I'd wanted to make a big, bold, blowsy botanical quilt for ages, but it took a long time to get the fabrics/my act together. The catalyst was discovering the Snow Leopard range by the brilliant Philip Jacobs who has a huge archive of old floral designs from which he draws inspiration.
I mixed these (which were not easy to find, it has to be said) with some of Kaffe Fassett's big blooms which can never be accused of being the shy, retiring wallflower types, plus a couple of others by people like Anna-Maria Horner. To be included, every flower had to be clearly defined, like a botanical illustration or a detail by one of the Pre-Raphaelite artists or a specimen in the seventeenth century Dutch flower paintings which I love so much'* Nothing wishy-washy, Impressionist or pastel would do.
I don't like ironing (nothing new there) and avoid it as much as possible, but I do like ironing fabrics for quilts after I have pre-washed them. And ironing these was a complete delight as it meant lots of time looking at and admiring all the petals and leaves, tendrils and stems, especially as this was done when during the flowerless cold winter. I used 8" squares (finished size) and did all the cutting, laying out and piecing while listening to the ever-interesting Desert Island Discs (I highly recommend listening to the programme with Jane Gardam). There was a fair amount of fussy-cutting involved in order to focus on the best parts of the flowers.
It's a big quilt - big enough for a king size bed and to induce imaginary hayfever - but it grew quickly because of the size of the squares and the very simple design.
I added a totally contrasting border because the ecru and sapphire blue wave pattern worked so surprisingly well (it was from Hawthorn Supply Co, formerly Hawthorn Threads, which is one of the best online places for fabric). Then I backed it with one of the best-ever-ever tulip/botanical/Philip Jacobs fabrics and now I have acres of lovely Rembrandt tulips to look at outside tulip season.
*and now that we live in Cambridge, I have a whole room of them on my doorstep in the Fitzwilliam.