Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Past Perfect: Di Ford Hall

Giggleswick Mill by Di Ford Hall

Each month in 2017 I am featuring a quiltmaker who specializes in reproduction quilts, drawing inspiration from quilts of the past.

Center of the Ann Dagg Quilt by Di Ford

Di Ford Hall

Di Ford Hall is one of the most influential quilt artists of the early 21st century. She's helped make Australia a capitol for accurate historical patterns.

Road 66 by Di Ford 
Past Perfect!

Primarily Quilts

You can find her patterns in her two books from QuiltMania Publishing in France.
Primarily Quilts...2 will be shipped to the U.S. next month.

The books' names echo her history in the quilt business. In 1980 she began working at the Primarily Patchwork store in Canterbury, Melbourne, and two years later bought the shop. What ashopping experience that must have been. After closing the store in 2006, she's devoted her time to patterns, books and teaching.

Center of the Phebe Quilt 

Di is particularly attracted to medallions and has patterned several
 classic early-19th century quilts made in England and the United States.

The Phebe Quilt was inspired by the Phebe Warner quilt
at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Read more about the original Warner quilts here:

Above the Rain

But it's not all medallions.

From Primarily Quilts 2

Di's new book is subtitled: It's All About the Fabric.

Details of her repro quilts reveal a wisely chosen, monumental 
stash of early reproduction prints.

I occasionally recognize some of the prints I've done (in that bird's body on the right). She must
still have fabric she stocked in the store.

Cloverdale Hall

Di is contributing to our current stashes with her repro lines 
for Andover.

The latest is Giggleswick Mills.

Few early 19th-c. repros ever make it past fabric companies'  marketing departments who tell us that these quirky early prints don't sell well [compared to more profitable graphic prints]. Di's fabulous fabrics are an exception.

Collaborating with Petra Prins

Mount Mellick by Miriam

Di's patterns inspire many other quiltmakers to make historical quilts. Above:
an all-hand stitched version of  a mystery quilt series from QuiltMania in 2014.

Ellen Borg's Phebe quilt, quilting by Katrina Quilting

Miss Porter's Quilt

Read more about this quilt and its inspiration. It's one of my favorites.

And Instagram

Update 2020
Di Ford Hall died of leukemia in April, 2020, a real loss to her friends and family and to those of us who loved her view of quilts.


  1. Di is indeed a true treasure. I love all of her fabulous quilts. I especially love the Porter quilt. It is so similar to one we found in Maine in the 80's that was signed Hannah John 1797.I have always said I would reproduce it. Well, it has been 30 years now and I am still waiting for that spark to ignite. Thanks for choosing to honor Di and her fantastic quilts.

  2. There are 2 people in the world of quilting that have made a huge impact on my own love of quilting. Your Clues In The Calico (1989!) started me off loving the history of quilts and all your gorgeous fabrics. Di's book and fabric collections share equal love....how fortunate we are to have access to the knowledge and inspiration from both of you.

  3. What a gorgeous post. Di Ford is one of my inspirations. I hope you plan to feature Michelle Hill in future such posts. Those Australians!

  4. Thank you Barbara for this wonderful post that acknowledges the inspirational Di Ford. I have been fortunate to learn from her directly in what was my local quilt shop (now sadly closed) she is such a kind and generous teacher. All credit to Di too for revitalising the art of broderie perse.

  5. Di Ford is superb. I have seen her quilts and met her in person on a number of times over the years, recently during the Pour l'Amour du Fil show in Nantes, France and at the Australian Dutch Quilt Connection show in Amersfoort, The Netherlands and it is always a feast for the eye. A very clever, gifted and hardworking artist and a lovely lady too.