All About the Tor Quilt

Anna Wraith of The Hackney Quilter in the studio with the Tor Quilt

The Tor Quilt pattern is my first quilt pattern released for sale and so it's very special to me, not least because it feels like a huge achievement. The past few months have been plagued by Covid (right before launch!) and, perhaps worse than that, by creative block back in the summer.

Many of the ideas that have made their way into the Tor Quilt have in fact been germinating since Spring 2021 and I didn't even realise it until I opened up my design software for the first time before Christmas and saw what was in my saved files. 

Study for the Tor Quilt by The Hackney Quilter

An earlier iteration of the Tor Quilt before I added another 'stripe'

I did a Tor Quilt Q&A around release time and I thought a few of those questions could do with longer answers than I could fit on an Instagram slide. So here they are:

How did you come up with the design?

I based my design around a traditional block called Delectable Mountains which I discovered last year. There is a really fun technique I like to call the 'slice and dice' that you can use to put the 'mountains' together and I knew I really wanted to use that technique in a pattern of my own. I love the shape of it and it's versatility and thought it would be fun to blow the blocks up big and bold so I began exploring the block a little more. There have been several iterations of this Tor Quilt pattern - some won't see the light of day again but others I am saving for a later date. In playing around with the pattern I found there were at least four different ways of constructing the quilt, each with it's own pros and cons. However I also discovered that the the slice and dice technique was not going to work for a 6 colour version of the quilt as you see it now. And so that's why I decided to include the bonus two-colour pattern with the the slice-and-dice instructions. It's just so fun, I couldn't not! 

How did the Tor Quilt pattern get its name? 

Tor means a hill or rocky peak and at first, when I chose the title, it was just a play on the name Delectable Mountains. It felt really right. But after I put it out into the world I began to realise it might have more significance to me than just that. The Delectable Mountains block is so called after the fictional mountain range in John Bunyan's 17th century religious allegory The Pilgrim's Progress. In the book the Delectable Mountains represented a haven for travellers and pilgrims, a place of comfort, and quilters of the time and later, all the way into the early 20th century, would have been familiar with the book and its themes.

Now, I'm not religious, but I think a lot of us can relate to that idea of being on a journey and seeing a local landmark and having that feeling of relief of being nearly home. I grew up in the countryside in the shelter of the South Downs, they literally begin to rise up right from my parents back garden. And what are quilts about if not comfort of some kind?

Although this wasn't actually something I thought of until I sat down to write this! My first thought had been of Viking burial mounds in Denmark where I have family. As a child I used to go regularly and it's somewhere I feel very much at home. In the summers we used to stay in a little house on the beach. It was more of a large hut really, with a bucket by the fireplace to catch the rainwater from the leaky roof, but it was idyllic. The garden and fields next to the house are designated a conservation area because of the burial mounds which dot the nearby land. The correct word for these is Tumuli but we used to call them Burial Tors. And that's the first thing I thought of when I read the word Tor in my quest to find a name!

My mum asked me if I was going to name all my quilt patterns after Norse gods. I hadn't thought of that either at the time but it seems fitting. Maybe I will! We'll see what my next pattern conjures up. 

A pile of colourful Tor Quilts by The Hackney Quilter lying on the floor

 So, there's lots of ways in which this quilt pattern has special resonances for me! And quilts are like that too aren't they? They hold onto the feelings we put into them as we make them, and the places they spend time in and the people they warm. However you make your Tor Quilt, it will be a special quilt and I hope it brings you the same feelings of home and comfort and emotional warmth that the pattern brings to me.

Pick up your copy here!

Tor Quilt pattern by The Hackney Quilter PDF digital download

 Tor Quilt kits available here.

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