Friday, 15 August 2014

What a difference a year makes!

machine quilting detail of Siobhan Toner's Ice-cream Parlour quilt

We met Shevvy at the 2013 Festival of Quilts. She'd been wanting a frame for a while but felt that she ought to put it on hold while she finished a degree course. Siobhan's part of the London Modern Quilt Guild.She loves the fresh, no fuss modern approach but she was ready to go beyond straight line quilting. We convinced her to go for the 'both and' option. So she used her new machine quilting frame to sweeten the hard work of the degree course. Sometimes a little bit of what makes your heart sing, goes a long way towards helping you do what you ought to.

Siobhan came to collect her 6 foot Art Quilter and got a free workshop

So Shevvy put a deposit on her 6 foot Art Quilter frame at the show. Then came to collect in in September and got a free workshop. We tried out some line designs on the frame, dismantled it and put it back together. We demonstrated how to lead a quilt on the frame and roll it on. We played with sewing machine tension and looked at lots and lots of quilts. We packed the frame easily in her car and Shevvy left happy, confident and ready to roll when she got back to her London flat.
Siobhan's Ice Cream Parlour on display at the 2014 Festival of Quilts
 This year at the Show this gorgeous quilt caught my eye at the London Modern Quilt Guild Exhibition. I looked more closely and it was Shevvy's!! WOW! I was so impressed!

I loved the colour wash effect with the monochromatic plain fabrics. Here's Shevvy's quilt on her 6 foot Art Quilter frame. She's just begun feathering the border.

doodling feathers on the Art Quilter frame
 But my favourite part was how Siobhan used the blocks to doodle different designs, almost like a free-motion machine quilting sampler.

Siobhan used the blocks as a machine quilting sampler
The texture is just fantastic! And I enjoyed the playful way she executed the designs. I was thrilled to see what Shevvy has accomplished in just one year! I wonder what she'll do next? Follow the link Shevvy's blog to find out about how Shevvy created this quilt.

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Why men like our frames

As you might guess, the Festival of Quilts is overwhelmingly a women's event. So it is fun to see how the occasional man reacts to our New English Quilter frame. Men tend to stand in the background with their arms across their chests quietly watching. They watch as the ladies glide the sewing machine across the quilt top. They see it move 'just like a jigsaw'. Men notice the quality of design.

Men are impressed with the beauty of the ratchets and the durability of the wood finish. They appreciate the thought that has gone into all the frame features that make it easy for women to use and put together and take apart. They recognize that it's built to last a lifetime. And to be honest, they're just glad it's not more fabric!

I wish my husband said this!
This year we noticed a man who kept coming back. Later in the day he brought his wife over to the stand and made her give our frame a try. He said "I've been everywhere today and this is my favourite thing in the whole show." She was a hand quilter and not really interested in machine quilting, but he made her try the New English Quilter anyway. She was surprised at how easily the frame moved. She liked our no-mark hand-guided approach to quilting. She realized that we shared a similar philosophy of stitching to the hand-quilter - we were just pushing the needle where we wanted it to go  a bit faster. As she left the stand, she smiled and said, "Well, I'm a convert!"

Our New English Quilter frames give you the same freedom of movement as a long arm, for a fraction of the cost. They set up and take down so quickly and easily that you won't need a studio either. Isn't that a relief!

This clever group quilt was by the same ladies who did the MeerKat Quilt and the Sun Bonnet Sue Olympics quilt. So clever and funny! Emily took the photos this year but I can't find the name of the group to credit them. Can anyone help?

Monday, 11 August 2014

Eureka Moments

New English Quilter frame on the Franklins Stand at the Festival
Another great show has come and gone. As the dust settles we are tired but happy to have shared our machine quilting passion with thousands of people. It's a perfect chance to find the machine quilting frame that's the 'right fit' for each persons space and pockets.

Ikuko, Clarissa and Martha at the JUKI stand Festival of Quilts 2014
After making the rounds, many people are surprised to find our New English Quilter frames. People appreciate the simplicity of design and the freedom of movement. They especially like the variety of sizes to fit in a variety of homes, not to mention the affordable pricing!

feeling the movement on the Art Quilter frame for the first time
During our demonstrations there are 
three 'Eureka' moments. 
The first is when we persuade people to actually move the sewing machine. People are often shy and hesitate to touch the machine. But when they do, they're astonished by the freedom of movement. It's like magic - so easy and effortless!

Martha demonstrating the New English Quilter frames
The second Eureka moment is when they realize that they will never need to baste pin or tack again, ever! Each layer of the quilt is tensioned separately so there are never any rucks or wrinkles, even on the back. The frame creates a perfectly tensioned surface all steady and ready for you to draw with the needle.

The third Eureka moment is when we take the frame apart. Most people say, "No, don't bother to take it apart!" And we say, "It's no bother, it just takes a minute." We lift the fabric poles out, take off the sewing machine, lift of the carriages, unclamp the side arms and lift off the tracks. Suddenly the penny drops and people realize that it really is just that easy!

Rosie showing how the 6 foot frame comes together
We do this hundreds of times every day of the show and quilters discover that our New English Quilter frames offer the same freedom of movement as the long arms for a fraction of the cost. Our frames are designed to easily fit into your car and your homes.  It's exciting to find that free motion quilting can be fast, fun and affordable too.

Rosie and Martha taking the Art Quilter frame apart - it's so easy!

Friday, 1 August 2014

Sally's Quilt

Sally at the Salisbury Machine Quilting  Retreat Day

I met Sally at the Franklins shop in Salisbury this Spring.

Emma and I were demonstrating our New English Quilter frames for a 'Love Quilting' event.

Sally'd come to pick up some fabric and threads. As she was hurrying out the door, Sally noticed our New English Quilter frames and did a double take. 

"Oh," she said.  "What a good idea!" "I was just going to pay someone to quilt my tops for me." Maybe, I should do it myself."

Sally was in a hurry but she said that she's come back the next day. And she did.
Salisbury Franklins 'LOVE Quilting Event'

Sally bought the 10 foot 7 inch New English Quilter II frame and the JUKI TL98P lockstitch sewing machine.

 She purchased the Nifty Grip speed control handles so she wouldn't need to kick the foot pedal across the floor 

and a table with legs customized to create a working surface that is just the perfect height for Sally to quilt comfortably.  

The Retreat gave Sally the confidence she needed to get started. So when Sally's 10 foot NEQ2 frame arrived she was ready to roll!

Martha and Sally Free-motion quilting on the NEQ frameEmma and I were hosting a Machine Quilter Day Retreat and Sally came to that too. 
 "Had a great afternoon working on my quilt. For my first attempt, I have chosen one that is all about the fabric, so the quilting can disappear into the patterns and any mistakes will easily blend into the background. I really enjoyed it once I had stopped feeling nervous.
Sally's quilt on the NEW frame! She's using 'Citrus Cooler' from Superior Threads
"I am delighted to stay that I will be able to fit the huge frame into my new house, even though it will mean that  the teenagers have rather less space! Am planning a trip to Birmingham, so look forward to seeing you there."
scalloped mussel shell machine quilting detail, on the NEQ2 frame
Sally chose a variegated thread called Citrus Cooler from Superior Threads' Rainbows range for her first quilt in the frame. The variegated thread blended right in to the multi-coloured quilt, creating great texture without calling too much attention to itself.  What a fantastic first project! Sally chose a 'busy' top that gave her freedom to try out new patterns and get to know her new quilting frame and Juki TL98P sewing machine. The variegated thread and the scalloped mussel shell quilting pattern created gorgeous texture and hid any mistakes. Well done Sally. I hope you'll bring the quilt to Birmingham with you!

Sally's Quilt all finished - 'both sides now'