How it all began
This is the first ever quilt which I made way back in 1994. An American friend, whose husband was stationed at a nearby airbase mentioned one day that she had always wanted to try her hand at quilting so I was able to confess to my long standing ambition too. Having been a "stitcher" since my early childhood,thanks to a talented Mum, I had tried most types of needlework but had found the traditional hexagon paper piecing so tedious it had really put me off carrying on with patchwork. However, Sue explained to me the idea of rotary cutting and machine piecing which meant I would see a speedy result and so before you could say "quarter inch seam", I was hooked and piling up the stash. We made these quilts over a series of Wednesday mornings whilst the children were at school and refreshed ourselves with copious amounts of tea and orange muffins. Sue's colour choices of red and navy matched her Americana themed home, whilst my wine and green gave a cosy feel to sit well in our Victorian farmhouse home at the time. The 12 inch sample squares gave us a good insight into various piecing techniques and probably set out my stall for future projects, as you will come to see with future projects. Sadly Sue's husband was posted back to the USA just as we finished piecing, so we were left to hand quilt these on separate sides of the pond. We kept in touch for many many years and I was so pleased to see her quilt hanging proudly in her sitting room in Washington State nearly 10 years later and it was a wonderful reminder of a special time for the both of us. Regretfully, I no longer have room to hang this quilt in my current home, but do regularly bring it out to hang from the old wooden chair , just for comfort and to make me smile.
Its a mystery
This was made from some left over blues from a Double bed quilt I made, which has long since found a new home, together with some Liberty print of cornflowers and poppies finished off with some red gingham, both left over from little dresses I had made Emily years earlier. At the time I was unaware that the thread count on Liberty prints makes them not very hard wearing and so not very suitable for quilts, but the softness of the cotton and the combination of red's and cornflower blues made it irresistible.
As a finished piece I was quite happy at the time and it was my first attempt at machine quilting too, but nowadays it looks a little bit sad and unprofessional when compared with more experienced pieces of work. As you can see the binding is a bit on the chunky side too. However, as the family picnic quilt it has been sat on , had juice spilt over it, been dropped in puddles and generally abused but still shines out bright and cheerfully whenever we ask it too, and you know, how its still manages to look so good is probably the biggest mystery of all.