Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Life is like a cup of tea

"A woman is like a tea bag. You never know how strong she is until she gets into hot water." ~ Eleanor Roosevelt
Teapots make delightful collectibles. Plus, teapot quilts remind us of the joys of tea parties, tea ceremonies, and tea for two. We've been collecting tea-themed quilts and have been dying to share them with you. As they say, life is like a cup of tea... it's better when shared with friends!

China, 50 x 50, by Laurel Anderson, at Whisper Color

The "China" quilt by Laurel Anderson displays a complete tea set in Delft blues, surrounding a blue floral platter. Laurel explains that the quilt was made in honor of her grandmother, Charlotte, who loved beautiful things. The quilt is made on paper foundations except for the hand appliqued plate and platter.

TeaTime Floral III, by Holly Holderman, at LakeHouse Dry Goods

TeaTime Floral III is one of Holly Holderman's glorious designs; it has teacups in pale blue or ivory, hydrangeas, roses, and a songbird with speckled egg. The pattern for the Star Maker quilt, above, can be downloaded at the LakeHouse project page.

Cupsey Turvey, 45 x 56, by Karen Brow, at Java House Quilts

Can a quilt be both beautiful and whimsical, at the same time? If the quilt is "Cupsey Turvey", then the answer is 'yes'.  All fourteen cups are dancing, sliding and tumbling around the quilt, and some are even upside down! The cups are flanked by tossed spoons and the occasional flying teabag. "Cupsey Turvey" reminds us of this proverb: "A wise husband will buy his wife fine china, so she won't trust him to wash the dishes."

Tea With The Empress, 40 x 40, by the owners and staff of Always Quilting

We love "Tea with the Empress", above, which features 16 shapely teapots from Kay Mackenzie's bestselling and definitive book, Teapots 2 to Applique. The teapots are rendered in peacock feathers, lotus flowers and Japanese maple leaves in jewel tones of teal, purple, and garnet.  You can see the original quilt and read about the teapots at Kay Mackenzie's website, here.

Corner Tea Shop, 32.5 x 28.5, by Connie Cerdena at Jenny Creek Designs

Connie Cerdena's classic and classy "High Tea" designs are inspired by her own collection of teapots; she began collecting at age 15. "Corner Tea Shop", above, replicates the cheery windows of an English tea shop, with its chintzware-like background and checkered tablecloth... notice the steam rising from the spout of the teapot! For more inspiration, see High Tea, Sweet Violet Tea, and Tea with the Earl. All of the patterns are available at Jenny Creek Designs.

Teapots, as seen in Royal Dutch Tea, by Liz Schwartz and Stephen Seifert at eQuilt Patterns

If applique is not your cup of tea... (get it?) ...then you'll love this versatile collection of six different teapots designed by Liz Schwartz and Stephen Seifert. Use one, or mix and match them to create a teapot quilt with your own fabric stash.

Full Bloom Collection, and Garden Tea Party quilt, by Bari J™

We're smitten with the "Garden Tea Party" quilt, above, which has a border decorated with collaged teapots and flowers from Bari J's earlier fabric line.  The pattern is free at Bari J Online.

Dancin' Teapots II quilt by Virginia Anderson for In The Beginning Fabrics

"Dancin' Teapots II", above, is one of our all-time favorite teapot quilts. It won a blue ribbon in the small wall quilts category at the 2006 AQS show.  For a downloadable foundation piecing pattern, click here. Dancin' Teapots II has inspired many quilters... see the brightly colored Funky Teapot quilt with its piano keys border.

Oriental Teapot, 15 x 20, by Verona Flint and Kay Mackenzie; and Delicious Tea, 24 x 10, by Kay Mackenzie

"Oriental Teapot" reminds us of a Japanese tea house, with its hand-appliqued batik teapot, Asian-inspired fabric and decorative quilting stitches. To read about the quilt on Kay's site, click here and scroll down the page.

"Delicious Tea" features adorable apple teapots surrounded by apple fabric; it can be seen in Kay's quilt gallery. The teapots are based on the 2008 book, Teapots 2 to Applique. Kay also maintains a comprehensive site called All About Applique which is loaded with tips and tutorials.

Little Teapots by The Cloth Shop

The whimsical Little Teapots quilt, above, was an original Cloth Shop design that uses white and black fabrics for the background and lattice, and wonderful hand dyed Bali Batiks for the appliques. Teapots are shaped like a beehive, a house, and a strawberry, among others, and the teapots are surrounded by stacked teacups and little cupcakes !  A wool applique kit may be found at Out Of Hand.

Image credits and links: Quilt images are shown with the kind permission of the artists.


  1. What a beautiful blog! I, myself, am not a "tea" person, but I can only admire all the varied fabrics you accumulated for this post. Kudo's on fabulous eye candy, and I am now a follower. Thanks, Michele

  2. Michele, thanks for your comment and the kudos... we're so pleased to have you following our blog. We hope to keep delivering useful and inspiring content, and look forward to your feedback.

  3. I am a tea person and a quilt person, so I really enjoyed this post. In fact I have some tea right here to prove it. :)
    What state are you in? I like to include that on my Links page at the Online Quilt Museum, but I can just put USA if you like.
    Love the Dear Jane quilts too. I recognized the Broadway Jane from my guild, Empire Quilters in NYC.

  4. Karen, thanks so much for your comment on our article. Didn't know you were in Empire Quilters - what a talented group! To answer your question, we live in different states, so the "USA" designation would be great. Thanks for Linking :)

  5. Really lovely quilts with a fun theme, and a great post! I'd like to add the link to my own free quilt pattern called Grandma's Tea Party, which can be found here: http://piecebynumber.com/tea-party-miniquilt.htm

    Thanks! Beth

  6. Beth, we're really pleased that you let us know about Grandma's Tea Party, and, the free pattern (it is wonderful !) Thanks ! :)


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