Meet A Member: Danielle Coolbear Jenkins

This is the first in a new Q & A series, where we get to know a bit more about each of our  LMQG members. First in line is Danielle Coolbear Jenkins, who does the most amazing quilts by hand.

Tell us a little bit about yourself   I’m a Kiwi married to a Brit and have lived in the UK for just over 6 years – having intending to stay for just 1 year.  I live with my husband Al and 3 boys – James 4, Alex 2 and Lucas 8 ½ months on a  130ft long Peniche, a French equivalent of a Dutch Barge, in the East End of London.  I come from a very crafty family and my mum has been a quilter for as long as I can remember.

        on my wedding day with James

When did you begin quilting and what inspired you to start?   I made my first quilt at he age of 9 having been set a challenge to make a wall-hanging by my mum’s house group at the time – The Blockbusters.  My creation was a very simple Peony block machine pieced with appliqué leaves, a mitred border – completed with a lot of help from my mum.  But that first quilt is very different to what I made next and what I continue to make which is all English Paper Pieced.  I have machine pieced but I don’t enjoy it as much as EPP.

                  the first quilt I made

Where do you work on your quilts and keep your fabric stash? My stash lives in a big plastic box with wheels which lives downstairs, my WIPs – which there are a lot of live in other plastic boxes and drawers.  I work on my couch upstairs, which is always covered with my current projects and a pile of fabric bags with assorted projects and supplies piled next to it and on custom made shelves behind – I really need a better system.

Do you prefer to follow a pattern or improvise?  I don’t think I have ever made anything according to an already existing pattern – except of course for block patterns.  I very much improvise.

            my entry into FoQs last year

Which part of the process do you love / hate the most?  I love the patchwork part more than turning it in to anything – I always have block ideas I want to try and I also love the reverse of EPP – as the seams are all folded as opposed to ironed it makes interesting textures and shapes.

the back of a miniature

What is your favourite type of project?  I make a lot of EPP miniatures as it gives me the opportunity to have an idea come together very quickly  – the majority are WIPs because I haven’t got any idea what to do with them after I have finished the piecing.

my one and only large scale quilt the 3rd I made 6ft square from 1 inch squares all EPP

What are you working on right now?  Today nothing – my February challenge needs a few adjustments and I plan on making a pencil case/roll.  I have a doll quilt half pieced, at least 2 cushions which need backs, an art quilt which I started to make to enter into Festival of Quilts last year (I did finish a miniature in time) which I may change a bit; hopefully making it big enough in time to enter this year.

Danielle has a website which includes her blog: www.djcoolbear.co.uk and can be found on flickr as DJCoolbear.

Thank you Danielle for sharing your quilting tales with us.

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