This quilt was made in the summer of 2016 in the weeks after we went to see Steven Speilberg’s version of Roald Dahl’s classic The Big Friendly Giant. In the film, as we sat in the dark cinema, it opened on a little girl, Sophie, asleep in her orphanage bed and draped in a tantalising glimpse of a Frame quilt. Without the benefit of a freeze frame button in the packed cinema, hushed we all all turned to each other and silently squealed! It looked gorgeous, pink and red, maybe navy and mustard and it looked like Liberty fabric. As the film progressed I was mentally pressing freeze frame in my head for each image as other tiny flashes of the quilt were shown as Sophie is carried off into the land of the nasty giants.
I went straight home and started to plan. An extensive slow mo trawl of the preview footage of the film yeilded some blury footage, and I began to look for similar quilts in my library of quilt books. Sophies quilt seemed familiar, I knew I had seen quilts like it, but not modern quilts. I began to dig back through my historical books and found a complete wealth of inspiration.
I was immediately enthralled. The colour of these quilts, their creativity and uniqueness, the fabrics and the order of the frame. Most of all however I was fascinated by the history of these quilts. They were intrinsically British, this style predominated in the UK (where as the US style was blocks) and for several hundred years this style of quilts was by far the most common style in the UK – a fact reflected by the great many in the Quilters’ Guild Collection.
I now had just one problem – at no point could i catch a glimpse of what Sophie’s quilt looked like in the middle. The crucial part of the Frame is that it wraps around a central special block. In the absence of this I decided to pick out a block that had long interested me. In the 1718 Quilt from the Guild Collection there is a block that is colloquially known as the lollypop dresden. This block is 300 years old – but it looks like it could have been made yesterday. It was the perfect centre of my quilt.
The mathematics of the Frame quilt was initially pretty scary but as each frame took shape I couldn’t wait to get on to the next.
The finished quilt was longarmed with an all over pattern of old english roses.
It remains one of my girls favourites and has so far proved great protection against being lifted out the bedroom window and carried off by a Big Friendly Giant to have breakfast with the Queen of England.