Monday 11 August 2014

Around the world Blog Hop

Greetings from a sunny, windy, wet, in other words typically English, South Devon in the UK. This post is a little different as I was invited by Sandra, from the wonderfully named 'musings of a menopausal melon'  (click here to see her blog and learn about that title) to take part in an 'Around the World Blog Hop'.  The idea is to give a window into different creative worlds. Here are my answers to the 4 questions that this Blog Hop poses.

What am I working on?

What I am always working on is catching the many fleeting, often fantastical ideas floating around my head and trying to ground them in some kind of textile reality. I have to admit I am not too faithful to any one 'work in progress'. Several are always vying for my attention. So, just now...

Going to Pieces

Having just finished 'Cosmic Split' I wrote how I felt both satisfied and bereft. One viewer suggested I was suffering from the quilters' equivalent of a hang over and the cure was a new fabric fix! I looked at my piles of discarded fabric - discarded because I wasn't happy with the dyeing, the colour was wrong, there wasn't enough, I'd got bored with that project and moved on to another...
What I need - I thought - is a fabric rescue mission!

So I selected a number of blues, teals and mauves...

Going to Pieces - WIP

...cut them into strips, sewed them together, cut, sewed, cut, sewed... and added a splash of gold...
This is going to be single bed size - big for me and my little old 160 Bernina with it's 7" throat! Lots of empty strips to fill with FMQ though!!

The 101 Free Motion Quilting Cameos

This is an on going project to create a 101 6 inch square 'Cameos' showing some of my FMQ ideas and designs.

Going for Gold

Cosmic Split - detail

After all my trials with metallic fabric, I now have quilt a collection of gold cloth waiting for a chance to shine! Ideas are definitely in the queue, but waiting whilst a bit of a metallic pause takes place.

More Free Motion Quilting

Learning Curves in 9 Squares

Another 'Learning Curves' is definitely in line - this time in 12 Squares. The border fabric is already dyed, the thread ordered. I'm avoiding making the quilt sandwich and marking up - both jobs I do not enjoy. But this is coming soon.

How does my work differ from others of its genre ?

That has to be my quilting!

Quilting Samples

 I love dyeing my own fabric, playing around with thickened dyes, printing, stencilling, doodling... 

Stencil using name Hilary Florence

Home-made stamps, rollers and needle-nose bottle

Negative and Positive stencil

But thousands of quilt and textile artist do this and many of them better than me. My quilting though, I think I can claim, is really my own unique style.

Why do I create what I do?

I never made a conscious decision to start quilting. A book on dyeing for quilters fell into my hands - and I fell in love.  There followed a 3 year battle between my reason - but you don't quilt, you don't dye and you don't sew, so what is the point? - and my heart - but the colours, just look at those colours! Heart won, the book was bought and the kitchen soon festooned with colourful pieces of cloth.

My first quilt - much loved, much used

So what else are you going to do with a lot of hand-dyed squares, but sew them up into a quilt top? And sewing my first quilt together with 50 odd small buttons, convinced me it would be easier to learn to FMQ. So I did, and quilting became a very serious hobby for the next 15 years. 

If I fell into quilting through a love of colour, it was a love of pattern and another fall - literally - that then pushed my quilting up to the next level.

Award winning show quilt, free motion quilting, contemporary whole cloth, British Quilt and Stitch Village 2014
Square Spiral - 2nd Prize Wall hanging British Quilt and Stitch Village 2014

That fall - just over a year ago - badly broke my right arm and shoulder. The bones, healed, I didn't. In February this year, the seemingly inexplicable arm aches, leg aches, headaches, nausea, sore throats, dizziness and endless, all-invasive exhaustion were diagnosed as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or ME. I lost my job, my career, my income, most of my social life and I'm hoping not to loose my home. What holds me together whilst my life is falling apart, is the stitches that I put into my quilts.

Award winning show quilt, free motion quilting, contemporary whole cloth, British Quilt and Stitch Village 2014
Square Spiral - detail

My quilting now gives me not only pleasure, but also purpose. Oddly enough, it has also sharpened my focus and spurred me on to develop my FMQ, start the 101 FMQ Cameo project, enter quilt competitions and start this blog. And what has come out of that, and is now definitely part of the reason I create what I do, is the meeting of fellow quilters on line, and some of the wonderful conversations I've had.

How does my creating process work?

Day Dreaming, Drifting, Doodling...

I spend a lot of time letting my thought drift through clouds with castles in the air where all is viewed through rose tinted spectacles. Show stopping quilts are in abundance, a bit vague but always brilliant and technical problems do not exist. These are what I call my 'Mental Masterpieces'!
At other times it is a pencil I let drift across a page and wait for a shape, a curve, the beginnings of a pattern to crystallise, to develop and create a new FMQ pattern.

Bottle Jam - detail


Doing is my biggest inspiration. In attempting to drag my Mental Masterpieces down to earth, the inevitable unforeseen problems create a lot of changes, but also present a lot of new possibilities. These feed my day dreams and are Incorporated into a whole new family of Mental Masterpieces - MMs

Nine Lives - detail


It doesn't have to be much, the shape of a leaf seen on a country walk, a line or a splash of colour seen on a quilt blog - seeing and looking at art, nature and the every day world is always sparking off more day dreaming. And so the cycle goes on, feeding itself...

And on to the next Hop - August 25

And now it is time for me to introduce the next quilters who have agreed to participate in the blog Hop and give you a window into their creative world. Due to the holiday season, they will be posting in two weeks time on Monday 25 August. Many thanks to them for agreeing to participate and I do hope you go and enjoy their work.

The first is Heather Pregger from Texas. She does the most wonderful piecing and her colour schemes are a treat for the eyes. She is deservedly having great success with her quilts in shows. Go and see her work here.

One of the wonderful things about blogging is creating new friends on line. I love the exchanges, the insights into life into different countries, watching each others' creations come into being. One such friend I have made is Teresa at Third Floor Quilts. Another quilter who has just been juried into a show at Houston. Check out her work here.

Thanks for dropping by...

Hilary Florence

Please find below a list of linky parties. I may not link with all of the every week, but with some of them most weeks. Please go and have a look at some of the other wonderful quilts and quilters there.
Anything goes Mondays @
Linky Tuesday at Free motion by  the river­­­­ @
Fabric Tuesday @    
Sew cute Tuesday @ 
WIP Wednesday at freshly pieced   @
WOW = WIPs on Wednesdays  @  
WIP Wednesday at TN + TN  @
I Quilt Thursdays @
Really Random Thursdays @
Needle and Thread Thursday @
Off the wall Fridays @


  1. Great post, Hilary! I really enjoyed learning more about you. I am so sad to learn of your broken arm and how drastically it has affected your life. Does FMQ help to ease the ache? I have been learning more and more about the energetic pathways in our bodies, and am curious as to whether you have experienced some blockage there that our Western medicine techniques fail to acknowledge... As always I am stunned by your quilts. I LOVE the Nine Lives one- wow!! And I love how you describe your Mental Masterpieces. Mmmm, so true. The aqua positive/negative stencil fabric you created is beautiful too. So interesting; I thank you for sharing!

  2. Great post I agree! I am sincerely sorry to hear about your injury and the circumstances that followed, I would have never guessed. Your work is one of a kind Hilary, original and very unique, I hope and prays that this new adventure takes you to great outcomes, you are so inspiring! I wish you the very best!!

  3. A third vote for great post! How awful that a broken bone could wreak havoc with your whole life. I had seen your Cosmic Split piece at various stages but this post brought home to me how fabulous your FMQ is. I really love it - your motifs are original and appealing, and I find the way you quilt so densely very satisfying to look at - I keep finding new bits to enjoy. My favourite here is the little pic of Bottle Jam and Learning Curves in Squares.

  4. Hi Hilary!.Thanks for the shout out!! Looking forward to being a part of the Around the World Blog hop. And I too love making new friends online and I enjoy our emails... and most of all, I love getting to see all your amazing art quilts!!

  5. What a great post, Hillary, almost too much to digest at one time. You know how much I Iove your FMQ and you have showed such mastery here. I also love your WIP, such luscious colors! Will you do heavy quilting on that or is it too big?
    So sorry to hear about the broken arm and all the ensuing disaster. I hope that things improve in that direction.

  6. Your FMQ is for sure what differenciate your work to my eyes. This is what makes it so unique.
    Workings with hands to create is healing for me and reading about your misfortune makes me thinks that thankfully you certainly know how to create with your hands. I hope it helps easing your mind and your body (chronic fatigue syndrom is such a pest).
    I never saw your Nine Lives piece before and I love it. I find it has an Egyptian feeling. Did you make a post about it? If so, can you tell me where I can find it in your archives?

  7. That was a wonderful post, Hilary. Thank you for sharing so much of your journey and your work. We have more in common than I even guessed. It's great to see how you've faced your challenges and kept putting one stitch in front of the other. Your style is distinctive and different from everything else I've ever seen. Your work really speaks to me and I look forward to seeing where your journey takes both you and all of us, following you.

  8. I to am inspired by your strength and journey. And I agree with Jo, I so enjoy stopping by and seeing what you've created next. I love your style and you inspire me to doodle and just start! I've highlighted your work at my Tuesday Archive Linky party on Sept. 9th for our Free Motion Theme party this week!! I invite you to stop by and grab yourself a "highlighted" button and your readers to stop by and check out the linky! :) WIth Smiles! Val:)