My subscription copy of Today's Quilter arrived last week and I was looking forward to opening it even more than usual, because this month I'm a contributor *insert much dancing around the kitchen* and my Festive Table Linen project has been included in the latest issue.
I met editor Jenny Fox-Proverbs when I attended one of her classes at a quilt retreat in London a few years ago and she was as lovely and easy to talk to as I remembered. We finalised a design before I left for Quilt Festival and - by serendipity - just as a lovely new Christmas collection by French General for Moda, Petite Maisons de Noel, was hitting the UK quilt shops.
We both agreed it was 'the one'.
The design is based on a traditional block called the Carolina Lily, re-imagined as a Christmas Amaryllis and as it's not an overtly Christmassy design it wouldn't have to be put away on Twelfth Night. The runner's middle block has been turned through 180 degrees, so that it looks good from both sides of the table, and the flower motifs create a wave down the centre. The smaller table mats use a simpler version of the flower motif.
I used a printed linen-look cotton called Linen Texture - also by French General for Moda - as my background, as it allowed me to use both the red and cream prints in my design. Plus it's so easy to work with: with no fraying or creasing. I had great fun fussy-cutting some of the larger prints for the china bowls - my favourite is the floral stripe, below right, but shhh...don't tell the others - and I hand quilted the set using my favourite blossom motif. My Mum has already pointed out how well they match her kitchen :-)
I love to have forced bulbs in the house throughout the winter: their flash of intense green and the promise of fresh flowers brightens the short, dark days. Having made a table runner and four placemats for the magazine, I'd love to rework the runner as a bolster cushion for a bed. Or three rows of blocks would make a lovely quilt to welcome spring...I'm imagining Paper White daffodils and lemon Jonquils in willow patterned bowls...
Isn't it amazing how different a design looks when you change the fabric?
Whatever you're making in the run up to Christmas - as always I have big, unrealistic plans - I hope you enjoy it. And I hope you have sherry...