Thursday, 26 December 2013

Home for Christmas

Emily, Ben, Kate, Ellie, Peter and Rosie all the kids home for Christmas
What fun to have all the kids home for Christmas!

Our Christmas tree 2013

I love Christmas trees and log fires...

trying out a special present that makes  multi-coloured flames
...and family and friends around the table.

a great twin shot of Emily and Ben flanked by Ellie and Rosie
Grateful for Christmas!

Thursday, 12 December 2013


proper candy canes for £1.00

I found Tiger first on pinterest a few weeks ago. When I clicked through to the Tiger Stores website  I realized that Tiger was a bricks and mortar shop and although you could see some of the products online you had to go to the store to actually buy them. That made me sad until I realized that there was a brand new store in Cambridge and I was going there with Rosie!

wrapping pager 4 meters for £1.00
 This wrapping paper reminded me of Christmas fabric in my stash!

retro heart tree ornaments 8 for £2.00
 I loved these retro heart ornaments. I got some to keep and some to give as gifts.

Christmas napkins 20 for £1.00
 Look at the quilt block pattern on these napkins. What fun. Visiting the real shop was even more impressive than the website. Everything was done well, from the store layout to the tasteful music playing in the background. The shop was full of clever and cute items at amazing low prices. Really it was like Primark met Paperchase! I was able to pick up lots of stocking stuffers and small gifts. Rosie and I went through once and it was so inexpensive that we had to go through again. There were so many great gifts for quilters and kids too. For all these reasons, Tiger is my new favourite non-fabric shop!

Here's the shop details in Cambridge

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Cambridge with Rosie

Rosie on the bridge near Clare College in Cambridge
 We went to Cambridge on Tuesday. Rosie had an interview.
punters on the river Cam
 Cambridge is such a beautiful city and it was full of kids being escorted by one of their parents. Everyone either nervous or relieved depending on whether it was before or after the interview.
on the way to Clare College
Rosie had a late morning interview so we had a lovely lunch afterwards and a fun wander about the city.

Friday, 6 December 2013

Air Threading Overlocker

 JUKI has just come out with a new air thread overlocker called the MO-1000. I've always been scared away from overlockers because of the threading. Unless the sewing machine guy came home with the machine, there was no way that I was going to be able to get it threaded!

Juki's new air threading overlocker
 This new model practically threads itself!! Although mainly used for sewing clothes or soft furnishings, I've recently used it to finish off the edges of a quilt to get it ready for the binding.

Juki MO-1000 stitches
 These new MO-1000 overlockers have just arrived in the UK. 
If you'd like to give them a try
 ring Laurence at Franklin's 
01206 574758
Trade in the one you have 
that you can't thread
for one that you can 
and get a great discount!

Amazingly easy to thread!

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

December Superior Threads orders

We'll box your Superior Threads for the perfect present

 I'm putting the December Superior Threads order in early so the threads will ready to give and use for Christmas presents. Please email or ring Martha this week. The December Superior Threads order goes off this Friday afternoon.

Superior Threads make great Christmas presents for quilters
Ring: 01526 378057

Superior Threads make lovely Christmas presents too!

Call Martha for advice. I'll help you choose threads that will keep the quilter in your life happy for months! And if she she wants to swap for other colours or ranges, she can! No worries. Call or email before Friday to avoid disappointment.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Paris Quilts

Rosie and Ellie are going to Paris on a school trip with their awesome Music department. So I've been making some Paris and Music themed quilts to raffle off as a fundraiser.  

Rosie with her Music Cup at the Awards Ceremony
Here's some of the kids in the group on the night of their Awards Evening.

Music Department  2013 award winners 
 The 'Guitar Stripy' is pieced and quilted. The Pink Paris Stripy is on hold while I do a version of this quilt that I found on pinterest. I'm calling it 'Eiffel Tower Flower Power'

by uniquelynancy, Connecticut, USA via Etsy
I love the bright bold colours. So I incorporated these Eiffel Tower prints from Michael Miller with large bright floral prints from my stash. I bought some stripes and a charm pack of Bella Plains.

piecing my version 'Eiffel Tower Flower Power'
My husband commented that"it's like a migraine that goes on and on!" But my girls like it and I think it's the perfect remedy for these bleak mid winter days. This Juki Exceed is such a pleasure to piece with. The industrial style Box Feeding System really helps me match my seams.

on the Juki Exceed 600

Friday, 22 November 2013

Game Changer

Guitar Stripy quilt loaded on the New English Quilter frame
A machine quilting frame is a game changer. It makes more difference than any other quilting tool.You could spend £5,000 on the ultra super totally top-of-the-line sewing machine and you would still have the pain in the neck of dragging your quilt under the arm of your sewing machine. You would still need to baste, pin, tack or spray glue the layers of your quilt together first.And you would still be working backwards as you move the 'paper' (your quilt) instead of the pencil (your needle).

NEQ2 free-motion machine quilting detail
Our machine quilting frames change all that!
  • Machine quilting frames perfectly tension all the layers of your quilt. So you never have to baste, pin, tack or glue again. Not ever!
  • Your sewing machine sits on a carriage that rides on a set of tracks. This enables you to glide your sewing machine effortlessly over the top of your quilt. It's like magic!
  • Your perfectly tensioned quilt layers become the paper, held still and steady by the frame.  The needle becomes the pencil as it glides over the quilt top. Now you are working the right way round.  You can draw beautiful and flowing lines with thread because you're doodling just the way you always have holding the paper still and moving the pencil.
Our New English Quilter frames make machine quilting fast and fun
When you put all this together, our New English Quilter frames transform quilting from a tiresome pain-in-the-neck chore to something fun, fast, efficient and enjoyable. With a New English Quilter frame you can go from stacks of fabric to finished quilts in a matter of hours!

I'm using Magnifico machine quilting thread from Superior Threads
Magnifico is a new range of threads from Superior Threads.It's gorgeous light reflecting fibres have tensile strength so it runs beautifully through sewing machines and long arms too.

I'm machine quilting with a straight stitch sewing machine from JUKI

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

On-line Fabric Shops

Michael Miller's Eiffel Tower fabric from
 Customers often ask me where I get my quilting fabric. Because I live in the back of beyond in Lincolnshire, I go online. I just discovered an online shop that's become my new absolute favourite It's called  The fabric selection is huge, the prices are low and the shipping over 'the pond' is fast, really fast!

Music themed fabric for the Paris Quilts from
My daughters Rosie and Ellie are going to Paris on a school trip with the Music and Drama department. So we decided that it would be fun to make some Paris quilts to raffle off to raise money for the trip. I'm designing the quilts to appeal to the High School and University aged students. I went looking for Paris and music themed fabrics to remind them of the Paris trip and I was thrilled to find these!

The prices were brilliant! And the service fast! When the fabric arrived 4 days after I ordered it, some yardage was LONGER than I'd paid for and I noticed this sticker. If it's the end of the bolt they give you the extra fabric for free! That makes me all happy inside!

musical fabric from
These pianos came from a UK based site called  It's based in Birmingham and their service was also fast and efficient. The Cocoland Cat fabrics came from a Japanese site called Kawaii Meow. Once again I was impressed with how quickly the parcel arrived and everything was cute! The mail bag was pink polka dots and care had been taken to do everything well. This gal has 174 cat fabric in her etsy shop!! Now that I've got the fabric sorted the quilts will follow on soon.

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Autumn Threads

#850 Treasure Chest from the Rainbows range of Superior Threads
 These gorgeous machine quilting threads from Superior Threads capture the autumnal beauty!
Detail of the King Tut Color Card 1st set of 50 colours
After the leaves fall, you'll still have lines of colour to draw on your quilts. I'm putting the November order through next Wednesday 13 November. So email or ring with any thread orders so I'll be sure to have what you need in stock for Autumn and Christmas projects.
#943 Nile Crocodile fron the King Tut range of Superior Threads
ring Martha: 01526 378057

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Beyond Straight Line Quilting

Terri Tester showing me her amazing sampler quilt
I love it when my customers bring quilts to show me! Terri came last Thursday to collect her 8 foot frame, speed control Nifty Grip handles and the new upgraded purpose built table. Terri brought this little beauty to show me. It's a sampler quilt project that's absolutely gorgeous! And a stunning example of the modern straight line quilting that keeps popping up in my posts.

a sampler quilt by Terri Tester - detail
 I was particularly struck by the how well the colours worked in this quilt.

Terri Tester sampler - machine quilting detail
I like how the bright red sings through the the low contrast of the greys and whites.

Terri Tester's sampler
This quilt so demonstrates Terri's mastery of the straight line quilting technique! 

I liked this modern block
But Terri, like many of the other modern quilters that I've come across in the past weeks, is eager to move on and explore other line designs. 

Terri brought another unfinished top that she'll be machine quilting on her new 8 foot New English Quilter frame. In the beginning of the year, Terri emailed me to say that this was going to be the 'year of the quilt frame'! She had gone as far as she could go with machine quilting sitting at the sewing machine and Terri was ready for a new tool that she could use to take her machine quilting to a new level. The 8 foot New English Quilter frame will give Terri the capacity to quilt far more than straight lines. I can't wait to see what Terri does next!

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Brownie Points

Derek and Marge came up from Surrey
When they're not backpacking in Asia and Africa, Derek and Marge are busy renovating their Victorian home. Marge fell in love with our New English Quilter frame when she saw it last year at the 2012 Festival of Quilts. This year she had another look and placed the order. We created a custom 9 foot 10 inch frame for Marge so she could take advantage of every bit of space in her new sewing room. I'm so looking forward to the photos! Derek enjoyed the home made brownies so here's the recipe. I think he earned some 'brownie points' for all that travelling!

Things you'll need
Brownies are an American favourite. But we Americans usually make them from a box! This recipe is from my English husband's father. They're made from scratch but really easy and only use one pan. I think that they taste just as good as the box! So here's an American favourite made in the UK.

Milne Family Brownie Recipe

 Melt a half a slab of butter in a sauce pan over low heat.

Take the pan off the heat then add 1/2 cup of cocoa powder

 Stir together with a wooden spoon.

Add one cup of sugar and one teaspoon of vanilla. If you don't  have the 'proper' measuring cups, don't panic, just use a tea cup and guess. This isn't a fussy recipe!

Add 2 eggs one at a time and mix with a wooden spoon

Add 3/4 cup of self rising flour and stir together

Put into a greased 8 X 8 pan and bake at 200 c for about 15 minutes. 
For best results the brownies should be slightly underdone.

Cool and slice into 12 or 16 squares. Enjoy!