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  • Writer's pictureSarah Campbell

Gilly’s Quilt


I don’t know if any of you remember, but back in October I was slightly late getting my ‘Origin’ orders to their rightful homes because of a very important and lovely quilt project.

A great friend and mentor had come to my workshop one day for something or another and wondered what he could give to his wonderful wife for her 50th birthday. They were needing a bed cover to add colour to the room, in fact more specifically, the colour red after a Feng Shui reading indicated this colour was needed to add fun and joy to their life. I suggested I make a quilt.

I haven’t made many quilts bar some involvement in the making of a community quilt for our retiring head teacher and skirting around the perimeters of my mum’s many, many quilting projects.


I had, until quite recently, steered clear of quilts because I did associate them so heavily with my mother, wonderful as she was, but, still…defining oneself and all that? Anyhow, now that I am a big girl…I seem to be rather liking the idea of quilting.

I spent some time, including a tipsy evening with my sister Ann, trying to figure out how I wanted this quilt to look. I was not particularly drawn to the traditional pieced quilt but loved the haphazard abstraction of the quilts of Gees bend.


I was also thinking about artists whose work I was drawn to and funnily enough, many of the paintings I loved had been inspired by quilts. Artist’s such as Paul Klee, Kandinsky, Rothko, Barnett Newman and Rauschenberg.


I was also hugely inspired by some of our great contemporary tapestry weavers, Sara Brennan, Jo Barker, Fiona Rutherford and also a fantastic American quilter whom I stumbled upon… Lisa Call


My client wanted various symbols and some text incorporated in to the quilt, these included bunnies, sheep, pigs, blackbirds (remembered at the last minute), flowers and double love hearts. The text was from Gavin Maxwell’s book, ‘Ring of bright water’ – “It is no willow the wisp that I have followed here” in English and in latin.


The challenge was to figure out how to incorporate all these symbols and words without making the quilt too busy or too twee/Disney!

I finally settled on a design of strips/bands of colour on a base made of strips of neutral fabric. I had been told that Gilly likes soft fabrics so velvet and silk were used.


The strips were appliquéd on to the heavily quilted base and details then added on and around them.

I saw the strips as being like musical staves upon which the music of Gilly and Roger’s life is written, either that or bands of symbolism.

The upper bands held the love hearts, the lower bands more earthy inclinations…pigs, sheep and rabbits and flowers. and somewhere in between is the boat band…because they have one!


The quilt had to be completed the evening before Gilly’s birthday and was…only just. I finished at 3am and Roger picked it up at 5am to present with breakfast in bed.

Thankfully, Gilly was delighted and has told me it is a wonderful feeling to sleep under all the great memories and dreams of her life.


I absolutely loved being involved in this project and if any of you think you might like to commission a quilt for a loved one then please do get in touch.

All the best

xx Sarah

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