Little Quilts Of Creativity
I made my first postcard in 2008. I saw an article on creating postcards with pre-printed fabric and at the time I was trying to find something to replace the ties, yes ties, I had been making for my husband Tony. For about 15 years I had been making mad loud ties for Tony’s birthday, Christmas and any other time I wanted to give him a gift. He was known at work for his ties (and yes, he wore them every day). Then the company decided that engineers had to wear logo-ed polo shirts and I no longer had something to make him.
The idea of Quilted Postcards really appealed to me and so I began creating them, finding my own way of doing it! First of all I used the designs from the ties and they were just for Tony. Then our daughter, Laura decided she liked them and I made her a ‘Yellow duck’ postcard every month till she turned 18 and I ran out of ideas!!!
From there the postcards have spread to being made for family and friends, sometimes they are simple designs like the ones for Easter and Christmas as these are made in batches. But other times there are far more complicated, with a lot of hand embroidery like the garden pots and Gates series.
I create anything between 80 and 100 quilted postcards a year, except for the last couple of years where the number has gone well over 100!!! Because of the books.
Little Quilts Of Creativity
The idea for the book – Quilted Postcard – Little quilts of creativity, was first mentioned a long time ago, I love books (as does Laura) and I have always had the dream of writing one – in a way it is an extension of the instructions/patterns that I do for my classes. I did send a proposal (after a lot of being talked to by Tony) to a few publishers but that came to nothing, at the time I was providing patterns to Popular Patchwork magazine and I found the hardest thing part was writing the instructions. And something I hear a lot in my classes is how difficult it can be to understand the instructions in the books and magazines, unless you have a lot of knowledge. That made me think that if we were going to do a book then it needed to be self-published so it can be written the way we want. It all happened at a time when self-publishing was changing and printing on demand was beginning to happen. We sat down and chose a range of postcards that we thought would work and I started to work on them – then life got in the way for a few years!!!
But I decided in September 2019 that it was a case of write the book or give up, and I was very close to giving up but neither Tony nor Laura were having that!! So, I went through everything I had started and properly began working on it, and just before Easter 2020 I handed all I had done to Tony. That’s when the real hard work started. Tony had holiday booked from work but because of the first Lockdown we couldn’t go away, so the whole of the holiday was spent learning about publishing a book and getting everything that needed doing done.
And my dream of publishing a book (with a huge amount of work from Tony and Laura) was achieved
Almost as soon as we had published the book, then Tony started to ask about a second one – what theme would I choice? After a while we went through the boxes and boxes of quilted postcards that we have, and decided on the next theme – flowers. And the hard work started again a long with the second lockdown…. Re-designing, making, writing, photography, editing, changing, editing and finally publishing!!!! And so the second book Quilted Postcards The Flower Edition has been published and we have caught the bug, we are already considering the third and possibly a fourth book…..
Both books are available to buy from Amazon and order from your local bookshop.
The first book has also now featured in July's edition of Today's Quilter as one of their "Fresh Picks"
What Are They
A Quilted Postcard is a 4” x 6” piece of fabric art made using three layers. The size makes it a postcard and three layers make it a quilt, Even if they are only little! They are a lot quicker to make than a traditionally sized quilt and are perfect to be given as gifts to someone or to be mounted on a card and sent for special occasions such as birthday, anniversary, Christmas and Easter.
The front is decorative and the back is drawn to look like a real postcard and then the address and message written on.
They are quick to make, use up scraps of fabrics, supposedly, and are great personalised gifts. Just pop in an envelope or mount on a card and post.
The first postcards were taken from the ties that I had made for Tony and then they expanded, sometimes it was a picture or card that would be the start of a postcard, even a poem was the inspiration for Daisy the Cow.
The longer that I have been making them then the inspiration have changed, photographs, that either I or Tony have taken have been a big source of ideas, for flowers, landscapes and gates, sometimes it’s the whole photo other times it is a part.
With the advent of the internet, I will have an idea and then go looking at different things – like gates, I will look through trade sites and see what I really like.
Inspiration can come from any where and often at unexpected times!
I often will work in a theme, from dress, shoes and hats, these are inspired by my (and Laura’s) interest in historical costume. A whole series was taken from photos taken on our family holiday in Cornwall. Two themes that I have come back to time and again are plants in containers and interesting containers and my Gates series – what that says about me I don’t want to know.
Laura’s ‘yellow duck’ range are inspired by the yellow duck that you have to find in the Farmyard Tales books from Usborne, on each page there is a duck for the child to find as they read the story, these for years where the books that Laura wanted read to her at bedtime – I am sure that Tony and I can probably still quote most of them! Plus Laura had a set of yellow ducks in her bath! Over the five years I worked the ducks in series form, one a month, from events of the year, to birth stones, characters through history, her GCSE subjects and finally professions.
I have created so many postcards that I have forgotten half of them!!
Not Quite Postcards
Expanding the idea
Sometimes with an idea for a postcard, I realise that it isn’t going to work as I really want in the small size limits of 4” x 6” postcard and so I will create the design in a bigger format.
I created simple dresses in postcards but I then made a series of more complicated design as wallhangings – starting with a Tudor inspired design.
With my landscapes I have created them in A4 size (Journal quilts), after I discovered Journal quilts when I entered a competition. This size isn’t overly big and so I can use the same techniques and hand embroidery for the details and plants.
The other thing I created, that isn’t as such inspired by my postcards but is made because of them are boxes to hold the postcards, I have made a number of them as gifts for family members to hold the postcards that I have made them over the years. They have been cottages, sheds or even a shop.