A house full of Liberty

I’ve just spent the day at my friend Bea’s house and I thought I’d share some of the gorgeous things she has made.

I love the way the colours of the Liberty fabrics have been arranged in this wall hanging, with the splashes of yellow bringing it all together.


Here is a Liberty quilt in progress:


This pillow is made using fabric from Bea’s late grandfather’s shirts:

And this quilt is a mixture of Liberty and more shirt fabric:


The large patches of this quilt show off the lovely prints:


Here are some examples of English paper piecing. The wall hanging is made with Kaffe Fassett fabrics:

Here fabric has been placed in embroidery hoops as a wall decoration:


And finally here’s a Liberty baby quilt. As you can imagine it’s been washed many times and is very soft. It already looks like a heirloom:

A typographical interlude

I’ve recently signed up for a letterpress printing course at the Bodleian library, and so I thought I’d depart from quilts in this post and write about a different craft.

So far we’ve been setting the type of the text to be printed, building it up in the composing stick before transferring the lines to a galley. As with a lot of crafts you enter a state of flow during the setting, and the hours sped by. There are exciting moments though, such as italics, or an interesting ligature!

One reason for taking the course was to gain an insight into what happens between the manuscript of a text and the final printed product. By setting the type, you come to realise the deliberate actions and decisions which are made and how errors and variations can arise.

The stands which the cases rest on date from the 17th century and were used by Oxford University Press. In the 19th century, their height was raised as compositors had grown taller over the centuries. I’ve already had dreams about setting type, including anxiety dreams about all the letters falling out of a line. I like to think that compositors from the time of Caxton have had such dreams and that, as with the stands, they form a link between past and present.

Half-square triangles

I always have lots of ideas for future projects, but this Sunday I just felt like doing some mindless cutting and sewing; half-square triangles are perfect for this. I used Liberty fabrics for the triangles, a blue paisley print left over from a dress my friend Shirin had made and a bright pink fabric which I had bought to back this quilt.

I had doubts about the pink fabric, so I made a few test squares first. I’m still not sure whether it works.

Another octopus quilt

I made the top for this quilt last year, but only quilted it recently (the photograph doesn’t really capture the richness of the teal background fabric). The white colourway had gone out of stock when I came to buy the fabric, so I used the few pieces I had left over from a previous quilt scattered about in this one. I used wool wadding in the earlier quilt and cotton in the more recent one: I think you can see how the wool makes for a puffier quilt.

Hidden stars

I spent the Easter weekend finishing my third quilt using Liberty fabrics. I wasn’t completely happy with the first two, but I love this one. It is made with sample packs from Alice Caroline. Four packs is enough for the quilt but I used more, as I wanted the option to jettison fabrics. I also took the time to remake blocks, if I didn’t feel like the fabric worked, rather than just using them at random and hoping for the best.

Unlike with a previous Liberty quilt, I chose a backing fabric I loved, which happily was also on sale.

The pattern is adapted from Pam and Nicky Lintott’s book Layer Cake, Jelly Roll and Charm Quilts. I first made a quilt from this pattern quite a few years ago, using a kit which included a layer cake of Barbara Brackman reproduction fabrics from the Civil War Crossing range (although I substituted out the patriotic stars and stripes fabric!).¬† I have also made a version of the quilt using Kaffe Fassett woven cottons.

Colourful bear claws

This is another UFO which I put aside having becoming unmotivated when the cats knocked all my carefully sorted half-square triangles onto the floor. However, when I picked it up again a few months later I really enjoyed finishing it.

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The quilt is from a pattern designed for the Bread ‘n’ Butter range of American Jane fabrics. I love the bright colours and the quilt makes me smile every time I look at it.

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I started this quilt after a frustrating attempt to make a mariner’s compass block. I started off very excited with visions of a glorious quilt full of curves. On the third attempt, I did eventually end up with a finished block which I was fairly happy with; but I had to do a lot of unpicking and resewing to get there. The picture below is my second attempt.

After grappling with the curves, all I wanted to do was cut and sew some straight lines: hence this quilt.

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