Senior editor Jenny Fox-Proverbs caught up with quilting icon Lynne Edwards MBE to chat about where her love of quilts started, what happened to her first project, her massive fabric stash and more!
When did you clap eyes on the quilt that started it all?!
At the America Museum in Britain near Bath. We had gone to see the Shaker collection there probably around the late 60s, and although I had made a tacky hexagon quilt before, this was the Business! I knew then that I had to do it myself.
Do you still have the first quilt you made?
The first ever quilt – a major disaster, I must say – has happily been given away many years ago and no longer can be traced. My next two, however, I still have and sometimes show as evidence of how it all began for me. Also, because I’m still quite pleased with them. As a document of fabric around that time they are quite special, I think.
What sort of quilts are you naturally drawn to, and do these reflect the kind fabrics you use and quilts you make?
I have always used soft and gentle colours, sometimes down-right dreary, but that’s what I like best. Which means old quilts of faded fabric are always a hit with me. I am particularly fond of the 30s style fabrics and the appliqué quilts and traditional pieced designs that featured these fabrics. I’ve made several quilts using the modern reprints, and can never resist adding to my stash of 30s fabrics when I spot a new addition to the range. I do love the bold and dramatic too, and I am a great admirer of many contemporary and art quilts. I don’t feel I should be making anything like them myself (I should be so talented!) but just being able to see and appreciate them is a great thrill.
How large is your fabric stash, and what would we find in it?
Oh dear. Katharine Guerrier once declared that I had more fabric than the shop in Bath where she had been teaching. Yes, I know. And I still keep finding a need for more. The mix is very varied – lots of Lecien soft colours, some of the latest Janet Clare, of which I am a huge fan, the 30s drawer, the batik drawer, still loads left from my original second Sampler Quilt – marvellous Nancy Crow fabric bought nearly 25 years ago. Recently, some bright lime green and turquoise have crept in, together with lots of white to give a modern look for quilts for young family members. All exciting stuff, whether brand new or vintage. It will all come in for something, I’m sure.
Do you keep all of your own quilts?
I give quilts away on a regular basis to friends and family. I could ask to borrow them back for exhibitions if necessary, but really I’d rather move on and make more. Quite a few have to be kept with me as I need them for classes of course. In time I expect these will be distributed too and, no, you can’t have one yet…
Read the full interview with Lynne Edwards in the free supplement that comes with issue 6 of Today’s Quilter magazine, on sale 4 February 2016