Meet a Member: Wadiamu Plunkett

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Get to know The Guild by meeting our talented members! We have interesting and inspiring members all over the country and further afield, and we want you to be able to share their work.

Meet Guild member, Wadiamu Plunkett.

What are you working on now? 

I’m pausing to scribble while trying to complete a baby quilt for a fantastic teacher at my child’s school who is due a new addition to their family imminently. It’s been pieced and mostly quilted within a week of toilet training, big birthday celebrations and tummy bugs (all unrelated). I pieced a giant Ohio star for the fast, clean lines which works well with the prints that mostly make up my stash. Speckled by Ruby Star Society form the points, and the centre is the stunning Little Fluffy Clouds print by Tula Pink in Dragonfruit. It makes me think of sunsets and calm, which were necessary this week. I hope to have it bound and ready in a few days. Christmas ornaments and advent calendars are nipping my brain, so I’ll get to that next. 

I learned that by focusing (ish) on one or two things, I feel much more accomplished. Overall, my goal this year has been to experiment more with improvisational piecing; it has been challenging yet is helping me understand better the things that I enjoy creating.

A modern patchwork quilt featuring curves in pink, red and white fabric hangs on a washing line in a garden.

‘I WANT PINK! Please.’ Inspired by my daughter and made during an online workshop with Irene Roderick. EVERYONE was ill except me & I had to keep dashing off to mop brows & make sure paracetamol was topped up.

I also joined some skill building BOMs run by The Thread House crew, Yasmeen of Sand and Stars and the duo of Lucy Engels/Jenny Haynes to hone my piecing. I’m still pretty rubbish sewing a straight line but love curves in all their forms. 

A modern pieced quilt depicting colourful fishes on a blue background, bound in red. The quilt is an irregular shape.

‘Can’t we all just shoal along?’ Made from the techniques from Nicholas Ball’s book. Gifted to my father-in-law for his 70th. He’s a fisher.

From a quilting point of view, I’m working my way through Christina Cameli’s quilting books to up-skill. Her manner of teaching is soothing, intentional and so encouraging. 

What is your favourite quilt that you’ve ever made? 

There are three that come to mind. Pathfinder by Sarah Ruiz is an amazingly simple to put together yet highly effective graphic design. I made a version for my sister-in-law who is one of the most resilient and adaptable people I know. I took as many scraps and leftovers as possible from the front to make the quilt back, representing her ability to make lemonade from lemons- it looks ace and I love it. It was also the first (and only) quilt I have completed with a long arm (check out ‘@mollie_is_a_quilter’ on Instagram if you’re local to the Northwest).

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Pathfinder by Sarah Ruiz.

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#PartyintheQuilt back by me!

Another is a mini I made from a graphic design on the shutter of a shopfront I drove past one night. The shopfront turned out to be NWDC studios, a female led architecture firm, who kindly let me play with their work. I made a quilt version which they hung in their window as part of an exhibition. That was pretty cool. 

A shop front window shutter is painted with a bold, abstract design in mostly primary colours, featuring circles, semicircles, lines, oblongs and triangles.

The shutter which inspired my quilt.

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A young smiling black woman sits in a deckchair outside the window of a shop called 'SHOP'. Her own colourful quilt hangs in the window on display.

My quilt hanging in SHOP’s window for Heritage day, with me sitting outside.

The third is one I made for my niece, Eilidh. It was finished months after she died from genetic condition that couldn’t have been predicted and is, thankfully, vanishingly rare. We had her for 6 weeks and she positively changed the landscape of our relationships. I completed the quilt for her first birthday and gave it to her parents who use it daily and love it. It was lovely to celebrate her life with every stitch within it.  

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Eilidh’s quilt based on Shattered frames pattern by Angela Walters.

Who are your quilting heroes?

Ooooh, this is a tough one. I have to start with Angela Walters who makes piecing and quilting accessible to those who have no previous connection to it. She is fun, enthusiastic and her free motion challenges are great jump offs. I used to love snuggling up on the couch with my son to watch the midnight quilt show; it’s still that thing we do together when a cuddle is needed.

A modern pieced quilt in held up in a garden. The quilt depicts a little fox curled up on a green background, with four birch trees against a blue sky.

Teddy’s quilt based on the Sleepy Fox pattern by Andrea Tsang Jackson of 3rd Story Workshop. The leafy meander quilting pattern by Angela Walters is used to create a bed of autumn leaves for vulpine snuggles.

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A pieced patchwork fox made of triangles in red, orange and white is featured in a green patchworked and quilted background.

Detail of Teddy’s quilt.

Anyone who knows me know I love Jenny Haynes from Papper Sax Sten. She nabbed me when I first poked my head above the parapet of Instagram, and I was hooked. She has a great way of making precision piecing and curves accessible. I love the work of Sarah Ruiz, Chawne Kimber, Hillary Goodwin and Émilie Trahan. I particularly love the way their creativity intersects with their careers and the social/cultural commentary within their work. 

Can you recommend a good quilting read? 

‘Improv Quilting’ by Irene Roderick, ‘Inspiring Improv’ by Nicholas Ball and ‘From Collage to Quilt’ by Sarah Hibbert. All brilliantly written, accessible and very permissive. 

I also love ‘Why We Quilt’ by Thomas Knauer. It’s delightful and informative. I would love to see something similar with British or European quilters to explore where styles converge or diverge from our American colleagues. 

What do you love about The Guild?

Honestly, I only joined because I was hoping to win a sewing machine in December 2021!  I’m so glad I did as it’s put me in touch with a wider community within Region 13, such as ‘Mollie is a Quilter’ run by Laurel and Diane and Kirsty Procter from Lord’s sewing, and I can (finally) plan in events with people who get what this thing with fabric is about!

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