Katy Whitby-Last had been a quilter for just four years when she won First Place in the Pictorial Quilt category at this year's Festival of Quilts.
Previously an academic who made wooden furniture as a hobby, her hand was damaged when it was kicked by a goat on the family farm. This prompted her to look for other, more gentle pass-times and in the process, she stumbled across Rainbow Needlecraft Centre in Oldmeldrum, near her home in Aberdeenshire. Katy joined Pat Robins' classes and was immediately captivated - she'd caught the quilting bug!
Katy embarked on her winning quilt, entitled My Favourite Things last October and worked on it for around an hour each evening. It provided the perfect form of relaxation once the children were in bed. A friend from the local Embroiderers' Guild group suggested she should enter the quilt into the Royal Highland Show in Edinburgh. But time was tight, lambing season enforced a two-month break and Katy couldn't complete the quilt in time. So when Carol Munro, another teacher at Rainbow Needlecraft, suggested she should try her luck at the Festival of Quilts, Katy was characteristically reticent:
I'd be more likely to show my goats than enter the Festival of Quilts.
In creating the picture, Katy set herself the challenge of using only changes in fabric shade. Finishing at 110 cm wide, My Favourite Things consists of a staggering 2,198 appliquéd pieces (mostly of our Colourshotts).
I chose Oakshott initially for their huge range of colours. Then I discovered that the shades change within an individual piece of fabric, depending on how the light falls on it. This helped me to create the play of light that you see on the leaves and in the water drops. I loved working with your fabrics and I'm thrilled with the way the colours blend so beautifully, helping to produce the realism that I wanted to achieve.
Katy's story is truly inspirational for anyone who has a sewing itch they'd like to scratch, for experienced sewists and teachers alike. The moral of the story: give it a go - you could be a winner, just like Katy!
How do we achieve the Oakshott 'shot' effect? Find out more >
Nov 13, 2018