Saturday, 30 April 2011

No Space No Problem!

Many people who really like our machine quilting frame have been put off for lack of space. Although they see the benefits of a machine quilting frame, they just don't have the space for it.

If you've always wanted a frame but never had the space, now you do! Just like the original New English Quilter, the Art Quilter comes ready assembled. Setting up the frame is easy; take the arms out of the box, clamp them to your table, lay down the tracks, pop on the carriages, drop in the fabric poles and you're ready to go. It takes me longer to write about it than to do it. The frame is so easy to put up and take down! And at 4 feet it will fit just about anywhere! Using quilt-as-you-go methods, even a traditional bed-sized quilt can be created using the Art Quilter. Personally, my favourite feature is the quintessentially English deck chair fabric we use to make the leaders. Small was never so beautiful!

The Art Quilter allows people with limited space to enjoy the best features of the original New English Quilter. First, the frame perfectly tensions the layers of the quilt sandwich. There is no need to baste, pin, glue or tack the layers together! Oh happy thought!! The frame holds the layers of the quilt sandwich steady so you are free to focus on the quilting.

Next, the carriage enables you to glide your sewing machine over the top of your quilt. This enables you to treat the needle like a pen. Many people struggle with free-motion quilting sitting at the sewing machine. It is frustrating trying to hold all the layers of the quilt steady. It's even more frustrating to hold the pencil still and move the paper. Quilting on a frame is so much easier because now things are the right way round. The frame holds the quilt sandwich steady and perfectly tensioned. It becomes the paper. The carriage gilding on the tracks enables you to effortlessly move your sewing machine over the top of your quilt. The needle becomes the pen and the thread is your ink. You've been writing and doodling all your life. You're good at it! The frame lets you transfer this talent to your quilting.

For more information, visit our website:

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

The Art Quilter

The New English Quilter has a new little sister called the Art Quilter! The Art Quilter, as the name suggests was created with the textile artist in mind. It's ideal for smaller quilts and wall hangings. At 4 feet it is very very portable. It will go wherever your fancy takes you, whether it's the back garden or the cruise deck!

To celebrate its English origin we decided to use deck chair canvas for the leaders. We'll be offering a variety of patterns. Soon we'll be taking a survey, so we can be sure to have your favourites! You can find out more about the Art Quilter by following this link to our website.

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Happy Easter!

Rosie made this lovely card.

It's lovely having all the children home.

Happy Easter! He is risen indeed!

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Retreat Advances

Retreats are an interesting concept - a stepping back in order to move forward. The April Machine Quilters Retreat was a fantastic example of this. Our retreats attract a wide variety of people. Some are just beginning, some are quite experienced. Some are traditional some are edgy and arty. Put them all together and great things happen.

Maria has had her New English Quilting frame for a couple of years now and she was already creating lovely quilts. Maria had mastered stippling but wanted to expand her repertoire of stitches.

So Maria came to the retreat to learn some new line designs. She wanted to gain more fluency and confidence. She even brought her husband Andy along for the ride.

The converted barn at Chaplin House provides an ideal space for quilters, quilting frames and quilts! The weather was glorious, the food was great and everyone went home with new skills to practice. Maria emailed me yesterday with some follow up from the retreat. You can read what she said on Maria's blog. It's quite a big step from stippling to feathers but she's done it!

We still have places for the JULY Retreat. Follow the link to find out more.

Sunday, 17 April 2011

A New Line Design

This is a post about ... process. One of the best things about the Machine Quilters Retreat is the creative process of bouncing ideas off each other. Throw 5 or 6 people in the same room, approaching a similar task with similar tools. Add differing personalities and diverse areas of expertise and 'et voila!' interesting things begin to happen.

At the end of the retreat Emily was showing Trudi her 'Rachet' pattern and Trudi suggested using a heart shape, which then morphed into 'pengin feathers' and a new design was born. It probably already exists somewhere else. But is was really fun watching Emily and Trudi discover it together.
I asked Emily to doodle out the process for us. The following images describe how the design came to be.
Emily began with her 'rachet' pattern which is inspired by the rachets on our frame!

Trudi suggested adding hearts to the spiral.

When Emily copied the pattern she made a mistake. And they both liked the mistake better than the original pattern.

The wonky heart reminded Trudi of 'penguin feathers' and so they went on to incorporate 'penguin feathers' into the design.

They both played around with how to move from one design to the next.

Trudi is already machine quilting this pattern ! Perhaps she'll show us what she's up to on her blog.

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Applied Threadology

Bob Purcell from Superior Threads has featured our La Mer DVD in the Superior Threads April Newsletter! If you are in America and want the La Mer DVD quick, get it from Bob!

Want to see how Superior Needles and Threads play out on a home quilting frame? Watch the La Mer DVD. As a graduate of the School of Threadology, class of February '09, I've applied what I've learned from Heather and Bob’s lectures and workshops to free-motion machine quilting on a frame.

The School of Threadology was a fantastic experience for me! I left Heathrow in the snow and spent a warm and wonderful week in St George, Utah. I learned from a fantastic line up of amazing teachers just how important the right needles and threads are to successful machine quilting. And I was able to put it into practice when I got home. Now there is a new purpose built teaching centre, built over the Superior Threads warehouse and office facilities right up against the red rocks.

La Mer is for any machine quilter using any sewing machine on any frame. The frames and sewing machines may vary but the needles and threads are all Superior!

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Happy Mother's Day!

Today is UK Mother's day! So Happy Mother's Day to all English 'mums'! My kids are so sweet and although they celebrate on the English day they always spell 'mom' the American way! Whenever it happens, Mother's Day is a day to be grateful for the mothers in our lives. And I am grateful for mine! My mom sent me these beautiful folksy chairs that I have such fond memories of from my grandmother's kitchen. Paul sanded and cleaned them up and now it gives me great joy to have them in my kitchen. The cobalt blue vase is also something from my nana given to me by my mom.

Part of my present was time to quilt so I was able to finish a project we started during the filming session for the new Beyond the Sea DVD trailer last week.

The stripy blue and lavender table runner was fun to quilt. The scalloped border is so whimsical. It still needs the binding but it looks pretty hanging on my Rayburn range. The kids are making dinner so I have time to blog.

Happy Mother's Day to all you mom's out there! None of us would be here without you!

Friday, 1 April 2011

New Views

Google has a fun new toy - 5 new dynamic ways of viewing blogs. You'll need a relatively new browser to play.

My favourite is flip card but the others are fun too. Follow the links above and pick the view you like best!