Friday, 19 August 2011

Lucie and Jenny

Lucie Summers and Jenny Spencer are another award winning mother daughter team. Lucie is a British fabric designer going exciting places and Jenny is a long arm quilter with a magic touch. Last year they took first prize in the Group Quilts category with this 'Portholes' quilt. I caught this photo while they were hanging out with the Fat Quarterly Crew at the Festival of Quilts last week.

Here's a detail shot from the 2010 show. I love how the quilting design plays off the quirky fabric. Jenny came to my stand last year and took me to see the quilt. I'd sent her the Rainbows thread for the quilting. She certainly put it to good use!!

This year Lucie and Jenny came out with a Highly Commended in the Two Person quilt category for this 'Hexagons and Stars' quilt. Once again I love the way the design in the fabrics and the line designs in the quilting so compliment each other! You can visit Lucie on her blog and also at her etsy shop: Summersville

Wednesday, 17 August 2011


Bronwyn and Lucy are here representing the group from Girl's High in Sleaford who won third prize for this fab fair ground/carnival quilt. Bronwyn, an art teacher at Kesteven and Sleaford Girl's Grammar School was the organizer and Lucy one of the many contributors. The girls were so keen they gave up their lunch time to work on the project. Bronwyn used a quilt-as-you-go method to make the best use of limited time. This enabled the girls to work separately on individual panels and join them together to create a vibrant interpretation of the fair ground theme. Clicking the image should give a better view of the quilt.

This quilt took third prize in the Secondary School's Competition at the 2011 Festival of Quilts! Not bad for a first try!! It's so fun when the winners are people you know! I'm looking forward to what they come up with next year.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Festival of Quilts 2011

The Festival of Quilts was great! Emily said " I love the Festival of Quilts! It's like a four day adrenaline rush."

Many people tried a machine quilting frame for the first time. It was fun having two frames on the go this year.We had the 4 foot Art Quilter set up so we could demo some art quilting and the 6 foot frame was set up so anyone could have a test drive.

The JUKI part of the stand was looking very posh. You can see Anne's retreat project on display. Many people enjoyed trying out the new Exceed range - fantastic for general sewing and piecing. The JUKI TL 98P is still our favourite sewing machine to have on the frame.

It was fantastic to have Trudi Woods and Emily Milne and Anne Smithies helping out. Here you can see Trudi and Emily getting the stand ready before the show opened.

Bunting was big, but our deck chair stripes were hard to beat. Some of our visitors gave us the 'best bunting' award.

Sunday, 7 August 2011


What is it that makes bunting so jolly? Today I've been making bunting from the same deck chair fabric that we use for leaders on the 4 foot Art Quilter frames. We'll be using the gorgeous strippy bunting to decorate our stand at the Festival of Quilts. At the show we like to give away 'goodie bags' with each frame sale. It's a useful collection of needles, threads and pre-wound bobbins that will get machine quilters off to a good start.

This year we're giving away a deck chair apron with each Art Quilter. See you at the show, stand F49. Drop by and give the new Art Quilter a test drive.

Friday, 5 August 2011

New Slant

Our Nifty Grip speed control handles have a new slant. Working from the back of the sewing machine, we need to stand slightly to the left so we can see the needle easily. Our handles help you to stand in just the right place for optimum visibility. The handles are low so they won't block your vision.

They won't make your shoulders ache either. The ergonomic design enables you to work from your centre. Many handles are attached to the carriage in a way that causes you to reach up. After a while the reaching makes your shoulders ache and gives you a pain in the neck. Our Nifty Grips are so easy and comfortable to use - you'll forget they're there. They leave you free to concentrate on your quilting! Come and try them for yourself at the Festival of Quilts next week. Visit stand F 49 and you'll see just how nifty our grips are.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Seeing what you're doing

The Festival of Quilts is a great time to shop around. If you are considering getting a machine quilting frame, this Birmingham show is a perfect opportunity to test drive all the frames on the market. I'm going to devote the next few posts to considering what makes a great frame. What important features should you consider when you're shopping around for a frame? Let's consider visibility. First and foremost, while we're machine quilting it's vital to be able to see what we are doing!

One of the assets of machine quilting on a frame is the viability. Machine Quilting while sitting at the sewing machine limits what you can see to the 6 X 8 inch rectangle of quilt sandwich between your hands. Upgrading to a machine quilting frame immediately opens up your field of vision. Now instead of a little rectangle you can see an entire section of your quilt, which is really helpful in executing a design. Being able to see where you've been and where you are going makes a big difference in the quality of your quilting.

There are many things that can get in the way and block our vision while quilting. One culprit is the structure of the frame itself. Sometimes the handles get in the way, the scaffolding can make it difficult to see what you're doing. Sometimes the frame is designed so that your own arms block your vision as you move the carriage. This is particularly true if you are working from the front of a frame. So as you try the various frames at the show, ask yourself "Can I see what I'm doing?"

Another culprit is vibration. This is perhaps the most frequent problem. The up and down movement of the needle on the sewing machine creates vibration. A good sewing machine is designed to limit the vibration. But no matter how good the sewing machine, there is still going to be a certain amount of vibration. The question to ask is, "Is the vibration interfering with my vision?" A good table will limit the vibration as will a good frame. The materials a frame is made of will affect the level of vibration. Wood dampens vibration while metal amplifies it. So when you try the frames think about the vibration. Some frames vibrate so much that you just can't see what you're quilting. So while you test drive the frames next week make sure that you consider the vibration and make sure that you can see what you're doing.

Monday, 1 August 2011

Christmas in July

I know it's August. But Christmas in August doesn't have the same ring to it! And I did practice the 'Christmas lights' line design yesterday, when it was still July. It began with a doodle. The design started as a retro telephone handset that I'd seen on a T-shirt while shopping last week.

But as I was doodling the design on paper it morphed into Christmas lights. The loops made it easy to 'travel'. And I thought it would be fun to scale up and down. Then I had to try it out with thread and fabric. The 4 foot Art Quilter is just right for this sort of thing. I loaded some black fabric and some fleece and tried out some different kinds of thread.

The luminous qualityof this Rainbows Northern Lights #803 worked well.

Then I tried a glow in the dark thread, which would look great in winter!

This photo is a bit more in focus. And to finish, I might as well include the reason for those cat hairs!! The cats do think the frames are special hammocks! I've got plan to use this line design on a Christmas tree quilt. So wait and see, or better yet make your own.