Tuesday, 31 July 2012


I'm always excited when we send one of our machine quilting frames to a new country for the first time. So I was thrilled to ship our 8 foot NEQ2 to Anette in Denmark. Anette is a very experienced quilter, designer and teacher. She has a quilt shop in Odense, which is right in the heart of Denmark. 

Anette's shop, called the Quilters-Patch specializes in Kaffe Fassett fabric. Anette has been a hand quilter for many years but was looking for a way to complete quilts more quickly without loosing the personal touch. She wanted to keep on guiding the needle, just more quickly. When she watched our La Mer DVD, Anette realised that our Art Quilter and NEQ2 machine quilting frames would enable her to do just that. 

Here's a photo of Anette's showroom/shop. I just love the light and the contrast of the white walls and light flooring with the vibrant colours of the fabric bolts. I can't wait to see Anette's new frame set up here. I'm delighted that our New English Quilter has found such a lovely home. And I'm looking forward to following Anette's progress!

Monday, 30 July 2012

Superior Threads at the Festival

The Festival of Quilts is just around the corner and I'll be putting the show order through to Superior Threads this week. As usual we'll have a good selection of Superior Threads at our stand. If there is something particular that you're hoping for let me know and I'll order it for you. Contact me before Friday 3 August and I'll include your order with the show order.
email: martha@machinequilter.co.uk or
phone: 01526 378057 
You can find us at the JUKI stand A46, B36 and B38. We're listed in the show catalogue under English, for New English Quilter.The Festival of Quilts is a fantastic opportunity to test drive Juki Sewing Machines with Superior Threads on our Art Quilter and NEQ2 machine quilting frames. The Festival of Quilts is our favourite show! We've had a stand there since the very first show in 2003. This year's Festival of Quilts begins Thursday August 16th and runs through Sunday August19th.We look forward to seeing you there.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Endings and Beginnings

Last Tuesday my husband and I went to Warwick for our daughter Kate's graduation.

It seemed like only yesterday I was dropping her off at the dorm. And now here she is walking across the stage.

It was fun to see Kate with her friends and their parents all celebrating the successful completion of their degrees, marking the end of one adventure and the beginning of the next. Kate's going  to Paris to work as an au pair. I think it will be an amazing year!  She'll be staying in a little top floor garret apartment. It sounds just perfect. And yes, we are planning a quilt.

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Multi-purpose Table

our 6 foot table with the 4 foot Art Quilter frame, leaves room for storage and doodling

We sell a purpose built table to go with our Art Quilter and NEQ2 frames. It comes in 6, 8 or 10 foot 7 inch lengths to fit our Art Quilter and NEQ2 frames.  It's specially constructed to minimize the vibration caused by the sewing machine yet light enough for girls to move around. And is sets up and takes down in minutes. We custom cut the table legs to fit the height of each customer so the table height is comfortable and provides the ideal quilting surface.  Last week we decided to give our table a new paint job.

Two coats of Blackboard paint! We tried it out first on this magnetic white board that had been stained by using the wrong pens. It worked great. But we thought it would be better to mimic the shape of the quilt loaded on the frame. So we decided to paint the table top.

Now we can use the tabletop for practising line designs.Drawing the designs on the table top uses exactly the same movements as machine quilting the designs.We're using the same kind of pens that restaurants use to write the daily specials on the blackboard menu. the pens come in bright colours and wash off with water.

If you want the same effect for less trouble you can throw a roll of paper across the top of the table for doodle practice. Early Learning Centre sells rolls of paper. That's a lot of joy for £3.50 and you can use both sides.

By doodling the designs first the machine quilting turns out much much better!

We tried two kinds of paint. This Blackfriar paint from the local hardware store needed terps to clean the brushes but gave a nice finish. The Funky  Colours chalkboard paint from B&Q also worked well and was water based so easier to clean the brushes. Pinterest is full of neat ideas for Blackboard paint. Here's a link to find a recipe for making any colour paint into chalk board paint.   Kate's Centsationalgirl blogpost gives the pros and cons of homemade vs store bought paints and show lots of ways to use them. I wonder what the table would look like in blue? So many possibilities! It might be fun to choose a colour and paint your own.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Water into Wine

Last week we travelled up to Edinburgh to attend the ordination of my husband's brother. When I rang Uncle Jeremy to find out what he'd like as a gift, he asked if I would quilt him a wedding stole. It would be something that he would wear when he performed certain types of wedding ceremonies. Wow! I'd never made anything like that before. A stole is just a long piece of fabric worn over the shoulders and hanging down the front. How hard could it be?

I took inspiration from the gospel account of the wedding at Cana and decided to illustrate water into wine. I have some gorgeous silk offcuts from my friend Pauline who designs period costumes for museums and films. I was able to find a selection of water and wine colours.

Then my friend Linda Hayes gave me a personal tutorial about working with silks. Following Linda's instructions, I backed the silks in a very light vilene to keep it from fraying, then pieced it together into two long matching strips. I connected it all together with some long sashing strips so we could free-motion embroider the design across both sides of the stole. Then loaded it on the 4 foot Art quilter frame. 

I didn't want the stole to be too thick so I used a thin 'Gonold Stiffy' as the backing. Pauline provided a soft interlining called domette. It helps improve the draping qualities of high quality fabrics like silks by adding lift without any weight. Perfect for my project. I treated it in the same way that I would batting or wadding. So now all three layers were ready to load on the 4 foot Art Quilter frame.

Emily and I chose a variety of threads from the Rainbows and Kimono Silk ranges of Superior Threads to fit with the water into wine theme. We chose a flowing  watery lines design.

After doodling it on paper, Emily machine quilted the design with the Juki TL98P. It turned out really well! We took it off the frame, sliced off the sashing with the rotary cutter and mitered the join so it would hang nicely across the shoulders.

Then we made a scallop shell motif using shot silk backed in fleece,  machine embroidered on the Art Quilter then machine appliquéd to the join. Finally we lined it. Despite the 4 layers, the stole was just the right weight to hang nicely. 

Father Jeremy was delighted with his present! Emily and I were chuffed with how it turned out too.It was the first time we had ever made something like that and we couldn't believe that it turned out so well. It was fun to use our machine quilting skills to create such a different project. Now we've started collecting silk in liturgical colours so we'll be ready for the next one.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Happy 4th of July

Happy 4th of July to all my American family and friends! Today I took Rosie to Heathrow Airport to catch a plane to Baltimore. I just received this photo showing her smiling, safe and sound between her Uncle Dan and Cousin Callie. Rosie's just finished her GCSEs and is spending the long summer break with my twin sister Peggy and family in Baltimore.

My husband and I left America to come to England 23 years ago on July 4th, so it seems somehow  fitting for Rosie to return on the very same day. I'm so happy when our children get to visit my home. It is such a joy to experience America through their eyes. My sister Peggy made the lovely welcome poster. I'm so happy that Rosie gets to know and love my American family this summer. She's certainly going to enjoy the sunshine!

Celebrate in style with this really cute American flag bunting tutorial. 
by Emily from the saltwaterkids blog