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Hello

So I'm a quilter and a patchworker.  For many these years I've done these alongside a day job which has given me the financial security to focus on developing my skills and let my journey take its own path but these days they are complimented by my other life as a weaver and dyer and general wool processor -  if this intrigues you take a look at Woolplay.co.uk

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My Story

I’ve been enthralled with the wonderful world of patchwork and quilting since 2002 and it still inspires my creativity!

 

I’m fortunate to come from a generation whose mothers sewed so I grew up learning to sew, mainly on an machine and exclusively clothes.  As my mother made my clothes when I was at home, I was largely a fabric fondle,r little realising this was a significant clue to becoming a quilter in later life.  When I left home, I began to make my own clothes as I couldn’t afford the clothes I really wanted to wear.  It was a time when independent fabric shops could be found in most towns and the choice of fabrics was mouth watering.

 

In my early 20s I visited the American Museum in Bath and had my first experience of quilts.  I was stunned by their beauty, the workmanship and longed to become a quilter. But about to embark on a legal career I assumed patchwork was too time consuming to do along side a full time job. So I stuck to making clothes until such time as bought clothes became affordable.

 

Twenty years later when I took a job that was only part time, I decided this was the time to take up patchwork at last.  The only patchwork class locally was City & Guild so I signed up and the rest as they say is history!

 

Well not quite – things never go quite to plan.  While I got a lot out of City & Guild,such as learning all the various techniques and starting to explore design, I found it wasn’t really for me.  Having just discovered this amazing world of patchwork, I wanted to pause here and there to explore a technique more and this just wasn’t possible with a 2 year course and full syllabus.  I was very taken with blocks – such a variety and then made even more interesting with the placement choice of fabrics.

 

So I decided to start making a sampler quilt using 4 patch blocks, each in 2 colourways.  This was my first quilt - hand quilted as I had no idea how to machine quilt

 

 

I’ve always intended to make further quilts using 5, 7 and 9 patch blocks but so far other quilts have got in the way.

Chatting with friends I’d made at City & Guild some time later, we talked about how to make a living from patchwork. Making quilts for other people didn’t seem necessarily the way forward – a lot of work for which one struggles to be properly paid.  The alternative of just selling the fabric didn’t seem creative enough.  So I came up with the idea of a middle way – designing and making up kits of fabric for other people to make and my online patchwork business, Patchkits was born!

 

This was at a time before broadband and paypal and e-commerce was at its infancy for all but the serious commercial enterprises.  But as they say, fools rush in where angels fear to tread and one great advantage of starting in such early days was that I learnt a lot about running the business before it all took off.

And this what got me into long arm quilting.  It was ok quilting cushions and bags with my domestic sewing maching but there was a limit on how easy it was to quilt bigger quilts.  I first bought a little Gracie which was limited by the size of the throat of the Pfaff that went with it but I learnt a lot in those pre Youtube days by trial and error and decided in 2010 that I needed to upgrade and so bought my first Handiquilter machine.  That was a gamechanger, along with going to a machine quilting event in the US where I took as many classes as I could from the professionals.

This was my first piece after I'd come back from the US - I'd bought the wall hanging as a kit from Cotton Patch at the Festival of Quilts the previous year

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Chatting with friends I’d made at City & Guild some time later, we talked about how to make a living from patchwork. Making quilts for other people didn’t seem necessarily the way forward – a lot of work for which one struggles to be properly paid.  The alternative of just selling the fabric didn’t seem creative enough.  So I came up with the idea of a middle way – designing and making up kits of fabric for other people to make and my online patchwork business, Patchkits was born!

 

This was at a time before broadband and paypal and e-commerce was at its infancy for all but the serious commercial enterprises.  But as they say, fools rush in where angels fear to tread and one great advantage of starting in such early days was that I learnt a lot about running the business before it all took off.

And this what got me into long arm quilting.  It was ok quilting cushions and bags with my domestic sewing maching but there was a limit on how easy it was to quilt bigger quilts.  I first bought a little Gracie which was limited by the size of the throat of the Pfaff that went with it but I learnt a lot in those pre Youtube days by trial and error and decided in 2010 that I needed to upgrade and so bought my first Handiquilter machine.  That was a gamechanger, along with going to a machine quilting event in the US where I took as many classes as I could from the professionals.

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