What inspired you to start quilting: I have always admired quilts and I started buying them long before I started making them. About 30 years ago there was a quilt display in my local library, and I bought a quilt. My mother admired it, and clearly wanted one, and I thought how hard can this be! I didn’t know anything about quilting, but I knew enough to buy 100% cotton fabrics (although they were dress weight) and I also bought the Eleanor Burns log cabin Quilt in a Day book. I made a log cabin lap quilt for my mother, figured out how to turn it into a quilt by looking at the one I had, but I had no idea about quilting it. I have never seen a quilt with so little quilting, but I gave it to my mother who loved it and used it until her death, when both my brother and my sister asked if they could have the quilt. I wouldn’t part with it and it’s my go-to comfort blanket if I don’t feel well. I didn’t make another quilt for a long time, but went to a local exhibition where the ladies invited me to join their group and I never looked back. Oddly enough, I ended up a member of the group where the maker of my original quilt purchase was still an active member, and I was able to tell her that I still had her quilt from all those years before.
Where do you work on your quilts and keep your fabric stash? I took over my son’s bedroom when he moved out, but my fabric stash is now so huge that there ís no room left to sew. I tend to use the dining room, and use the kitchen to cut fabric as the worktops are a much better height.
Do you prefer to follow a pattern of improvise? I followed patterns for years and years, always envious of those who produced original work, but scared to take the plunge. My passion for modern quilting means I do much more improvisational work these days and try to come up with original ideas. Though I think I am often rehashing designs I have seen elsewhere, but I’m getting there!
What is your biggest quilting mistake? Years ago I made a foundation pieced quilt with tiny pieces. When I came to quilt it, my aspirations were far in advance of my experience. I wanted to quilt feathers in the borders, but how to go about it? I decided to laboriously draw out the feathers on Izal toilet paper [the stuff that’s like greaseproof paper] pin to the quilt and sew, what could go wrong? Of course, what went wrong was that the quilt got smaller with every border I stitched, so that by the time I came to the last one, the design was way too big for the space!
I threw the quilt into a drawer and it’s still there (I think). I should dig it out and either take out one curve of the feather or make all the curves slightly smaller, but maybe not this week.
What are you working on right now? I recently went to an exhibition of the work of the artist Modrian and was totally inspired. I have been playing around with some ideas, but need to come up with a more exciting layout than I have come up with so far. I think I’ll start making some blocks, put them on a design wall and see what happens.
How do you start a quilt, fabric or design first? Design generally.
Favorite fabric right now: I still love Modaís Comma, even though I have made 4 or 5 quilts with this line, something I have never done before.
Tea or coffee: Tea
Machine or hand quilting: Machine, every time! I can hand quilt ñ in fact I took a class many years ago with Dierdra McElroy, who taught me a lot about hand quilting, but it’s too slow for me.
What do you do when you’re not quilting: I work with my husband, running a business which provides admin support to Independent Financial Advisers. I am about to embark on a 2-year quilt judging course run by the Quilters Guild of the British Isles, which I am both excited and scared about. I don’t have any great desire to judge other peoples quilts, but a lot of the course is about art and design (not directly relating to quilts) so I am looking forward to the personal development side of it.
First live band: OMG that was so long ago! Emerson, Lake and Palmer, I think.