One thing leads to another – the quilting patterns I mentioned last time have now been put into fair copy ready to take to the printer. But as I was halfway through copying the last one I remembered that there was another quilt in The Cupboard that needed to have it’s patterns recorded and that I had never made time to do that. So you can guess where things stand now – one set of patterns finished, a second set well under way (except that there are more patterns in the second set!). I’m using upholstery vinyl to lay over the quilt and a permanent fine-tip black marker to trace over the patterns and then make a clean copy of each pattern on layout paper. And, for good measure, I’m recording the design of a small wholecloth piece of uncertain vintage while the “capture and trace” mood lasts.

Making a start with recording quilting patterns.
Close-up of small wholecloth piece.

Happy quilting!

Design stuff

After a lot of playing around with gadgets, apps and stylus and having fun, I found myself scribbling on real paper with a real pencil.  Even more fun!  I started with a small leather coin purse acquired in Denver

Denver purse

and it went from there.  I’m fairly sure that some good new designs will come out of this little creative burst.  Usually I just work with pencil and pen lines but this time I thought it might be interesting to fill in some random colour – helpful for looking for applique possibilities as well.  Here’s a selection of the reference pictures I took so you can see how things developed –

starter sketch

developing motifs

motif #2

add colour

change section

change colour

change section

change again

change again

add circles


I foresee a whole new set of patterns – perhaps for shadow applique too? – in the next few weeks!

The merry month of May

Well it may not have been merry all of the time, but May has certainly been an action-packed month – starting with the great trip to the Open European Quilt Championships as described in my last post, continuing with 4 days of quilting fun and friends at Quilts UK, Malvern, various one-day classes and Chris&Barbara work and then last, but by no means least, the safe arrival of The Grandson (weighing in at 9lbs 9oz, mother and son doing fine).  Quite a rollercoaster!

Just before Quilts UK the postman delivered a most interesting parcel full of good things from my Aussie pal Lee Cleland.  Lee and I are working on a constantly-changing number of collaborative and individual quilting and writing projects (last count was around 9) and I have fallen behind in my timetable – but things have been really moving along Down Under.  One of the projects we planned last year involved Lee interpreting some of my new designs using Oakshott fabrics from one of their Charm packs.  In the parcel were the results – here’s a quick glimpse –

Lee only had my tiny little start-up scribbles to work with and it was really interesting to see how close they all came to my final versions which are in the new pattern book “Top Twenty”.  (Shameless plug, the pattern book is now available for purchase on my website )  And, of course some of these were developed into patterns that the amazing Volunteer Team worked on at the end of last year –

It was great to have a chance to show some of both sets of samples at Quilts UK and I’m planning on doing something similar for my space at Festival of Quilts in August, so thanks again to Lee and the Volunteer Team for their excellent work.

Sometimes it feels like the only time I sit down and make time to quilt is when I’m demonstrating at shows – ok, it isn’t really the only time I quilt, but it’s certainly less often than I should.  A couple of years ago at Festival of Quilts I started on this silk piece and got a whole motif stitched while doing a lot of talking –

– this was just one motif from the Hearts & Ribbons pattern book that was new for that show.  Great plans to finish the sample off into something quite delicious – but, as is so often the case, no further action.  Rescued from the back of The Cupboard, this was a good piece to demonstrate on at the Malvern show and, who knows? – maybe it will be much further along by the time August and Festival of Quilts come around…. there is some progress

and a quick close-up

Intriguing how much difference even light marking can make to the stitching – you can see here the main lines appear darker/yellower than the second or double line around the outside.  It’s the same thread both times, but the second line is stitched “by eye” (also known as guesswork) rather than over markings.

In rummaging through The Cupboard I came across a silk sample I stitched in the early 1990s – or was it late 1980s?  anyway, it’s a long time ago.  This was a sample for one of my first set of quilting designs and you can see how much things have changed and moved on – look at the feather loops and notice how they are opposite each other and quite chunky and squat compared to the more elongated loops we like today.

As well as a lovely day at Cupcake Cottons in Burford teaching Essentials of Hand Quilting I had a very sunny day with Brockhampton Quilters, teaching them not to be Defeated by Whigs.  Foolishly last year I had shown them my sample block of Whigs Defeat – Fine, they said, come back and show us how its done!  And, as you can see, they all got a great start on those pieced arcs …

A quick reminder of what a completed Whigs Defeat block might look like –

At one point during the day I think I heard myself saying something REALLY silly like “Oh wouldn’t it be great to do a Jubilee version in red, white and blue?” – !!  Wonder if anyone heard me – or should I just mark out some pieces and get going …

Next class is at that favourite haunt of mine The Bramble Patch – and as that is scheduled for tomorrow I’d better get going on the all-important task of packing everything into the car.

Happy stitching!

Away with friends

Its the much-anticipated annual retreat – the one that involves long-standing quilting pals, a four-star hotel, good food and time to catch up on news, gather thoughts, make plans and maybe even do some stitching.  We have the use of a small conference suite so we can spread out with all our fabric and gadgets – this year everyone else is busy sewing and I appear to be glued to the laptop.  Not sure how that has happened, although I have brought a couple of stitching projects along just in case!  So here’s an indication of some of the activity –

No prizes for guessing that one of our company is Katharine Guerrier – her retreat project is to use up a whole stack of “leftover” quilt blocks of various sizes to make a new quilt top

and so far it’s looking pretty good for a “rescue” project.  We’ve each had a copy of the new Rainbow Disks  title Little Welsh Quilts by Mary Jenkins, which also looks pretty good – of course we’re all far too busy to sit down and look at it right now, but it will be something to savour when we get home

– and you’ll find Mary’s blog here for lots of other lovely things.

Hiding in a basket of fabric that arrived at the retreat was this small piece –

– from my first range of fabrics for Rose & Hubble in the 1990s, and still one of my favourites.  I’m confiscating this  taking this home to join all the others, and I might even get around to taking a few pictures and reminding myself of what the various ranges looked like …

One of the projects on my “retreat to do” list is to sort out my website and bring it up to date – not a difficult task, it will just need a little focus and concentration – and include my new pattern book on the relevant page.  Whether I achieve this or not I did want to offer a first glimpse of  the lovely work of the Volunteer Crew who so willingly made samples of some of the patterns for the book –

Maggi got carried away (in a good way) and interpreted her given design in shadow quilting using her own hand-dyed silks and sheers –


With samples of this quality the book should be a best-seller – thanks ladies!  full links and credits in an upcoming post …

Before I escaped  left home for the retreat I was also sorting out quilts for my exhibit at the Open European Quilt Championships in May and laying them out on a bed well away from the attentions of three prowling cats.  On our bed there’s a well-worn white strippy-style quilt  which gets covered in muddy paw prints from time to time – it always intrigues me that even the simplest quilted texture looks incrediby rich in the right light

Happy stitching!