A California Quilter Crosses the Pond: Part 2–A Feast of Stitching Inspiration (+ Giveaway)

Giveaway-GoldThe jet lag may be history, but I’m still bubbling with inspiration from my recent “holiday” in the UK. In addition to the Autumn Quilt Festival Malvern, which I shared in my Tuesday post, the trip provided a feast of ideas for future stitching projects. Sunday saw us off to London with our hosts Neil and Chris Porter.

Off to London, via Paddington Station!
Off to London, via Paddington Station!

Of course, we took tons of photos, including the expected . . .

The gates of Buckingham Palace
The gates of Buckingham Palace
Big Ben towering over the Houses of Parliament
Big Ben towering over the Houses of Parliament

. . . but there was plenty of the unexpected, too. Look here, look there–ideas for stitching everywhere! We hadn’t even left the station before the show began. The gorgeous archways and metalwork of Paddington Station were rife with potential for applique and quilting.

Paddington Station
Paddington Station

Once on the street, the show continued.

Wouldn't this make a great quilting or border design?
Wouldn’t this make a great quilting or border design?

And then, of course, the museums . . .

More inspiring metalwork in the Victoria & Albert Museum
More inspiring metalwork in the Victoria & Albert Museum
I can see the beginnings of a Modern Quilt in these stained glass windows at the V&A.
I can see the beginnings of a Modern Quilt in these stained glass windows at the V&A.
Medallion inspiration; one of many beautiful mosaic floors at the V&A. Note the tiny nine patches.
Medallion inspiration; one of many beautiful mosaic floors at the V&A. Note the tiny nine patches.
Here's another.
Here’s another.
Looking for a border?
Looking for a border?
How about this one?
How about this one?
There's patchwork inspiration in the floors at the V&A as well.
There’s patchwork inspiration in the floors at the V&A as well.
More from the V&A
More from the V&A
Another border idea
Another border idea

Later in the week, we ventured out deep into the Cotswolds, for a day at Sudeley Castle, (final home and resting place of Katherine Parr, the sixth wife of Henry VIII) and another through the Mendips for visit to the historic–and exquisite–Wells Cathedral.

Medieval ruins on the site of Sudeley
Medieval ruins on the site of Sudeley
Reflecting pool at Sudeley, near the chapel housing the tomb of Katherine Parr
Reflecting pool at Sudeley, near the chapel housing the tomb of Katherine Parr
Wells Cathedral, west view
Wells Cathedral, west view
Vicars' Close, Wells
Vicars’ Close, Wells

There was lots to inspire at both . . .

The incredible vaulted ceiling at the Chapter House, Wells Cathedral
The incredible vaulted ceiling at the Chapter House, Wells Cathedral
Worn gray cobblestones in a grassy green grid; more Modern Quilt inspiration?
Worn gray cobblestones in a grassy green grid; more Modern Quilt inspiration?
Late flowers bloom in the gardens at Sudeley
Late flowers bloom in the gardens at Sudeley
Recreation of a Roman mosaic on the Sudeley grounds
Recreation of a Roman mosaic on the Sudeley grounds
More patchwork floors to inspire, this one at Sudeley
More patchwork floors to inspire, this one at Sudeley

When it comes to the relationship between tile floors and quilts, I couldn’t have had a better guide than my hostess, Chris Porter. Chris has made dozens (hundreds?) of quilts based on the decorative floor tiles not only of the UK, but throughout Europe as well.

Chris with her quilt Venetian Celebration (104" x 104"), inspired by the floor tiles of St. Mark's Cathedral in Venice
Chris with her quilt Venetian Celebration (104″ x 104″), inspired by the floor tiles of St. Mark’s Cathedral in Venice

book cover 2She has also written a number of books on the subject, the first of which–originally published as Quilt Designs from Decorative Floor Tiles–has recently been re-released in paperback with a new cover and new title, Quilts Beneath Your Feet.The book includes complete instructions for ten quilts in both “traditional” and alternative colorways, along with a Block and Border Library so that you can create your own tile-inspired designs. Here are a few of the beautiful project quilts.

Turning the Corner by Christine Porter; inspired by floor tiles in a chemist shop (pharmacy) in the Lake District.
Turning the Corner by Christine Porter; inspired by floor tiles in a chemist shop (pharmacy) in the Lake District.
Terracotta Flower Garden (34 1/2" x 34 1/2") made by Christine Porter; inspired by floor tiles in the parish church in Kendal, UK
Terracotta Flower Garden (34 1/2″ x 34 1/2″) made by Christine Porter; inspired by floor tiles in the parish church in Kendal, UK
Lightning Strike (40" x 60") made by Christine Porter; inspired by the floor tiles in Bristol Cathedral
Lightning Strike (40″ x 60″) made by Christine Porter; inspired by the floor tiles in Bristol Cathedral
Turn of the Season (57" x 70") made by Christine Porter; inspired by the floor tiles in All Saints Church, Bristol
Turn of the Season (57″ x 70″) made by Christine Porter; inspired by the floor tiles in All Saints Church, Bristol
Scottish Fantasia (40" x 40") made by Christine Porter; inspired by floor tiles in St. Anderw's Catherdral, Inverness, Scotland
Scottish Fantasia (40″ x 40″) made by Christine Porter; inspired by floor tiles in St. Anderw’s Catherdral, Inverness, Scotland

Now for the GIVEAWAY! Leave a comment telling us the most inspiring place you’ve ever visited by noon (PDT), Monday, November 2, and you’ll be eligible to receive a copy of Chris’s book, Quilts Beneath Your Feet. Don’t delay! Laura will announce the winner in her Tuesday, November 3 post.

One final note before I sign off. Laura, Jennifer, Pati, and I would like to thank all of our loyal readers who voted for us in the 2013 Craftsy Blogger Awards competition. Although we weren’t among the winners in the final tally, we appreciate your support and hope you’ll continue to visit us regularly here at See How We Sew. You can see the list of winners by clicking here. Congratulations all!

That’s it for now. ‘Til next time, happy stitching!Darra-signature

33 thoughts on “A California Quilter Crosses the Pond: Part 2–A Feast of Stitching Inspiration (+ Giveaway)

  1. The “Thorvaldsen Museum” in Copenhagen, Denmark, has the prettiest mosaick floors. Or the city of Flensburg, Germany, with pavement made of old bricks. But my most inspiring place is the beach near our summerhouse, it is different every day, every hour.

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  2. Thanks for showing us these marvelous pictures. I would have to say the most inspiring place is right outside my door. I live in the country with farmland across the street and woods behind the house. Every day there is something new to look at. It is just wonderful and beautiful!

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  3. Wow! Those pics are awesome. I also love architectural details on buildings. Last Spring while on a Shop Hop, my sister & I spent time in downtown Sacramento. The Capitol Building and Victorian homes were “eye-candy” for inspiration.

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  4. A trip I took to Tanzania a couple of years ago was visually stimulating, to say the least! The bright colors and bold patterns worn by the people made my head spin, and provided lots of ideas for quilts! And there was plenty of inspiration for pictorial quilts of wildlife.
    I think all the comments on this blog post are a great reminder that inspiration is EVERYWHERE!

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  5. The internet is the most inspiring. I keep my eyes open in the real world, but haven’t found the treasures I found looking around the internet. I love the look of the tile inspired Quilts – plan to make some one day. If I win, that day will be allot closer. Thanks for the chance.

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  6. I’ve had a hard time narrowing it down to just one place, but I guess I’d have to say Florence, Italy. Everywhere I looked, there was something new that inspired me with ideas!

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  7. Thanks for the inspiring photos and quilts. When I was in London and Edinburgh many years ago, I took oodles of photos of buildings, fences, displays, etc. I haven’t consciously used them, but I do think they’ve crept their way into my work.

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  8. There are so many inspiring locations for me: the coasts of Nova Scotia, Parliament Buildings and State Capital buildings, the Louvre, the old pubs and churches in England – it is all around. Thanks for the tour of the sites across the pond.

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  9. I don’t have to go far for inspiration. The hospital complex I work at is made up of old buildings mixed with newer ones. It is amazing to look at all the fretwork and gingerbread on the older buildings and the sleek modern designs from the newer. Lots of inspiration there!

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  10. Thank you for sharing your super photos – it is so true, there is inspiration everywhere, you just have to look. I found many inspirational elements last year in Sydney.

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  11. What was inspiring to me was my recent visit to the 9/11 Memorial in NYC. It was quite moving to see the names of the victims, not just the employees of the twin towers, but also the first responders, the victims at the Pentagon and the victims of the plane crash in PA.

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  12. I love your photos! We have quilting inspirations all around us…The floor at the King County Courthouse in downtown Seattle is a lovely dahlia pattern in mosaic tiles…that made my stint on Jury Duty a little more memorable! My family can vouch for the fact I’m constantly seeing quilting patterns…while watching a Seahawk game recently, I was just about kicked off the couch for distracting the fans with my commentary on the flying geese going down the pant legs of the players…Thank you for the validation of my pattern inspirations!

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  13. I stayed on the grounds of Sudeley for a week and it was wonderful, but my favorite place to visit was Assisi, Italy. The whole old area had a wonderful spiritual feel and the design inspirations were endless.

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  14. Some of my inspiration are the floors in St Mark in Venice (love the quilt Chris did of them), also the tiles on the outside walls in Portugal (Lisbon has many) and tile pictures in the Netherlands.
    Loved today’s photos!

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  15. I am always inspired by the outdoors and the beauty in the color of nature but I’m also inspired by architecture. So your photos in today’s post are so inspiring! In St. Louis we have The City Museum ( http://www.citymuseum.org/site/ )that houses a lot of architectural pieces and tools from St. Louis’s past. Plus, they have wonderful mosaics. I’m always inspired after a visit to this wonderful museum. I love the title of Chris’s book and would love to win it! Thanks for the chance to win and thanks for the glimpses into your lovely holiday to England.

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  16. Paris and the floors at the Sainte Chapelle blew me away. Your London and England pictures are just beautiful, thank you for a lot of inspiration.

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  17. I just returned from a mini vacation to Fairfield Glade, TN. In the condo I snapped pictures of a to chairs (the fabric) and a print of a lacy lief on the wall. Since quilting I’ve taken many pictures seeing inspiration I do not want to forget, including a friends jacket – I loved the color combinations!Thought I might be going a little crazy until I saw this post.

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  18. The most inspiring place I ever visited was the road to Emmaus in Israel. I walked the same stone path that Jesus walked! I still get chills when I think about that day.

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  19. Mesa Verde ancient pueblo dwellings in Colorado took.my breathe away. Serene, spiritual, architectural lines, color, inspirational.

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  20. Incredible photos , very inspiring for sure ,thanks for sharing :-) I think the most inspiring place I have been is the Boston Public library , I was overwhelmed by the architecture in this building in a recent visit . Thanks for the chance at your giveaway.

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  21. Just wonderful pictures and so much inspiration. After I type this in, I am going straight to EQ to get some ideas down.
    Before I was a quilter, I went to Italy – someday, I would like to go back to photograph the tiles, floors, doors, etc. that I remember.
    And I live at the beach, and each and every day is an inspiration here. Birds, sea oats, sailboats, sea glass, shells, fish, etc. etc.

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  22. What wonderful eye candy to wake up to this morning! I need to get out more!!! I have not visited any places that inspire me as far as quilting goes. If you talk of inspiring in any way, I would say the Pacific Ocean beaches in mid to northern California. I could go there and sit and listen to waves and birds for hours. Walking the beach, looking for ‘treasures’ is ultra relaxing for me. I miss CA SO much!!!

    Thank you for sharing all those photos. Like I said, I need to get out more and really LOOK at my surroundings for quilty inspirations! Thanks for the chance for your lovely give-a-way! (I assume you meant for the entry date to be the 4th, not the second though.)

    Love your blog! Happy sewing!

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