Meet the Author
Hey there, can you introduce yourself?
I have been stitching since my teenage years, and patchwork has always been part of that. I went to college in Bath, studying for a teaching degree in textiles. Whilst working for the shop Laura Ashley I took the City and Guilds course in Patchwork and Quilting , really just to have a bit of focus, and to finish things. I am great at starting, but not everything gets finished. I worked The Quilt Room in Dorking for a number of years teaching there also. When I left to self publish my first book “Quilting on the Go”, I stayed there as a teacher, where I still regularly teach today.
Over the years I have had quilts appear in various British and foreign magazines, and have now had 7 books published.
Tell us a bit about the book?
The book is a great hand book to show you how to cut and sew and quilt and bind any hexagon quilt project. There are quilts and smaller projects in there to get you started, mostly machine stitched, but the quilts can be hand sewn too. It is a great resource.
What was the inspiration behind it?
I started the quilts for the book as classes that I teach. There had been lots of questions from students about the Hexagon quilts that were becoming popular again, and whether they could be sewn on machine rather than EPP. I also wanted my quilts to grow faster as my previous attempts at the hexagon quilts had all stalled. I found that if the shapes were the right size, ie large, then things happened quicker, and if I could work on the machine, then even better. These ideas appealed to my students and and over time a sort of hand book on Hexagon sewing evolved, with enough information to share as a book.
Which is your favourite project?
Probably the Zig Zag diamonds hexagon quilt, but this can change from day to day. I love the scrappy assortment of fabrics and the tiny text print that holds them all together. It’s a bright sunny day here so it makes me think of that quilt. Ask me on a different day with different weather and it will be another one. I love them all or I wouldn’t have mad them.
What is your craft space like?
We live in a Victorian house and I am lucky enough to have the room on the first floor over looking the street, so I can keep up with the outside world. It has lots of good light and room for all of my fabrics and books, sewing machines and such like. Visitors think it is a bit chaotic, but there is a logic to it all somewhere. When it does overwhelm me I have a good tidy, and that is usually after a book has just been completed and all the quilts sent off.
Have you always been creative?
Yes I have always made and glued and stitched ever since I can remember. We were taken to Hamleys in London one year as treat and all I wanted was packets of pipe cleaners and felt balls that they sold in the craft department. I thought all the making stuff was amazing. I would make plaster of Paris figures from special moulds you could buy and paint those, and the pipe cleaners were made into people dressed in Tudor costume and put on a little board in a scene type tableau. Why, I have no idea.
When did you first start crafting?
I suppose I was making from an early age, at least from 8 or 9years old.
I would stitch dolls clothes from the fabric scrap bag we had, and my maternal grandmother taught me to crochet. I made a blue belt with dangly ties. It was so trendy!
The first patchwork I made was English paper piecing hexagons in a school lesson which I made into a pincushion.
Who are your crafty heroes?
The two biggest influences have probably been Jinny Beyer and Gwen Marston.
I probably have all of the books they have written.
Both of these women, through their books and articles taught me how to draught blocks and make quilting patterns. Because of that it means I find it easy to look at most old quilts and make my own patterns. I think it taught me that if you have the knowledge of the right techniques you can sew anything that you can think of. There is nothing complicated about making patchwork and quilting, if you take it back to the basics and simplify things. If women could make amazing quilts in the 1800s, then there is nothing stopping us today, whether you have technology or not.
I also look at a lot of work by the Gees Bend Quiltmakers, the afro American influence, Amish quilts and a lot of Japanese craft books.
Where do you find inspiration?
I have lot of books on old quilts, and that is where most of my ideas come from. I will buy old quilt blocks and quilt tops that interest me too. The fabrics inspire me too, so I will buy fabrics without knowing what they will be sewn into, and sometimes this might be years before things all come together. I go to see exhibitions of painters that I am interested in, and the colours and patterns there often inspire me indirectly.
What's next for you?
Although I thought I would have break from books for a while, as the last year had been busy with three coming out, I do have some more book projects in the pipeline and some fun magazine projects too. All will be revealed in good time!
In this book Carolyn Forster takes you through the steps and gives you the tools and techniques for using large shapes to finish large quilts quickly and easily. The basic shapes used in the quilt projects include hexagons, diamonds, triangles and kites. These shapes are successfully created using a basic quilting ruler and the hexagon template provided in the book. Carolyn even provides instructions for calculating and constructing hexagon paper templates allowing you to achieve any desired quilt block size. Complete instructions include how to cut half-hexagons, partial hexagons, diamonds, half-diamonds, triangles and kites using the hexagon template. Techniques include combining hexagons with other shapes, sewing hexagons by machine and by hand, sewing hexagons and other shapes together in rows then sewing the rows of hexagons together. Offering a variety of binding techniques, Carolyn takes you through the various steps of binding hexagon quilts. Helpful tips throughout the book help improve accuracy and gain confidence when sewing hexagon quilts. Projects include 8 quilts, table mat, table runner, bag and pincushion.