The story of a quilt: swooning in and out of love
Almost every quilt I’ve ever made was created with someone in mind. Most have been gifted to friends and family to mark the birth of a baby. I’ve made a LOT of baby quilts! But babies grow up. And then they need bigger quilts. So now I'm making a lot of bigger quilts.
I decided it was time that my niece (6) and nephew (5) were upgraded to a quilt that could see them through childhood. I’d been smitten with the aptly titled ‘swoon’ pattern for a long time and, at 80” square, it was definitely big enough for a big kid!
The colour scheme I chose – red, black, grey, lilac, mustard and teal - was inspired by a favourite dress that my girls wore as babies. It felt modern but not gender-specific which was great as I started out not sure to whom this quilt would belong. I chose solids and blenders to try to let the blocks do the talking and, as they came together, they seemed to speak to me of Earl rather than Iris (more on Iris' quilt to come…).
Swoon is a beautiful pattern – so bold and striking with its huge blocks framed by sashing. I’ve seen so many incredible versions. But, oh my, I found this pattern fiddly. Cutting out to seven eighths of an inch and managing bulky seams were my main headaches and, I’ll be honest, it became the quilt I have least enjoyed making. It seemed to take forever as I dragged my feet, not sure whether to persevere or throw in the towel.
I found I couldn’t give up on it but, once the patchwork top was finished, all those seams put me off my usual preference to quilt by hand. I decided to bring in some support and went with long-arm quilting by the wonderful Emma Bradford from The Swift Quilting Co. With an M&S cotton flat sheet as backing and polyester (also unusual for me) wadding, off it went to Emma. I mentioned my nephew’s love of insects which reminded her of this dragonfly pattern which is perfect, especially on the back where it really comes to life thanks to the solid grey fabric and extra loft of the wadding.
I added black and gold metallic star binding to complement the blocks and was almost done. For years I’ve made labels for my quilts but was often annoyed by the finish from the (many) pens I’ve tried out. As so many aspects of this quilt had pushed me out of my comfort zone, or been different to my usual quilty habits, I decided it was time to have some labels printed. The service from Lynda B and her son Andrew was amazing and I’m so happy with my new branded labels and this bespoke one for Earl’s quilt.
“Every stitch with love”. So true. Provided that you forget all the seam-wrestling and muttered swear words that also went into every stitch!
A year on from making the first block, I finally love this quilt.
I hope Earl does too.....