To celebrate 140 years of business, Liberty commissioned 5 celebratory quilts, which have been made by Contemporary Embroidery Artist Louise Gardiner, Textile Artist Karen Nicol, Doll Designer Amanda Fatherazi, The Dalston Darlings Women’s Institute and us!
We were asked to create a large contemporary quilt piece with personal touches such as embroidery and appliqué to make the quilt as unique as possible. The piece had to be wadded (lined with a soft fabric), backed with plain fabric and quilted (joined together using lines of stitching) using a long arm quilting machine. We were asked to use Liberty’s naval heritage as inspiration (the Tudor building was built with the wood of two merchant ships!) and incorporate sailor tattoo motifs such as swallows and anchors.
A lot of love and collaborative effort went into the quilt, with a group of 14 Shoreditch Sisters working hard to create something beautiful. We began discussing the project with Liberty in mid-March, came up with our design idea a week or so later, and then began work in earnest at the end of March. We came together to stitch rows of Liberty print fabric rectangles, which were later joined to create the quilt top. Many people in the group created beautiful pieces, appliquéing and painstakingly hand embroidering motifs including feminist mermaids and gorgeous swallows.
We worked together to attach the motifs to the quilt top using a long arm quilting machine at Fabrications
, taking turns. We then sandwiched the batting between the backing fabric and quilt top, which had to be pinned together with basting pins – many hands make this much quicker I imagine! Then came the quilting – we took turns to sew the circular design to join the three layers of the quilt – this was easier than it looked and quite calming, though manoeuvring the precious quilt was difficult at times. Finally, the edging was added and we embroidered the names of everyone who had worked on the project onto the quilt.
The quilt is currently being displayed in the window of Liberty
from Thursday 4 June until Sunday 7 June
, then it will be displayed in the dress fabrics department on the 3rd floor.
Blog post by Louise Mullen for Shoreditch Sisters WI