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  • Nicola

From my Sketchbook: Chrysanthemums

Do you like to challenge yourself sometimes when you make a quilt? My new Chrysanthemums quilt was inspired by the Wheel of Fortune block and I’ve always wondered whether the name referred to your luck in matching its points. I've endeavoured to simplify the piecing and finesse the pressing, so that all of the seams nest nicely and you, too, can enjoy the quiet thrill of a crisp point. Or twenty-four!

I made my quilt with a sunny Fat Quarter bundle of Liberty's Flower Show Midsummer (Jessie has a bundle in stock here), adding a few of their blender prints to balance out the prints. I used Makower's Linen Texture in bluestone as my background so that I could use both the light and bright prints in my bundle. It's the perfect indigo blue: the quilt equivalent of pairing your favourite jeans with a Liberty blouse!

The blocks feature quarter square triangle units, which are made slightly larger so that they can be trimmed down to the perfect size. And, to stop myself procrastinating too much about the trio of fabric I chose for each flower - although I do rather enjoy that bit - I split my prints into groups of three, rotating the fabrics between blocks and piecing my chrysanthemum flowers three at a time.

The vases were inspired by my collection of mid-century SylvaC and Dartmouth Pottery mantle vases, which hold tulips in spring time, garden flowers during the summer and hyacinth bulbs - with their optimistic green shoots - at Christmas.

My mantle vases are mostly cream (although my favourite is an unusual mint green), so if you wanted a more subtle quilt you could substitute a creamy solid or low volume prints for the vases.

It can be tricky choosing thread when piecing strongly coloured prints and a bright background. I was guided by the back of the bluestone Linen Texture and chose a grey blue thread and, by coincidence, Jayne was drawn to the same colour to quilt it.

I have to mention that Jayne is an absolute treasure: when pressing my top ready to load onto the machine, she noticed I'd pieced one half of my backing fabric upside down - ah, how that one seam catches us out! - so patiently unpicked and restitched it for me.

You can find Chrysanthemums gracing the front cover *yippee* of the next issue of Today's Quilter (number 103) and the reason I'm publishing this post before the magazine comes out is that I have a really brilliant offer to share with you: subscribe to Today's Quilter before the 20th of June, and get issue 103 - with my quilt on the cover, did I mention that? - as your first issue. Their fantastic trial offer means you can try 3 issues for £6 (saving 72% on the retail price) and if you're in the US, purchase those 3 issues for just $9.95 (saving 79%). Just click HERE for more details.

Some lovely news like that means I've earned a treat: it's a gorgeous day so I'm off to get an ice cream!

Nicola xx

PS: Looking through my sketchbook for something the other day I found this first sketch of the Chrysanthemum block. I ended up resizing the block, but I'd forgotten that the brilliant blue background was there right from the beginning...


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