March 17, 2022
Artist Spotlight: Nicola Walton
Meet Nicola Walton, founder of Daisy & Grace! After a lifetime of sewing and a traditional education from the London College of Fashion, Nicola found patchwork and realized her pattern cutting skills could greatly improve the world of quilting - and we couldn’t agree more! We absolutely adore Nicola’s Quilt As You Go (QAYG) Templates and we are SEW honored that she joined us for an Instagram Takeover of the Missouri Star Quilt Co account as well as LIVE and in person on Missouri Star LIVE. We had the privilege of getting to know her a little better recently, so check out our exclusive Artist Spotlight on Nicola Walton!
What is your favorite part of the quilting process?
For me it’s all about the designing, my quilts are planned in my head for ages if not years before they materialise, and sometimes the quilts are just waiting on that perfect fabric to come along, other times I see a fabric, colour or painting and it just sparks ideas off and I run with it. I really enjoy having an idea and then formulating the pattern and colours, I tend not to draw out quilts on paper (although occasionally I do) I see them clearly enough just to start cutting out the fabrics, although a little maths is required to get the right sizes.
The other thing I love is that by using my ‘QAYG’ templates you can get double sided quilts so that gives me double the designing fun. My second love is the actual sewing, I have sewn all my life and I must admit when I get time to hand sew that is my favourite.
Quilt as You Go Templates
Who are your favorite fabric designers?
Favourite fabric designer has to be Brigitte Heitland, I love the fabrics she produces for ‘Zen Chic’ for Moda, I love her style and colours and it’s even more special that I got to meet her once, I had a quilt that I had made from a jelly roll of Zen Chic fabrics on my stand at the Quilt Festival in England and she came up to me and said that she liked the quilt and that she was the fabric designer, as you can imagine I was totally thrilled and that was really special.
What notion or sewing tool are you most dependent on?
My go to for sewing is now my ‘QAYG’ templates, they are so easy and fun and you can make big or small projects, hand sew or machine sew the pieces whatever takes your fancy the possibilities are endless and even though I have been using them for years there is still a mountain of quilts I want to design and make, I hope I never get to climb to the top of that mountain.
How were you introduced to sewing and quilting?
My mum introduced me to sewing at a very early age, I got my first sewing machine at the age of 5 and I haven’t stopped since. Mum used to make me lots of clothes and toys and she really inspired and encouraged me into being creative. My nanny (grandmother) Daisy was also a keen crafter and loved sewing, knitting, and painting so whenever she had time she would always encourage me, whereas nanny Grace was always the glamorous one who inspired me to go into fashion.
As part of being a keen sewer I dabbled in quilt making but it wasn’t until I had a forced 6-week convalescence that I really got hooked on patchwork and quilting and I made a small hand paper pieced and quilted hexagon quilt, that was it I was off and running, or should that be sewing!
Nicola's hexagon quilt
What was the most frustrating sewing project you ever worked on?
Some of my most frustrating sewing projects were back when I was a Fashion designer and Pattern Cutter, trying to get the fit right on a garment is much more frustrating than anything I have done in quilting. I have also made a few wedding dresses for people and the pressure when doing that is phenomenal as you want to make the dresses perfectly for the brides. Quilting for me is just a joy and thankfully so far, I haven’t been frustrated by it.
What do you do to find inspiration/encourage your creativity?
My go to when I need some inspiration is to look at paintings, past and present, I love abstract art and if I ever need to get my creative juices flowing, I pick up and art book or go to a gallery (I am very spoiled for choice living here in London). My favourite at the moment is a postcard I picked up at The National Gallery of a painting by Henri Matisse ‘The Forest at Fontainebleau’. It's in my work room and the colours are just to die for. Even writing about it makes me want to get creating.
What occupation would you like to try if sewing/making wasn’t an option?
I am truly stumped at what I would do if I couldn’t do this, as sewing and creating are such a huge part of my life and even when I have had jobs that didn’t involve creating and sewing, I always managed to have some sort of side line with it.
However, I love talking to people and I also like to be silly and funny so in my wildest dreams maybe be a comedian?
Who is your favorite fictional character?
Favourite fictional character has to be a funny one, and that would be Roald Dahl’s Matilda. As a child, I struggled with reading and writing and so I have only just read this book a few years ago. I just love the book; it makes me laugh and bullies don’t win in the end!
What fabric have you been hoarding/saving the longest?
I am quite a hoarder of fabric, so this was quite a difficult question and a few spring to mind, but the ones that mean the most to me are a small selection of Nanny Grace’s clothes and hankies that I treasure and I haven’t yet been able to make into anything yet, even after 20 years. I know the time will come when I can make something with them.
Nanny Grace's clothes and fabrics
Describe your perfect day.
Oh my, what would be my perfect day?
I would love the time to sit up in my design room and play, whether that is sewing, making fabric or painting, and not worrying about the mess or what the final piece is going to turn out like. Being able to play is something as an adult that we don’t get to do very often and having a day to do this would be fantastic, it would be nice to have the time to just experiment as it often sparks other ideas. So to have the day to play and feel free and not being under a deadline or the need for it to be the best it can be would be my perfect day, Oh! and in the afternoon a lovely cuppa tea and a lovely piece of cake served on a pretty plate would just top it off.
5" square quilt
Be sure to follow Nicola on Instagram as she gets ready to take over the Missouri Star Quilt Co Instagram on March 20th - and be sure to like her on Facebook as well before her appearance on Missouri Star LIVE on March 22nd at 11:00 am cst (and if you love her Quilt As You Go Templates as much as we do, you can join the Daisy & Grace Quilters Facebook Group)! Don’t miss out on a chance to learn from Nicola as well in her fabulous tutorials on YouTube. More information, including a link to her blog, can be found at https://www.daisyandgrace.co.uk/
Shop our Daisy & Grace collection:
Written by D. Michels