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A Belle’s Day Out – Potato Chip Quilting

by Kelly Phillips

Having recently gone back to work part time after maternity leave, and settled my children into two different nurseries, the past few weeks have been very hectic for me. So my husband kindly offered to take a day of work and look after the children so I could go to the Potato Chip Quilt day course at the CFWI Office in Girton.

I have never done any patchwork or quilting and am a beginner sewer, but it sounded like fun so I thought I’d give it a go.  I had no idea of what to expect, having never even heard of potato chip quilts.

I received an information sheet prior to the course giving more details and telling me what materials I would require. “Potato chip quilts are made with strips of the same width fabrics stitched end to end.  You can use up lots of fabrics left over from other projects or Jelly Roll fabrics”.

I later found that they were named potato chip quilts in America as it is said that once you’ve made one you can’t stop – much like eating potato chips or in our case, crisps!

I bought some nice contrasting patterned fabrics, and got my shiny new sewing machine out and headed off to Girton.  My husband dropped me off outside the CFWI office, which is lovely.  It is modern, light, airy and seriously spotlessly clean!

I was a little nervous as I didn’t know what to expect, but all the other ladies were really friendly.  It turned out the lady sitting next to me was my friend Ruth’s Mum (I haven’t seen Ruth in 10 years) and we only realised when we got chatting – small world!

The course was taught by Cherry Vernon-Harcourt who was an excellent teacher.  She explained things clearly and thoroughly.  And didn’t mind at all when I forgot things and asked the same questions twice!  She was extremely knowledgeable and very friendly.

We started by cutting lots of strips of fabric the same width, but different lengths and then sewed them together end to end until we had a really really long strip of fabric (and I mean giant!).  We then folded the giant strip in half and sewed it together.  This was repeated (with seams ironed flat in between) until we had something resembling a quilt.  Here’s me with mine:

Kelly Phillips with her fabulous Potato Chip Quilt!

This is as far as I got, but I think I did pretty well for a beginner.  The next stage is to add some wadding and backing fabric, to quilt it and then finish off the edges.  Cherry gave me some advice before I left, and I have been pointed towards You Tube for lots of tips.

The other ladies in the class were all of varying abilities, although I think I was one of the only ones who hadn’t done some form of quilting before.  They were all really supportive, and encouraged me when I felt like I was falling behind a little.
It was amazing to see how everyone else’s quilts came together as everyone had completely different fabrics.  I definitely see how this craft can become addictive.
The course was excellent value for money, £21 for a whole day course (10am-4pm with tea, coffee and biscuits provided) and I absolutely loved it.  I will definitely be attending more courses if I get the chance – particularly if any taught by Cherry come up.
My husband and children arrived to pick me up at the end of the day and I was so engrossed that I only noticed they were there when I heard my daughter talking to the lady sat next to me.
My only regret was that I ran out of time at the end to take down any names and contact details of any of the lovely ladies I spent the day chatting too.  Must do some detective work as I would love to see their finished quilts.
A good day was had by all, and I would definitely recommend a CFWI course to anyone.  Just got to find some time to finish my quilt now…
Kelly x
Words above by Blue Belle Committee Blogger, Kelly – check out her crafting blog here!