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  • Nicola

From my sketchbook: Sweetbriar

I think we can all agree that the world was a strange place last spring when I was making this wintery quilt. I've discussed before that I'm often working on magazine projects wildly 'out of season' and the constraints of the Covid-19 lockdown just added to the surreality of it all. But it was was enormously comforting to loose myself in its making: in assembling a stack of fabric; in balancing print scales and shades of red; in the rhythm of piecing the blocks; in the arranging - and rearranging - them in rows. And I was adding the leafy border as the fields around my home became luminescent with spring grass and bright hedgerows.

Many of the prints in this quilt are old favourites: florals and ditsies from Tilda's Cabbage Rose collection, a tiny gingham, a quirky button print and a beautiful vintage French fabric that I found on Etsy. The background fabric is from a a really useful range of blenders by Liberty, based on their classic Wiltshire print. They're available in whole rainbow of shades, but I chose muted charcoal, grey and ivory to let my prints really glow and create a subtle tartan effect with the sashing.

When my top was pieced I had to post it to my lovely Jayne with a covering note, rather than driving up to Buerton to see her in person, which - to be honest - was sad. But it was exciting to receive her parcel and see the beautiful paisley design she chose to quilt it with. And I must take a moment to acknowledge the wonderful team at my local post office who were always so calm, efficient and unfailingly cheerful throughout lockdown.

I chose the name Sweetbriar for this quilt as the main block has the feel of a stylised rose. Its namesake, Rosa rubiginosa, forms a dense blanket of foliage and large single flowers, although it's a rather thorny...unlike a quilt.

linen-coloured background for a more summery scheme..

You can find the pattern in issue 67 of Today's Quilter and I truly hope you find as much comfort in making it as I did.

Nicola xx


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