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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Thank you Danielle for sharing your quilting tales with us.