Friday, 22 March 2013

Lalla Ward's Vanishing Act

has a new exhibition coming up at the National Theatre called Vanishing Act
It's staged as an encore applauding
Lalla's penchant for flora, fauna and fibre so admired in her previous exhibitions

Lalla's exquisitely stitched textile pieces capture the amazing ability of many animals, reptiles, amphibians and insects to blend in with their natural environments.

It's a clever idea, brilliantly executed. 
moth by Lalla Ward  rests on artisan bowl by Nick Kettlewell
The camouflage theme plays out across a wide variety of materials ranging
from hand turned wooden bowls to meticulously stitched moths

Lalla with her sketch book

Lalla's work has a curious impact on the viewer.
It draws you in as you look ...again and again... to find
what's hidden in plain sight

Viewers often ask Lalla how she creates her pieces. So as a new feature of the exhibition, Lalla will stage a mini-mock-up of her work space, offering a behind the scenes glimpse of  the tools, materials and techniques that she uses to stitch the pieces.


Vanishing Act
by textile artist Lalla Ward
on show at the National Theatre
April 1st through May 12th
Be sure to catch it before it disappears!

Lalla's textile art work was stitched using a
JUKI straight stitch TL98P sewing machine 
with a wide variety of Superior Threads. You can see them on display 
at the National Theatre through out the exhibition. 
The Vanishing Act exhibition is Free! 

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Never heard of it

South Oxford at Sunset
Yesterday, Helen came to visit from Oxford. She'd been visiting the machinequilter website for years and decided that it was time to come and have a look for herself. I so enjoyed meeting Helen. Chatting over coffee, we found much in common. We'd lived in similar parts of the UK and even had children the same ages. Helen likes to make smaller quilts, especially to give away as gifts so she was keen on our smaller Art Quilter frames. She's in-between-houses at the moment and is stopping off in Oxford en route to the Cotswolds. With most of her sewing supplies in boxes, Helen's been strip piecing projects and with extra time on her hands she wanted to do more quilting.

As we explored her options we thought that the 4 foot Art Quilter would be perfect for now. The 4 foot Art Quilter frame is just the right size to fit in the smaller house. Yet it performs the same as the larger frames. Once loaded on the frame, each layer of the quilt is perfectly tensioned, so there are no rucks or wrinkles. The frame creates a perfectly tensioned steady surface, leaving the quilter free to focus on the quilting. 

4 foot Art Quilter frame and Juki TL98 P
Helen was particularly impressed with the free and easy movement of the carriage. This is the one feature of the frame that you just can't get from a distance. I love the  reaction that people have when they move the carriage for the first time. Helen was astonished. She'd no idea that the carriage would move so smoothly. She immediately realized the effect that this ease of movement would have on her free-motion-quilting. After taking the frame and table apart and then putting them back together, which just takes 5 minutes. We moved on the the sewing machine. 

notice all the space under the Juki TL98P arm
When I mentioned the name JUKI, Helen said that she'd never heard of it. Lots of people say that. But when I showed Helen the features that make the Juki TL98P the ideal sewing machine to use on a frame she was convinced.

  1. The JUKI TL98 P arm is wider AND taller. The height is just as important as the width when you have a fabric pole under the arm of the machine.
  2. The JUKI TL98 P goes 1500 stitches per minute, easily without straining because it's a semi-industrial machine on the inside. The industrial speed gives you a lovely line of stitching. The industrial power stitches through multiple layers easily. It looks glam on the outside but it's a workshorse on the inside.
  3. The JUKI TL98 P only does a straight stitch so it's simple and therefore easy to tension. All the whistles and bells get in the way. A straight stitch is the only stitch we need on a frame and the JUKI TL98 P does a straight stitch perfectly.
  4. The JUKI TL98 P offers all these features in one sewing machine. Many other sewing machines offer one or more of these features. Some are longer but not taller. Some are longer but sew much slower. Most sewing machines are much too complicated and do far too many stitches to be happy while dancing around on a frame carriage. The JUKI TL98 P gives you the space, the speed and the simplicity that are the absolute essential features for a sewing machine to use on a quilting frame.
Well, it was a great day! It was such fun for me to meet Helen. And it was fun for Helen to try out the Art Quilter frame with the Juki TL 98P sewing machine. It was fun sharing all my quilts and drawing out the line designs that would be good for starting out. Helen left happy, excited and inspired. 

Demo's are fun and free. So if you've been drooling over the website for years, like Helen. Ring me for a demo and come and see for yourself. The coffee is good too!
01526 378057

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Going for a song

Emily, Jill, Martha and Rose at the Houston Quilt Festival
I've got a Stateside 6 foot Art Quilter frame going for a song. We used the frames at the big Houston Quilt show last year. They've been resting  in storage and are in great shape. But now I'd like to get them to a good home. The 8 foot NEQ2 frame has already gone to Lou Ann in Washington State. It just arrived on Saturday and she's delighted! She's already got it set up and ready to go. Look how happy it is to be out of the box!

Lou Ann's 8 foot NEQ2 all set up
 I love the table. At 8 foot by 4 foot, Lou Ann can use the other side for cutting. What a great use of space!

Now we need to find a good home for the 6 foot Art Quilter. This frame is the perfect size for smaller baby, kiddie and single bed quilts. It's perfect for charity quilts too and it's ideal for the textile artist. 

The 6 foot Art Quilter - perfect for smaller quilts
6 foot Art Quilter for $999 + shipping  
(usually $1699 USDollars)

If you're interested email me quick!

Thursday, 14 March 2013


Fantastico may just be my new favourite thread. 

I do love the Magnifico. But variegated threads are so fun to machine quilt with.  So when I found out that Superior Threads were bringing out a variegated version of Magnifico and calling it Fantastico - well I was excited. Fantastico has all the strength and beauty of Magnifico but it's variegated! This thread is so NEW that there are only a few colours currently available. Use the American Superior Threads site as a shop window to see this newest range of Fantastico thread. 

Available now in the UK £11.99 for 2,000 yds.
Fantastic Thread! Fantastic price!
email or ring to order
01526 378057

This month's Superior Threads order goes in
Monday afternoon March 18th
email or ring to let me know what you want.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Denim and Roses

The new Magnifico range from Superior Threads
Lots of requests are coming in  for thread to go with denim. So I'm posting about the new Magnifico range from Superior Threads. With 200 colours to choose from, you're bound to find just the right shade of blue to go with your jeans.

Denim Blues in Magnifico from Superior Threads

Magnifico is a new Trilobal polyester range from Superior Threads. It glows like silk. It's strong and long with 3,000 yards on the cone. The strength and beauty make it an ideal choice for long arm quilters. 

just a few of the blues

This premium high tenacity Magnifico thread is a real break-through. Before we had to choose between strength and beauty. We could have one OR the other. If we choose pretty threads they were likely to break going high speed through the quilting machines. Then there were the stronger threads that coped with the speed but they were a bit boring. Now we can have both!

some pinks in the Magnifico range
 We've got the beauty of the rose and the strength of denim all in one glorious thread. The price is glorious too just £9.99 for a 3,000 yd cone. That's a lot of thread for your money!

the Magnifico real thrad colour booklet helps you choose just the right colour

Not keen on blue and pink? No problem! With 200 colours to choose from you're bound to find just the colour you need. The Magnifico real thread colour shade booklet is available here in the UK for £9.99. The real thread colour cards help you match the thread to your fabrics perfectly. So you can order thread by phone or online and be confident that you've got the right colour. I'm sending the next order on Monday afternoon March 18th. If you want something particular let me know by phone or email and I'll include you on my list.
01526 378057

Sunday, 10 March 2013

April Retreat

Spring comes to Woodhall Spa
Spring into spring with our April Machine Quilting Retreat at the Petwood Hotel. The Petwood is such a popular venue especially in the Spring and Summer months, that we've struggled to book retreat dates. When they said that Sunday and Monday nights were much more  available we decided to change our days to go around the corner of the weekend. This April 2012 Retreat will start on Sunday and finish on Tuesday. Monday will be our main teaching day, with Sunday for arrivals and getting acquainted and Tuesday morning for winding things up. We've also got a larger room with a bit more space to spread out. It's a way to make new friends and learn new skills.

Our retreats attract a wide variety of people. Some are just beginning to machine quilt on a frame, others are more experienced. Some are traditional and some are edgy and Arty. Put them all together and great things happen. We'll be introducing new line designs and teaching you how to extend and adapt designs you already know.We'll focus on frame fluency to gain confidence creating a bold and flowing line of stitching. It's just fun to get away form it all and make new friends while learning new skills.

We already have a few bookings, email or ring with any questions.
01526 678057

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Behind the scenes

Nick setting up the camera
We've been busy working on  a new project these past several weeks.  JUKI Europe has commissioned us to produce a series of short video clips that showcase JUKI sewing machines.  Here are a few sneak peeks behind the scenes at our recent filming sessions.

Nick Loven and Judi Walker
 It's been such an exciting project. We're using women of different ages, speaking different languages, using JUKI sewing machines in real homes to create all sort of different projects ranging from piecing to dressmaking, from general sewing to making cushions and curtains.

Judi showing how easy it is to make professional buttonholes
 Multi-talented Judi Walker is showing us button holes she's just made with the JUKI Exceed button hole attachment.

Nick and Emily setting us some close up shots

The Juki Exceed 600 has been quite the star of the show. we've been highlighting all the amazing features. We wanted to show the machines in real life home settings. This session was filmed in our dining room.

Hiroko, Judi and Martha

It's been exciting to bring so many different people together around a common theme. Soon you'll be able to view our video clips on JUKI websites throughout Europe.

Nick and Emily getting more close ups of the JUKI Exceed 600