Saturday, 30 November 2019

Dream Big Quilting

In my last post I mentioned that I taught a Dream Big Quilting Panel and I thought I would share my samples with you.

I love these panels by Hoffman Fabrics and it felt so good to finally be quilting one.  Why do we buy something and then keep it for best?!  I think cutting the panel into quarters mentally made it easier.  When you look at the full panel there are a LOT of petals to fill, but once you are working on a quarter you can fill them pretty quickly

I did three samples each showing different techniques:   FMQ; grids and fill work; and feathers.

My first one was FMQ.  This was the first time I had done FMQ on my new Amara, which I have had since August.  That Pro-Stitcher has proved a big distraction and I am loving learning something new.  But FMQ really is my first love and after several months away it was wonderful to get back to it ...... and to see that I could still do it - result!

There are eight new to me designs in here and I just loved finally stitching them out after lots of drawing and doodling.  

This one, from Margaret Solomon Gunn's book,  I saw demonstrated by Kelly Ashton in the class I took at Handi Quilter Academy.  It has taken me a while to get it to flow but I love the result.  In the workshop I taught there was a mixed response to this and it was actually named the ugly pumpkin by one student!  But I love the versatility of it - once you have the muscle memory and travel path there a lots of variations you can do which all result in a very different end result.

This pattern also can be done with lots of variations and is a great filler for spaces.

This is a pattern I have seen Sea Sherilyn Sew quilt out on several videos and, whilst I have done it on some scrap pieces, this is the first time I have quilted it out properly - I love it!!!  You get such great texture and it is a very forgiving pattern once you've got it going.

The next sample is for the Grids and Fills section of the workshop:

The grids were made using a blue water soluble pen and Cindy Needham Stencils followed by rulerwork and/or fill.  I love plain grids and have used them on a few of my quilts before but it always amazes me how they change when you add fill.  Some before and afters shots for you:

Square grid plain

Square grid with matchstick fill

Diamond grid plain

Diamond grid with ribbon candy fill

Triangle grid plain

Triangle grid with cathedral window/orange peel fill

What a difference right?!

Then we move onto Feathers.  For those who have been following me a while, either here or on instagram, you will know that I don't quilt feathers that much on my quilts, but I have to say I do love actually quilting them!  I had a great time filling in the petals on my last sample:

I love the challenge of filling uneven spaces and used a variety of feather types and techniques.  This has me thinking that maybe I should do a wholecloth quilt with feathers - what do you think?!  Some microquilting in a couple of petal really shows the lovely 'poof' of using double batting, in this case Warm and Natural and wool.

This year has not seen many finishes, so I am really rather proud of starting and finishing these three samples in just over a week.  I do work well under pressure and due to making these at the last minute everything was still really fresh in my head for the workshop - you see there is a method to madness!

Tuesday, 26 November 2019

Dream Big Quilting Workshop

Warning:  Photo heavy post - but hey, we all like quilting right so it's not a problem!!

So following on from my last two blog post, here and here, this is the final post about my recent week of teaching.

The picture above is one of Kelly Ashton quilts which I fell in love with as soon as I saw it online .... and even more so when I took a class with her at the Handi Quilter Academy in Salt Lake City in June.

The Dream Big Panels are made by Hoffman Fabrics and you can see the full range of colour ways here.  They are available from several distributors in the UK, although I am not sure you can get all of the colours over here.

I had a wonderful day teaching the 11 ladies who attended the workshop, both on stand up and sit down machines.  We talked about making conscious decisions in your quilting and discussed thread and wadding options so that you have the knowledge to choose the right ones in order to get the results you want to achieve.  We talked marking, FMQ, grids and fill and finally feathers.  It really was a full on day.

There was so much learning going on and it is wonderful to be party to those light bulb moments and see those spontaneous huge smiles when something clicks.

I thought I would share with you my students' work.  The concentration was palpable, confidence was increased and there was some incredible quilting going on!

Yet again I have to say it is such a joy to teach quilting!!

And when you receive feedback from your students it makes it all so much more worthwhile:

Can't wait to get teaching again in 2020!

Monday, 25 November 2019

Teaching Quilting - what a privilege!

Last week had a week of teaching at Pinhole Quilting in Pinvin, click here to see what I was teaching and the workshop descriptions.  I had such a fun, but very tiring, week!  It is a wonderful thing to be able to be with people as they start their longarm quilting journey and then to see them again and, hopefully, again and again!  I made new quilting friends, renewed friendships and all in all realised how lucky I am to be able to work in an industry that I love and that, generally, brings out the best in people!

Last Thursday was Improv Quilting and below are some progress pics from the day ...

We had black fabric and bright thread for the workshop which is a great teaching aid ....

because it shows up everything so that you can really see what you are quilting.

Students are encouraged to play with thread throughout the day because these machines can take anything from 12wt wool to 100wt silk!  Photo above and below is using Glide Glisten in Gold - lovely!

We started with one quilting motif and stitched it out in varying scales ...

We then added several more motifs ...

and then learnt techniques and designs to join them.

It was amazing to see people's confidence grow throughout the day and some great quilting was done.

The final day of teaching was a Dream Big Panel workshop but that will need to wait for another day and another blog post!

Monday, 11 November 2019


Next week I am teaching for four days over at Pinhole Quilting in Pinvin.  As one of two Handi Quilter Educators in the UK, I have the pleasure of meeting a lot of new Handi Quilter owners when they take their Foundation Workshop, which is free if you purchase a machine from Pinhole Quilting. It really is a great foundation on which to start your journey.  We cover thread, needles, tensions, machine settings and maintenance, ruler work, FMQ and a whole lot more.  It really is a jam packed day and students leave tired but ready to quilt!

What a lovely sight .... one machine per person!

Following on from that is the Intermediate Workshop.  We recap the basics and explore areas of quilting in more depth, that might be rulerwork, feathers, FMQ or marking quilts to name a few.  Having two or three of us in the classroom means we can tailor the day somewhat to the student's needs and are able to really help individual students solve their issues.

Retail therapy - check!  I would like one of each colour please!

I then have a day off ..... from teaching!  We will be busy setting up the classroom for the next two days when I will be delivering two of my workshops, Improv Quilting and Dream Big Quilting.

I first ran the Improv Quilting Workshop in April and have to admit I was somewhat nervous on the morning.  A lady, who I knew quite well, then entered the classroom and she told me she was nervous!  It had never entered my mind that students could be nervous too, but everyone's nerves soon disappeared as we had a full day of free motion quilting.  This workshop builds on basic shapes and designs and how to combine them into a cohesive design.  Improv quilting can be used to fill negative space, to work around applique and can be scaled to a unique all over design.


Feedback from the day was great:

"The workshop was very well structured.  I loved that we had so much time on the machines and were able to explore the varying technique.  Great day!"

"The best thing was we were able to watch Abigail sew on a large screen.!

"Absolutely loved it!"

Finally, on Friday I am running a Dream Big Quilting Workshop.  Have you seen the Dream Big panels from Hoffman all over the internet?  If not, where have you been?!!  This day is going to be another full on day.  From thinking about all those decisions we make when quilting, be it threads, needles or wadding choice, through to which feet to use and when and that's before any quilting has taken place.  But don't worry there will be lots of quilting - free motion, ruler work and fill.  We will be working on a 1/4 of the panel so it is a great size to hopefully get finished on the day and to have as a valuable resource for different FMQ designs aswell as being a lovely wall hanging or cushion cover!


The What, Where, When and How!

All the workshops are held in the purpose built, large showroom in Pinvin, WR10 2LQ, from 9.30am - 4.30pm and include a lovely lunch.  Numbers are limited to 12 so each student has there own machine and there is time for individual help throughout the day.

There are a couple of spaces left so if you fancy coming and having a lovely day with like minded quilters then click on the links!

Monday 18 November 2019

Tuesday 19 November 2019

Thursday 21 November 2019

Firday 22 November 2019

I love teaching and am really looking forward to next week.  I am also happy to travel to teach and can teach on sit down domestic sewing machines aswell as longarm quilting machines.  If you would like to know more or have any questions please do get in touch.  You can leave a comment below or message me - just fill out the box over on the left hand sidebar.

Tuesday, 6 August 2019

Inspiring Improv :: A Book Review

Well it was definitely worth the wait to get a copy of Nick Ball's book Inspiring Improv.  This is Nick's first book and was published by Lucky Spool Media and released in April 2019.  It is available from Search Press in the UK - head on over here if you feel so inspired!

I first met Nick whilst waiting to collect quilts at Festival of Quilts several years ago - it happened we were the only two waiting ..... we quickly realised we were in the wrong place! 

What can I say - I love this book!  I like the style it is written in - it is full of information but not dogmatic, which is the way I like to teach. 

There are three parts: Planning, Practice and Progress.  Each part is broken down into sections covering such topics as inspirations, tools, techniques, binding.  The Progress part contains twelve projects where Nick has talked about inspiration, fabric and quilting for each project.  As I turned the pages I would think "Oh this is my favourite"  before seeing the next one and thinking "No, this IS my favourite".

The section on techniques is very informative and can be followed as is or as a jumping off point for you to head in a totally different direction.

There is some great information in this book and it will really encourage you to have a go at Improv Quilting.  Sadly, due to an injury, I am not in my studio at all, otherwise I would have raced straight in there to get cutting and sewing.


To see other people's take on Inspiring Improv head over here.  Nick recently ran an Inspiring Improv IG Tour and there's some lovely projects going on.

Liberated Log Cabin
I really am on a journey into improv and the many books on this topic, including this latest addition, on my shelf can testify to this!  I definitely view them as resources and inspiration which I will delve into frequently over the coming years.

Nick can be seen at many quilt shows around the country demonstrating on the Bernina Q24 longarm machine and over on IG @quiltsfromtheattic.


I am so pleased to announce that my new website has been launched.  It's taken me some time to build and it's not all finished yet b...