Get your crafting hat on, because today we’re looking at a new book due to be released by the V&A next month to celebrate the Quilts 1700-2010 exhibition. Author Sue Prichard is Curator of Contemporary Textiles at the V&A, and has put together a handy little guide with some simple projects to get you started if you’re a patchwork virgin.

The book starts with a brief history of patchwork in Britain, followed by a useful list of all the bits and bobs you’ll need to get started on your own patchwork creations. The projects are straightforward with simple step-by-step instructions and handy templates at the back – choose to make a lovely hexagon patchwork pincushion, a square patchwork cushion cover, an appliqué (Mwah ha ha, WordPress, I have finally worked out how to get an accent!) cushion, or a cot coverlet.

Here are some pics from the book – hexagonal ceramic tiles that echo patchwork patterns, and vintage Liberty & Co printed cotton fabrics. I like the little snippets of history throughout this craft book. Prichard has found references to patchwork in Jane Austen’s letters, old editions of Sylvia’s Home Journal, and in various works of literature, and has sprinkled these fascinating and sometimes amusing quotations throughout the book which makes it a really interesting read. There are also photographs of various patchwork items from the past which we will no doubt see in the exhibition when it opens.

This is a great little book and brilliantly written, but some of the photography is a bit low-budget – don’t expect a visual feast. However, it only costs £7.99, and it’s inspired me to FINALLY make a patchwork quilt, so I’m sold! Sue Prichard has written another book to accompany the exhibition called Quilts – hidden histories, untold stories so I’ll be keeping my eye out for that too. – Ellie

I’m looking forward to the V&A’s Quilts 1700-2010 exhibition (20 March – 4 July 2010) which is being hailed as a “visual encyclopaedia of design”, with thousands of pieces of fabric reflecting three centuries of pattern and print. Crafters, take note: to celebrate the exhibition, the V&A Shop and Liberty Art Fabrics have teamed up to release a limited edition collection of 18 printed cottons, inspired by designs from the quilts on display – perfect for sewing a patchwork quilt of your own.

The fabrics will cost £3.50 for a fat quarter (50cm x 75cm). Keep your eyes peeled for the new quilting book which will be released to accompany the exhibition too – Sue Prichard’s Patchwork for Beginners (I’ll be reviewing this next week). Since I’ve got a box under my bed full to the brim with fabric scraps which are ‘going to be turned into a lovely quilt one day’, this book might be just what I need to get going!

London-based interiors fans might also like to pay a visit to the Fashion and Textiles Museum this year to see the exhibition Very Sanderson: 150 Years of English Decoration (19 March – 13 June 2010). You’ll be able to ogle the Sanderson archive and admire wallpapers, fabrics and paint shades from 1860 to the present day. To celebrate Sanderson‘s birthday, artist Nina Saunders has teamed up with footwear designer Tracey Neuls to create an installation made entirely of Sanderson fabrics. We’ll be checking it out at the launch in February’s London Fashion Week and sharing the pics and news here, but until then, here are some examples of Nina and Tracey’s previous Sanderson creations:

Looks as though we’re in for lots of fabric fun this spring! – Ellie