Cassandra Ellis Welcomes the Return of the Quilt

With quilting growing in popularity and a new wave of designers exploring age old techniques in their work, the Telegraph looks at how the humble hand-stitched blanket is back in favour precisely because it is not vogueish, rather because of it timelessness. New Zealand interior stylist and avid quilter Cassandra Ellis discusses.

“Quilts can encapsulate the ideas of home, family and community within the confines of fabric and thread,” Ellis says.

“They are both an incredibly practical object and imbued with a history – about the time spent making them, the people who did the stitching, the person it was made for, and the fabric used to create it,” she says. “They also take time – you have to slow down and concentrate, which can be a welcome break from the pace of life.”

The intricately patched quilt on the Ellis’ own bed in her London home started with a scrap from her mother’s wedding dress.

“It was heavily embroidered French duchess silk satin and her train was repurposed as our christening gowns so there was only a fraction left,” Ellis explains. “My mum can’t travel long distances any more, so I gathered fabric from all the countries she has visited and put them together to create this quilt. She still lives in New Zealand, so I love having it with me and thinking about her at the beginning and end of every day.”

Ellis recognises that, for many, quiltmaking can be seen as antiquated, and the industry involved can make it daunting to a beginner. Accordingly, she champions a looser, more modern approach to quiltmaking, with less regimented patterns and softer colour palettes that are suited to contemporary homes.

Her new book, Home Sewn, is full of patterns with different levels of complexity, but she also extols the virtues of not following a predetermined design.

“Colour is the single most important aspect of all my work and is sadly lacking in many quilts I see made today.”

Ellis lives in London where she runs her own design studio.

Original article by Talib Choudhry, The Telegraph, November 19, 2015.

Tags: Cassandra Ellis  Home Sewn  quiltmaking  Telegraph (The)