Monday 26 March 2012

a quilt story

As promised my mini quilt from start to finish.
I'm calling it french window...
This is my first quilt designed from scratch.
It originates from this chateau in Josselin France.
I immediately thought of patchwork as I peered through the lovely lead windows.
I made a quick sketch of the block...
...and then put together a design for a quilt,
I do love the 3D aspect of the one on the left.
I must say at this point with my shoulder already sore
I had thoughts of machining this quilt.
And it is quite possible by using half square triangles and rectangles.
That said I much prefer my shapes to be one solid piece of fabric,
so as not to spoil the design.
As this was also a mini quilt I thought I'd English paper piece it
I am a sucker for it!
So one evening I sat on the floor and with the help from my husbands mathematical skills
I scaled the design up to the size I wanted keeping the same ratio.
Choosing the right balance of colours was a bit tricky as so many had to meet.
I tried out a few until I found the balance I liked.
I knew that I wanted to keep the blocks all the same,
and not just mix them up.
After stitching them to their templates I still had a couple of days switching them about,
with the help of my digital camera!
Now you may remember how I thought it resembled a cream egg colour scheme,
tempting as it is to call it creme egg,
the theme actually grew from my anthropologie bowl.
With my shoulder in mind I did a little stitching every few days,
and soon I had sewn the top, with great satisfaction.
Woo hoo naked of it's papers!
When it came to the backing I was at a stand still,
I knew that I wanted to do some red hand quilting 
so I needed the backing to work with that.
Then as per usual 'eureka'
I found this piece which seemed perfectly made just for this project.
It's part of a pillowcase that I bought just for patchwork,
and the red stitching works too...JOY!
To tie in the navy from the front I've used Joel Dewberrys modern meadow
(my all time favourite design and excellent blender)
Before I hand quilted,
 I machine quilted inside each piece,
I like how it looks more like the original window,
when the light catches it just right.
So there you are the makings of my french window.
I can say hand on heart I loved every bit of this quilt.
I think the fact that because it's a mini (23'x 17')
I could see the end in sight within a month.
I realise this quilt isn't going to appeal to some..
I do prefer to inspire with my quilts than to make something pretty for pretty sake!
Now that said I have a new quilt-along up my sleeve
for beginners...
 and probably very pretty!!

 One anonymous comment
Surely you can't actively decide to inspire? Inspiration is something that either hits the viewer or not. I like pretty things so am likely to be inspired by them. I don't like geometrical shapes much and prefer very simple shapes or applique. Colour and fabric choices matter more than any design as the less the design the more likely I am to like it aesthetically. Piecing is of course clever but I like the look less as it takes away from the fabrics and colours.

Edited in response to the above comment
 Of course I don't make quilts just to inspire others.
I make quilts that challenge me and if they inspire when they are finished then thats a bonus,
If you had read my last sentence then you would have realised that.
Why are the quilt police always anonymous?

ps. piecing is not clever it's actually quite simple,
maybe you should join in my next quilt along
it's for beginners?


  1. I, for one, love the unique colour palette of this quilt! And await eagerly your next quilt-along!

  2. I think it's beautiful, congratulations on a gorgeous finish.

  3. Very clever idea to translate a window pattern into patchwork. The colours are beautiful. Di xo

  4. love it thank you for sharing your time and your considerable talent.

  5. I see the window when I look at the quilt! It's so lovely and the fabrics and colors are perfect. I think I'll go treat myself to a creme egg now .....

  6. looks gorgeous! thanks for sharing your process :-D

  7. I find your piecing decisively pretty and will second that it is not too difficult to learn for sure!

  8. I love this quilt and the fabric you chose, it's a wonderful quilt!

  9. I've loved this one since you first showed it, thanks for the back story on it. Love the idea of "quilt police".

  10. I love this and don't quite understand your anonymous commenter. Obviously they have a problem with the language, so maybe their comment was "lost in translation". With that being said, bring on your next QAL! Can't wait. I am still making Rose Stars, but have only completed 2 so far!

  11. I love it! I think the colors are great. You have such an eye for these things. Don't believe it? You can watch me try to put together colors some time. It's funny the way folks choose to share their opinions. I'm so glad you share the process behind your quilts. It's definitely inspiring to see all of the thought and work that goes into your finished projects!

  12. Surely you can try to inspire, you may not always succeed in inspiring everyone but your work is very inspirational to me. As a preservation architect I am always looking at patterns in buildings, tiles, windows for design ideas that can be adapted to quilting. I love how you translated the window to a beautiful quilt. Looking forward to the beginner quilt a long.

  13. I love it !! the French quilt is awesome !!!Furthermore I think it is very clever of you to have designed it , pieced it and the hand stitching is gorgeous ! By the way I dont know what that "comment" was about , however I have been quilting since 1985 so (not a beginner here) and in MY point of view you made a class act of a quilt for any level of skill to make with pride and joy!!!

  14. what a beautiful quilt and all from an original idea. great work

  15. Inspire:to influence or impel

    I am so inspired by you!!! Your influence has made english paper piecing so accessible and your application of color and fabric motivates. Thank you for sharing your talents with us....we are so much better for it.

    Beautiful quilt, Clare!

  16. I love your color combination on this one...I'm saving it to use sometime!!

  17. Your work inspires me! It makes my heart happy! The colors you've chosen for this quilt are stunning in combination! And it's so amazing that YOU conceived it and created it! And as an aside, I don't get what anonymous was saying...but I don't really care either! Take care. Deborah

  18. Other people's creativity always inspires me. I look forward to your next QAL. I'm finishing up my fifth Rose Star block and hold you completely responsible for my latest obsession:)

  19. This is lovely. I love the geometric shape, the colours, everything. I love the way you developed this from the design of the window. Thank you for sharing this, I'm Looking forward to your next inspirational quilt a long.

  20. I keep coming back cos you are so inspiring! I love the designs and the colours you choose Clare! Keep up the good work and I am really enjoying handpiecing those Rose Stars - it always seems more intimate than machine piecing!

  21. Love your quilt! It's a great style of design, taking inspiration from unrelated sources and then applying them to others, in this case to a lovely quilt. We can always learn new skills and techniques, I appreciate people like yourself who generously share their craft with us all.


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Clare x