I need to confess that Modern quilts don’t normally do it for me. I’m a traditional girl really but I think, if a quilt sparks an inspiration, an idea that you need to start or leaves you feeling that you might be wrong in your understanding of a quilting discipline, then it must be special.

‘Little Snippets’, Abigail Sheridan de Graaff

Abigail Sheriden de Graff came on my radar years ago with her quilt ‘Should I Stay or Should I Go?’ A stunningly simple creation of the UK and New Zealand flags questioning the family’s decision to stay in the UK. She had discovered quilting in 2010 whilst living in New Zealand and, on her return to the UK, bought her first long arm and hasn’t looked back since. She became a Handi Quilter educator in 2018 and really enjoys teaching.

‘Should I Stay or Should I Go?’, Abigail Sheridan De Graaff.

More recently her ‘Mini to Maxi – Churn Dash’ was a play with a traditional block that she wanted to challenge herself with, seeing how small she could get make it. Her entry at this year’s Festival of Quilts was a similar challenge she’d set herself. How small can you go with strip piecing? This time she wanted to see exactly how small a strip she could piece. 1/16th of an inch apparently!

When it came to the quilting Abigail had originally planned on matchstick quilting. Tiny lines which would have echoed the shape of the slivers, but when it came to start she decided to do a more intricate design fearing the matchstick would distort the slivers.

”Mini to Maxi – Churn Dash’, Abigail Sheridan de Graaff

Abigail, like many I’m sure, only finished her quilt the night before her husband delivered it to the Festival. The classic simplicity of this stunning quilt obviously made an impression on the judges who awarded her the prize for best Modern Quilt.

As to the future? Abigail was in the process of moving house when I spoke with her at the Festival so things are a bit up in the air at the moment but I’m sure, as soon as the dust has settled, she’ll be back with more exciting Modern quilt designs.

Abigail is available for workshops, talks and commissions.  You can find out more by visiting her website at cut&alter.

Central detail, ‘Little Snippets’
Quilting detail, ‘Little Snippets’