Meet Judi

IMG_4505Tell us a little about your self: I’m a 60-ish mother of one son. I’ve been quilting for roughly 15 years.  Still learning and growing, which is a big part of the attraction to quilting.

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.

IMG_4498Favorite tool or notion: I love my sewing machines! I don’t sew anything by hand if I can help it. Not because I can’t, but because I am too impatient.

IMG_4500Where 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!

IMG_4502What 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.

IMG_4501What 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.

IMG_4503Do you stick to one quilt at a time or do you have several on the go at once? I have several on the go at once. I’m the same with books.

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.

IMG_4506Favourite band: Not sure I have one. I tend to listen to Smooth FM when I am sewing.

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.

Meet Lucie

MissLveyTell us a little about yourself:

I live in West London and divide my time between a day job and working on a PhD thesis about the early career of British film director Maurice Elvey. My favourite film is The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp and my favourite book is Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall.

quilt1I’m on Twitter:   @MissElvey (that’s my main account for mostly film related stuff) and @TheSewingBea (second account for sewing related stuff).  instagram: misselvey and blog over at

quilt3What inspired you to start quilting:

I had a fairly major operation and had to spend some time at home recovering; I wanted something productive to do and started to make a patchwork quilt.

Where do you work on your quilts and keep your fabric stash?

I work on my quilts in the living room at home, often listening to audiobooks while I sew. My stash is everywhere. At the moment it is somewhat out of control….

quilt1Do you prefer to follow a pattern or improvise?

I tend to improvise. I sometimes sign up for a block of the month programme and follow a pattern if there is a particular technique I want to improve, but usually I see fabric I like, buy it without a clear plan in mind, and then find a use for it, improvising as I go.

What is your biggest quilting mistake?

I started to make a quilt in sections to be joined together once all the different sections were quilted. I thought it would be a good idea to use up scraps of different wadding. I was an idiot not to realise that some of it would come out very flat, and some of it would come out really puffy. I never joined the pieces together because once they were done I could see how the sections didn’t match. Plus the fabric is purple and yellow. I don’t know what I was thinking but it seemed like a good idea at the time.

quilt8What are you working on right now?

Three main projects:

The most ambitious is a portrait quilt of Admiral, Lord Nelson made up of 3,200 one inch squares – all stitched by hand. I’d been researching a film about Nelson from 1918, and got interested in the huge volume of Nelson memorabilia, which includes textiles. One thing led to another….. and I found myself embarking on a massive time consuming project.

I’m also working on a sea shanty quilt – I like quilting words and shanties have great lyrics. Some should be sung on an outward voyage and some when homeward bound – and then there are songs about what happens when on shore. I thought they would make a good narrative for my quilting.

The third project is a small quilted wall hanging, again with wording. I had been toying with the idea of quilting some words from silent film intertitles and someone commissioned me to make something based on Alfred Hitchcock’s The Lodger. It’s not a favourite film of mine but I’ve enjoyed sewing it. I put the final quilting stitch in last night and now there’s just the binding to do.

quilt2How do you start a quilt, fabric or design first?


Do you stick to one quilt at a time or do you have several on the go at once?

I sew by hand not machine – and that means projects take a long time. Enthusiasm can wane part way through – so I always have several quilts on the go and often go back to things that I’ve put aside, sometimes for years.

quilt1Tea or coffee:

Depends on the time of day.

Machine or hand quilting:

Hand quilting. It’s relaxing, and I love doing it.

quilt6Favourite band:

The Pet Shop Boys.

What do you do when you’re not quilting:

The silent film research takes up a lot of time – tracking down material and checking background information like reviews and production reports. And then there’s the writing up.


Meet a member – Amanda

Tell us a little about yourself.

I live in London with my husband. As I work full time sewing and quilting is a weekend activity. I can be found on Flickr and Instagram at Metroquilter, tag line ‘Modern quilter. Stash builder’.

What inspired you to start quilting?

Despite having not sewn since 1 was 13, when I had my last school needlework class, I had often thought I would like to make a quilt someday.  The big inspiration came in May 2010 with the Quilts exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum.  As well as being inspired by the exhibition I took a free workshop and learnt how to make a 9 patch block by hand.  As I didn’t have a sewing machine at the time my first quilt was pieced and quilted by hand.  I was inspired by a quilt in Kaffe Fassett’s book, Simple Shapes Stunning Quilts, and made a half square triangle quilt in blue and white.  It was 3,000 triangles pieced by hand and took me 2 years to make.  I then bought a machine, joined the LMQG, discovered the online quilting community and became hooked on quilting.


What is your favourite tool or notion?

 I couldn’t do without my iPad in the sewing room. I get most of my inspiration from the internet; following blogs, reading tutorials and following other quilters on Instagram.

What is your favourite fabric right now?

I’m a Lotta Jansdotter fan and have Glimma lined up for my next quilt.  Carolyn Freilander is another favourite; Artitextures is in the stash and I have my eye on her new Botanics range.  I also love Lizzy House’s pearl bracelets and I use it in my Diamond ring quilt (pattern by Green Bee).

ImageWhats your pet hate?

Ironing.  Why does sewing require so much ironing?

Tea or coffee?


Do you stick to one project at a time or have several on the go?

A quick tally reveals:

3 quilts in production

2 quilts where the fabric is bought and design decided

1 bag in production

2 other projects waiting to go from fabric to finish.

Normally the list, as well as quilts, includes bags, cushions and pouches:


ImageWhat are your vices?

See above.

Hand or machine quilting?

Wither.  I mainly straight line machine quilt; free motion quilting is on my ‘must learn’ list.

What’s your favourite film?

The Champ.  Years since I’ve seen it though.  Guaranteed blubbing, every time.

Favourite band?

Bruce and the E street band, can’t beat the Boss.

What do you do when you’re not quilting?

As well as quilting I also enjoy cycling.  In the winter though you will find that the sewing machine wins over the bike every time!

First live band?

Deacon Blue some time in the 80’s.

Meet a member – Michael

keep calm and quilt on
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Originally from New York.  Victoria and I moved back to London after we got married 3 years ago.  She is British and works for an investment bank who relocated us when her position changed.  I went to F.I.T. in NYC for Advertising and Graphic Design, not Fashion as the name suggests. When I graduated I took my first job designing novelty books for HarperCollins. A few years later I was lucky enough to get to work with Robert Sabuda and Matthew Reinhart, both have changed the way Children’s Pop Up Books were looked at.  After several years as the Art Director I moved to Penguin where I was given the chance to create and design my own pop up books.  My first was the second place winner of the NY Book Show in 2010 with my book Everyone Says I Love You.
book1In 2012 I designed and engineered another book called Spin which won the Novelty division.
book2book3Since moving to London I continue to design Children’s books for several publishing companies around the world.
What inspired you to start quilting?
My mom has been quilting for a number of years and about 8-9 years ago I asked her to show me how to sew.  I have a black dog and my mom didn’t want to spend many hours making something for me if Lily was going to lay all over it. Over one holiday break between Christmas an New Years she brought in her spare machine and showed me what to do. I have been hooked since then.  It feels like a combination of painting and building but with fabrics and if anyone knows me they know I love building things.  The perfect match in my opinion.
quilter streetMom and me at the Columbia Road Market.
What is your favourite tool or notion?
Going to have to say a seam ripper.  If you ain’t rippin’, you ain’t quiltin’.  I like to think I am fairly competent on my machine but no matter how good you are you will always make a mistake or find a seam that could be done better. My little Clover ripper is always near by.
What is your favourite fabric right now?

florence_denyse SchmidtThere are too many to choose from.  I am going to have to say my giant bundle of “Florence” by Denyse Shmidt given to me by Denyse herself on a visit to her Studio in CT.  I’m a bit afraid to open it but I think I will and can get over it. Here is my first quilt. DS all the way.

What’s your pet hate?
I hate people who stop walking, dead in their tracks on the sidewalk.  Especially when they stop to take a picture of a shop window.  It’s called a sidewalk for a reason, Walk!
Tea or coffee?
happy to serve cupsTea, 2 sugars no milk
cupDo you stick to one project at a time or have several on the go?
I can’t stick to one thing at a time.  My office is a mess of things.  Both book jobs and quilting projects intermingling on the desk.  That goes the same for my knitting and cross stitch projects.  I like having the freedom to pick and choose what I want to work on and when.
michaelwedding-inviteVictoria and my wedding thank you cards.
skull jacketI was bored.  Kay got a knitted skull jacket!
james dean x stitchmy little x stitch version on my larger James Dean quilt.
What are your vices?
I quilt while watching the UFC. Back in NYC I would stand at the island in the kitchen watching the UFC while actually quilting.  Don’t ask me why? That’s just the way it is.  Usually I bind to Law and Order because no matter where you are in the world you can always find an already viewed episode on TV.
Hand or machine quilting?
Machine.  Was lucky enough to get a Janome Horizon a while back. While I piece everything on the machine I do finish binding by hand.  I think if you are going to spend all that time and money on a quilt it should be finished by hand.
janome horizonmy baby
What’s your favourite film?
That’s hard to say.  Growing up I was a Pulp Fiction fan. Have seen it dozens of times and each time you watch it is see something new. I would probably say most of the Fast and Furious movies.  Cut me some slack! I’m a guy and I like cars.  If you ask Victoria she would tell you my movie selections are on the girly side of things.  Who doesn’t like a good chick flick from time to time.
Favourite band?
A number of years ago a friend had won some concert tickets from work to see a band that I liked and few that I didn’t really know.  We both ended up liking one of the not known bands and have been a huge fan since then.  If we have met in person at any time in the 3 years I have been in London you would have seen me in one of the dozen or so concert shirts I have from a band called Blue October. An Alt Rock band from Houston Texas. Since my first show I have probably been to at least a dozen shows both in the States and in London.
blue october

What do you do when your not quilting?

When I am not quilting I am building elaborate pop ups for different Publishers around the world. I always have a scissor and paper with me.

pop up book parisMy 75th Anniversary Pop Up for Madeline. Out in early 2014 from Penguin.
teddy pop up
A Pop Up Firetruck with Teddy Bears for the Book Company in Australia.
pop up monstersMy paper monsters for Caterpillar Books.
bamboo bikeI am also training for the London Nightrider again on a Bamboo bike I built.  100K through the streets of London at night raising money for Battersea Dog and Cat Home.  Feel free to Donate with the link above.  Victoria and I have been fostering since we moved back to London. We have had three amazing Staffies.
michael2The big mush, Philip.
dog“is that my ball” Leroy
dog3 the 14 year old, Kay.
First live band?
My first Concert was Poison and Warrant at Nassau Coliseum back in 1990. I was 14 years old and my neighbor took me. Since then I have been to 100’s of shows. I’m a child of the 80’s. Hair Metal was what I listened to.
michael&victoriaRadio 1’s Hackney Big Weekend 2012
Michael blogs over at

Meet A Member: Pennie Haslehurst

As part of our Q & A series to find out a bit more about our LMQG members. Pennie Haslehurst answers some questions…

Tell us a little bit about yourself   I’m Pennie, I run a catering and events business with my other half who’s a chef.  We have 2 springer spaniels and live just outside Reading.  I love sewing and quilting, just wish I had more time!

When did you begin quilting and what inspired you to start?   I say I started 3 years ago when my niece was born and I made her a playmate from a cheater panel, hand quilting most of it, and machining the back and making it up using a little E&R sewing machine bought for £49 from ebay.  My local sewing machine shop said I’d never be able to make a quilt with it.  In fact I’ve made 3 in that time, although OH bought me a lovely new Janome for Christmas last year.  I remembered today, from an email conversation, that I had made a cushion cover from EPP hexagons in my early teens, although strictly speaking that was patchwork rather than quilting.

Where do you work on your quilts and keep your fabric stash? I’ve just converted our 3rd bedroom into a sewing room, and my fabric stash is all kept in big plastic boxes at the moment.  Although I have the sewing room, I do still seem to manage to spread everything all over the house!

Wedding Ring Wall Hanging

What fabrics do you love right now?  I’m really loving getting more involved in the quilting world and finding a whole new range of modern quilting fabric shops in the UK.  I’ve recently bought some of the fab Pezzy Print by American Jane and the Ruby Star Shining Typewriters and co-ordinating solids.

How do you start a quilt, fabric or design first?  It depends, sometimes I love the fabric first and then find a design to show it off, like my Sherbet Pips quilt, and sometimes I see a design and then go and find fabric to make it with, like the Raw Edge Circles quilt I’m working on at the moment.

What is your biggest quilting mistake? Did I mention the patchwork hexagon cushion cover……..

Do you stick to one quilt at a time or do you have several on the go at once? I tend to have one big project and then smaller ones running alongside, but just now I’ve got two large quilts on the go and another set of fabric winking at me from the stash box waiting to be next!

Sherbet Pips Quilt Front

What are you working on right now?  A layer cake quilt for my in-laws in Maison de Garance by French General, and my raw edge circles quilt made from over 40 different fabrics.

You can read more of Pennie’s quilting adventures on her blog – Tuppence Ha’penny Quilts.

Thank you Pennie for sharing your quilting journey with us.

Meet a Member: Charlotte Newland

Meet a Member: Charlotte Newland

As part of our Q & A series to find out a bit more about our LMQG members. Charlotte Newland answers some questions…

Tell us a little bit about yourself   My name is Charlotte, I have three kids, aged almost 12, 9 and 6 (two girls and a boy), and a lovely American husband. I work part time as a scientific editor for a medical journal, and sewing is my therapy.

When did you begin quilting and what inspired you to start?  I have been sewing for as long as I can remember. My mum made a lot of our clothes and I am old enough to have been taught dressmaking and embroidery at school (ah, the 1970s!). I started quilting when my eldest daughter (now almost 12!) was a baby. I made a very traditional log cabin quilt with very traditional fabrics. There really wasn’t anything else available at the time. Since then, I have lost count of how many quilts I’ve made. 

                                       first ever quilt

Where do you work on your quilts and keep your fabric stash?  I am lucky enough to have my own studio space. We have a garage at the end of our back garden that doubles as my office and sewing room. It is so lovely to not have to put everything away. Not so great when it’s pouring with rain and I have to brave the overgrown rose bushes!

Do you prefer to follow a pattern of improvise?  I like a bit of both, to be honest. It’s nice to have a finished project in mind, particularly when using more precious fabric that has been bought from America, but I also love the freedom to just make it up as I go along and see what happens.

What fabrics do you love right now? I am a complete Denyse Schmidt addict. It’s an illness.

Recently completed Swoon quilt. Hand quilted, because of its enormousness.

Which part of the process do you love / hate the most? I hate basting. Mainly because I have to move all the furniture out of my dining area to get enough floor space. I live in a teeny 1930s house with a giant husband and three kids, so there is a lot of stuff lying around!

What is your biggest quilting mistake?  I tried to make a zig zag quilt once, using triangles. It was a disaster. I didn’t realise that the edges of the pieces had to be offset, so I lost all the points when I tried to sew it together. The whole thing was all wrinkly because of the bias edges, and I had cut the template way too small without realising it, so it was about a quarter of the size it was meant to be. I sewed it into a pillowcase for my eldest daughter and she is really pleased with it, but I can’t stand the sight of it!

Single girl quilt, made as part of a quiltalong. This was my first foray into curves. There was quite a bit of unpicking involved.

What are you working on right now?  I have about a million things on the go right now, as always. I’m making a king size quilt for our bed, and that’s been lurking for about 8 months (with very slow progress). I also have all the fabric to make a quilt for my mum. Goodness knows when I will get around to it – there are at least three other projects in the queue, including an English paper pieced lap quilt that will probably take the rest of the decade!

You can see more on Charlotte’s blog or find her on flickr as the wee pixie.

Thank you Charlotte for letting us into your quilting world.

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: and can be found on flickr as DJCoolbear.

Thank you Danielle for sharing your quilting tales with us.