Friday, 23 April 2010

Wedding present quilts

I spent last weekend in London.  I went in order to go to the Contemporary Quilt Group AGM and the quilt exhibition at the V and A.  It was lovely to see people at the AGM including a number whom I only knew as names on our Yahoo site.  The guest speaker, Ann Smith, was truly inspirational.  To find out what she told us go to who has posted all the details.  I also wanted to go the Quilt exhibition at the V and A and did that on Monday morning before I came back.  That was a very good idea as it was not at all crowded.  Being more of a lover of modern quilts, especially quilt art, I particularly enjoyed the contemporary work although I thought that by mixing the contemporary pieces in with the heritage quilts, it was a bit difficult for non-quilters to see how we got from one to the other.  I made this trip with one of my sisters and she was very pleased to find our Hoadley name embroidered on an amazing quilt made by a tailor in Edinburgh.  The 'e' was missing but two hundred years ago this was often the case.  It was probably not one of our ancestors but nice to find your name when it is fairly uncommon.

The rest of the weekend we spent catching up with some of our family.  Our eldest nephew has just announced his engagement and we took him and his fiancee out for dinner. The big question was whether I should offer to make them a quilt as a wedding present or would they feel obliged to accept the offer politely while thinking it was the last thing they wanted!  I made a quilt for his brother Alastair about four years ago

 but the second brother got a set of saucepans.  I decided then that quilts for wedding presents should ideally fill certain requirements.  The first is not to ask the recipients exactly what they want or you may be waiting for decades as they probably have little idea of the possibilities.  The second is that I do not design them myself and the third is that I do not make quilts that are big enough for five foot wide beds plus sides.  After doing one for myself at the beginning of the century I swore never to do a double one again!  So the design for Alastair and Isabelle's  that you see above was taken from Cut Loose Quilts by Jan Mullen and was basically a lap quilt or topper.  The colours were chosen after my sister had a conversation with Isabelle's mother and, without saying why she wanted to know, came back with 'fuschia colours'.  When I arrived at the wedding it was apparent I had got it right as all the women in Isabelle's family and the bridesmaids were dressed in the colours I had used.

I have now added another rule: in future these quilts for presents will be long-arm quilted.  I know it is very expensive but I don't think I have the time or energy to do the whole thing.  And there is only one more nephew who is seriously in the frame for a wedding present.  Anyway I made the offer and it was accepted with enthusiasm.  I have told them to think about colours and I will go back to Jan Mullen for another design that is reasonably quick to do.  The wedding is in the autumn so I have warned them they may not get it in time.  This is partly because whatever colour scheme they choose I will then have to buy most/all of the fabric and I have found this is quite a time-consuming task, especially when I am more or less dependent on on-line shopping.  However, I frequently make a cushion as a sample so I am sure I could finish that in time.

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