Author Tracy Chevalier to star in quilting TV feature

Tracy Chevalier: Mrs. Reed's Quilt: Homage to Gee's Bend

Tracy Chevalier: Mrs. Reed's Quilt: Homage to Gee's Bend - Credit: Archant

As well as being a best-selling novelist Tracy Chevalier has another talent - making patchwork quilts.

The novelist, who lives in Dartmouth Park, is a member of the London Quilters - a group of Camden stitches and textile artists.

Now Tracy and other members of the quilting group, based at the Camden hub, in Fairhazel Gardens, are going to be filmed by the BBC as part of its Get Creative weekend to be broadcast on April 7.

Their quilts are currently on display in an exhibition at Swiss Cottage Central Library until April 15.

One of these colourful works of art - the London Calling quilt - will be raffled on Thursday April 16 to raise money for mental health charity Mind and the Rainbow Trust charity for children.

Tracy, whose most famous work is the bestselling novel Girl with a Pearl Earring, began quilting while researching her 2013 novel The Last Runaway and has kept it up since.

The novelist has been a member of London Quilters for three years and she says the group is very supportive of new and established quilters.

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Tracy said: “The variety of pieces at the exhibition are truly spectacular.”

She said: “It stretches and calms me. You can’t sew if you feel angry or upset. It’s very therapeutic.”

The writer’s exhibition quilt didn’t turn out like she envisaged.

She said: “In your head it’s perfect but then something gets lost between the ideal version and reality, much like writing.”

She hand stitched the quilt with different materials from old jeans, Guatemalan striped trousers, Indian shirts and scraps from an old sun dress from her youthful hippie days.

Tracy’s quilt is one of 66 quilts exhibited by London Quilters.

Other members agree that it is so much more than just a quilting circle.

Maggie Paykel, 74, who chairs London Quilters and has been a member for five years said: “There’s a lot of therapy going on with patch work and quilting. As far as I’m concerned it keeps me sane. Many people come in aged 35 to 40 and they’re unsure whether they want a divorce and quilting helps them.

Mrs Paykel went on to say: “My husband is a psychotherapist and he tells his patients who are suffering from depression to take up a hobby.

Mrs Paykel said: “Slow stitching is a form of meditation.”

A charity raffle will be held at the library on the April 13 where players have the chance to win special ‘London Calling’ quilt. The raffle draw will raise money for mental health charity, Mind, and the Rainbow Trust charity for children. The prize quilt was made by Lyn Fry who stitched together squares from members.

The BBC Get Creative Weekend is an initiative to support crafts and groups, focusing mainly on painting and quilting, where volunteers can take part in arty workshops.