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  • Nicola

Introducing the Sailing By Sampler blocks...

I am so happy to be to introducing a new series of Petit Four blocks to you, inspired by wonderful memories of seaside holidays. When I designed the blocks for the Spellbound Sampler, I had a vague idea of creating a series of sampler quilts inspired by the seasons. So if the Spellbound Sampler represents autumn, then the clear, clean colours of the Sailing By Sampler signal spring and the sense of adventure evoked by brighter weather and a sparkling sea stretching to the horizon.

With that in mind I started sketching ideas for this quilt eighteen months ago, during our last trip to Cornwall.

Photos taken on the ferry ride from Falmouth to St. Mawes

I first visited Cornwall as a teenager when we made the long drive south from deepest, darkest Shropshire. This was in pre-dual-carriageway days and my Uncle made the perfectly serious suggestion that we break our journey overnight before tackling Dartmoor. That first holiday was to St. Ives on the north coast and it was love at first sight: a busy harbour and bracing coastal walks for my Dad, gorgeous beaches for my sister and galleries and craft shops for Mum and I. All that and cream teas. Heaven.

In recent years we've found ourselves returning time and again, to visit dear friends on the Lizard peninsular and to holiday in the bustling university town of Falmouth, on the south coast, with its galleries and Maritime museum. We always make time to catch the ferry across the Fal to St. Mawes.

My moodboard for the Spellbound Sampler, photo credits in rows from top left:

Pinterest; Detail, Folk Art Animals Quilt (circa 1860); Vintage feedsack fabric;

Emma Williams; Mark Hearld; Cornishware; 1930s travel poster;

Tim Hall Photography; and Sarah Bowman

You may recognise some of the blocks in this sampler series: the Dinghy first appeared in my Make Sail quilt and the Seagull & Mock Turtle blocks were issued as patterns last spring when I did my Sewing Quarter shows. Truth be told, the rest were waiting quietly in my sketch book and I fully expected to be releasing them last summer. But the Sewing Quarter took quite a bit more out of me than I'd expected and then my lovely friends at Today's Quilter put some irresistible opportunities my here we are. In January. But the timing is perfect: the sky is leaden and spring seems a long way off, so there really couldn't be a better time to be making these cheerful, sun-washed blocks.

I had some fun with the setting for this quilt - more about that in my next post - so a couple of the blocks, the Lighthouse and Whale, aren't strictly Petit Four blocks as they have 'escaped' from the usual 14" square format. However they do make fun mini-quilts in their own right if you want to 'dip your toe' into more complex piecing (they are all conventionally pieced, by the way) and there are directions in the patterns should you wish to use them that way. The Whale would make a lovely bolster cushion, too.

You may have noticed the Sailing By button that's appeared on the sidebar and I'll be linking my posts to that button so that you can access them all quickly.

By happy accident there’s a wealth of lovely blue fabrics sailing into our fabric shops. Moda designer Linzee Kull McCray released a wonderful fabric collection called True Blue last spring, which was based on 1930's Feedsack prints - following it up at the turn of the year with a sister collection, Red Rover - so I knew I'd found the happy, vintage colour palette for my quilt. You, of course, may decide to reflect your own favourite coastal destination in your choice of background fabric and opt for smart Navy blue, tropical turquoise or a gentle seaglass.

The blocks are available as PDF patterns in the Shop, either singly or in money saving bundles of the six new blocks or all eight. A printed Pattern Book is coming soon. Next week I'll be sharing the setting instructions for the whole quilt, as well as some ideas for using individual blocks for smaller projects...see you on board.

Nicola xx


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