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  • Nicola

From my sketchbook: Bring Me Sunshine

I have a unashamedly cheerful quilt to share with you today. The block is based on one of the flower basket blocks popular in the 1930s and 40s, which were typically made with feedsack prints. If you're wondering what on earth I mean by feedsack prints, there's a wonderful piece in British Patchwork & Quilting by Chris Hammacott which explains all here.

The layout of these traditional basket blocks, with a central flower flanked by two buds, has always had a bit of a 'jazz hands' look to me (and does anyone remember the dancing flower toys which were all the rage in the '80's?). Guaranteed to cheer up a bed or a sofa and begging to be taken on a picnic.

You may recognise the beginnings of this block from last summer's Moda Bakeshop sewalong. At the time I quickly drafted up a quilt with a 1930's-style sashed setting, knowing that the right fabric collection would come along and, sure enough, Bonnie & Camille's gorgeous Sunday Stroll for Moda - full of vintage prints and checks - was just the ticket. I needed more squares than I had in my Layer Cake - I took out any strong diagonal prints as they I didn't think they'd work with this block - so combined Sunday Stroll with an earlier collection, Hello Darling, setting them off with a Moda Essentials gingham in silver. I used a similar combination on my Woodruff quilt and always loved it.

Jayne quilted it with a gorgeously retro Paisley design which she cleverly scaled down to emphasise its 1930's eiderdown quality. I bound it with a larger scaled red gingham. I'm not sure if this is the quilty equivalent of 'double-denim' but I love the tingle that using different scaled fabrics gives to a quilt. And I used a polka dot bed sheet as my backing - you can just see it in the photo above - which is always a great option. I've had good luck finding them on the French website La Redoute.

But if you're aiming for a slightly subtler quilt, a linen-coloured background combined with low-volume prints for the flowers would look as fresh as a daisy. I could really see this version in Corey Yoder's pretty Springbrook collection.

I'm thrilled to let you know that you can find it gracing the cover of issue 76 of Today's Quilter (always an unexpected honour) and if you'd like to learn more about Feedsack prints then I can highly recommend Linzee Kull McCray's book Feed Sacks: The Colourful History of a Frugal Fabric. Just looking at the pictures will put a smile on your face. Jazz hands everyone,

Nicola xx


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