Saltie Crafts – With Lorna Slessor
Date Published: 02/10/2023
By day Lorna works as Operations Editor for Love Patchwork & Quilting magazine, scouring the quilting community for the latest news, patterns and fabrics. Come evening, she’s a modern quilter, inspired by graphic design, Bauhaus art and illustration.
She first started quilting when she got a job at a patchwork and quilting shop the day after her 16th birthday. Fast forward five-or-so years and Lorna started work at Love Patchwork & Quilting magazine. Surrounded by amazing designs and fabrics her obsession with quilting was fuelled further!
What excites you most about working on the magazine?
I love having the opportunity to work with so many quilters and fabric brands from across the world, and what makes it even better is that there’s nobody in the quilting industry that isn’t completely lovely. It’s so fun to give people a chance to shine – I interview a different designer each month, commission talented writers for our features and give names, both big and small, a spotlight in our news pages and newsletters. As a small name myself, I know how valuable that exposure is and love being able to offer that to others.
We love your modern designs and the templates you share. Can you tell us more about them?
Thank you! I don’t really work in terms of collections, so when it comes to Cloth & Crescent patterns I’ll pretty much focus on one at a time (bar any magazine commissions I may have on the side). I’ll get an idea for a quilt and will then see it out from the initial design all the way through fabric and construction calculations, fabric mock-ups, pattern write-up, pattern testing and the final release.
You have a great community of quilters that you feature on your blog and Instagram. What’s the most surprising spot you’ve seen one of your quilt designs in?
There’s this really cool hashtag in the quilting Instagram community called #quiltsinthewild where people take photos of their creations in front of all kinds of scenery. I’ve been blown away by some of the shots people have taken of my designs. My Mirrored Mountains pattern in particular has been photographed in front of amazing mountain ranges and stunning lakes, which makes me so happy to see!
What are your main inspirations for your designs?
One of my biggest inspirations is illustration – I’m not the greatest at drawing so I see quilt design as my way to almost ‘illustrate’ with fabric. I enjoy working out what shapes can be translated into patchwork, and often use graphic design or hand illustration to spark fun ideas. My Perfect Storm quilt, which is based on a lightning bolt icon, was actually inspired by a giant David Bowie print we have in our shared office/sewing studio. I think it’s important to look outside of the quilting world.
Where do you find and source your fabrics from?
For my own patterns I actually work predominantly with solid, non-patterned fabrics (always 100% quilting cotton or a cotton/linen mix). I more or less exclusively use Kona Cotton Solids by Robert Kaufman Fabrics, which I tend to buy from a company called Wool Warehouse – they’ve got all 300-and-something shades! For magazine commissions, we’re lucky to have a great relationship with some of the best fabric brands in the biz, so I love to work with FIGO Fabrics, Ruby Star Society and Art Gallery Fabrics to create quilts with fun prints.
What are some tool kit items you swear by?
If we’re going back to basics, there’s some essential kit that every quilter needs: rotary cutter, cutting mat, ruler and sewing machine. It’s almost impossible to make a quilt with perfectly matching seams if you cut your pieces using scissors!
I personally couldn’t live without a Hera marker to mark all my quilting lines, quilting gloves for some extra grip when quilting, or a seam presser to avoid trips to and from the ironing board every 2 minutes!
What are the first steps that a beginner should master?
It’s important in quilting to make sure your pieces are cut perfectly to ensure matching seams. I’d say learning how to cut fabric properly with the right kit is a sure place to start! Once that’s mastered, get to know your sewing machine and learn how to sew a precise quarter inch seam – quilting is a meticulous and exact craft, so you need to make sure every seam allowance is exactly the same. Once your cut pieces are perfect and your seams are perfect, you’re set for success.
How many quilts do you have? And where do they feature in your house?
I try to gift or donate a lot of my quilts, but saying that… we do have a lot in our home! There’s a large basket of about six quilts next to the sofa for cosy evenings, a wooden ladder to display quilts in the bedroom, a quilted wall hanging behind the bed and a stack in a corner of my sewing room. I even keep one under my desk at work for particularly cold days. And I won’t start on the quantity of half-finished quilts I have hidden away!