Just One Quilt: Caroline’s Story

Caroline falls into the category of a poor, unsuspecting friend of mine, who probably got so fed up of me going on about the wonders of quilting that she finally decided to give it a go!

Watch Caroline’s film by clicking here

We first cut out some squares from her daughter’s clothes a few years ago on a weekend away in the countryside. Maybe we cut a few more the following year? Anyway, quite a few seasons passed and there were two problems which often hinder progress on a quilt. Firstly, the lack of an inspiring pattern that worked with the fabric (in this case relatively small pieces from tiny kid’s clothes). Secondly, the lack of a deadline.

I then bough the wonderful book Wise Craft Quilts by Blair Stocker. It’s central message is to cut into that special fabric and make something even more special – but in a very relaxed, authentic and modern way. The quilts aren’t fussy and I knew that the Value pattern could work for Caroline’s daughter Evie, and excite her enough to give her the drive to crack on!

I would definitely recommend this book

We sized up the pieces to use what we already had and I helped Caroline over a few lovely evenings together to get to grips with constructing one block. Kid’s clothes can be tricky – there were really lightweight cottons, jersey dresses, pockets to cut around and plenty of patience (and wine and oat biscuits) required.

Caroline decided to finish the quilt in time for Evie’s 11th birthday – two weeks later and to be honest I wasn’t sure that she would enjoy it or manage to sew another 13 blocks, quilt and bind it.

Then the magic happened. Caroline transformed from being a bit stressed about sewing into really enjoying the process. That pleasure is rarely instant when you are relatively new to a skill, or lack confidence in your ability, but it comes through persistence and not being too hard on yourself.

Her home became a bit chaotic, the meals weren’t all freshly prepared and for once I didn’t feel so bad (she is a bit of a domestic goddess usually and an amazing baker).

Each time we bumped into each other she was so excited to talk about the quilt, and together we met the deadline (all I did was machine the binding on the front).

Evie was absolutely thrilled to bits with her birthday present and I am proud to have helped my very special friend get over the fear of making a big project. I think the finished quilt is stunning and really reflects her warm personality.


  1. Diane says:

    Fabulous Caroline. This shows newbies that amazing things can be created with a bit of help from friends and determination. I do hope you enjoyed that experience even if it was a very tight deadline. If you can create that in that short a time frame for your very first quilt, then who knows what else is in you.
    Keep on enjoying!
    Well done to you too of course Jenni for giving such encouragement and support to help persuade another person that quilting is fun and so worthwhile.

    1. Caroline says:

      I consider myself very fortunate to have a friend like Jenni who constantly inspires me with her creativity. She really helped me get this quilt off the ground and her encouragement and reassurance along the way really helped. If there is one thing I have learned from her it is to not be too hard on yourself and don’t be frightened of making mistakes. If you have thought about making a quilt, just go for it!

  2. Dorothy Braidwood says:

    Beautiful quilt and not the easiest to start with bearing in mind it included jersey cottons and little clothes. Lucky Caroline having Jenni Smith to inspire and motivate her. 😊

  3. Tina King says:

    Looks really lovely especially using your daughters clothes. Very inspirational x

  4. Elaine Thurston says:

    A beautiful quilt and a lovely story. I hope you go the festival of quilts as the inspiration will keep you going for years!

  5. Dot wilkinson says:

    Caroline your quilt is really lovely, what will be next? because you obviously now have the quilting bug!

    We are so fortunate to have Jenni our quilting guru who is just so encouraging and inspirational.

    I couldn t live without my quilting it is so productive & gives me so much pleasure, the possibilities are endless.

    1. Jenni Smith says:

      Ah Dot. You are a quilting guru, not me!! Xx

  6. Susan says:

    Finally got round to watching this. What a beautiful story! I may have developed watery eyes. 2 superstar women I count myself fortunate enough to spend time with.

    1. Jenni Smith says:

      Ah Susan that is very sweet. I know we will get you sewing one day too 😉

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