Do you remember when you were little, how you used to have 'best' things? Not best as in 'Sunday best' or 'best shoes', but as in 'best' doll, 'best' troll, 'best' sweet, 'best' colouring pencil. In other words, the one you liked most, the one that felt special and had to be kept in a safe place. The Hydrangea Quilt is still one of my 'best' quilts and I keep in a cupboard, though goodness why. When I got it out yesterday to photograph it on the autumnal afternoon sun, I realised that the problem with anything 'bes't, is that you tend not to enjoy it as much as you should because you are so worried about spoiling it.
This is the quilt on the front cover of The Gentle Art of Quilt-Making. It was inspired by the colours of hydrangeas - all shades of pink and plum and turquoise and inky blue - as seen in profusion in Normandy and Brittany, and in single specimens in suburban gardens in the UK.
It was a chance to play with a different colour scheme and to use some Japanese fabrics which were just outside the usual shades of blue. I also used some very large designs which cut up brilliantly; one Philip Jacobs' floral design gave three different types of squares when cut fussily.
I'm delighted that the quilt is featured in issue 7 of the incredibly successful Mollie Makes magazine in a photo I took at the amazing location we used for many of the quilts in the book. I am so impressed with this publication; it would definitely have been my 'best' magazine (on a par with Jackie and later Petticoat) if only it had been out in those days.
So the quilt is now out of the the cupboard, and is staying out where I can see it. After all, it's the only superstar cover and magazine model quilt we have, so I might as well flaunt it. And it won't be used just for 'best'.