Silver Linings (ready for its beading and binding)

Wow, well this website certainly started with a bang!.  How fantastic is it?  Now we all have to keep up the good work, so here goes, hopefully 😉

One of the questions I have been asked after posting photos of my quilts is how are they done both from design to finish.  Unfortunately there is no quick and easy answer to this as each one is different and brings up its own problems and pleasures.  However, I thought you might like to see the process of one that is currently doing the rounds with Grosvenor Shows and will be in my exhibition entitled ‘So this is what happens when you retire’.

This one is called  ‘Silver Linings.’

It is stitched on a fabric which unfortunately is no longer being produced called Radiance which is a cotton/silk mix and is a lovely steel grey colour.  I use a HandiQuilter longarm system, and all the quilting is freehand, so no computers involved at all.

 The first step is to do the design, which for me often starts as just a doodle on a piece of paper.

draft design with mirrors to view full effect

This is the second draft, it started at half the width as you can see from the crease down the centre, and by putting large mirrors on both sides you can get a good idea of what it will look like when completely drawn out.  As you can see, the corners needed a little something so they were filled and a few more details added and then it was drawn out in pen on tracing paper.  (Yep, drawn out yet again)

Final inked out design

This is then put on a lightbox (kindly made by my lovely dad) and the fabric laid on top and the design is then drawn out again.  Yes, lots and lots of drawing before a needle gets anywhere near it.

On the light box 

Pattern all drawn out on the fabric 

Once it is all traced onto the fabric, in this case with a blue wash away pen, it can then be loaded onto the frame and the real fun begins.  This is my favorite part, the stitching. (It is basted first to ensure it is square etc and that is removed as I go along).

Loaded onto the frame and the outlines are being stitched.

Once all the outlines are stitched it is time for even more fun and get all the fills put in.  Some of these are a little time consuming to say the least, but I love doing it, so that’s ok. To my surprise, this colour fabric took on the colour of the thread in each area and reflected it, which was an added bonus.

Many stops and starts that have to be knotted and buried 

As you can see, I also added a grid in different areas and these were filled with different designs.

After a goodly number of hours and late evenings all the fill work is done and its time to come off the frame.  But it doesn’t stop there, oh no.  I decided that it would have a beaded edge instead of the normal binding so yet again, many hours spent in the evening creating the beaded edge to go all around it.  They were covered in another radiance fabric, and when I had a string long enough it was attached to the quilt top.

Beading attached and now for the faced binding.

And when all that is done and the facing is stitched it is ready to hang.  Phew.  Custom work is not quick work, but hey…. it is so worth it.

If you have any questions about any part of the process, please ask in the comments section and I will answer you.  I hope you have enjoyed seeing some of the stages of production.  I will show you more with different quilts as time goes on.


  1. Lorraine Langford

    Thank you for sharing your process Lynda, it is beautiful, and so much work but worth it like you say 🙂 I’m just wondering please how you wash away the blue pen – do you just spray it while it’s still on the quilting frame? Many thanks 🙂

    1. Lynda Jackson Post author

      Hi Lorraine. Good question. I tend to spray areas as I go once I know that the markings are not needed any more and when complete I give it a really good soaking spray. If it is of a manageable size I will dunk it in COLD water, but they can be very heavy to handle when wet and in the winter I have nowhere big enough to dry some of them.

      1. Lorraine Langford

        Thank you Lynda. I worry a lot about using marking pens. I’m getting braver though. I think I need to wet it a bit more than what I’m doing as it disappears but then comes back again when dry. I will persevere though 🙂

  2. Carolc

    Hi Lynda. Firstly what an amazing quilt – I saw it in person at Newark and I was blown away by the beauty and intracy. My question is how did you achieve the pale blue micro quilting in the centre panel between the ‘border’ and the row of small circles? Is it micro stippling or micro pebbles all intersecting with each other? Thanks

    1. Lynda Jackson Post author

      Hi Carole, Thank you for the lovely comments, so glad you like it, and thank you for asking this. This is a micro fill that is like a scribble, and I do it with tiny circles that overlap each other, literally like a scribble, with a very small stitch length. Hope this helps. If not I could do a small video to show you.