An evening of inspiration

Well!  A big thank you to Roundabout Quilters for hosting Gail Lawther yesterday evening. Her talk about her stained glass patchwork quilts was great fun to listen to and very inspiring. Gail brought lots of her quilts to show us and was very generous in letting us get up close to have a really good look at all the stitching and clever embellishments she’d used. Do take a look at her website and note the other fabric techniques Gail has used and developed.


One of Gail’s  quilts entitled ‘Enchanted Forest’ particularly inspired me.  Made up of six panels depicting hares, deer, badgers, hedgehogs, birds and a unicorn, Gail said her original inspiration had been the beautiful navy fabric speckled with twinkling stars.  I could have easily bought the full set of patterns but restrained myself to the birds! As we looked at each of the quilts Gail pointed out the different colours of bias binding she had used.  As well as the expected black representing the lead in stained glass windows, there was white (very effective on a black and white version of the badger panel) and lots of gold and silver (particularly appropriate on the beautiful ‘Enchanted Oceans’ panels) and brown, blue, red and green in the landscapes, city scapes and willow pattern panels. Sadly the Japanese factory producing the varied colours of binding was destroyed in the tsunami  and although relocated has not yet reached full production so some coloured binding is getting hard to come by.  Stitch Witch stock coloured binding from another supplier if you are looking for it in the UK.  (Of course it is possible to make bias binding but it is time consuming when what you really want to be doing is making the picture!).


Way back in 2011 I attended a workshop to make a stained glass effect quilt (‘Thank you’ to North Hampshire Quilters and Syd for providing the workshop!).  I got a bit carried away and made double the number of squares!  I was using standard ½” cotton bias binding and made many trips to and from my local haberdashery shop buying a few metres at a time.  The technique does use a lot of binding – the instructions for the 25″ ‘Enchanted Forest’ Birds panel lists 10 metres as the requirement!

A close up of my stained glass quilt.  It was lovely putting all the jewel coloured fabrics together.
A close up of my stained glass quilt. It was lovely putting all the jewel coloured fabrics together.  I added sashing wider than the binding in the squares to try and create a window effect. 
It is good practice to label completed quilts.  I've just found out how useful a label can be - I'd never have remembered that this one was made in 2011.
It is good practice to label completed quilts. I’ve just found out how useful a label can be – I’d never have remembered that this quilt was made in 2011!

So now I’m thinking about the Birds panel – could I make night time and daytime panels or somehow adapt the pattern to make one for each of the four seasons….

I wonder how much time we spend thinking about patchwork designs compared to stitching?  I know I was awake in the night for a short while and drifted back to sleep planning the arrangement and type of blocks to use for the next section of my puzzle quilt! So far I’ve only spent half-an-hour actually putting together some blocks!

Time for a bit more sewing now before kitchen duties call!


0 thoughts on “An evening of inspiration

    • Yes! The binding is laid over the ‘glass’ panels and sewn down with two rows of stitching. The key is to sew the binding strips down in the right order so all the ends get tucked under a strip and secured down. I think Gail’s special magic is in her selection of fabrics and colours. Very clever!

  1. It is so true what you said about the amount of time we spend thinking about our projects. While I have been under the weather I have been doing just that – picking out patterns for all the fabric I have accumulated in the rather short period of time I have become interested in quilting. The key is to write it down. The problem is that I keep changing my mind !


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