Saturday, 31 July 2010

Hits the floor running

Meet Brenda from Stevenage, UK. I've made the image extra large here so you can see the kind of practice piece quilting Brenda has been doing the past few weeks. Pretty impressive! Brenda is already an accomplished machine quilter, but she wanted a quicker method that was easier on the body so she came to visit us and went home with a New English Quilter/JUKI/Nifty Grips combination. As you can see from the photo, Brenda pretty much hit the floor running!

Brenda embroidered, pieced and machine quilted this gorgeous Parasols and Pansies quilt off the frame, in memory of her mother, Lucy who loved the colours. This quilt has gained quite a following on both sides of the Atlantic. It's soon be featured in several magazines so you're bound to see it again. Brenda will be bringing it to our stand at the Festival of Quilts next month. You'll be able to meet Brenda and her gorgeous quilt if you visit on the Friday or Saturday of the show.

"It was shortly after the completion of this quilt that I announced to my husband Jim that I would never make a quilt like this again, my arms were aching from the weight of the quilting, worried that I really meant this, he went on line and found the You Tube of the New English Quilter, an answer to my prayers, it was soon after that we were on our way to Lincoln to pick up my NEQ frame. Since then I have been practising on my frame as often as I can. My next quilt will be a walk in the park, it feels so good not to have the quilt wrapped around the machine, with me in the middle struggling with aching arms, instead it sits on the frame and I can sedately quilt without all those pressures, I think what I like the most is that the feed rollers keep all layers of the quilt even and unwrinkled even the biggest quilt would not seen daunting to me now."                                               Brenda,  Stevenage, UK

Friday, 30 July 2010

Icing the Cake...

Every now and then people say such nice things I just have to blog about it!

"I GOT THE DVD!!!!! We are doing the HAPPY DANCE!!!
Thank you so much for your speedy delivery – when can I get the next DVD!!! We devoured it and then went back for 2nds!! We want more – I want to watch you quilt a whole quilt!! All your stitches and techniques – you make it look too easy. Good camera work also.

You and your film crew did a very professional, wonderful job. I am a major doodler and I also like to decorate cakes (piping bag rhythm) so I think I can do this. I would like to have a class with you – do you ever come to the US??

I can see that like a well trained dancer you could easily lead a
Newbie through the motions and launch them quickly. I saw the YouTube of your client – she was soo energized and encouraged and so are we (the kids all want to quilt now.) Thank you for the DVD it was MARVELOUS!!! Off to get the salt!!!"
Jill from Ohio, USA
I like Jill's cake decorating connection. Machine quilting reminds me of icing cakes too! 

Monday, 12 July 2010

About Burleigh

Here's a bit more about my favourite dishes. Rosemary and William Dorling saved the Burleigh Pottery from closure 10 years ago. The video clip gives you a glimpse of the craftmanship that goes into the creation of the ceramic pottery. While I was visiting last week, I had the opportunity to talk with Rosemary about the possibility of using various designs on the Burleighware pottery as  line design inspiration for machine quilting.  I'd been wanting to develop this in a future DVD in the Line Dancing series. Rosemary was excited about the prospect. She picked up on the natural affinity between the pottery and the possible textile designs right away. Now Rosemary is looking forward to developing connections with quilters. We hope to use the historic Burleigh factory as a venue for the filming  and we'll be meeting up with the film guys later in the year.

Saturday, 10 July 2010


We've had family from 'the States' visiting the past two weeks, my mom, who lives in Maryland and two of my nephews, Joey and Ben from Georgia and Texas. We live in Lincolnshire, about 21/2 hours north of London by train. We thought the kids would enjoy a day out together in the Big City.  So we sent them with my twins, Emily and Ben down to London to see the sights. Click on any of the photos for a better view.
They arrived in London at King's Cross station.(Ben and Joey)
Visited the tower of London.  (Joey and Emily)
Crossed Tower Bridge. (Emily, Joey and Ben)

Here's Ben and Ben by, you guessed it, Big Ben. You can see another view of this famous clock tower in the first photo.

All the boys by the London Eye.

Ben and Emily outside Buckingham Palace.
And home again by train. I think they had fun! (Ben and Joey)

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Blue and White

I love blue and white dishes! Actually, I love dishes just as much as I love fabric and for the same reasons. There is something soul-satisfying about the same shape repeated with all the different patterns and shades of blue. It makes my heart sing.

My mom loves dishes too. So whenever she come over to visit we go to the  Stoke-on-Trent 'potteries' in Staffordshire. Mom loves Wedgewood and Spode, I love Burleigh. Truly deeply wildly! There was a wonderful sale at the Burleigh factory shop and I came home with gorgeous mugs and plates and bowls and a beautiful jug. I couldn't wait to unpack all the bags and put the dishes in the cupboard and on the dresser with the others.  Again, this is just what I do with fabric purchases, half the fun is seeing how they go with what I already have.

This shop is one of my favourite places. all those gorgeous dishes in one place make me go weak in the knees. There is complimentary tea and coffee and plenty of room to put your hopeful purchases all together and make final decisions. It sound all too familiar, doesn't it!

Burleigh is the last remaining working Victorian pottery. It's been in operation since 1851.Like a quilt, much of the beauty of the pottery is due to the hand crafted layers.Unlike modern mass production, the soul-ful creation process of Burleigh pottery means that each piece is unique. I love sorting though a stack of plates where the slight variations give charm and bring home the realization that each piece is truly handcrafted.

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Waltz Class Finale

Yesterday was the film shoot at Gainsborough Old Hall. I was so proud of all the dancers! They were so hot in all those lovely layers yet they danced beautifully in the gorgeous Victorian costumes.This was our third session. On the first session we learned the steps. The second session we practised moving across the dance floor. And on this final session we worked on the spacing and tried not to bump into each other. Each session was a good two hours.The dancers had so much fun! My son Ben is leading Rochelle, the lady in red (above photo, lower right) and my daughter Emily is dancing with Ryan in the photo below. I'm slipping out the door just before the filming starts.

Gainsborough Old Hall commissioned Wag Screen to create a film showing how the house has been used over the years. In the storyline for the film, Violet, the girl in the centre in modern clothes, wanders from room to room. She can see into the past and with her eyes we see the various activities that took place through out the history of the Hall. As ever these film shoots are a collaborative effort. Pauline Loven designed the costumes. They're authentic replicas of Victorian clothes. Pauline often uses portraits as primary sources.The photo below is a recreation of the portrait which Pauline used as inspiration for the dresses. Photos are by John Bennett and Pauline Loven. We can't wait to see how the film turns out, the stills show off the costumes beautifully but we need the moving image to do justice to the dancing.

Here's the original; Empress Eugene Surrounded by her Ladies in Waiting By Franz-Xaver Winterhalter, 1855

Friday, 2 July 2010

Online Fabric

I usually purchase fabric from American online shops because the choice, savings and service is rarely matched on this side of the 'pond'. Doughty's is the UK exception. Exceptional choice, exceptional service and sweet prices especially during this weekend's sale.I always make sure to visit the Doughty's stand at the Quilt shows but now they're online and are continually upgrading the webshop so that it's easy to get around and find what you're looking for.You can sign up for their newsletter and follow their blog.

 I ordered these fabrics Monday night, they've arrived by post today (Friday). Four days is a great turn around time. I'm delighted. I've got a fab line up of vintage Faffe and new designers too. Many for £4.99 a meter!!! This sale is too good to miss, follow the link above and choose your own stack.The sale lasts just this weekend.