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We caught up with Linda Seward to chat about her top quilting tips, as well as to discuss the revised and expanded release of her classic quilting book, The Complete Book of Patchwork and Appliqué, considered by many to be the 'quilter's bible'!

Hi Linda, how are you doing?

I couldn’t be better! It’s a beautiful summer day and my new book, The Complete Book of Patchwork, Quilting & Appliqué is just about to be published. The Festival of Quilts is on, and I’m hoping to see lots of my friends there.

 

 

How did your love of sewing and quilting begin?

I come from a family of needlewomen. Both of my grandmothers knitted and crocheted, as did my mother. They taught me to embroider with those pre-printed cross-stitch sampler kits and I just fell in love with working with my hands. I knitted sweaters, crocheted afghans and did lots of embroidery. When I was ten, my mother and I took a Singer sewing course so we could learn how to make our own clothes (I’m one of five children and money was tight!) After that I sewed all my own clothes for about the next 15 years – in fact, I ended up doing a degree in Home Economics/Textiles, Sewing & Design at Douglass College which is part of Rutgers University. I went to a fashion school in New York City after I graduated and ended up working for McCall’s Needlework & Crafts magazine. After a few years there, I became the needlework, crafts, and hobbies editor for Dover Publications, so really, my life has always revolved around needlework. I have to say that when I took up quilting, I stopped sewing clothes as I found patchwork much more interesting and fun.

 

Where do you get your inspiration for your quilting?

I get inspired by fabrics and colour. I love trying out new techniques and then incorporating them into quilts, so sometimes a quilt will come about to test a new way of working. I am a nature photographer and many of my photos inspire my quilts.

 

Do you have any advice for novices starting on their sewing and quilting journey?

Absolutely! Don’t attempt a huge project as your first effort. Start small and finish it completely before attempting something else. You will feel great pride looking at your completed piece which will inspire you to keep going. Many people have a considerable number of UFO’s (Unfinished Objects) because they lose interest or pick up another project before finishing the first one. I really recommend finishing each one in turn. It’s also lovely to show off your work when you’re done.

 

The Complete Book of Patchwork, Quilting & Appliqué is considered by many to be ‘the quilter’s bible’, why do you think the book has become such a classic?

When I first wrote that book almost 35 years ago, there were many different books on individual techniques, so if you were interested in something specific, you had to buy that book – this ended up costing a lot of money which quilters, let’s face it, would rather spend on fabric. I gathered together all those individual techniques and put them in one place with easy-to-follow drawings. I gave background information for many of the processes, but the book is mostly drawings and clear instructions. That seemed to do the trick because the book has sold over a quarter of a million copies since I wrote it.

    


What are your favourite sections from the book?

I love the photos of the quilts. They are so colourful and inspirational, and when I see them, I think of the amazing quilters who made them and allowed me to feature their work in my book. The generosity of quilters always astounds me and makes me very grateful that I ended up in this business. It was also so much fun to find the pieces to feature – I felt like a kid in a candy store searching the internet for quilts I liked.

     

What are some of your favourite designs featured in the book?

This question stumps me as I love every single piece in the book!

Do you have any top tips for quilters wanting to take their patchwork and applique to the next level?

Yes, my advice would be to make the quilt to satisfy yourself. By all means make it to give to someone if you wish, but the main thing is to get full enjoyment of the activity of quilting because then it will show through in the finished piece. And do enjoy each part of the process because everything – from creating the design to picking the fabrics to stitching the pieces to quilting and finally to binding – is hugely enjoyable.

What are you currently working on at the moment?

I have just finished two very large quilts while in lockdown for my sister and her daughter. I am going to visit them in two weeks, and I think they are going to be astonished when I open my suitcase and these two queen-sized bed quilts come out. We tend to like skeletons and skulls (they travel to Mexico to scuba dive and the Day of the Dead is very popular there) and that is the theme of the two quilts. So, I am now ready to start a new project!

Where can our readers and followers keep up with everything you’re up to?

I have a website that I try to keep up to date. Here is the link: http://www.lindaseward.com

I have an Instagram account which is: https://www.instagram.com/quiltmaniac1

And I am on Facebook under my own name – so easy to find.


Linda's book, The Complete Book of Patchwork, Quilting & Appliqué is available to pre-order from Search Press, RRP £15.99

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