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!
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!
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.