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My wholecloth quilt Pearl Princess, which heavily featured Colonial knots and beading, went to Festival of Quilts in 2016 and came second in the Traditional quilt category as well as earning (to my eternal delight) the Viewers' Choice award. It also went on to win Best in Show at the National Patchwork Championships at Sandown in 2017. I spent much of 2017 writing, teaching and judging but have also been stitching a silk wholecloth quilt for my husband. Hopefully this should be finished in time to feature in at least one UK quilt show in 2018. I have also revisited the paisley motif that featured so prominently in the quilts displayed in 2016 at The Jen Jones Quilt Centre in Lampeter. These quilts were displayed in 2017 at a series of quilt shows run by Grosvenor Shows as well as in a gallery at the West Country Quilt Show and created a lot of interest in traditional Welsh quilts. The paisley is such a versatile pattern that I have found new avenues to explore and have had great fun creating a new set of cot quilt designs. The aim of this second collection is to extend ideas and designs beyond beyond the traditions that encompassed the first set of quilts. This new collection is all designed and the fabrics chosen, all I have to do now is stitch all the quilts. At the last count there were at leat 20! Another potential project for 2018 will be to spend some time on one of the three applique quilts that are at various stages of (in)completion. I love the opportunity of playing with colour that applique affords, but it is such a slow process. It recently took me a whole day to sew down three oak leaves... No matter, whatever I choose to stitch, I doubt I will run out of projects (or fabric) any time soon.

Sandie Lush, January 2018

 

Archive

Although interested in crafts from an early age, I knew absolutely nothing about patchwork and quilting until the early 80's when we moved to the United States. My sister-in-law in Massachusetts had taken up patchwork and introduced me to the craft. However, it was nearly another ten years before I actually tried my hand at making a quilt. By this time we were back in England and, as far as I knew, a long way from any help.

My first quilt was made in 1990 and was a cot quilt for the new baby who, (unlike the eldest child), slept. After the first three patches I was already planning a school-house quilt for his brother.

I started going to classes, joined a local quilting group and explored a variety of techniques. Although initially attracted by the wonderful variety of patchwork, I found that I didn't enjoy hand quilting over the seams. Each new quilt had an ever increasing amount of plain space to show off the quilting designs.

1994 gave me a complete change of direction. A class with Barbara Chainey showed me how to draught a wholecloth quilt design. This was a hand quilter's dream: no seams to stitch over and no patchwork to get in the way of the quilting patterns! It was the start of my lasting passion for handquilted wholecloth quilts. The ensuing quilt, Berceuse, placed second in the cot quilt section at the Great British Quilt Festival.

Following several other small prizewinning pieces, 1996 saw my first full size wholecloth quilt 'Moonflower'. This was Champion Quilt at the Great British Quilt Festival that year and won the Merit Quilting award at the International Quilt Association, Houston the following year. It formed part of the IQA prizewinners' exhibit at Quilt Expo Innsbruck in 1998.

In 1999 my Welsh quilt 'Tarian Aur' was also exhibited in Houston where it placed third in the Merit Quilting (Hand) section. The same year the Quilter's Guild of the British Isles had a national exhibition at Lord's Cricket Ground. The themed challenge to members was entitled 'Under the Covers'. Having been an avid knitter for years, I made the connection between the theme title and a cricket sweater and set myself the challenge of making a quilt look as much like a real sweater as possible. However, I don't think anyone expected 'Slip One, Knit One' to be large enough to fit a single bed...

The following year I made 'Romantic Rose' using traditional Durham templates from old quilts. This quilt won several prizes at Quilts UK and a second place at Quilter's Heritage Celebration, Pennsylvania before being raffled in aid of the Quilter's Guild's 'Housing Our Heritage, Funding the Future' fund. The profits from the sale of this pattern also go to Guild funds.

Having donated 'Romantic Rose' to the Guild, I then decided that I would like something similar for myself. 'Aurora' was made in 2002 and also featured a mixture of old and new Durham templates. It was Champion Quilt at the Great Northern Quilt Show that year.

I continue to have great fun creating quilts which explore the effects of knitted texture. Purl 3 was exhibited as part of Quilt 2000 at The Knitting and Stitching Show and was awarded a judges' commendation for technical excellence. It has also been exhibited in Pennsylvania and went to Japan as part of a Quilter's Guild exhibition early in 2003.

I have since turned the original idea on its head and have started creating pieces of knitting that resemble quilts. First of the series, 'Full Circle', was created for the annual exhibition at Llanidloes, Mid Wales, in 2002 and  the second, 'Knitted Together' was made for the Quilter's Guild theme of 'Connected' at Festival of Quilts 2004.

In 2003 I (finally) finished one of the many applique quilts started over the past few years. What started out as 'Millenium Tulips' was eventually named '2003 Tulips', (nobody ever said I was quick!) Having placed second in the Traditional Large category at Quilter's Guild Festival of Quilts at the NEC Birmingham that year, it subsequently went on to get an Honourable Mention at IQA Houston and was chosen to feature on the photo finish page of Quliter's Newsletter Magazine. It was also successful at Quilts UK and WQTF the following year and went to Japan with the Quilters Guild in 2005.

2003 also saw me try my hand at writing. I was asked to write the Hand Quilting section of Katherine Guerrier's 'Quilting From Start to Finish' (The Quilter's Companion in the US). I added a section on wholecloth quilts and enjoyed the process enough that I may even get down to writing a book of my own some day.

In 2004 I was back with my beloved wholecloth quilts and finally got around to making one of my designs that had been on sale for several years, Fantasy. This was hand stitched on ombre (shaded) sateen that had been pieced in eight large triangles. Gaining a first and a second place at Festival of Quilts in 2004, this has subsequently gone on to become my most successful quilt, winning blue ribbons at QHC, Paducah and Houston. It was also the Champion quilt at Malvern in 2007.

2005 saw the completion of another applique quilt, Raphelle's Roses. This is a wedding gift for my husband's eldest nephew and his new wife. More of a wholecloth quilt embellished with applique, this design is to feature in Fabrications Magazine sometime in the future.

2006 saw the completion of No More Berries. This placed first both in the Traditional Large category at Festival of Quilts and Traditional Applique in Houston that year.
It was also in 2006 that I started combining candlewicking with quilting to launch my Colonial Cushion range of patterns.

2007 was a momentous year. Not only was the new candlewicked and quilted quilt Crystal Dreams very successful at Festival of Quilts, but I was also given the opportunity of my own gallery space. I had tremendous fun and I hope you enjoy the following link to those images.
My Gallery at the Festival of Quilts, NEC, Birmingham.

2008 saw Crystal Dreams win the Workmanship award at QHC and Best in World at the World Quilt and Textile Fair. 

2009 was spent on commissions and making samples.

2010 finally saw the completion of my quilt Whig Rose. It had begun life as a teaching sample but the fabric was so lovely I felt it deserved to be finished. Luckily the judges at the National Patchwork Championship at Sandown felt the same way, and it was awarded several prizes, including Champion Quilt.

In 2012 Reflections went to the Scottish Championships and won several prizes as well as overall runner up. This and all my other cot quilts were exhibited by Grosvenor Exhibitions at their quilt shows in late 2012. I also completed my hand applique quilt Roses of Sharon which was then beautifully longarm quilted for me by Rosemary Archer before she retired. The quilt toured with the 2013 World Quilt and Textile Fair and won an Honorable Mention.

Having taken 2013 off to write, I didnít manage a single word! I did complete several new wholecloth cot quilts that year, my favourite being Darian which won Best Cot Quilt at the Scottish Championships. My major achievement however was to finish the applique on my quilt Roses are Red. Some quilts take time, but this one is my personal record as it started out life as a teaching sample in 1999 and was finally completed in the Spring of 2014. The border alone had over 1000 pieces in it! It was a finalist at IQA, Houston that same year. During 2013-14 I also made another nine sweater quilts, one of which was machine quilted! Along with all the other quilts in that series, these were beautifully displayed at the Jen Jones Welsh Quilt Centre. I was thrilled with the exhibition, a picture from which you can see by following this link.

Having finally completed Roses are Red I decided to start another project that had been on the back burner for years. After finishing Aurora in 2002 I wished I had made several small but important alterations to the design. Rather than remake an identical quilt I had decided it would be fun to convert the design into one that featured my beloved Colonial knots and beads. However, this had proved quite a design challenge and it took me until 2014 to finally make a start on it. Pearl Princess was born just in time to go the 2015 World Quilt and Textile Fair in the USA and win Best Traditional Quilt.

My collaboration with Jen Jones started in 2010 and is still very strong. I have created several patterns using designs taken from quilts in her collection and these, (and kits), are available from the museum shop at the Jen Jones Quilt Centre. Although I have drastically reduced the amount of teaching (and travelling) I am willing to undertake, I continue to teach there each September. Jenís quilts are a great source of inspiration and over the years I have used one motif in particular from a quilt in her collection The first quilt, In the Pink, was made in 2002. In the intervening 10 years another four cot quilts featuring this same motif had evolved. A conversation with Jen about them in June 2015 led to the creation of a new series of quilts using this motif. I started designing immediately and by mid-February 2016 there were 24 hand stitched quilts in total. These were dispalyed Gallery Two at the Jen Jones Quilt Centre Lampeter from early March until early November that year. You can have a sneak peek here.

 
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