Tuesday, 27 August 2013

New Shop!

Our new Machine Quilter has gone live! Go have a look at shop.machinequilter.co.uk

We feature the New English Quilter, the La Mer DVD, and Superior Threads, with much more on there and coming soon!

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Happy Birthday Terri!

Terri with the New English Quilter frame

Terri's been waiting a long time to get her hands on a New English Quilter! She found us while she was searching for quilting frames on the internet. Terri's a relatively new quilter who loves fresh modern quilts and is currently taking her City and Guilds for Patchwork and Quilting. Terri's also a founding member of the Brighton and Hove Modern Quilt Guild.

Terri and Jackie having a fun day out

Terri's been wanting a frame for a couple of years. Several months ago Terri told me that this was going to be her year - the 'Year of the Frame'. She ordered a copy of our La Mer DVD back in October of last year. She loved it! The DVD gave Terri the opportunity to see the frame in action. She knew that our New English Quilter would enable her to accomplish all that she was dreaming about. Yesterday was Terri's birthday so she arranged to come for a free demo with her best friend Jackie.

Terri choosing threads to go with her fresh modern quilt

We had a lovely afternoon visit with tea and flapjacks.There was plenty of time for Terri and Jackie to ask all the questions they could think of. We took the frame apart and put it back together. We showed how to load the various layers of the quilt sandwich on the frame. Terri and Jackie stitched lots of different patterns and line designs on our practice piece with lots of different threads.Terri was delighted! She decided to order an 8 foot frame, table and a set of speed control handles called Nifty Grips to fit her sewing machine.

Magnifico for the top and Bottom Line for the bobbin thread
We put together a special 'Birthday' Goodie Bag for Terri with 100/16 Titanium coated Topstitch needles, several cones of threads designed for machine quilting from the various Superior Threads ranges, Real Thread Colour Cards to make it easy to order threads that perfectly match Terri's projects and a New English Quilter Handbook Disc. The NEQ Handbook disc is a computer friendly Green version of our original handbook, full of photos and clear directions and tips to get your machine quilting on a frame off to a successful start. The Goodie Bag comes free with the NEQ Frame. We want our customers to get off to a good start with the right information and materials. We like to make the Goodie Bags personal too so Terri choose some cones from various thread ranges in her favourite colours.

When it came time to put down the deposit, Terri whipped out this gorgeous little red bag that she's been using to keep her money that she's been saving up. She paid cash! Terri and Jackie will come to collect her NEQ frame,Table and Nifty Grips when it's ready next month  so they can take advantage of the free workshop that we offer to people who come to collect their frames. We'll have another lovely session and Terri will go home confident and inspired and ready to roll! Happy Birthday Terri!! It's going to be a great year!

Sunday, 18 August 2013

A Fine Line

machine quilting detail of Stephanie Pettengell's 3D cube

I got to know Stephanie at our Machine Quilting Retreat last January. It was a great group of girls. We all had a wonderful time, laughed a lot and learned so much from each other. People from the group have been keeping up with each other ever since. Stephanie rang a few months ago looking for some threads that would show up against black. She went for Kimono Silk in the end. I was thrilled to get to see the completed projects at the Festival of Quilts last week! 

Stephanie and Martha at the Festival of Quilts 2013

Stephanie belongs to a Textile group called New Horizons and they were invited to exhibit in their very own gallery at this years Festival of Quilts.

Stephanie with her cube in front of her Profiles quilt

The combination of the fine line and the vivid gold colour of the silk was so effective in this project. The New Horizon group members created cubes to give 3D interest to the gallery for visitors. Stephanie created six different circular designs free-motion quilting intricate feathers sitting at the sewing machine.The Kimono Silk threads were just perfect!

exquisite quilting - one face of Stephanie's cube
However, I think that Stephanie's Profile wall hanging generated the most interest! I'll let Stephanie tell you the story in her own words:

"As a member of The New Horizons Textile Group, with the theme of ‘Now We Are Twenty’ I designed the wallhanging ‘Profiles’ for our gallery at the Festival of Quilts 2013. My design was based on the fact that we often have to write a ‘profile’ of ourselves when we show our work. Looking further into the visible profile of a person I wondered how each of us came to think of a theme for our next exhibiting work and how our brains developed our ideas. I wanted the finished piece to make people look more than once,  as I love quilts where you look once and then look again and find more to see. To do this, as well as quilting the discharged visible ‘heads’ I also quilted ‘heads’ in the background among the whirling feathers. Hopefully this invites viewers to step in to see more of the design as the background is textural at first but the more you look the more detail you can see. To achieve this you need a fine thread with a fine needle, I used black kimono silk thread with a small needle to stitch on the black fabric."

This was such a fascinating piece. The stitching was amazing! When I took a closer look to admire the quilting I started to notice the other heads quilted in relief. Wow! This quilt drew me in and got me thinking!

quilting detail of Stephanie Pettengell's Profiles

You can order Kimono Silk threads from our New online shop as well as all the other ranges of Superior Threads. We are the original UK Superior Threads distributors servicing the UK and Europe.

Friday, 16 August 2013

Back Story

 It was the Big One that caught their eye as they were leaving the Festival of Quilts on Sunday afternoon.

They all tried the new JUKI long arm and then moved to the back to try out the smaller New English Quilter frame with the JUKI TL98P sewing machine. They were surprised to get the same freedom of movement. I enjoyed seeing all these young people around the frame.

This guy's mum has a haberdashery shop. He was thinking what fun it would be to have one at the shop. It was definitely worth a call home. There were quite a few quilt shop owners who also realised the advantages of having a quilting frame like this in the shop.

"Hey mum, can I buy one?"

The girl in the back on the left is a young quilter. She just loved trying the frame! You can see her thinking about all the quilts she could finish if she had one of these frames.

This guy is a textile teacher at a Birmingham High School. As he tried the New English Quilter frame he was excited by the potential benefits the frame offered for his textile students. He loved the TL98P sewing machine too. It was exactly the kind of sewing machine he'd been looking for to use with Textile students.

Rosie on the 6 foot New English Quilter frame
It was fun to see all the different ways these young people could  imagine using the New English Quilter frame. They got it! They realized that the frame was a tool and could be used in a variety of ways. It was so satisfying talking with these young people. They left the show very inspired and excited. These kind of interactions make me glad that we were there!

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Photo Finish

Martha getting the 6 foot New English Quilter frame ready to roll
Here are some shots from Sunday, the last day of the show. This was our busiest show ever! Every other year we managed to slip away to buy fabric and wander a bit through the exhibition quilts. But this year we were too busy!

Variegated Rainbow threads from Superior Threads
 The one-inch-colour-change variegated threads from the Rainbows range of Superior Threads make such pretty lines!

Rosie on the 6 foot New English Quilter frame
 Rosie was practising some new line designs before the Show opened.

Emily on the Quilt Virtuoso Pro JUKI Long Arm
 It was really nice having the two frames near each other. Everyone had such fun with the new JUKI QVP long arm. But if it was just too big or too expensive they could try the smaller New English Quilter frame with the JUKI TL98P sewing machine. This smaller frame is easy to set up and take down, so it's versatile. Our New English Quilter frames are an American idea that's been adapted to fit into our English homes. Our smaller frames offer the same freedom of movement but on a smaller more affordable scale.

Trying the New English Quilter under Rosie's watchful eye
 This mother and daughter really enjoyed trying both!
Trying the JUKI Long Arm under Emily's watchful eye
So did these young men! They came to the show because one of the guy's mother had a haberdashery shop. His friend who teaches Textiles in a Birmingham High School was not really looking forward to the outing...until he got here. The Festival of Quilts really amazed and inspired him. We had a great conversation about the frame's potential.

I love this picture. It tells a great story. I'll fill you in tomorrow...

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Star of the Show

Ikuko tries the new Juki QVP long arm while Emily smiles
I'd have to say that for us, the star of this year's Festival of Quilts show was the new JUKI QVP long arm.

Emily with an excited quilter
Thursday was the opening day as JUKI QVP long arm machine
was demonstrated in Europe for the first time.
People trying it just couldn't help smiling.

Laurence Franklin (on the left) the UK Distributor for JUKI sewing machines
This JUKI Long Arm is so very popular in America that Laurence Franklin, our JUKI distributor here in the UK, decided to bring it to the Festival of Quilts this summer.

JUKI business leaders from central Europe flew over to have a look and give it a try.

Chris, part of our film production crew, has a go
 We all did! It was hard to resist and even people who weren't quilters wanted to see what the JUKI QVP long arm would do.

some nice stitching as Emily runs the JUKI QVP through it's paces
We've been waiting a long time for JUKI to bring out a long arm sewing machine. This new JUKI QVP was worth the wait!

My turn on the JUKI Quilt Virtuoso Pro

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

10 Years at the Festival

We're getting ready for the Festival of Quilts 2013. We've been going to this Birmingham Quilt Show since the very first event in 2003. As an American living here in the UK, I'd been frustrated by how long it took the exciting new American quilting products to get 'across the Pond'. We wanted English quilters to have access to the new stuff while it was still new! That's why we stared The Machine Quilter Company Ltd. We wanted to bring American innovations in machine quilting to the English quilter.

SuperQuilter frame 2003
10 years ago we brought the very first 'table top' machine quilting frame to the UK from Canada. It was called the SuperQuilter. For the first time quilters were able to use ordinary domestic sewing machines like a long arm for a fraction of the cost.

The following year we began importing machine quilting threads from a new American company called Superior Threads. We needed the right sort of threads to use on the frames, threads that wouldn't shred and fray. They were brilliant! We were thrilled and we've been distributing Superior Threads here in the UK ever since. As soon as the new thread ranges come out in the States we have them available here!

In 2005 we began working with JUKI sewing machines. Juki TL98 sewing machines were the American favourite and Franklin's offered the  JUKI TL98P here in the UK to meet the need for a longer armed domestic machine that was ideal for the machine quilting frames.

In 2007 we created the New English Quilter, the very first Machine Quilting frame made in the UK. We took all the best features of the Stateside frames added a few of our own. We employed the British genius for design and adapted an American idea to fit into European homes. We've gone on to develop accessories like made-to-measure tables and ergonomic Nifty Grip speed control handles.

The New English Quilter frame
Then we began to develop the educational arm of the company with demonstrations, workshops and retreats. We wanted people with machine quilting frames to have the training and support they needed to become more confident machine quilters.

a film shoot
This year we are thrilled to have the NEW JUKI Long Arm the  QVP2200. American's have been raving about this machine since it came out earlier this year. Now it's our turn!!! Come see us at stand  A36 B36-38.

New Juki Long Arm!Quilt Virtuoso Pro 2200

It's been a great 10 years!