The theme for the meeting on the 21st of February is First Make and Favourite Quilt. This is an example for sharing:

Christine Davidson. First Make.

Sampler Quilt

This is the first quilt I completed. I started one earlier but finished it later. The blocks were made at a beginners class held by Judy Flynn at Sandbach library and her house in Mossley in 1992/3. I finished it a couple of years later as Judy persuaded me to put it into a Beartown exhibition at West Heath School (not sure of the date) before I became a member of the group. I know it’s pink but it was before I had a stash of fabric and most of these I had bought in the early eighties when Debenhams in Southport were closing their fabric department and everything was on sale. One of my first attempts at hand quilting which was what we did in those days.

Christine Davidson. Favourite Make: All Encompassing Beauty.

All Encompassing Beauty

This is definitely the quilt I am most proud of. When my daughter had been married for about three years she asked for a quilt and suggested I made it for their tenth wedding anniversary – she knows me well. It was always going to be a mariner’s compass as she was a keen sailor before family got in the way. Time passed and I was putting it off as it
was a bit daunting. At about year nine she and I had a trip to Lady Sew and Sew in Henley (she lives near Oxford so it wasn’t far) to choose some fabric (see photo). As I had no idea of the design we just bought ‘some’.

I started the design on my computer using my EQ6 programme. It was a godsend. There was a pattern for the large central compass came from the Judy Mathieson book so that was a good starting point. Designs went backwards and forwards between my daughter and I until we settled on the final one. The chequerboard was originally going to fill the entire central piece but that was one of the features that was altered in discussion. I think it works well. The outer New York Beauty border was taken from several Amish quilts I viewed on the internet. The small inner mariner’s compass was a last minute addition. I
was originally going to leave the centre plain but realised that it was just too big an empty space.

Main Fabrics

You will notice that of the original fabrics the green has a one-way design (dandelion clocks) the background is geometrical and the red is geometrical and one-way design. Nothing like a challenge. I quickly realised that the background fabric would be impossible to work with as I would never be able to keep the pattern straight. Plan B – I changed this fabric to the one in the photo. It is the same range (Downton Abbey) but less challenging. Fortunately Edna Maddley at the Quilting Box stocked it so I bought it from her. The next problem was I had to fussy cut all the pieces for the compass because of the one-way design, what a joy. By now I was realising that I didn’t have nearly enough fabric. I managed to find another piece of each of the dandelion clock and red geometric fabric from suppliers on the internet. I couldn’t get any more of the large dark rose print fabric but the smaller print from the same range was still available so I bought some of that too. I think I cleared out the whole stock of the background fabric from around the country as it was now well out of production and shops only had the odd fat quarter or half yard left. The remainder of the fabrics in the chequerboard were all from my stash.

Secondary Fabrics

Construction of the compasses, New York Beauties and chequerboard was entirely foundation piecing (you know how I love it!) but it did make for accurate piecing. The separate sections were printed from my computer and transferred to freezer paper before stitching. Then came the layering and quilting. My son-in-law asked if I could make the back into a Swiss flag (his Grandfather was Swiss and he himself has a Swiss passport) and make it two sided and my reaction was ‘no way’, I had bought the backing some time
earlier – 3 metres of extra-wide material, no problem. Well….. the backing was 108” wide and the quilt was 114” wide! So guess what, it now has a Swiss flag (in the correct proportions) on the back made from the original background fabric. Layering the quilt was a challenge due to it’s size so I tacked it in two halves on my sitting room floor and my kitchen counter-top which fortunately is open on both side. We are now in April and I had decided to enter it into the Festival of Quilts in August. The quilt now took over my whole life as it is totally hand quilted, 114” square. Some of you may have seen it as a work in progress at our exhibition in 2016. I finished the quilt on 2nd August for delivery to the NEC on 9th August! The photo is of it hanging at the Festival of Quilts. Unfortunately the lighting was not very good (the next door quilt was beautifully lit) but the positioning in the hall was great. One of the judge’s comments, which I had expected, was ‘not enough quilting’. It is not very heavily quilted but is just what I wanted and I certainly didn’t have time for more.

‘My daughter got it for their 11th wedding anniversary that September!