Monday 30 September 2013


The design for the community quilt to commemorate the University’s 175th anniversary in 2014-15 is now taking shape. Many members of the quilting group have decided on the design of their block and some are making good progress with the sewing. Here are a few updates on the innovative and striking designs created by Helen Berrie, Jenny Mann and Fiona Roberts.

Helen Berrie: The Kingsway ‘Flying Saucer’


For information about this sculpture, see:

Helen writes: “I chose to make the quilt square of this as it is a striking sight which I pass most mornings on my way to work.  The building at Kingsway would have been a bit too challenging (possibly not recognisable on the quilt) and I wanted to ensure some of the other University sites were represented along with main campus.  I also thought that an artwork such as this flying saucer was a good representation of Kingsway as it is the home of the Faculty of Arts and Media.”

Here is a photograph of Helen’s work in progress:



Jenny Mann: 'Founders’ Day, 25th January 1839'


The University’s Six Founders: William Gladstone, Horatio Powys, Edward Stanley, John Bird Sumner, James Slade, Henry Raikes

Jenny writes: “My initial idea was to recognise the 6 Founders and incorporate their pictures onto a block using a patchwork technique popular in 1839.  Research confirmed that paper pieced hexagons were very popular in this period.  This is a technique I love doing, so an easy decision to make.  Having an idea, i.e. printing a photograph to fabric, is one thing and putting it into practise is another. A friend came up with calico fabric sheets that can go through a home printer.  However during a visit to the Quilter's Trading Post, to source the fabric for the hexagons, a different option was presented.  The owners have facilities to print directly to a fabric background.  This means that the 6 Founder's photos and all their names and the title can be printed at the same time.  I can then applique 6 hexagons onto the background.  Each hexagon will have a 6 cm circle cut in it to frame the face of a Founder.


The colour for the hexagons is a very deep rusty red - apparently red tended to be 'rusty' in the early 19th century.  It is a good match to the red of the University of Chester shield.  I have also sourced some tiny number 15 beads which I plan to sew to the outer edges of the appliqued hexagons.  

So I have been drafting up the block and have today sent, electronically, the mock-ups and photographs to the Quilter's Trading Post.  I shall follow this up by either posting all the mock-ups or taking them to the shop.  

The photographs show the positioning of the images of the Founders and the text for the printer. One shows the hexagons in place and the last is the ring of hexagons, useful I thought for checking everything is in position before the final printing to fabric. 

The font chosen is Franklin Gothic Medium 20 bold for the names and 36 bold for the title.

I will not be making the hexagons up until I have the printed fabric in my possession.”

Kath Roberts: The University Crest

Kath writes that doing the University crest in cross-stitch has been a challenge. She has "revised what I am capable of doing by February, and have decided to use the 40 colour chart instead of the 60 colour chart.  I thought I was in serious danger of going mad trying to follow the 60 colour chart, the 40 colour one is easier to follow but should still give a good result – it looked from the 60 colour chart that in some cases only a few stitches were in any one particular colour so it shouldn’t make too much difference to the look of the finished result."




Fiona Roberts: The Tiled Floor in the entrance to Senate House

Fiona writes: “I felt that the pattern of the tiles was reminiscent of a patchwork block and that is what led me to choose this as a design for my contribution to the anniversary quilt.  I originally looked at the Minton tiles in the Chapel, but they have so many curved lines in the design that I knew it would be very complicated to reproduce in fabric!  I then found these tiles and felt I would be able to make a neater job, though I still have a few stray threads to tidy up. 


The floor tiles in Senate House and Fiona’s representation in patchwork

To make the block I calculated the size of the two light coloured blocks, each with nine equal squares – a pattern known as “Nine-Patch”.  I made these, and then experimented with the more complicated triangles, and got the dimensions right on my second attempt.  I can’t wait to see what everyone else has come up with!”

Some members of the quilting group recently consulted the owners of Quilters Trading Post for advice on the best method for putting the blocks together.  Renowned machine quilter, Pam offered to host the group when they were ready to put together the blocks and sashing, and to quilt the top using one of the shop’s long arm quilting machines.  This will bring a more professional finish and will ensure that all of the unique features are shown to their best effect.  Much forward planning was needed to estimate when this work will be done, as there is around a four month waiting list for this service! 

If anyone is interested in having their own work quilted, they can contact Pam at





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