ID number: TQ.2016.035
Name of interviewee: Nola Seal
Name of interviewer: Denise Gordon-Smith
Name of transcriber: Take 1
Location: Nola’s home
Address: Norwich, Norfolk
Date: 24 November 2016
Length of interview: 0:09:32
Nola’s talks about her English paper pieced sampler quilt, it was the first quilt she made. She has made several English paper pieced quilts since but she sees this quilt as the one that got her hooked. Nola also talks about other quilts she has made including a Baltimore, an Art Nouveau and Mile a Minute quilts which use up scraps. She also talks about charity quilts made as incubator covers, the sociable aspect of quilting and the influence of the internet in quilting today.
Denise Gordon-Smith [DG]: This is Denise Gordon-Smith interviewing Nola Seal at Nola’s home. Um the uh Talking Quilts number is 2016.035. Right 18 seconds there okay. Right um we’ve already taken a picture of the quilt Nola and this is your first quilt that you ever made.
Nola Seal [NS]: Yes that’s right.
DG: Yeah. Would you like to say a little bit about the um, the colours that you chose for the quilt?
NS: Um well I went with quite a neutrally sort of palette um for the background, and all the other fabrics were um scrap fabrics that I had or different people gave me. So I tried to do each block different fabrics.
DG: And did you buy the cream calico to go in between yes. And when you started making the quilt did you make one block a week or was it one a month or?
NS: Um yeah no I, I should say I maybe did a couple a week, that was all done over um paper, English paper piecing. Um and I thoroughly enjoyed doing it.
DG: And with the quilting did you, how did you decide about the quilting pattern on there?
NS: Um well it’s all hand quilted um and um I basically sized down a pattern that I liked that would go into the block. And the pieced blocks I just quilted round each individual piece.
DG: As you would in a traditional quilt yes. And how did you mark the pattern on there, did you use chalk or no?
NS: No, I used a very fine propelling pencil.
DG: For each one yes, and then with the border, that’s a beautiful pink border, how did you choose the border, did you just look at the colours?
NS: I just looked at the colours, I think I took the, the middle, the top to a quilt shop and tried it on one or two fabrics to see which one I would like and I ended up with the pink.
0:02:08 DG: And what about the inside when you, when you decided to choose the batting what sort did you choose or what, well if this was made a number of years ago there wouldn’t have been so much choice would there.
NS: No I believe that’s just a polyester um standard two ounce.
DG: A two ounce one because if this, how many years ago would this be do you think?
NS: Um I think it was about 2006-7.
DG: Yeah so then there wouldn’t have been all these fancy waddings around and everything would there?
NS: No there was just the normal two ounce wadding yeah.
DG: And what do you do with it now?
NS: Um it’s on the bed sometimes. Um I tend to rotate the quilts that I’ve got and put different ones on different beds and the rest of the time it sleeps in a cupboard like lots of other quilts.
DG: And after you’d made this one then what did you, did you carry on quilt making or?
NS: Oh yes. Um I’ve made two or three like this which have all been paper pieced, but I think as this was the sampler one um I think I really, I really did enjoy it. It was the quilt that really got me hooked on quilting. Um and now I, I just, it’s my salvation I think, it keeps me sane.
DG: Yeah and did, once, where did you find the patterns from, were they from a book or?
NS: Yeah they were from a book um I think it was 501 quilting designs and I just chose the ones that I liked.
DG: And you made, you made the patterns, you cut out the papers yourself.
NS: Yeah I cut out the papers myself and, and, and pieced it yeah.
DG: And did you use um greetings card for the, or?
NS: No I just use ordinary um copier paper.
DG: Ah right yeah, because traditionally they would have used old bits of card wouldn’t they and anything that they had about. Right. Um after you, what, what was the next quilt you made after this, did you make another paper piece one or did you go on to your machine?
NS: I think I went on to machine quilting then. Um, no I didn’t, I made a Baltimore quilt after this.
NS: Yes I went to a class at a local um quilt shop and I made a Baltimore quilt.
DG: So that’s applique.
NS: That was applique.
DG: So you then got into applique, so you tried something new.
NS: A different technique yeah.
DG: Yeah, yeah.
NS: And the quilt after that was an embroidered quilt an Art Nouveau embroidered quilts, just to try different techniques.
DG: Try different things so yeah and where would you say you are now with your quilting. Have you gone back to paper piecing because it is in trend, on trend at the moment isn’t it.
NS: Yeah I’ve just um, I’ve nearly finished a hexagon quilt. Hexagons were something I never did.
DG: Ah right yes.
NS: But I’ve got so much fabric that I decided this year I wanted something to do in front of the television, um and I’ve just about finished um the middle of a hexagon quilt. Which I’m really pleased with, so now I’m gonna do some vines and things around the outside and leaves to sort of finish it off. So yeah I suppose I have, I’ve gone round full circle, gone back to paper piecing yeah.
DG: Yeah and um yeah so that’s in fashion at the moment isn’t it. So and I know that you’ve been doing, using up your scraps in other ways, um doing this um Mile, Mile a Minute one which is quite addictive I see you’ve got into that recently haven’t you.
NS: I think I’ve got to the point where I’ve got a lot of big quilts, the family have got big quilts and so now I do an awful lot for charity. Um and I did have quite a big bin of odd bits that I have now finished with mile a minute quilts and I don’t think I’ve got any more left until I start sewing again and then that will start building up again.
DG: And I know that you’d then take them to the hospital. Take them to the hospital as?
NS: Yeah they use them as um incubator covers or there’s a local charity in Norfolk called um Nelson’s Journey which is a charity for children who are bereaved, I take quite a lot of stuff there. Um I quite enjoy all forms of patchwork or quilting. I like hand, I like machine, I’m trying my hand at machine quilting. I can do the straight bits but I’m not very good at the free motion but I do keep practising. Um the one thing I’m not very keen on and that is um foundation piecing.
DG: Oh the one where the, machine over bit of paper then you’ve got to pick it out.
NS: Yeah I can’t seem to get my head round foundation piecing. That’s the one thing that I’ve tried that I haven’t really enjoyed doing. But apart from that I enjoy all of it.
DG: I always think it’s a waste of paper really. You’ve got to pick it out after, it’s quite time consuming I think isn’t if if you’re doing something intricate. Yeah. And um what’s, what’s the um the most exciting thing that you, is that you’ve made, the nice, you know the thing that you’re really proud of apart from the first quilt? Your Baltimore one it’s beautiful.
NS: I made, yeah I made two quilts one for my son and one for my daughter when they both got married. I’m quite proud of those. They look, they were really quite nice. But I like all of them. They’re all different way. They’re all different techniques um I don’t think I’ve ever really made anything that I haven’t liked.
DG: No, no.
NS: Not really no, I, I am proud of this one because that was the first thing I ever did and I, I really was quite proud of it.
DG: Yeah and um have you made a lot of friends through quilting or?
NS: Oh yeah, I think quilting really it, is a quilter’s life. If you sew and you go quilting you’ve got friends for life. You know everybody seems to be friendly and showing each other different techniques or whatever. And it, it’s, it’s just very sociable.
DG: And uh maybe have you been to many quilt shows or do you try to get to very many yeah?
NS: I try to get, I try to get a few. We go to America quite often, um and next year I’m hoping to go to the one in Philadelphia. Um I don’t think I will ever get to Houston because I think it would too big and I would be totally over done by it. But we’re gonna try Philadelphia and see what that’s like. Um because as everything else in America everything is a lot bigger than it is here.
DG: Yeah, yeah.
NS: But um the other thing I really enjoy is the Internet. Um and there’s so much now that you can do um from the Internet. You can learn so much, there’s YouTube and Pinterest and um, I like, I’m about to start a mystery quilt with Bonnie Hunter, um which is something I’ve never done before which is an adventure. But I’m looking forward to starting that soon. Um it’s just always something new and different to see and do yeah.
DG: Oh well thank you for your um time Nola and um carry on quilting, have a lovely time, thank you, bye-bye.
DG: Oh I’ve got to stop it.