I just finished piecing the top and hung it up in the window to let the sun shine through. I'm going to call it 'New English.' Emily will be machine quilting it in our new 'Beyond the Sea' DVD. The design was inspired by the 'asterisk blocks' featured in the Selvage blog last year. I needed an English flag design and extending the asterisk gave me the Union Jack.
Something interesting happens when a quilt top goes vertical. My family has seen this quilt all over the front room floor while I've been auditioning fabric and figuring out the block placement. But as soon as I hang it up everyone goes "Wow!"
I began with a series of small blocks with 1930's style fabrics which I called 'Best of British'. But I'd wanted to create much larger blocks using the fresh modern big bold fabrics of the new designers. So I began collecting Amy Butler and Kaffe and Heather Bailey, Philip Jacobs and Michael Miller. I love the play between form and freedom; the contrast between the bold geometrical shapes and the lush floral prints.
It reminds me of the organized chaos of the English cottage garden where criss crossed pathways cut through exuberant riots of colour.
While simple folk were enjoying cottage gardens, the famous 18th century landscape gardener, 'Capability' Brown was creating a new style of garden for the rich and famous.
Once described as the Shakespeare of gardeners, his influence extended to just about every stately home in England. He rejected the rigid geometric style and created gardens with a more natural casual elegance. Interestingly, Capability Brown's style was called 'New English!'