Friday, 26 July 2013

Made to Measure

Our workshops are 'made to measure'. We like to keep them personal. Every workshop is different because they're designed to please each person who comes. Judith bought one of our original New English Quilter frames a few years ago. She completed quite a few smaller projects like table runners, pillows and smaller lap quilts. But she was daunted by a larger sized quilt that she'd lovingly pieced. She was afraid of spoiling a top that she really cared about. So she rang and asked for some help.

I suggested that we book a workshop for a couple of days. Judith lives 5 minutes away in the next village so I came to her. This bright sunny spot at the top of her stairs is just the right setting for her New English Quilter frame. Judith designed the quilt to go in her bedroom. She chose a pale yellow fleece for the backing.

For the top Judith chose a thread from Superior Threads' Rainbow range called Opal # 808. The pastel colours looked so pretty over the chintz-like fabrics.

We chose cream coloured pre-wound bobbins in Bottom  Line #620 which blended beautifully with the fleece.We changed the needle to a 100/16 Titanium coated Topstitch needle and we were ready to start.

Judith was practising the scalloped mussel shell design for an overall pattern on paper first, then it was easy to draw the pattern with the thread. She wanted to create a subtle texture, something that would cross the pieced lines and hold the quilt together visually.

Judith loved learning a new line design. By the end of the quilt, Judith was really good at this pattern!  We took the quilt off the frame and threw it on the bed just to see the way the light fell across the raised 'negative space' created by the quilted lines. It looked beautiful.  It's just wonderful when a plan comes together. I'll post a picture of it on the bed once the binding is on. Now Judith plans to do the same scalloped mussel shell pattern on a red, cream and blue quilt for her daughter Cathy to take to University. She can't wait to see how the pattern will look in a different colour- way.

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Show Threads

We're in the same place this year stand A46 B36-38
 The Festival of Quilts will be here before we know it. I'll be putting a big Superior Threads order through on  Friday for the Show. Many people have placed orders to be collected at the show. If you'd like to collect your pre-ordered threads at the Festival of Quilts send me an email or give me a ring before 9 pm on Friday.I'll have your threads bagged and ready to collect at our stand.

Gorgeous and strong light reflecting tri-lobal polyester £9.99 for 3,000 yds
There are 4 new ranges from Superior Threads 
designed particularly for Long Arm quilters.
So Fine #40 - just like the original but variegated and a bit thicker so it shows £15.95
Magnifico - a gorgeous and strong light reflecting tri-lobal polyester in 200 plain colours £9.99
Fantastico - just like Magnifico but variegated! £11.99                  
OMNI - poly wrapped poly core in clean bright colours £10.99

You can try the new threads on our machine quilting frames
We're all very excited about the new Juki 18 X 10 inch long arm the Quilt Virtuoso Pro. The sewing machine guys ran it through it's paces yesterday and were very impressed. Emily and I can't wait to try it ourselves. If you're looking for a long arm this is going to be the machine to try this year.We'll have our more affordable machine quilting frames that fit everyone's homes and pockets too.

See you at the Show! We're working with JUKI UK in the same place as last year 
stand A46 B36-38 that's all the way on the right as you walk through the quilt exhibitions facing the back of the Halls.

Call or email Martha
01526 378057

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Happy Birthday Anne

Anne Smithies
Happy Birthday Anne! A couple of years ago Anne was our resident art quilter at our spring and summer machine quilting retreats.
detail of Anne's 'mad bird'
 She is quirky and fun and taught us how to machine quilt birds...

Anne showing her beach hut technique
and beach huts

Anne trying out the Art Quilter frame at our summer Retreat
Anne loved our Art Quilter frame because she could set it up like an easel.

a felted scene from one of Anne's workshops
Anne has many talents besides art quilting. She felts and works with glass and paints and draws and nurtures other artists.

Chapel Gallery in Hawes, North Yorkshire
Anne's family stumbled upon this renovated Methodist Chapel in North Yorkshire and realized that it was the perfect platform for all her many interests. It was a great spot for her family too!

Chapel Gallery an artist's haven and more!
 Well Anne emailed the other day. She had a commission for a large quilt and needed an upgrade to extend her existing frame. So we sent her an upgrade and it arrived today, just in time for her birthday! Happy Birthday Anne! You've had quite an exciting year.

Follow the links below to catch up with Anne and 
checkout the neat workshops and exhibitions at Chapel Gallery: 

Mad Bird

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Juki Long Arm!!

JUKI TL-2200 Quilt Virtuoso Pro

The JUKI Long Arm is coming to the UK this summer! The Quilt Virtuoso Pro has been getting rave reviews from American quilters. Now it's on the way to the UK so we can try it out at the Festival of Quilts next month. Yippee! Hooray! Come visit the JUKI stand at the Festival of Quilts. We're in the same place as last year Stand A36 B36-38. The Festival of Quilts is early this summer running from Thursday 8 August through Sunday 11 August. Come visit us for a test drive. I'm so excited I can't wait.

JUKI QVP side view

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Baby May and Andy Murray

Baby May with Emily and Angela
Baby May's Baptism was today. Here she is with Emily and her mom Angela. What a cutie!

Baby May on her new Star of the Sea quilt
We put her on her Star of the Sea quilt for a final photo.

Look she likes it!
And she gave us a big smile!

gorgeous lace and tiny toes
Afterwards we came home to strawberries and Pimms and the Wimbledon men's tennis final. My husband was ecstatic as for the first time in 77 years a British player won the Wimbledon men's tennis championship!  

England wins the Wimbledon men's final
 Hurray for Andy Murray!!

Andy Murray wins Wimbledon 

Friday, 5 July 2013

Binding Issues

stitching the binding with the JUKI Exceed 600

I'm directionally challenged. I mix up my left and right. It's only been made worse by living for the last 25 years in a country that does many things the other way round. Anyway, this usually trips me up when I'm sewing the binding. It's the last diagonal join where I'm machine stitching the binding down on the quilt top. I like the diagonal join as it spreads out the fabric and makes a nice neat finish. But I almost always struggle with this particular step of the binding process. I get the fabric ends turned the wrong way around and have to unpick it and try again. 

JUKI Exceed 600 sewing on the binding

A while ago I found a double fold binding tutorial from Megan at Canoe Ridge Creations and saved it on my pinterest board. I tried it today and my diagonal join came together perfectly, the very first time. If you're looking for a brilliant binding tutorial for the directionally challenged here it is!

Bottom Line #634 Baby Blue perfect for hand sewing the binding

When it comes to hand stitching the binding Bottom Line thread from Superior Threads is a good choice. Bottom Line was created as a bobbin thread. It's a fine thread that practically disappears and with 55 colours to choose from it's easy to match your fabric. It makes your stitching look great, because no one can see it! The other feature that I like is that Bottom Line won't tangle and knot up. Sometimes when I'm sewing the binding down the thread knots and I have to stop and cut out the knot and start again. I never have that problem when I'm using Bottom Line thread.

binding on the Star of the Sea Quilt
The binding came together so quickly this time! I'm happy that it's all ready ahead of time for baby May.

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Happy 4th of July

Juki TL98 P on the 6 foot Art Quilter frame
Ever notice that red, white and blue works on both sides of 'the pond'. My guess is that the colonial Americans were too fond of the colours to change. Whenever I use red white and blue I'm pleasing the English and American members of our household. I appreciate the Anglo-American mix in our family.Our children get the best of both! 

We've tried to maximize the benefits of both sides of 'the pond' in our quilting frames too. We're keen to make American innovations in machine quilting more accessible to the English quilter. We've taken an American idea and adapted it to fit in our English homes. Our New English Quilter frames are where American practicality and service meet the genius of British design. We think that we offer the best of both!

red white ad blue bunting FMQ sampler
But don't take our word for it. Come visit our stand at the Festival of Quilts this August in Birmingham at the NEC. You'll find us at the same place as last year stand A 46 B36-38. You'll be able to see and try JUKI sewing machines on our New English Quilter and Art Quilter frames. We'll have a great selection of Superior Threads available too.

a selection of red, white and blue threads from Superior Threads
Come and see classic British design and experience quality American service. Our frames are made in the UK. So we're right here when you need us. We offer ongoing training and support for all our customers.Our UK based demonstrations, workshops, retreats and online support will make sure that you get the most out of your quilting frame.

scalloped mussel shell filler - machine quilting detail
Stop by for a visit and we'll show you how to do this fun filler at the show. Stand A46 B36-38