A Liberty Quilt SOS Story – Our Quilt SOS project is one of the loveliest projects that we coordinate at Alice Caroline. It brings our quilting community together in so many ways. We have been blown away yet again by the quilts that have been made and sent in to the studio. This is a story of one of the quilts made by Sue Davis-Haller, a local quilter to our studio.
A few months ago, we had an email in from a lady called Mireille Wagner from Luxembourg asking if she could donate some fabric to the Quilt SOS project and asking if we could find a willing volunteer to make a quilt using her fabrics. We thought of a lovely local quilter called Sue and asked if she would be willing to make it. She said she would love to. Sue has been a supporter of the Quilt SOS project right from the start and has made lots of quilts which are hand delivered to us each year. We knew she would make a gorgeous quilt from the fabrics. She brought the quilt in last week, and, as it is the season of gifting, I thought we would share the quilt with you.
I asked Sue about the fabrics she received and her quilt design.
What was your first impression of the fabric bundle you received from Mireille? “On opening the box of Liberty Tana Lawn sent by Mireille I immediately had two thoughts; firstly “Oh wow! What a huge number of different and varied prints and scales of designs” and secondly “Oh ………these are not my usual colours I work with!
On lifting the lid of the box the first fabric I saw was a peachy orange print called “Ella and Libby” a pretty floral print that I’d seen before but never had in my own stash. In fact the bundle had many prints not in my own stash and as I said the colours were completely different to my own go to colours, so I felt a real challenge coming on! So there were lots of reds, oranges, rusts, a good number of yellows, greys, some pinks and dark blues, some black based prints and a tiny number of greens. There were two large pieces included, approximately a metre of grey & white Glenjade and an even larger piece of dark red Capel (this was already sewn up with some other fabrics as a potential quilt backing). The box contained around 130 different prints so it really was quite an incredible bundle and I just hoped I could do it justice.”
How did you plan the design of your quilt? “With such a large number of different prints / colours in the bundle I thought that a quilt with a more eclectic or scrappy design could work well. I didn’t follow a single quilt design pattern per se but took elements from several designs and blocks that I particularly liked.
I built up the design as I went along really, a ‘design as you go’ basis maybe? So I started with the centre of the quilt by using the Love and Kisses quilt pattern from Jenni Smiths book “Quilting with Liberty Fabrics”. I had loved this quilt pattern since seeing it in this amazing book in 2020, and then contributing a block to the Community Quilt project run by Suzanne Campion and Leisa Morris White in 2021.
Surrounding the Love and Kisses blocks, I decided to add strip grey borders and a flying geese border in yellows, as inspired by Alice Garrett’s Summer Meadow medallion quilt (contained in Todays Quilter issue 25). Following this I used the various red squares (conveniently already pre cut by Mireille) to finish the framing of the entire centre square.
For most of the quilt blocks I used FPP which is a favourite technique of mine, enabling sharp and neat finishes. For the outer rows I created some FPP economy blocks using a set of pre-printed papers that came as a gift with a previous Todays Quilter issue. The outer row used a cute little FPP heart pattern from Sarah Ashford’s baby quilt pattern “Sweet Heart of Mine”. The quilt backing was straightforward and easy, I used the large piece of red Capel and slightly adjusted the size to fit, and added a few rows with other red & pink prints to increase its length.
To complete the quilt design I used a professional long arm quilter, Frances Meredith of Fabadashery, and jointly we selected an overall pattern for the quilting called Berry Stipple. We felt this complimented the overall scrappy feel of the quilt.”
Why do you take part in the Quilt SOS project every year? “I thoroughly enjoy taking part in the Quilt SOS project, it is a truly heartwarming initiative. It allows me to be creative and have fun making the quilts but also in the knowledge that they are destined for recipients that need them and will genuinely appreciate their warmth and comfort. I like the flexibility that has developed with the project with regard to the fabric types that can be mixed together and I also like a bit of focus and deadline to ensure the quilts do get fully completed to the timescale set.
For the past couple of years the charities receiving the SOS quilts have been quite local to me, GARAS and the Nelson Trust (Gloucestershire), and so this gives even more connectivity to the project.
The good news is there is still plenty of fabric left over from making this years SOS quilt in the donated box and I can assign this fabric from Mireille to another SOS quilt next year!”
What do you love about sewing? “I absolutely love sewing and have been doing patchwork and quilt making for around 10 years now. It allows me to be creative and the results bring about feelings of achievement and fulfilment. The whole process calms my mind and is very beneficial to my mental well-being. Like many sewers this became even more evident during the height of the pandemic. Working with colours and patterns, especially those in Liberty Fabrics, can be really inspiring and uplifting. I love the varied techniques available these days, but mostly my sewing is machine based and also some hand sewing using EPP ( when my thumb joints allow!)”
Do you love the quilt? “Yes absolutely – I do love this SOS quilt! I’m very pleased with how it has turned out. It just shows you that working with a more unusual colour palette that can be out of your comfort zone is just as fulfilling, if not more so ! Making this quilt has been a great pleasure and really great fun, and I hope the recipient will love the quilt too.”
Thank you so much Sue for sharing your quilt and your design story with us. A massive thank you also goes to Mireille for providing the fabric to make this gorgeous quilt. The quilts have now been delivered to their forever homes and have been greatly received. Until next year!