but it's not a quilt that is used at Christmas, this is a quilt that's used the rest of the year.
When I have taken this quilt to talks it's always been really admired, it's a firm favourite with people - I don't know whether it's the design or fabrics.
I bought a fat quarter of all the fabrics in the range, plus more of the mini spot in red used for joining strips and binding and also the Laura (that's the name of the fabric!!) warm grey fabric on the border. From each fat quarter I got out the border on each square and lots of hexagons!!
The hexagons are all English paper pieced, and then joined together. To make the nine 'flowers' nineteen hexagons were sewn together, in three different fabrics. They were then pressed, papers removed and stitched onto the background square and then borders added. Each square was layered and quilted.
The quilting is a mixture of machine, for the quilting on the background square round the flower and the square. And then hand quilting in red thread on the hexagons.
For the borders I used the Laura in warm grey and the background fabric with a strip of hexagons down the middle. Each corner square is just a single hexagon flower.
Using the red mini spot fabric for the joining strips and binding, pulls all the fabrics together.
I don't often see this quilt laid out as a whole, as it's folded on the back of the sofa!!
It makes me want to make another hexagon quilt...
Heart Quilt (2010)
Finished size 59" square.
This quilt is a follow on to the original Heart to Heart quilt, that I wrote about in last week's Quilt Stories.
When teaching a patchwork design or different technique, then I would give a full demonstration. I usually would end up with a different colour version of the quilt. But in the case of the Heart to Heart quilt I didn't need to give a full demonstration in class for all the designs, the applique didn't need that but the foundation paper pieced ones did.
These hearts are all made using the foundation paper pieced method and are from demonstrations in class. I don't make samples, personally I think they are a waste of time and fabric, so everything I trial, sample, demonstrate are used.
Each of these hearts are made using fabric I had in my stash from the shades of purples and lilacs to the calico. The nine squares were made and extra borders added to make them all the same size. They were then stitched together, borders added, and then layered and quilted as a whole top. The quilting is all machine stitched, nothing fancy, just round the hearts and borders.
This quilt is Laura's used, washed and loved, it has worn to a soft supple snuggly feel. It isn't used often now, just occasional when she has friends over (apparently we keep our house on the cold side for them!! So, they like cuddling in the quilts that are laying around).
Heart to Heart Quilt (2017)
Finished size 77" X 95"
I thought this would be a good quilt to post on this Monday, being that it's Valentine's Day, and hearts are everywhere.
This is the remake of this quilt, the original version in reds and pink (last photo) I made in 2009. It was a great sampler quilt to teach as there are so many techniques used in it. The original quilt was made as a whole top and then layered and quilted.
In 2017, I again taught this quilt but with this version I made it as quilt-as-you-go. It is made in six strips. The top and bottom strips are the final borders. The other four are made up of different squares and rectangles put together, then layered and quilted.
There are a lot of different techniques from hand and machine applique, bias work, foundation paper piecing, to normal machine piecing. And also hand and machine quilting. The whole theme is hearts - lots and lots of hearts!!!
I had for a number of years been picking up Tilda fabrics when they were reduced, I pulled out all the ones that went together, I still have a lot of others in my stash!! In all I used ten of the Tilda fabrics plus a plain cream for the background. It possibly isn't, what most people would think of as a 'love' quilt, as the colours are very soft, muted and feminine, with the soft colours and florals. I prefer this version to the original red/pink one. I guess I am not into traditional love & hearts colours!!!
This quilt has been kept folded in my teaching quilt cupboard. It's not one we have ever used, it just doesn't fit with the feel of our bedroom and yet I really like it.
Laura's Christmas Quilt (2007)
Finished size 84" X 56"
Can I start with saying I am a terrible horrible Mum 😂, this was Laura's first full size bed quilt and she was 8!!! Up to then she had been using her Flower Fairies cot/bed quilt. I had made lots of other quilts but I just hadn't made Laura one!!! It's ok, as since this one I have made her a number of quilts and also she has taken possession of any that I have made that she loves!!!
Because of the colours this quilt has an almost antique feel, it is incredibly soft and very snuggly - lots of washing!!!
The basis for the eight 9 patch squares, was a pack of charm squares I had got from Strawberry Fayre, they used to be in Changford Devon and I used them to mail order almost all of my fabric. There wasn't enough to do the eight squares needed and so Laura chose fabrics from my stash that she wanted included. The background fabric and outer borders are USA muslin, hence why it has gone so soft.
The heart circlets are hand appliqued. Once all the 9 patch squares and applique ones were made I then put them together with the dusty pink lattice, and the borders. It was then layered and backing added before I hand quilted the whole thing.
On the wide borders I have quilted hearts and also words - cuddles, cherish, hugs & kisses.
Once all the quilting was finished, the binding was added and then I gave the quilt to her for Christmas from me - my present to her.
This quilt is about my love, it was stitched with love, that even when I am not around, she could wrap herself in this quilt and it would represent my cuddling her.
It is tucked away in the drawer under Laura's bed, as other quilts have become her favourites!
Laura's Owls Quilt (2014)
Finished size 62" square.
Pattern published in Popular Patchwork June 2014 edition.
I can remember when the idea for this quilt came to mind really clearly. We, Laura and I were sitting at the table in the kitchen of my sister Jenny's home in Derbyshire, just before Christmas 2013, we were talking about a new quilt for her. I grabbed a piece of paper and quickly sketched the design.
This quilt was unusual for both of us, as at that time we really weren't into so bright colours. Most of my quilts had been softer colours and all the ones for Laura had been soft pink and lilac/purple colours.
The starting colours for the quilt was the fabrics for the tummies, we both really loved the design and matched all the fabrics to these.
The quilt is made in in four strips, using the quilt as you go method, the joining strips match and blend in with the long borders in each strip.
The owls and branches are machine appliqued onto the background fabric and the other fabric pieces are attached. When each strip was stitched it was layered with wadding and backing and everything machine quilted, before all being joined together. The binding round the edge is made from four of the tummy fabrics.
Before I had even finished this quilt it was already destined to go off to Popular Patchwork. I had already had a number of bits accepted and published in the magazine. And the editor had asked what I was working on, so I had sent photos of it in construction - she wanted it as soon as it was finished.
Submitting designs to magazines had been something I had thought about but never did, Tony pushed me to do it. It was a real thrill to see my designs in the magazine but for me it was fairly stressful. The information/instructions had to be written in a certain way - not my usual short points with lots of information. With writing for magazines you have to keep it short and assume a certain level of knowledge. Which was really hard.
We, or rather Tony had to take a number of photos illustrating points of the making process to be included in the instructions and he had to also send electronically all the photos, instructions and pattern pieces of in a certain format to the editor.
And I had to send the finished item of to the editor, she lived in Yorkshire to be photographed. So, Laura's Owls got sent away as soon as I had finished it - Laura got to look at it but then it was gone. I made her a cushion to remember it.
Unfortunately the quilt was away for months, usually they got returned about a month after publication of the magazine but with this one it was months, I kept emailing asking about it and there was one problem after another.
Finally in late Autumn it arrived back and Laura had her quilt, and it went on her bed. I made her a Christmas owl cushion to go with it! She used it till she got her Grandmother flower garden quilt when she was eighteen. Now, the owl quilt lays over the big pile of storage boxes in the corner of her room that are full of books, hence why it's a bit creased up.
Another problem with having bits in magazines is although I am the designer and I am recognised as such, I can't publish the design as the magazine has the rights to the instructions, I can teach it but I can't rewrite the pattern to my way of doing instructions and sell the pattern in my Etsy shop.
I had thought of creating a cot bed quilt using this design not long after I finished the quilt and till I pulled it out and photographed for this quilt story I had forgotten the idea but I might do that one day.
It's a quilt I still like, it's bright and cheery.
Hexagon Flower Quilt (2020)
Finished size 59" square.
Last week's Quilt Story was about Laura's hexagon Grandmothers flower garden quilt, and I said I had a number of flowers left over. I did wonder what to do with them - a runner? Start another full Grandmother's flower garden quilt, or some other quilt?
In the end I decided on making this quilt. I had an uneven number of the flowers, so made a couple more to make it up to 25 flowers. Each flower was appliqued onto a 8.5" square of Essential white on white fabric. It is a real mixture of background fabrics, as I used up what I had in the cupboard.
The squares were layered with wadding and backing fabric - which is a mixture of both bleached and unbleached Calico. Then I hand quilted, round the yellow centre hexagon and round the outside of the flower on the background fabric.
Once all 25 squares were finished, I put them together using yellow, as near as I could find in my stash to the centre yellow.
Then I started on the borders and corners, again using the white on White fabrics I had in my cupboard, these are 8.5" wide.
I decided to just machine quilt the borders using a butterfly stencil I had and a soft variegated yellow thread. For the corner squares I went with a hexagon with a butterfly in the middle, picking up the hexagons in the flowers and the butterflies in the borders.
For joining the borders and corner squares and also edge binding I used the green fabric I had used on the binding on Laura's Grandmother's flower garden quilt.
I gave Laura this quilt as it is linked to her Grandmother's flower garden quilt, it sits with the other quilts that she has!! And she has a few!!!
Laura's Hexagon Quilt (2017)
Finished size 64" X 74"
Please note the finished in 2017!!! That's when I finally actually gave it to Laura, I did promise it for her 18th birthday but unfortunately I was a month or so late - it took longer to quilt than I thought!!!
This quilt took years and years to make!!! I started it when Laura was little, meaning to make it for her first full size bed quilt!
The individual hexagons are 1" edge size, I have no idea how many are in the quilt. The centre of each flower has the same yellow and the cream path is all the same. The flowers are all different, and have 25 years plus of fabrics, memories of other quilts and also a few long tunic shirts I made myself using Patchwork cotton.
The whole of this quilt holds lots of memories, not just all the fabrics but also all the places I tacked and stitched the hexagons and flowers. The whole top is English Paper pieced, at the beginning all the papers and fabric where individually cut using scissors but by the time I came to do the green hexagons at the edge I had got an Accuquilt Baby Go! And the hexagon die - which certainly speed up the cutting for all the pieces.
I tacked and pieced the hexagons over years, waiting while Laura had French lessons & swimming lessons, and on holidays. Till eventually I had stitched lots and lots of flowers and tacked all the cream path and it all went together.
The finished size was set by the cream path, I couldn't make it any bigger because I couldn't buy any more of that colour, I had bought it when I started and I couldn't match it - if I make another one I am going to buy more path fabric than I think I need, in case I want it bigger! I did have a few flowers left over, which I used in another quilt (I think I will do that for the next Quilt Story!
I asked Laura what colour she wanted for the edge and she went with the pale green, when I was getting it, I also bought the patterned green that is used for the binding.
This patterned green was in the sale bin, almost half a bolt and I just loved it and bought the whole lot, it just finished the edge nicely and has been used in a few other quilts. A very good bargain buy.
Once the top was all pieced together, I layered it with wadding and a backing fabric. The wadding in this quilt is different from my usual Hobbs Heirloom Cotton, for this one I used a Vlieseline Cotton 80/20 mix, it is a firmer wadding with a bit more loft than Hobbs Heirloom Cotton. Which is why the hand quilting took longer than I thought, note don't quilt a big quilt with a lovely warm wadding in the summer months of June, July & August!!! Laura's birthday is towards the end of August!
It is hand quilted round each yellow centre and the outside of each flower.
Eventually I did finish it and gave it to Laura, and she uses all the time on her bed.
I love hexagon quilts, especially ones like this one, made with lots of different fabrics.
Flower Quilt (2019)
Finished size 64" square.
Earlier in this series of Quilt Stories I wrote about the Circles Quilt made in 2018, this quilt is a spin off from that one.
I completed the Circles Quilt and then showed it in my classes, and as so often happens, I ended up teaching it, but it was a completed quilt and I needed to show how to create it!
I hate making samples and bits that aren't going to have a useful life. And so I started another quilt - this one to show how the techniques used.
I always keep a lot of Makower Essentials white on white in my cupboard, I tend to buy three or four designs at a time, usually about three meters of each. I really like this fabric as a background, just having that little pattern breaks up the plainness. On quilts like this I will often use a number of patterns, as I often have the odd squares left over. I have used Essential fabric on the back and front.
The blue dot fabric is Rose & Hubble cotton, I bought it to make a dress for Laura, which had a big 50's style skirt, it got worn a few times over one summer, but by the next she had grown out of it and taken to wearing much darker colours!!! The fabric was still absolutely ok, and so I decided to use it for this quilt (I still have some in my fabric drawer!!)
The lilac purple fabrics on the back was just a metre I had in the stash.
There are 25 squares, each 12.5" in the background fabric, I then cut 3" circles and machine appliqued these on, they are stitched on using blanket stitch.
The squares were layered with wadding and the backing square and then I began to quilt the flower petals. The top thread is a blue variegated Gutermann Sulky Cotton 30 and the bobbin thread was a standard Gutermann sewing cotton in a variegated purple.
A smaller circle was stitched in the centre and then another stitched round the blue dot fabric circle. The petals are created using two stencils I drew up. The inner one is laid on, drawn round and stitched, then the same thing is done with the outer bigger petals.
When all the pieces where quilted and completed I then put it together using quilt-as-you-go method. The binding is done slightly different, as usual I have one colour that is sewn on the front and folded to the back, but with this binding I wanted blue on the front and purple on the back, so I joined strips on the two fabrics together before sewing them on to the back, then folded to the front and top stitched in place. The binding is also top stitched along the very outer edge to keep it flat.
It's a quilt that lives over the bannisters, as do a number of others, we don't have enough beds for all the quilts!!!
Textured Quilt (2019)
Finished size (excluding Prairie points on edge) 66"
This whole quilt is made from natural Calico, I know some people are rather sniffy about using Calico. I personally love a good quality Calico, and it has to be a good quality, not the type used for hard wearing aprons or the really open weave type. The more it is used and washed the softer it becomes.
At the time I created this quilt I was doing a lot with machine quilting, experimenting with different stitches, changing the width and lengths to create effects. It was a small step to adding in textile from folded forms of patchwork.
Over the years there have been a number of books from Tucks, Textures and Pleats by Jenni Rayment, to Heirloom Quilts, Fabric Manipulation to ones on Praire Points and folded windmill Patchwork. I have dipped into folded Patchwork before but not for a long time and so I decided to revisit it and add into this quilt another technique to show in class.
The four centre squares each have windmill Praire point in the centre, then they have a border that is quilted, I used a stencil for the design and then quilted using an enlarged blanket stitch.
For the four long borders I created Tucks and then folded them in different directions to form more texture. The quilting is a combination of both straight stitch and also blanket stitch.
The four corner squares, I had taught the pintuck design in the middle a number of years before as a cushion cover, I then added the quilted borders to match the centre.
The quilt is made up of 12 separate pieces, each piece was made quilt-as-you-go method and then put together.
Finally I added Praire points on the corners and completed the edge.
This quilt is very much about the texture and pattern created by the quilting and folding of fabric.
Vintage Cups & Flowers Quilt (2019)
Finished size 62" X 100"
I had been playing around in my mind with a cup & saucer design for a while, curvy Victorian floral cups and saucers and possibly a teapot, sort of Royal Albert - Old County Roses style. But it never felt right.
Then I started to think on flowers displayed in cups... The design became to busy and curvy and I put the idea to the back of my mind.
I then I bought myself the Tilda Apple Butter Charm Pack - forty 5" squares of twenty different fabric designs. The fabric had echos of 1930's feed-sack and Depression Quilts and vintage Cups with stylised flowers worked into that feel.From each 5" charm pack square I cut a cup, handle, three flower centres and a flower.
I had also bought 2m of three of the fabrics in the range for the borders and joining strips.
From the green I cut all the leaves, six for each cup. And from the pink two flowers for each cup. I mixed up the rest of the flowers and centres. All the pieces had been backed with fusible web and each cup, handle, flowers, centres and leaves where pressed into 8.5" background square. The borders, half the squares in the pink and the other half in the green, got stitched on.
Each square was layered with wadding and backing, on one square the backing is made up of the salvages showing the fabric name and colours. I then machine appliqued and quilted at the same time. The design was stitched using blanket stitch and then all other quilting is just straight stitch.
The squares were laid out and joined together using machine quilt-as-you-go method, using the blue fabric as the joining strips, it was also used for the binding.
It is a very busy patterned quilt, with so many small scale prints - I had never used so many prints all together in one quilt, I tend to use more plains or blender fabrics. It not a quilt I would use on our bed, as it just wouldn't work in our room, it hangs over the bannisters.
The pattern is available from our Etsy Store.
Winter Warmer Quilt (2016)
Finished size 60" square.
This quilt is another of my winter themed quilts, it's made in 5 stripes, using quilt-as-you-go. Which meant that if you wanted to make it bigger, it was easy to just make longer stripes and have more of them.
The top and bottom stripes are made from foundation pieced trees. The second stripe has pairs of birds with scarves, with a heart in-between, all machine appliqued.
The centre stripe has a hand embroidered design of a winter landscape with a house in the centre, stylised trees, snowman and stars.
The fourth stripe is a combination of hanging decorations, paper pieced hexagon ones, & machine applique stars and hearts.
The quilting is a combination of machine and hand. Big stitch quilting in a thick cream thread is used for the stitched hanging garlands on the deep red borders and also other details on some of the applique bits.
From the pieces I used to demonstrate all the different techniques in my classes, I created a quilt in silver grey and purple in squares. This quilt has a total different look and yet they are the same designs. I gave this second version to a good friend.
Scandi Christmas Quilt (2019)
Finished size 63" square.
This isn't a traditional Christmas quilt! It is a subtle natural colour, the fabric is Makower Scandi Christmas, which over the years, they have created this range in red and greys but also in the past in natural colour. The prints on the fabric are the same as the other colours, trees, hearts, reindeer and snowflakes.
I had these Fat Quarters of fabric in the cupboard for a while before I used them and then added a metre of linen look in linen colour, for the border and joining strips.
Using six of the fabrics, I cut 6.5" strips across the width of the Fat Quarters and stitched them together to create a longer strip, which I layered with wadding and backing, which is my favourite soft good quality natural Calico.
I then machine quilted each strip with a Christmas design - baubles, stars etc.
The six strips were joined together and then I created four borders - each made up of two 6.5" wide fabrics, these got quilted with trees on the outer edge and another design. I have shown the back of the quilt as you can see the quilting designs clearer on the Calico.
For the corners I joined four 6.5" squares and then quilted a design which reminded me of a poinsettia.
The whole quilt is quilt-as-you-go, but rather than squares in the middle, it is a stripes.
I really like the natural look of this quilt, it's subtle Christmas, and because of that I use it in December and also January and February.
Sarah's Choice Quilts (2019)
Finished size 66" square.
Two quilts, different versions of the same pattern - Sarah's Choice. My choice but also the name of the block pattern in the middle!!!
I really like pieced blocks and especially the ones that have a star like look. I was looking through designs on EQ8 (Electric Quilt software) when I came across this one - it was published in a 1906 patchwork booklet in Boston. I just knew I had to use it!!!
I had two lots of fabric - Lewis & Irene range (the grey one) and also a Makower (Scandi grey/red)one that I could use. The Lewis & Irene is more of the winter quilt, with its design and colours and so gets used from beginning of December through to end of February.
Whereas the Makower is a bit more Christmas feel! And gets used December and a bit into January.
I started with the Lewis & Irene one, made the four blocks in the dark shades and then the border in a Bumbleberries fabric and appliqued stars, reindeer and trees - all of which were cut on my Accuquilt Baby go! And dies. For the quilting, which is all machine I quilted round the shapes then added dried seed heads inspired by the fabric.
The Makower Scandi one, which I used as a demonstration of techniques and the Accuquilt in my classes was the second one made. The borders, two have hearts, stars and reindeer and the other two had hearts, stars and snowflakes, all cut using Accuquilt dies. I had the four borders made and was playing with ideas for the corner blocks - did I make four more Sarah's Choice block, applique something but in the end I was inspired by the fabric and quilted a house and appliqued trees with it. I just had to make sure they all went the right way when I put the quilt together!!
As with most of the quilts I make, both of these are quilt-as-you-go. The Lewis & Irene in eight sections and the Makower Scandi in twelve pieces.
Laura's Christmas Quilt (2013)
Finished size 46" square.
The centre is a t-shirt!! I loved this t-shirt it was so sweet and pretty and once Laura grow out of it, I tucked it away.
Then I saw this Christmas fabric, at the time it stood out as almost all Christmas fabrics were very traditional, red and green. But this was at the beginning of the fabric manufacturers doing modern designs and colour ways, Scandi influence was just starting.
I loved the fabric but didn't want to make a full sized Christmas quilt but it also matched the t-shirt, so I bought just a Fat Quarter pack.
I cut the front of the t-shirt, stabilised it with light weight iron interfacing and then trimmed it to a rectangle. The borders where added round it to make a square. Then the border of triangles made, with more borders added till I used up the fabric!
In the right hand bottom corner is the label from the t-shirt, it's worked into the corner block. It was so sweet I just had to use it.
The quilt top was layered and then machine quilted. I used metallic white/iridescent from Madeira threads, it just adds a sparkle, when the light catches it.
This quilt holds memories of Laura being little and excited about Christmas!
Circles Quilt (2018)
Finished size 66" square.
This is made using Tilda fabric. I first bought a charm pack of 40 X 5" squares, I just loved some of the fabrics and bought metre of them!!! It was then what do I do with them?
From each of the 5" squares I cut a circle - 36 for the front and the four others went on the back. Rather than make two quilts, using the greens on one and the pink/blues on the other, I decided to make one quilt but double sided.
The front is the circles, which when you look closely, each circle is machine appliqued on to a 9.5" square of Makower Essentials white on white fabric, using a coordinated thread and blanket stitch. Each square was layered with wadding and either the other circles or one or the two pink fabrics and then I quilted the design on.
The centre of each fabric circle has a circle then a simple flower and then a more complicated petal design and outer circle was quilted on the background fabric.
The 36 squares were put together using my usual quilt-as-you-go method, I had to be careful and plan the placement as I needed it colour balanced on the front and also get the pattern in the back. Once the squares were together then borders added, these are quilted with half of the petal design but simplified.
For the binding I went with a pink flower fabric which picks out the colour in both sides.
Scrappy Quilt As You Go Quilt (2019)
Finished size 61" square.
This quilt is quilt-as-you-go in two ways!!!
Firstly the construction of the squares. Over the years I have ended up with a bag of strips - leftovers from borders, joining strips & bindings. For this quilt I pulled out those that worked, which was the more pastel shades. These strips got mixed in with Natural Calico which was used for the rest of the quilt.
Once I had all the strips, I cut the backing square and wadding roughly to 14" square. I layered them together and starting with the strip in the middle, began to stitching/quiltIng the other strips on. The strips create the top of the square and by stitching them together through the wadding and backing they are being quilted at the same time.
This method is great for stripes and log cabin style quilts - you are combining a few steps of making and quilting!
Once all 16 squares where all made, I trimmed them to 12.5" using my square ruler of that size. Before joining them together using the quilt-as-you-go method - the second way they are quilt-as-you-go!!!
For the borders I cut and layered 6" wide strips and machine quilted them using various utility and decorative stitches on my sewing. With the stitches I played with the stitch length and widths to change there sizes and look.
It might be a quilt that I call a utility one - meaning I am happy for it to be used - in the garden, holidays etc and it's made from leftovers and Calico but I really like the look of it.
In Memoriam (2018)
Finished size 44" X 53"
Entered into National Quilt Championship at Sandown.
This is both Laura's and my work, it is something we had been talking about creating from about 2013. Originally it was going to be a Remembrance quilt for WW1, we had lots of ideas but we never got round to making it.
Then in 2017, the National Quilt Championship, announced the special theme for 2018 was Remembrance, this speared us on.
But we didn't want to just create a formatted remembrance quilt with poppies and silhouettes of soldiers. It grew into something much more, it is a quilt remembering those that fell in both World Wars and all conflicts since, plus their families, it's about hidden and lost memories of those men and women, also their Mothers, father's, wives, husband's, children, brothers and sisters - how loosing one person can effect so many.
It is also about hope and the future and how life goes on.
We choice green as the background, when we got the fabric for the background, we discovered it had uneven colouring where there had been a problem with dyeing. We decided that actually it wasn't a problem that the 'fading' worked with the theme.
We both wrote down quotes from books, poems and songs that spoke to us. Eventually we came up with the ones that Laura then hand embroidered onto the fabric. The pictorial panels are both mine and Laura's work and are appliqued on. The layers where put together and then machine quilted.
On the back of the quilt we wrote the following
In Memoriam - The is a time for everything.
The four trees represent the cycle of life and death, of loss, grief and the movement on of life. The war memorial represents all those who have died in any war at any time and in any place. The grave marker is that of those left behind at home in time of conflicts and those forgotten by time. The candle is the light of remembrance, burning forever. The poppy is Remembrance poppy, worn to honour all those gone. The dove is for peace and love. The pansy in flower language represents thoughts. The black void represents the helplessness of grief and the angel the hope that there is life after death.
Laura & I believe that all our forebears, not only through our DNA, but also in their actions, echo down through the generations and live in us today.
We will remember all those that have passed - Always.......
Embroidered Dresden Plate Quilt (2019)
Size 65" square.
In Gail Pan's book Patchwork Loves Embroidery Too, is a really lovely wall hanging quilt with embroidered Dresden Plates. I love it, but I didn't want to make a wall hanging. It was the inspiration for this quilt.
I took the embroidery pattern and used the flowers, altered to fit on the wedges of my plates. Each plate has six embroidered wedges in different shades of threads. The other six wedges are made using six different fabrics - all the fabrics where in my stash, I just used what I had.
The Dresden plates are made using the paper piecing method and then hand sewn together, before the papers are removed and they are slip stitched onto the background fabric. The circles for the centres where fussy cut to have the flowers in the centre before being blanket stitched on.
Each square was layered and machine quilted with variegated thread. I stitched round the centre and up each wedge to the outside of the square, and I also stitched round the outside of the plate.
For the borders I just put strips of fabric together, layered and machine quilted. On the wider floral strip of fabric I quilted a flower design, otherwise the quilting is just straight line.
For the corner squares, I went with different fabrics, with 1/4 plates.
All the joining strips and edge binding are in the same fabrics.
Daisy Quilt (2018)
(Actually it's a quillow as it can be folded up into a 18" cushion)
You may have noticed that a lot of the quilts that I keep for myself are between 60" & 70" square ones. I call them topper size, meaning that they fit nicely on the top of a double bed from below the pillows. They also fit on a single bed, or as a big snuggle quilt! It's a size and shape I really prefer.
I have gone with nine squares, each of 18", there are three different designs, the centre has five flowers and a square feel, four have three flowers and a circular feel and the other four squares are made up of four individual flowers in matching squares.
Another thing you may have noticed is I like floral designs!! Especially the simple daisy type shapes - one of my favourite Quilted Postcards is the daisy one with French Knot centre!!
There is just something cheerful about daisy type flowers and there are a lot out there to inspire.
The daisy used on this quilt I draw up myself. But you could easily use a flower from the Accuquilt range of dies, there are a couple that are similar.
All the daisies and centres are machine applique, they are stitched on using blanket stitch and matching threads. I then embroidered on the French Knots around the centres of each flower. And also embroidered the green circles or square.
Each square was layered and quilted on the machine. The quilting is all done on the white background fabric in white thread. I have gone round each flower, around the outside of the embroidered circle or square and then next to the coloured border of each square.
When all the squares were completed I joined them together with the green strips. I then made the final borders in the same green patterned fabric. The borders are quilted with a leaf design. The binding is in the same green patterned fabric.
For a present I made another quilt with the same daisy design, I created it in strips, alternate strips had daisies all the way down and the other strips were quilted with a butterfly design, as was the borders. As I knew the quilt would be used and washed a lot I didn't add the hand embroidery.
Rainbow Hexagons (2015)
Finished size 66" square.
This follows on from the last couple of Quilt Stories - hexagons and my love of them!!
In late 2013, early 2014, there was a lot of rainbow and general colour wash quilts around including a number of hexagon ones - but they were completely made from hexagons with graduations of colours. It all got me thinking and I wanted to create a quilt with lots of colours that showed off all the fabrics in my stash.
I needed a portable hand sewing project for 2014, and the hexagons for this quilt became that project, there are 304 hexagons in total!
I tried as much as possible to make each hexagon unit from nineteen different fabric and then each edge of the colour frame in another fabric, so in theory each square should have 23 different fabrics. This didn't always happen in practice as some colours aren't ones I have used a lot of the years, I had to buy a few bits of orange and yellows. This quilt has over 25 years worth of fabric pieces in it. I sometimes only had enough for just one hexagon but in a way this quilt is also a memory quilt.
The hexagons are paper pieced and sewn together, then appliqued onto the background and the borders added. Each square is layered and quilted.
The quilting is a mixture of hand on the hexagons and then machine on the background and borders.
The squares are joined using the quilt-as-you-go method in a black and the binding added on.
The quilt design was featured in the July 2015 edition of Popular Patchwork Magazine, it even made the front cover.
Star Quilt (2018)
Finished size 64" square.
This quilt is in a way the follow on to my hexagon heart anniversary quilt, as all the hexagons in the star are leftovers from that quilt.
Years ago I saw a Hexagon star quilt, where the how top was made from hexagons, it stuck in my mind. And so when I was looking to do something with the leftover hexagons, being that they were silver grey colour, I thought about a star. I really love the star shape.
I stitched all the hexagons into the star, then machine appliqued, using blanket stitch, onto the background square. The background square was then layered and quilted. All the quilting was done on the machine, I have quilted parts of the hexagon star and then stars on the background square.
The stars on the border are cut using Accuquilt Baby go!! And the star die and then machine appliqued and quilted. I used all three star sizes and just scattered them down the borders. Once all four borders and four corner squares were made, then they were attached to the centre star panel - quilt-as-you-go method.
Finally the binding was stitched on.
Hexagon Heart (2017)
Finished size 64" square.
I made this for us - Tony & me for our 25th Wedding Anniversary in 2017.
25th anniversary is Silver and so I tried to find as many silver/soft greys as I could. This was actually really hard to do!! I didn't want big patterns, but tone on tone ones with smaller designs. For months when we went anywhere and it had a quilt shop then I would go looking, I bought one or two fat quarters each time. I also ordered some online when buying other bits and pieces. I ended up with a box of greys! But each manufacturer used a different shade of grey - some where green greys, others blue greys, purple greys...etc. So trying to find a set of greys that worked together was interesting. In the end I settled on a selection of them and the rest went into my stash!
I love hexagons but they aren't a quick make! This is slow stitching. I have an Accuquilt Baby go!!! cutter which I got to speed up cutting hexagons, the die cuts both the fabrics and papers. But the fabric still need tacking over the paper and the hexagons sewn into the hearts. The nine hearts slowly took shape.
Once each heart was finished, I pressed it, removed the papers, pressed again and then centrally pinned them onto the background fabric - Makower Essentials white on white scroll pattern. Then I slipped stitch them in place.
I added borders in the fabrics used, to each square, layered with wadding and backing fabric, then quilted. The quilting is a combination of hand and machine. I hand quilted a heart in the hexagon heart and also hearts on the background at the bottom. Then I machine quilted round the outside of the heart on the background, the background square and border - all the quilting was done in white threads.
Finally when all nine squares were finished, I joined the all together and finished off the quilt - in time for our anniversary!!
Block Quilt (2013)
Finished size 80" square.
Sorry the photos aren't brilliant, but it's a grey rainy day here.
This quilt is in a way the pair to the Floral Quilt I wrote about last week. They where both made in the same year, and I taught them side by side.
This quilt is one we use in the winter months on our bed, I think it is one of Tony's favourite, as he asked for it to go on our bed when I finished it. I guess many of the quilts I make are very feminine, with flowers either as the theme or in the fabrics I use.
In the winter months, rather than having a thicker duvet we have a quilt on the bed, many of my quilts are smaller size so just cover the top of the bed, but this one being bigger hangs over the sides and doesn't slip off at night! I will have a second quilt folded up at the bottom of the bed for more layering and cosy feel.
The inspiration behind this quilt? Marble block pattern floors like the marble hall at Kedleston Hall, to tiled floor in churches and even the floor in Marks & Spencer's in Lakeside Shopping centre!!! The traditional block patterns, those we think off as American patchwork, worked into this inspiration, as does the range of fabrics that I have used.
The fabrics are Northcott Stonehenge - I loved this range. It look likes stone. After making this quilt I bought some more of the fabric and I use it lots for my Quilted Postcards, for walls and dry stone ones especially!! They don't make these colour versions any more and I don't have much left!
The fabric came from Quilt Essential, when it was a physical shop at Cromford Mill in Derbyshire. They had the biggest range of this fabric and I knew I wanted to use it. When we went to visit my sister and her family in Derbyshire, as a family we headed to Cromford Mill, they all wandered round the mill, which all those years ago was still a big rebuild and conservation site and then they wandered down the canal. I went into the quilt shop and spent ages finding the right fabrics and trying to find ones for the Floral Quilt!!
I love the fact that these fabrics came from a shop in an old mill - not any old mill but Sir Richard Arkwright's mill - as it says on its website ' the birthplace of modern factory system'. A lot more work has been done to preserve it and it is a tourist attraction, a lovely place to visit, even if the quilt shop is no longer there.
The quilt is all machine pieced and quilted, it is quilt-as-you-go, there are the sixteen block squares and then the sixteen narrow borders and four corners, to balance it all up.
Years of use and washing have given it a soft feel and it is a quilt for cold winter nights!
Floral Quilt (2013)
Finished size 80" square.
I still am really proud of this quilt & love it!!
It is one of those quilts that I loved making and at no point have I ever fallen out of love with it. Often when making a quilt I will get fed up with it, or after a while lose interest and it will get folded up and put away. But that has never happened with this one. It lives folded up on the back of my dressing table chair, and each week I fold it to a different square.
The inspiration behind this quilt is the traditional design Rose of Sharon. I took the design, tweaked it and then all the other squares are made from this, using a limited number of flowers and leaves.
In 2013 when I was thinking about teaching this quilt, I also decided to teach another quilt at the same time - a block design one - but more about that one in a different quilt story!
The previous three or four quilts had all been made either predominantly or included the purple range of colours, so I was determined to work with other colours. I dragged Tony & Laura round numerous quilt shops, looking at different colours and patterns but I kept being drawn to the pinky purples, each shop I went into I picked up another batik - those in the leaves and flowers. Till in the end, Laura told me to just go with the purples as we both liked them best. I then got the plains, the batik for the border and joining strips and the soft mottled yellow for the background.
More often than not I use an Essential white on white, or cream on cream as my background fabric but with this the deeper richer colours called for a different background, personally I find plains too flat and I loved this soft yellow, it is warm and makes the other fabrics stand out.
Each square is machine appliqued, using fusible web and then stitched on using blanket stitch. The sixteen squares were layered with wadding and the backing fabric and then I free motioned machine quilted it.
I then put the squares together using the quilt-as-you-go method, adding narrow borders all round the outside, to make it balanced. By using a batik fabric for the borders of the squares and all the joining strips, it looks like one piece, the joins aren't a feature and also any mistakes or slightly uneven joins don't show!!
I offered this quilt design to Popular Patchwork Magazine and it was in the May 2014 edition.
Even though I machine appliqued and quilted this quilt, it can easily be made with hand applique and quilting or a mixture of both.
Pinwheel Runner (2017)
Made in 2017, measuring 20" X 84".
This runner was made using a special template from Sew Easy called Pinwheel Magic and it comes in two sizes 4.5" & 6.5".
This runner is made using the 4.5" size template.
With each template you have the ability to make three different styles of pinwheels.
To make a Pinwheel usually you have to cut the pieces with the different angles and then stitch together, trying to get everything to match up perfectly.
With the template you cut squares in the colours you are using, so in this case black and white. The blacks are in fact all different blacks, from plains, mottles and also self coloured pattern ones (blenders). The squares are stitched together in a chequer board design and the borders added. The template is placed on top, following the lines for the design type you want and you cut round, creating the Pinwheel squares.
Then you stitch them all together again!!! Making the finished top. Somewhere there are a couple of videos we did of how to use the template.
The runner top was then layered with wadding and the backing and machine quilted, I have used a purple thread and stitched through the pinwheels, I haven't tried to keep the lines straight, they have slight curves to them.
I had forgotten all about the template till I pulled this runner from the unit!! It was the last one in the unit and so, next week I will start on the pile I keep on the blanket box in our bedroom. The blanket box doesn't hold blankets or quilts but boots and shoes!!!
Butterflies & Flowers Runner (2011)
This was made in 2011, and measures 22" x 77".
Sorry this runner is a little creased, but it has been folded up for a while & although I do occasionally press my quilts, I try not to. I like the folds and creases to drop out naturally when I use a quilt or runner.
I think, with the quilts I have already shown in my quilt stories & those still to write about, that I use a lot of fabrics in the Purple colour family!! And this one is no exception, soft lilacs in this one.
The runner was designed so that if you didn't want it so long, you could take out the smaller sections either side of the centre panel and the runner would be the size for a single bed and yet the pattern would still flow.
I have hand appliqued the leaves, flowers and butterflies and also hand quilted it using coloured thread. I have then used French Knots as decoration on the butterflies and flowers. The whole design could easily be created using machine applique & quilting.
To go with the runner I also made a cushion cover that is 15" square.
Roman Stripe (1996)
Finished size 43" square.
This is just a small quilt, for a long time it was used over our headboard on our bed, the headboard didn't go with the colours in our bedroom but we couldn't afford to buy a new one at the time - so I covered it with a quilt that matched the colours!
It has been used and washed and has that rather faded worn look and feel. It has a polyester wadding and has been machine quilted in the ditch (right in the seams so that the quilting is hidden).
The Roman Stripe pattern, is a fairly quick one to make, it is best done on the sewing machine. It's not one I tend to teach now as it isn't one you can do for quilt-as-you-go, it's got to be made as a whole top and then quilted. It would work for the centre of a quilt or as a cot quilt - where it isn't so big that it's hard to quilt.
You decide how many stripes you want and what width, I have used five with a finished width of 1". These stripes you make as long as you can, usually you cut across the width of the fabric. Then you stitch them together and press. Next you measure the width of the stitched stripes and cut a piece of fabric to this size. Place a strip of stripes on top, right sides together, and stitch both edges, making a tube.
From this tube you cut triangles, unpick the stitches at the points, open out and press and you have a square - half and half design. The squares get stitched together to make the quilt top.
I have gone with traditional layout but they can be placed in different directions to create lots of different patterns.
Rail Fence (2007 Possibly)
When it was made ? I'm not really sure, as I haven't stitched on my tortoise logo or date. Looking at my teaching instructions, the date on those are 2007, so it possibly could have been made then. But I have taught Rail Fence before and after that date.
Finished size 55" square.
This is what I would call a 'utility' quilt - meaning that I made it to be used and washed a lot, these are quilts I am not precious about, they get used in the garden, away on holiday etc - to be fair to this one, it's not been used a lot and has spent years folded in the unit in our bedroom.
The fabric is Dorma sheets, the plain colours and a Dorma duvet cover is the patterned fabric, which is also used for the borders and the back of the quilt. The plain colours would have been seconds, as I used to buy a lot of them in white or cream, in the sale for backing quilts - they were 100% cotton, and where lovely for the backs of quilts, if I got a double or king size flat sheet they easily did the whole back with no seams. There was usually only a small slub line or the stitching of the hems wasn't right, never any big thing to make them seconds. Being seconds they were a lot cheaper plus I used to get my staff discount.
The Duvet cover was x- display, unfortunately it had somehow got caught with a trolley or pram and it had got a bit damaged and dirty along one edge. It couldn't be sold, so I was given it, rather than it being thrown away. I washed it and it worked for this quilt.
Rail Fence pattern is one very much associated with America. I have used just three strips to make up each square, I have also made it using four strips and seen lots of different variations with different numbers of strips and also a mixture of widths.
Writing this has made me want to create another one, with different width strips and more of them. 😂 In soft pastel fabrics! But it isn't a design you can make as quilt-as-you-go, it has to be made as a whole top quilt.
It's not a complicated design to create. Decide on your width and number of strips. Cut as long a strip in the width you want in each colour. Machine the strips together, press and then cut into squares. Stitch the squares together, alternate ways to make the width you want and carry on stitching lengths together to make the pattern, build up the design.
By the feel of the quilt I have used Hobbs Polydown wadding, I used to use it for utility quilts as it would dry quicker. But it can't be pressed. For the quilting I have taken one of the simple leaf motifs in the pattern fabric and enlarged it, then hand quilted then randomly on the quilt. As it's a polyester wadding used it can be quilted further apart.
Laura's T-Shirt Quilt (2014)
Made in 2014, measuring 57" square.
When Laura was younger, she had a couple of years with a number of t-shirts we loved. Rather than pass them on, I kept them, knowing one day I would make them into something. One got turned in a cushion. With the three pink fairy ones I made this quilt in 2014.
Working with t-shirt fabric is very different from working with patchwork cotton - it stretches and it is a different weight and texture.
The first job was to unpick the t-shirts, and then gently press a light weight iron-on interfacing onto the back of the pieces going to be used. You have to be really careful not to stretch or distort the t-shirt fabric and also not to damage the motifs. It takes time and careful handling to do.
Once stabilised, the t-shirts can be properly cut into the sizes needed. One of the t-shirts has made two squares as it had motif on both the front and the back, plus bits have been used for the corners and also in the borders.
I decided that I wanted four squares with a finished size of 15" square. Each motif was in the middle and then I built up with cotton fabric to the make the final size. I went with white sashing to join the squares.
The first border is made up of both squares in the t-shirt fabric and cotton fabric. The second border is white with corner squares in a mixture of the t-shirt and cotton fabric.
I then appliqued butterflies randomly on, before layering with polydown wadding and cotton backing and machine quilting.
The quilt lives in my bedroom, by the the time I made it Laura was a teenager and didn't want it in her room! I think it is a lovely memory of when she was younger and loved these pretty girly fairy pink t-shirts and fairy wands!!!
Dawn To Dusk Flying Geese Quilt (1998)
Made in 1998 and entered into the National Patchwork Championship at Olympia that year, it measures 72" X 74".
The inspiration for this quilt was from the Canada geese that flew over our house. Early every morning & in the evenings as the sunset we would hear and see big numbers of them go to and from the lakes, in the park a few roads over. There was always a big flock over there - there aren't any more!
Even back in 1998 I loved watching the colours in the sky, the big challenge was to find the enough shades to work. We just didn't have the range of shades and tones we have now.
It starts with the dark blue of early morning, going through the pale washed Grey blue, greens and yellow of cool soft dawn, into the soft blues of the morning and then the stronger blues of midday and afternoon. The oranges and reds of a bright brilliant sunset that glide into pinks and soft mauves, before turning into dark purples and blues of the night sky.
For the geese I went with a grey brown, which was just one colour of the Canada geese but also when you looked up and saw them in silhouette flying over in there V formation, this was the colour they looked.
The quilt has 32 rows of colours and the 'geese' are a traditional layout for the Flying geese pattern. All the squares and triangles are worked over papers and stitched together. If you look closely you can see the stitches in places, were I have struggled to find thread that works with both the 'geese' & sky.
This quilt was made a number of years before I learnt about grey thread!! It was only when I became a haberdashery buyer and the rep was going through Gutermann thread ranges, when we where going over to them from Sylko. And he was teaching me about the different types, weights, uses and how to colour match, that I first learnt that grey will blend with any colour and is really good for piecing mixed colours together. Since then I have always kept a light, mid and dark tone of grey for piecing in my thread drawer.
The quilt top was made as a whole, centre design and borders and then it was layered and quilted. The wadding has gone very flat and thin from the quilt being used and washed - it has faded on some of the colours, especially the blues.
The quilting was hand stitched to represent the weather maps, the lines of weather fronts and areas of highs and lows. I can remember that it was impossible to find a fabric marker to mark the design on. We only had chalk or silver quilters pencils, and they just rubbed off so quickly. Or we did have water erasable but they are blue!!! And didn't show when I tested them. So I marked the lines with 1/4" quilters masking tape, and stitched along the edge.
The other thing I can remember is it was getting very near the time to send the quilt in for the exhibition and I hadn't finished the quilting and I had some very early mornings stitching before I went to work!!!
I do have a habit of leaving things to the last minute!!! I have over the last few years, tried not to do it but ...it still happens, I seem to work better to tight deadlines!!
It is a quilt I still am pleased with and proud off.
Nine Patch Sampler Quilt (1993)
Finished size 53" square.
This quilt is definitely of its time!! So much has changed since I made (& taught) this quilt....
I will start with the fabrics, just overall looking at the fabrics, they don't quiet all completely go, the dusty mauves with the off red/deep coral shades? But each colour is used in the floral fabric. I feel in love with the floral fabric, with its dark blue dark ground and flowers & leaves. I picked out plain fabrics in the flowers & leaves colours, looking closely now I notice that there was also an orange shade in the flowers which I didn't use. I can't remember whether it was because I couldn't find the right colour (we didn't have the huge choice of plains or many fabric, like we do now!) or whether it was because I didn't like the colour, as orange shades have never really been my thing. Along with yellows and reds!
Back in 1993, the pattern books we had, weren't like we have today. They were mostly American imports, especially for this style of pieced designs, as they were considered solely American designs! As I worked in a book department I could search the publishers catalogues to see what was available, these books weren't in your high street booksellers. The books were just black & white drawings of designs, no templates, finished quilts or pretty pictures.
I would go through the books, chose the design to make and then draw it up to the finished size. Now, I just sit at the laptop, start Electric Quilt program up, find the design I want, put in the finished size & chose either to print templates or rotary cutting sizes!!! So, much easier!!
Once I had drawn up the design, I would cut it all up, into individual templates, noting which fabrics and in some cases which way round it went. Then I would pin each piece to the wrong side of the fabric, mark 1/4" seam all round and cut out - with a pair of scissors! Each piece was tacked over the paper and once all pieces were tacked, then I would hand sew it all together.
This was how all sixteen squares and border decoration were created. Once all sewn together then the tacking & paper were removed Then all the sashing and borders were added. The whole top was made before being layered with wadding and the backing fabric.
The wadding used was a 2oz polyester one, but years of being used, on our bed and I would also take it with us if we went anywhere. And then being thrown in the washing machine, means it has gone very flat, it's almost like it hasn't got any wadding in it - it's been turned into a coverlet.
The quilt is machine quilted, in the ditch round the squares and on the border.
This isn't a quilt we use any more but it is still one of my favourites and has a special place in my heart.
Jewel Coloured Butterfly Quilt (2010)
This quilt was designed and made in 2010, the inspiration for the colours are Emerald, Ruby, Sapphire & Amethyst. It is 60" square and made using the quilt as you go met