Quilts to showcase fabric

A while ago, on a whim, I bought some flannel fabric with an elephant print. Since then I’ve been thinking of ways to incorporate this bold fabric in a quilt. I found this pattern (which has the slightly unfortunate name ‘Baby Bites’) online and I like the way that the large squares show off the print.

The designers, Modern Quilt Relish, have a number of contemporary patterns on their website and I look forward to making more quilts based on their designs.

As is often the case, I needed to buy some more fabric to complete the quilt. So while I was waiting for the blue flannel to arrive, I tried out the pattern using some fabric from my stash.


The solid teal fabric has appeared in a number of other quilts as I bought a vast amount of it many years ago. I’m finally reaching the end of it!


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 on which the cases rest were made in 1669 for 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.