THE JILLYGEORGE QUILT
Two weeks ago I attended a Cosby Quilter workshop with Kathleen Guerrier, and during our lunch break we were shown a quilt by one of our former members Jill Cawrey. This was not just any quilt, this one had a very interesting story to go with it, which Jill was happy to share with us.
In 1988 Jill visited Paducah and whilst there took the opportunity of participating in various workshops. The theme of this particular year was ‘Baskets’, and members made blocks to form a quilt which was later raffled off.
One of the notable points to this visit was a friendship which Jill formed with a fellow quilter from Anchorage, Alasaka. This was George Taylor, a draughtsman by profession, and a very accomplished and precise quilter. The friendship culminated in Jill inviting George to visit her in the UK.
During his stay George had been looking through a copy of the British Patchwork and Quilting magazine and commented that he liked one particular pattern. Jill liked the same pattern, and so a quilt was about to be born.
Ever the draughtsman, George draughted out the pattern to a full scale. And so it began.
They decided on a black background. Did Jill have any black fabric? Why of course she did…. Someone had given her an old blackout curtain (circa 1940), still in good condition. At this point they had sufficient fabric for half of a quilt.
So, what do we do when we need more fabric? We call on our friends of course. Janice Cooke was very generous, and soon found suitable fabrics for the project, as did several of Jill’s other quilting friends.
Then at about midnight one night, Jill had a panic. The black fabric would need to be washed before use, so out of bed, and the black fabric was duly put in the washing machine and hung out to dry. Then she ‘played’ with some of the design blocks which had been drawn up. She left a note for George, ‘I like this design best, do you?’ Fortunately he agreed.
With still insufficient fabrics, a trip to Bramble Patch was the next thing on the list. Apparently George (being quite a gregarious character) proved to be popular with the staff in the Weedon shop.
As if a large quilting project was not sufficient for most people. George also wanted to visit Scotland during his two week holiday to the UK, so they took time out to do a coach trip too.
When George left Leicester, he took with him the pieced quilt. He would do the quilting in Alaska.
You won’t be able to see from the photo, but we could see that it was actually machine quilted from the back, and it is absolute perfection. He then sent the quilt back to Jill and told her to ‘milk it’. Which she duly did.
She entered it in to the Malvern Show and it was given an award of merit for colour.
In 2002 the Festival of Quilts was held at the NEC (1st year at the NEC), and here it was put into a class ‘Made by two people’.
The competition was quite fierce, and Katherine Guerrier (already a very well-known quilter) won the first prize (along with a colleague who quilted her work).
However Jill and George’s quilt won the third prize and £100. Fame at last!
This quilt was featured on the front cover of the British Quilting and Patchwork magazine, along with full instructions.
I would like to thank Jill for her help, and collaboration with this article.