Monday, 12 August 2019

Now I can share! - 1718 Simplified

Ahhh, the major exhibitions are over, for now and I can finally share my 1718 Simplified Quilt story.....

My excitement which I shared last year can now be shown as photos and I can tell the whole story of my own amazing personal journey.

The 1718 quilt had been a “want to make” quilt for me for many, many years, after I first saw a photo of it almost 20 years ago.  The chance to make my own version of the 1718 Coverlet and to travel to the UK from Australia with my quilt to visit the original quilt was truly a dream come true.

It was a picture, a very small picture inside the front cover of a patchwork book.  Interesting shapes and designs, seeming to be both logically placed and then random at the same time.  A conundrum.  One that I wanted to solve.  It was 15 years from when I saw that first little photo until I could start to make my own quilt.

During 2014, I chanced upon a brief advertisement, the quilt I had been coveting in the picture was being faithfully reproduced and a book was to be published.  In early 2015, I became the owner of that very newly released book...  The 1718 Coverlet:  69 Quilt Blocks from the Oldest Dated British Patchwork Coverlet by Susan Briscoe.

Getting there....
For a long time, it seemed like I wasn't really getting anywhere with the blocks.  I would prepare some applique blocks, put them into a zip loc sandwich bag and take them in my hand-bag for filling in waiting time or while on travelling.  When sewing in small stints and then changing to the next block, I lost where I was up to.  It wasn't until I laid all the blocks out on the floor, that I realised how far I had progressed.

I would often have little machine sewing sessions where I would make a group of blocks, say, all the square in a square, then maybe the hourglass blocks.  I found by doing this way, I could match things up a bit.  The 1718 Coverlet is symmetrical from left to right, but not top to bottom.  This was something I did not realise by looking at the book, but only picked up on when I was laying out the blocks.

There were many techniques used in the making of this quilt, including applique, piecing, english paper piecing, templates, fussy cutting and more.

Adding in the centre
A true labour of love - taking 3 years to make, with lots of hand and machine work.  Each block was carefully made, pressed and trimmed to the correct size. 

Completed centre panel.  Just love it!

I used a very, very fine wadding, called QuiltLite.  It was like a fine interfacing, but with a bit more give in it.  With so many seams and lots of applique, I wanted my quilt to hold and have a little bit of body to it because I wanted it to hold up to handling and hanging during the exhibitions.

Detail showing quilting with 100 weight invisafil thread and a 60/8 needle. 
The thread is a fine line, about the thickness of hair running down the needle shaft.

I used a very fine #100 weight thread to quilt each block to closely mimic the "coverlet" style of the original quilt, which it to make it look like it has no quilting over the patchwork.

Blocks after quilting before trimming and assembling.

Assembled blocks after quilting

Detail showing how the quilt as you was assembled without cover strips.
The method I chose for quilting allowed me to use a whole piece of fabric for the backing, with some stitch in the ditch on in the seam lines to attach it to the front with no sagging.

Not all blocks were easy to make, but all were very rewarding.

Ta Da!  A fully quilted, bound and labelled quilt.  Totally elated!

The coming together of this quilt was a complete joy.  Every block was wonderful to make, except the ‘cockerel’ (the block must have known that I don’t like chooks in general!!!).  My quilt has been called ‘1718 Simplified’ because I did not piece the applique backgrounds, allowing the unique shapes to be highlighted.  I used modern piecing and quilting techniques.

In June 2018, I was notified that my quilt had been accepted as part of the 1718 Exhibition at the Festival of Quilts, in Birmingham - a huge event that is well renowned on the world quilting calendar.  Of course I had to hand deliver it!  Off I went, with the quilt carefully packed into my hand luggage.  An incredible experience where I got to see the original 300 year old coverlet -WOW - attend lectures about the 1718 Coverlet; meet others who made their own versions of the coverlet and get my book signed by the author.

At The Festival of Quilts

1718 Simplified has been exhibited at and appeared in:
  • 2018 - Festival of Quilts, Birmingham, UK - part of the special exhibit celebrating 300 years of the original quilt.
  • 2018 Nov - Axedale Antics (local paper).  Article I was asked to write, telling my story of how and why I made the 1718 Coverlet.
  • 2018 - Quilt Mania magazine - issue 128 Nov-Dec 2018- Celebrating 300 years of Britain's oldest dated patchwork coverlet article.
  • 2019 January to May - with Grosvenor Shows, UK, as part of a travelling exhibition highlighting the 1718 Quilts throughout England.  Newark 18-20 January;  Ardingly 25-27 January; Harrogate 22-24 February; Duxford 8-10 March;
    Exeter 29-31 March; Quilts UK Malvern 16-19 May.
  • 2019 July - Victorian Quilters Showcase, Melbourne, Aust. - entrant in the mainly pieced, amateur, single person category.  Received an Highly Commended Award.
  • and is slated to appear in one or two more exhibitions during 2019.

Quilt Hanging in Melbourne at Victorian Quilters Showcase
My winning ribbon!

And.... would I make a second one?  Yes, I would.  

1718 has been the most interesting, at times challenging and
most delightful quilt that I have ever made.  

Thank you to those who supported me for your faith in me,
especially my Aunt Libby, who just "gets it"
and my husband Baden for his never ending patience and love.


gmwahl said...

beautiful such a labor of love..

Lori said...


Ionia Quilt Works Beth said...

Just WOW! Congratulations on completing your journey!

Judy Kay said...

So stunning. what a master piece. Congratulation on your ribbon

Alycia said...

Such a true labor of love!! and its a beautiful quilt!!

Jo said...

Absolutely amazing Andrea. You deserve it.