Down By The Riverside Competition
Popular Patchwork|October 2017

Back in May we launched a group design competition, in partnership with Lewis and Irene. Each group who entered was given a 10m length of the stunning ‘Down by the Riverside’ border print and the brief was to design a quilt to incorporate it. The entries were a varied and gorgeous mix of designs and choosing the winning quilts was a challenge. However, judging by the overwhelming response from visitors to the Popular Patchwork stand at The Festival of Quilts, we are confident in our final choice. Here we talk to the finalists about their experience of working as a group for this design challenge.

St Thomas Stitch and Chat

Now in its tenth year, St Thomas Stitch and Chat meet twice monthly at the vicarage in Stockton Heath. With around 20 members, ranging from their thirties to their eighties, they are grateful the vicar has lots of chairs and a very long dining table! The meetings vary and cover a variety of crafts from knitting and crochet to embroidery, cross stitch and of course patchwork and quilting.

Avid quilter, workshop teacher and founder, Joanne Ridley, shares their experience of working together on a group project for the first time: “As the leader of the group, I could see that many of the members had caught the ‘quilting bug’ and so I suggested we took part in the competition. There were eight members who wanted to join in, making a total of nine of us altogether. The other members were very supportive and we enjoyed keeping them up to date with our progress and showing them the quilt as it grew.”

“Our inspiration was taken from the flowers that grow in riverside meadows. I then designed three flower blocks and we chose ten complementary shades from the Oakshott range to match the colours in the beautiful Lewis and Irene border print. Everyone made flower blocks and if you look carefully, you will see they all include elements of the border print fussy cut within them. This and the sky fabric onto which the flowers are appliquéd, ties the blocks and border together. Meeting up over several evenings with our sewing machines, (including one hand-cranked machine!) we completed the appliqué, and once the quilt top was together I then went on to quilt it.”

“We often have a stall at our Christmas Fair so we’ve worked collaboratively on the items for that in the past, but this is the first time we’ve worked together to make one quilt. It’s a bit difficult to divide a quilt between nine people, so we’ve decided to raffle it for Church funds. But first we’re going to hang it up in church for a while so that our congregation and visitors can enjoy it when they pop in for a cup of tea at our Open Church mornings.”

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