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J-Quilts blog

Festival of quilts 2017

This year I decided that I would take a couple of days off and appreciate The Festival of Quilts Birmingham NEC as a visitor again, after demoing last year with Mettler threads.

On Wednesday afternoon I was delighted to receive a phone call letting me know that I had won a 3rd place in the Traditional quilts category.  This category is such that if you have used a commercial pattern to create your quilt then it needs to be in the traditional category.  

I had been piecing my quilt from February this year at home in the evenings and weekends. I lost interest and was distracted with making quilted jackets over easter and then come May I was telling myself I had better get a move on if I wanted to not only finish my piecing but start to quilt it. The queen of last minute I needed it loaded for quilting by July and with only a few weekends left before the deadline I decided I just had to get it quilted after having finished the piecing.  Being so busy quilting for customers, my own work comes last and I discipline myself to only work on my personal quilts at the weekends.  Otherwise I wouldn't get anything else done!!!  So every weekend of July I was busy in my studio quilting!  Much to my families disgust with me!  I tell them it is only once a year! 

I used a pattern called Lily pond by Quiltworx and I chose a completely different colour scheme in bright ombré solids and solids

I fussy cut all of the fabric to shade from light to dark.    I'm really really pleased with my quilt as this is my most adventurous piecing project, and first quiltworx pattern involving lots of foundation piecing and curved piecing.   I thought I would challenge myself.   I have had some wonderful comments about my quilt thank you very much to everyone who looked and admired it at the show.  Especially the lovely people who told me it deserved a first place.  

I try not to be too affected by judges comments because I have learned that they do differ at times, this year was no different!  Ill save that for another post! 





Lily pond
Lily pond
Pieced and quilted by Janette Chilver
Lily pond
Lily pond
Obligatory photo in front of my quilt shows the scale
Lily pond by Janette Chilver
Lily pond by Janette Chilver
Freehand longarm quilting
Close up of freehand quilting
Close up of freehand quilting
Lily pond by Janette Chilver
Chatting to visitors at Festival of quilts
Chatting to visitors at Festival of quilts
Lovely interest in my quilt
The back of the quilt
The back of the quilt
Freehand quilting by Janette Chilver

Stitching in the ditch

I often get asked to quilt a quilt ONLY in the ditches, so that the quilting is not visible.

This is certainly not the cheapest quilting option, costing more than a general allover quilting design, purely because of the extra time that ruler work takes.

Stitching in the ditch on a longarm machine involves the use of acrylic rulers to guide the machine in a straight line which gives much better results than purely freehand moving the machine.   This is a skill which takes time to master and thankfully I mastered the ruler skill early on in my quilting career.

Now if recent offensive comments towards longarm quilters on a well known U.K. Forum are to be believed then we are actually the spawn of the devil that we dare to quilt a hand pieced quilt!  Therefore please do not believe such "opinions" because mostly they are based on lack of knowledge about the longarm quilting process. 


These two beautiful hand pieced quilts by Cynthia are great examples of the style quilt that suits stitching in the ditch.  Although officially there is actually no "ditch" to speak of when there is hand piecing involved, or if the seams have been pressed open, and in these cases I must stitch slightly to one side of the ditch so as not to add stress points to the hand or machine stitching.  

To stitch in the ditch is much easier when the seams are pressed to one side and the stitching is then stitched on the "low" side of the ditch. 


Liberty fabrics look stunning in this patchwork of the crosses design, pieced by Cynthia Dennis. Quilted by Janette Chilver
Liberty fabrics look stunning in this patchwork of the crosses design, pieced by Cynthia Dennis. Quilted by Janette Chilver
Pieced by Cynthia Dennis, quilted by Janette Chilver. Patchwork of the crosses design.
Pieced by Cynthia Dennis, quilted by Janette Chilver. Patchwork of the crosses design.
Back of quilt. Stitched in the ditch around the shapes of the patchwork.
Back of quilt. Stitched in the ditch around the shapes of the patchwork.
Cynthia's second quilt using the patchwork of the crosss design in Lindbergh fabrics.
Cynthia's second quilt using the patchwork of the crosss design in Lindbergh fabrics.
On the longarm quilting frame.
On the longarm quilting frame.
Patchwork of the crosses. Hand pieced by Cynthia Dennis. Quilted by Janette Chilver.
Patchwork of the crosses. Hand pieced by Cynthia Dennis. Quilted by Janette Chilver.











Quilted jackets

I spent Easter bank holiday weekend making myself a quilted jacket after having recently taken an online class on craftsy by Mary Ray.

Ever since I started longarm quilting 7 years ago, I have wanted to make myself a jacket after first seeing some made from sweatshirts on the APQS forum when I first started learning how to longarm.

So as I had a long weekend to "play" with I decided I would attempt to make one.

Fabric on the longarm being pre quilted.  This is just a freehand doodle that I like to quilt with swirls, pebbles and feathers, my three favourite quilting designs.  It took maybe four or five hours to quilt this piece, I found I was slightly short on fabric, so had to sneak back to my studio on the bank holiday to quilt more fabric for the under sleeve panels.
Fabric on the longarm being pre quilted. This is just a freehand doodle that I like to quilt with swirls, pebbles and feathers, my three favourite quilting designs. It took maybe four or five hours to quilt this piece, I found I was slightly short on fabric, so had to sneak back to my studio on the bank holiday to quilt more fabric for the under sleeve panels.
In the course I learned some very nice seaming techniques, which are adaptions of the flat fell seam and a Hong Kong finish. I then also hand stitched the binding flat. I couldn't stand it unstitched. I think it looks great finished this way. Very couture of me! Lol
In the course I learned some very nice seaming techniques, which are adaptions of the flat fell seam and a Hong Kong finish.  I then also hand stitched the binding flat.  I couldn't stand it unstitched.  I think it looks great finished this way.  Very couture of me!  Lol
Construction was challenging as I am not experienced in tailoring or dressmaking.  I once made a suit for an interview, but then I did have my mum to help me at that time living at home.  I was only 19!  Wish I had kept that suit.  Size 6 wouldn't fit but still wish I'd held onto it for memories sake.
Construction was challenging as I am not experienced in tailoring or dressmaking. I once made a suit for an interview, but then I did have my mum to help me at that time living at home. I was only 19! Wish I had kept that suit. Size 6 wouldn't fit but still wish I'd held onto it for memories sake.
The finished jacket fits fairly well, I still need to insert shoulder pads and decide on a button fastening, but I love the result. My family joke that they won't be seen anywhere with me wearing it but I'll try and ignore them!
The finished jacket fits fairly well, I still need to insert shoulder pads and decide on a button fastening, but I love the result.  My family joke that they won't be seen anywhere with me wearing it but I'll try and ignore them!
Well I liked the jacket so much that I decided I would make a second one in a little more traditional quilt design,  one that maybe my family  would find more acceptable!  Lol. The second was much quicker to construct having learned the techniques and now hope that this is now out of my system for a while, because I should really have spent the time finishing the quilt I hope to enter in this years festival of quilts!
Well I liked the jacket so much that I decided I would make a second one in a little more traditional quilt design, one that maybe my family would find more acceptable! Lol. The second was much quicker to construct having learned the techniques and now hope that this is now out of my system for a while, because I should really have spent the time finishing the quilt I hope to enter in this years festival of quilts!
Again, I still need a button, or closure, although I rarely button up jackets it could easily be left bound like this. So from a couple of late nights working on this this week I now have two lovely jackets to choose from. A light wool wadding is pretty warm so it's makes for a nice spring jacket.
Again, I still need a button, or closure, although I rarely button up jackets it could easily be left bound like this.  So from a couple of late nights working on this this week I now have two lovely jackets to choose from.  A light wool wadding is pretty warm so it's makes for a nice spring jacket.

















Freehand custom

This lovely quilt was pieced by Gill Taylor from scraps of floral fabrics.  I have custom quilted it for her freehand on my Innova longarm machine, using curved rulers for the circles, but mainly freehand quilting.  I love quilting free form feathers.  


If you click on the photo it should hopefully make it a larger view. 



It was a lot of fun to quilt.

Jelly roll pie quilt

Jelly roll pie quilt 

This quilt was pieced by Pat at one of my recent workshops.  It uses two jelly rolls and yardage to border. 

I've quilted it for her all over using a swirl design.

I think it looks great.  The colours are modern and fresh.  It's a range called "sphere" by zen chic for Moda

Time flies!



 I was recently reminded on Facebook that it has been one entire year since buying my Innova longarm machine to add to my arsenal of business equipment here at J-Quilts.

In 2015 I had tried out Fereets machine at Sandown and fell in love with it.  It just felt right. The right height, the right feel, and of course not to mention the positive reviews in the USA with people switching to Innova.  Anyway later on in 2015 I was fortunate (lucky) enough to win best of show with my quilt entered at the festival of quilts. So I waited and put the prize money towards an Innova just before the tax year 2016 was over.  Amazing service and three weeks after ordering my lovely machine arrived. I built it myself mainly, with some help from my husband.  I'm a "just do it" if I can kind of girl!


I'm still loving this machine for my dedicated freehand work machine.

TABLE TIDY SEWING MAT AND PINCUSION

Everynow and again, I feel like making something fun, so I decided that I wanted to make myself a sewing machine mat.  I had seen some ideas on instagram for simple mats that drape over the table, but I decided I wanted a fitted one to fit over my table and to take advantage of both sides of the table.  Anyway one thing always leads to another, so I also wrote a pattern for it and uploaded it to craftsy.com and to my website for sale.  I will also be adding it to my collection of workshops that I will run from time to time at my studio.


I also made a pincushion cube, and a thread catcher is now in progress.



Facebook and Instagra

I am sorry that I have been lacking blogging here of late.

I am busy quilting my customers quilts here in my studio, but you can find my current photographs of my work over at Facebook at J-Quilts Longarm quilting and Instagram @j_quilts

https://www.facebook.com/J-Quilts-379050915443598/

https://instagram.com @j_quilts

Marys first place "Vintage Moments" quilt

I had the pleasure of custom quilting Mary Telfords beautiful quilt last July, and have been keeping it under wraps until now as we had decided that we would enter it into The Festival of Quilts 2016 which has just taken place last week.

Both Mary and I are thrilled to bits, to have taken a first place prize in the Two Person category this year.

This is a stunning perfectly pieced quilt made from a pattern by Marshia McCloskey called "Vintage Moments" which I custom quilted for Mary with freehand quilting and ruler work.

The lighting was not that great for photographs at the time that I took them, being there after hours this year demoing longarming on the Mettler thread stand, which I will post a separate post about very soon.

I promise that I am going to make a conscious effort to update my blog on a weekly basis, as some customers were telling me that they do not do Facebook or Instagram but follow my blog,  but if you want to catch up with my latest quilts, then head over to my facebook page J-Quilts longarm quilting or my Instagram page j_quilts where I share lots of photos on a regular basis.

"Vintage Moments" pieced and bound by Mary Telford, custom freehand quilted by Janette Chilver.  First place FOQ2016 Two person category




Beryls custom quilted star quilt

I know - its been a while !!  I have so many quilts to share with you, yet so little time to write my blog.  If you want to keep up with what I have been up to then please find me on facebook J-Quilts or on instagram j_quilts as I find it much quicker to load and share photos there.

This quilt has been made by Beryl and has been beatifully made, I have custom quilted it freehand on my new innova machine (thats another post watch this space !) with continuous curves and feathers.  It was 23 hours of quilting for this one, it was difficult to give it back though !


The most exquisite applique I have ever seen

There are almost no words to describe this elegant quilt.  The hand applique and machine piecing has been  excellently performed by Muriel Fitch, and I have freehand quilted it with background fills and feathers.  I am so pleased with the results, and Muriel was too.  The pattern is by Shirley Bloomfield, and the applique is the most perfect I have ever seen !  Amazing.   I hated giving this one back !  If only I had the hand applique skills needed to recreate this masterpiece.

Gravity Quilt

This gorgeous quilt was made by Svetlana which I custom quilted for her earlier in the year.  I had great fun with rulers and freehand work on this one !

I have been a little lazy on the blogging front lately although I have been far from lazy in real life !!  You can see lots more of my work on my business facebook page J-Quilts and my Instagram page j_quilts if you would like to follow me there.  It is sometimes easier to upload photographs with my iPhone but I have to come and sit at the PC for my blog. 

Svetlana made a great job piecing this quilt.  I have a kit of my own sitting not started yet in my stash !!  maybe one day soon.










Best in Show Festival of Quilts 2015 (I am still dreaming)

This post is definitely the most proud post that I will ever be likely to make.  My quilt "Kaleidoscope" has just won not only a 1st prize in "Traditional Quilts" category at The Festival of Quilts 2015 but also the prestigious "Best in Show" award.

I had been notified the night before the show started that I had won the 1st prize for Traditional quilts ...  you should have seen me literally jumping up and down (my poor back) in my studio which is where I was when I heard.  So I was asked to go to the awards ceremony taking place the next day. 

This being my first time entry into The Festival of Quilts I had no clue where I needed to be and what to expect,  and after driving up to Birmingham NEC on the morning of the ceremony I arrived with only about half an hour to spare before the awards started.

So off I toddled to accept my award for First place in Traditional quilts and being handed my certificate and prize cheque.  I went back to sit down.

There are 18 categories in this show and over 1800 quilts were entered this year.  A panel of experts then chooses the Best in show from all of the first prize winners.  I was up against some big names in the quilting industry at this point and really thought there was no chance I was going to stand a chance.  Mind you I had not even thought that I would place in Traditional quilts as I have seen some stunning quilts lately being created for entry into this category.

Therefore when my name was read out as Best in show, to say that I was stunned was a complete understatement, so off I went shaking to collect my certificate and prize cheque.  Walking off the stage after photographs I was in a state of shock, I could feel my chin beginning to wobble, so head down so people would not notice I was starting to cry...  but I couldn't control my emotion, and was completely overcome in the moment. 

Since winning I have had some lovely emails, texts, and personal congratulations from many of my friends and customers, which means so much to me.  Thank you all.

If I had known that I would win like this I would have insisted that my family come with me to see me.  They thought I was kidding them when I rang them.  Thankfully I had friends in the audience to comfort me.

Anyway enough of me blowing my own trumpet.  This is my winning quilt.  It is called Kaleidoscope and is a pattern by an American pattern and fabric designer Vanessa Christenson at V&Co. 

I used moda fabrics called Chantilly, and a solid cream by Art Gallery fabrics.  I have used two layers of wadding, Hobbs 80/20 and Hobbs Wool to give it the trapuntoed effect. 

I longarm quilted it on my APQS Lucey with entirely freehand techniques, including the use of rulers.  NO COMPUTER (I was asked that a lot at the show)  I have used straight lines and dense quilting certain areas to make areas appear puffed up to give it texture and dimension.

I am so glad that the Judges liked my quilt the best this time around.  Beginners luck with my first entry, that's for sure.

I have been asked a lot how I created the scalloped binding, so time permitting, please do watch my website for some workshops in the future on how this is achieved.  (Ring me if you are interested in maybe attending)

I did enter another couple of little quilts, but that's a story for another day soon.

Love to all of my loyal customers without whom, I would not be here.




IN THE WINNERS GALLERY


WINNERS GALLERY



IN PROGRESS


ON OUR BED (INTENDED USE)


REVERSE OF QUILT




REVERSE OF QUILT



IN PROGRESS




IN PROGRESS


SCALLOPPED BINDING


CLOSE UPS (CLICK ON PHOTO TO ENLARGE)





Very exciting and proud news

So a lot has been going on here lately, mainly quilting customer quilts, but in January when it was a little quieter than usual for custom work for customers, I took some time to quilt a quilt and decided once I had quilted it that I would really like to enter it into a show, so I put it into the UK Quilt Championship at Sandown Racecourse held by Grosvenor shows.

On the Thursday before the show began, the phone rang and they told me that I had won an award for my quilt that I had entered into bed quilts, I had won "Best traditional patchwork" award which was a rosette and a silver plate trophy.

I also received a 2nd place in bed quilts, the 1st in bed quilts was a beautifully handquilted very traditional wholecloth quilt made by a newly made friend of mine Andrea Ashwell who is also a longarm quilter.   I hadn't thought initially that my quilt would place anywhere because it has a fairly modern feel to it, but I was very pleased and excited that my first entries into a show had won some ribbons.  My first ones.  It felt good.  I was worried though that had I not have received a ribbon how depressed I would have been..   After all it doesn't mean that my quilt is any better than any others in the show, just that on judging day the judges liked it enough to award a ribbon. 

I pieced this quilt using a pattern called Kaleidoscope by V&Co, and I quilted it with a lot of ruler work and freehand techniques on my APQS Lucey longarm machine.  I am not overly keen on the photo of me, but have taken it as inspiration to loose a stone !!!! 






I also entered a second quilt (encouraged by my customers who saw it hanging in my studio) but knew it would not place in wallhangings as its not artistic enough.  the winning quilts were landscape type pictorial entries, but I wanted to see it hang in a show so entered anyway.  I am pleased to say though that a Judges merit ribbon was awarded, along with a Judges choice certificate from Lee Brown who said some lovely comments about my quilt.  I am pleased as this was not quilted for a show, just for my own enjoyment and to make my studio look brighter..  in fact I hated this quilt before I actually quilted it, I love the piecing, but felt it rather too green, however once I had quilted it I had more love for it.. lol.  I pieced it using a pattern by Sew Kind of wonderful called Metro Hoops, and I quilted it using freehand and ruler work.   Again all freehand on my APQS Lucey..




Down in the garden

I have been a little bit AWOL lately on my blog, but mainly due to being very busy quilting customer quilts, but if you want to check out some photos of my recent work I find it so much quicker posting to my Facebook page J-Quilts and my recently new Instagram account j_quilts, so if you feel like checking out some of my other work then please feel free to follow me there.

This stunning quilt was made by my customer and friend Nicola, whos hand stitching of these embroideries are just out of this world precise and gorgeous.  It was made with a BOM pattern by Leanne Beasley called "Down in the garden"

Nicola has been a customer for a long time, but this is the first custom job that I have done for her, and the quilt was very much suited to custom quilting too.  I freehand quilted around each and every flower on this quilt top (even the tiny ones) and quilted feathers, flowers, circles, stipples, swirls in a freeform kind of feel.  The placement of the blocks made for interesting placement of the quilting designs.  I did not want to quilt over the stitcheries, but enhanced them by outlining in a very fine thread so it was not visible next to the stitcheries.  I love quilting feathers these days.  





Reversible Quilt

This gorgeous quilt has been pieced by my customer Marion, and basically she brought to me two quilt tops, one to be the top and one to be the back.  A totally reversible quilt!!! 

I quilted it with the "Springtime" butterfly and daisies quilting design, and with hot pink thread.  The colours in the quilt are strong enough to hold their own, and it is always tricky when choosing thread colour on contrasting block colours.  The hot pink has worked great on this one.

Marions granddaughter just loved her quilt which she received on her birthday very recently.  Happy Birthday Jessica !






Custom quilting - Purple Dresden Plate

This gorgeous quilt has been beautifully pieced and appliqued by Edwina from many different purple fabrics, and a purple batik backing too.  She has made a stunning job of it.  Lovely, traditional Dresden plates.

She asked me to freehand custom quilt it, which I worked on and finished just before Christmas.  (Doesn't that seem soooooo long ago now?)

So I quilted it using a curved ruler, to define an arc in each corner of each block, creating a circle effect around each Dresden plate, which I then quilted a simple freehand flower with a background of pebbles.  I kept it relatively simple in the Dresden plates with ribbon curls and continuous curves.   A freehand feather and swirl border frames it nicely.

I really love the results though.  (Had it been mine and I wasn't keeping to a time restraint, then I would have also probably added some feathers or something similar within the unquilted areas of each circle... ) 











Happy New Year (oh and by the way Merry Christmas too!)

I really cannot believe how quickly these last few months have flown by, time seems to move too fast in my world at the moment.

I wish all of my customers, family and friends a very Happy New Year for 2015, and a belated Happy Christmas too.

I have had a lovely week break at home with my own family, and visiting my brother and sisters little families who live a fair distance from me, I have not seen them all in over a year ..  How on earth did that happen?  All of my little nieces and nephews are growing up so fast I am missing it!

The only sewing that I have managed to fit in this holiday was on Christmas Eve when I quilted my Christmas table runner with snowflakes and bound it too..  having pieced it earlier in the month.  I had high hopes to get some piecing in and maybe a sneak to the studio for some quilting for a couple of days on my own quilts, but it wasn't to be, maybe in evenings and weekends to come very soon.

I have lots of customer quilts to share very soon.  I have been reorganising my photograph files into a better filing system on my pc.  So watch this space...  have I said that before?












My day at Buckingham Palace with HRH Countess Sophie of Wessex, The Girl Guides, and JDRF

I have just had the most exciting day at Buckingham Palace meeting HRH Sophie The Countess of Wessex and the Girl Guides at an event organised by JDRF UK (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation)

Barbara Fynn contacted me earlier in the year after seeing my work on my website, asking me if I would be interested in donating my time to quilt a quilt being made by the Girl Guides to raise awareness for Juvenile Diabetes.  One of her daughters suffers with Type 1 diabetes.

Having been a girl guide myself years ago (too many to mention) it was a fond childhood memory and I felt that it was a worthy cause to become involved in, and having the diabetic link also was such a good cause.  So I agreed to quilt the quilt, and offered to donate the backing fabric, wadding etc,  not knowing at this stage what the quilt was actually going to look like, or be like. 

I truly believe that me having been in the girl guides saved my life and my house from burning down when I was 13.   I set a chip pan on fire by accident at home (why I was cooking crispy pancakes goodness knows why) I learned at Girl guides how to put out a chip pan fire with a damp tea towel, and had that not have been the case by the time I had reached my Dad at work about 10 minutes away our house could easily have been engulfed in flames.  So truly this is a cause close to my heart.  Thankfully because I had been to girl guides I managed to put the flames out by myself then I went to get help.

Before arriving with me there were lots more people involved in the SEW1 project.  The girl guides in various parts of the UK were sent instructions made up by Maria and Claire at Beautiful Things in Brentwood, who organised simple four patch blocks to be constructed by the girl guides who created beautiful blocks with various appliqued hearts, birds, girl guiding symbols such as the Trefoil, and other symbols relating to London also.  All were beautifully made by the guides some of whom had never sewn before.

The blocks were assembled by Barbara and other volunteers, supervised by Maria (a patchwork teacher) before being completed into the quilt top ready to be sent my way for quilting and binding.

Once I received the quilt, I was relieved to see that it was so well made and put together and laid nice and flat ready for quilting.

Barbara then bought the quilt over to my studio to be longarm quilted, and we talked about different quilting options.  The variety of fabrics used and the lovely scrappy nature of the quilt lent itself better to an allover quilting design rather than custom quilting.

After removing the buttons (the birds eyes) so that I could quilt it without damaging them, I proceeded to quilt it with an allover Clover design which resembles the girl guides emblem the Trefoil remarkably well.  I initially had thought a hearts design would look nice to compliment all of the heart appliques on the quilt, but then I was inspired by some of the applique shapes on the quilt in the Trefoil emblem.  Having been a girl guide I then started to remember the Trefoil and its meaning, I thought it had more meaning to the quilt.  Then of course the buttons went back on.

I chose a lovely Hawaiian Blue thread to blend into the quilt so as not to overpower the quilt too much so that the girl guides hard work could shine through.  I then attached the binding, and hand stitched it down.

When I have access to the official photos at the Palace (no cameras allowed inside unfortunately) I will share them here too hopefully in a couple of days.

It was lovely to also meet and chat with Claire, Maria, Barbara and her three daughters, and Julie and all at JDRF in London, and to put names to faces of all the emails shared over the past few months.

The most exciting day I will have in a very long time..  thanks Barbara and girls for being my travel buddies for the day too.

HRH Sophie Countess of Wessex sewing the final few stitches on the label attached to the back of the quilt
HRH Sophie Countess of Wessex sewing the final few stitches on the label attached to the back of the quilt
Official photograph of today at Buckingham Palace
Me today in the rain before going into Buckingham Palace for the event
Me today in the rain before going into Buckingham Palace for the event
Girl Guide quilt for SEW1 project
Girl Guide quilt for SEW1 project
pieced by Girl Guides, Barbara, Barbaras Mum and Aunt, Maria, Clare, quilted by J-Quilts
Me with the completed quilt in my studio
Me with the completed quilt in my studio
(excuse my studio clutter !)
Barbara Fynn at my studio collecting the quilt
Barbara Fynn at my studio collecting the quilt
Barbara had the idea of creating a quilt for fund raising purposes for Diabetes awareness
Lovely Zebra block
Lovely Zebra block
made by a girl guide
Sweet Bird block
Sweet Bird block
made by a girl guide
Heart block
Heart block
made by a Girl guide
Cute elephant block
Cute elephant block
made by a Girl guide
Sweet bird block
Sweet bird block
made by a girl guide
Colourful blocks
Colourful blocks
made by a girl guide
Lovely scrappy nature of the quilt
Lovely scrappy nature of the quilt
Quilting by J-Quilts



Curly Swirly quilting

This lovely quilt was made by my customer Dorothy and I believe it is to be in a raffle in her local area.

She wanted anything swirly as the design, so I chose the Curly Swirly design and quilted it a nice open size.  This design has alot of back tracking where the design is quilted over two or three times in some areas to get to the next swirl, and the thread shows up beautifully.  I chose a blue teal colour thread which has worked beautifully with the gorgeous colours in Dorothys quilt top.


Interlocking stars and lots of pebbles

Its been a while..  where has two months flown to?  After spending the evening reading other quilty blogs that I follow, I decided it was about time I concentrated on my own !!

I have had an exceptionally busy few months with my full time job quilting for my customers, made busier by taking a couple of weeks off in August (holidays are very inconvenient - but oh so needed)

Although it seems like yesterday, back in July I gave a talk on Longarm Quilting to a group of quilters over towards Chelmsford way.  It amazes me that people request that I show my work to them, as to me I am just a normal quilter, with nothing really special to share, so I thought I would try and quilt something a bit more interesting.

I had pieced this quilt a few months back after seeing a few interlocking star designs on a few American blogs that I follow.    I kind of winged it and just made up blocks to the size that I felt lent itself well to the design, and to most effectively use my fat eighth bundle of "Daydreams" fabric by Moda.

I really love white backgrounds as they are great for some background quilting.  I kept the quilting fairly simple, but fairly dense in the white areas, just pebbles and swirls with a few straight lines created with some ruler work.  I used an offwhite thread by Glide, (my favourite).  Although my straight lines didn't quite create the effect I thought they would due to the interlocking nature of the design, I decided I liked it enough to continue on with it.. 

Anyway, I don't normally write this much in my posts so onto some photos..

Apologies for so many...  to see a large image just click on each image.  Most were captured on my ipad, but just yesterday I invested in a much better camera, I even bought a tripod too !!  So I need to up my photography skills now..  not to mention refiling all of my photos on my laptop...  I have tons of quilts that I have not shared this year, custom and allovers...

I was really pleased with the overall effect.



The holiday is over...

Our holiday at the end of May seems like a VERY long time ago now, and we had such terrible wet weather, its hard to believe the difference a month makes, and now at least we are having a bit of summer finally.

We went away in our motorhome for a few days and stayed in a lovely site at Chertsey, close to the train station to London, where we spent a day at the Sealife centre and shopping,  although we did get completely washed out in London.  It was the worst rain in a while...  typical for the half term week.  The week we got back I was sweltering hot in my studio...  its just the way it goes.

I bought some lovely fabric in Liberty to add to my Liberty fabric stash, now I have more than enough to make a quilt (or two !)

I took my Singer featherweight sewing machine with me for the first time along with an applique project too, for those cooler wetter nights cozying up in the van.  Most of my project was cutting and fusing and cutting again ....  no noise in that, but one day when the boys went on a bike ride, I had a few hours to myself on my sewing machine...  I managed to get all of my dresden blades done which have a folded 3D insert between the blades, which add another dimension to it..  its going to be a while til this one is finished, but I am already thinking of ways to quilt it....  custom of course for this one.

After making over 400 blades and drawing and cutting countless applique pieces, my husband finally conceded that he wouldn't have the patience to make one let alone 400!  I will take it as a rare compliment about my quilting.


When we got home (a day early due to the washout weather) I machine appliqued the centre block.  I am using the blanket stitch on my pfaff creative 2.0 on this project, and was pretty pleased with the finish. 





Now I just need to get on and finish the machine stitching on the four large setting triangles and four little ones... I only really do my own piecing of quilt tops on the weekends these days so it was nice to get a bit of a head start on holiday when I had a few hours to myself.



Marylins quilt with light custom quilting

This lovely quilt was made by my customer Marylin and it has been exceptionally pieced and appliqued.  Marylin didn't want anything too detailed in the quilting,  and after discussion we came up with a simple stipple in the background, which I defined with outlining the applique, and separating out circles in the centre section of the quilt, piano key borders, and flower motifs in the outer of the swags.  The swags have a light quilting of the same flower motif and some ruler work to link the motifs.

This has been quilted with a combination of freehand, ruler work, and also the additional digitised flower motif.




Bright batik turning twenty quilt

This gorgeous quilt was pieced by my customer Sue, with the help of another customer Nicola to piece her very first quilt.  She made a fantastic job of it,  and she chose a modern quilting design called vertigo to match the modern feel of her quilt.  The circular movement of this design is great for square pieced blocks.  It looks great on the backing too which I supplied from stock in a lime green tonal vineyard fabric.  So much texture.  I love this design.

It is the turning twenty design (or it could be the turning twenty again design)  I can't remember which now, I quilted it with a pea green thread which looked great, and is one of those chameleon threads which seems to match each colour on the quilt.  Lovely.

I attached the binding for Sue as it was her very first quilt, so she could then spend a fun day hand stitching the binding on the reverse of her quilt.  She was so pleased with the results.  I think she chose some fabulous fabrics and colours for her first quilt.


Strip pieced bias squares

I pieced this quilt last summer when I had a spate of quiltmaking using a quick method of strip piecing and tube piecing.   Quick and fun...  I made it with strips from Modernology and Floressence by Art Gallery, and a moda solid in aqua.

I quilted this over the Easter break, and although I had originally planned to custom quilt it with circles in the aqua coloured strips and whatever came to my mind at that time for the coloured strips, although I am so pleased that I decided to quilt an allover design on it as the bias stretched alot on my blocks...  (the only downside of cutting the blocks on the diagonal like that)  Much easier to control the stretch with an allover design. 

I chose the allover design called "Embellish" with a gorgeous variegated thread in bright colours, breaking up the aqua solid fabric beautifully.






Chevrons and circles on Pot Luck quilt

I have made this simple baby quilt just to try out a new allover quilting design out.

I made it a few weeks or more ago from a charm pack in the Pot Luck range by Moda fabrics, and an off white solid by Art Gallery fabrics.   A nice quick sample baby size.

I was really pleased how the Modern chevron and circles quilting design looks on the simple square design.

The fabric is available from my studio,  to purchase as a kit to complete this quilt top which is an excellent beginners quilt, and with each kit purchased a 15% longarm quilting voucher is available too to be quilted in any of the quilting designs that I offer.


Sneak peek

This is just a very small sneek peek of a project that I have freehand quilted for a book project by a well known quilting author..  once the book comes out I will share the full details.

I love quilting freehand because it adds a lot of movement and texture across a quit, although I have to admit that feathers have taken me years of practicing to be able to achieve a reasonably decent shaped feather.

I have also added swirls and circles , to give a modern feel to the modern style quilt.

This is the second quilt that I have quilted for this book, and I can't wait to share the book details once it is released.



Cream turning twenty - Flounce quilting

I have been sorely neglecting my  blog these days.  I wish I could post via my ipad !   I rarely switch my laptop on these days.. too busy quilting.  While I have a few spare minutes here over the Easter weekend I thought I would try and catch up and share a few photos of recent quilting.

This gorgeous quilt was made by my customer Nicola, in some beautiful neutral creams and beige fabrics, in the turning twenty design. 

I quilted it with the design called "Flounce" in its digital format, having added the Intelliquilter system to my Lenni machine in January, which has been brilliant allover quilting designs.  

I am quilting all of my freehand and hand guided work on my Lucey machine, although I wish I could clone myself as I do only have one pair of hands and can only be in one place at once...   Surprisingly the stitching time on an allover design, is only a proportion of the whole process, ie:  pressing and loading the backing, wadding, and quilt top,  tensioning, clamping, rolling on etc etc...  changing thread cones etc.  Operating the system in general,  but overall I think I am being more productive. 

This design is a gorgeous allover feather design, which "flounces" across the quilt with a ribbon effect running through it.

The first picture is a photo of it at Nicolas taken by Nicola and shared on Facebook.  She has added all of her gorgeous home made cushions.  It looks very calming.  The other photographs are taken by me.

I really love how quilting shows up on light coloured fabrics.


















Myras gorgeous quilt - custom quilting

This is a lovely quilt made by my customer Myra from some gorgeous japanese taupes.  I have custom freehand quilted it for her with feather motifs, feather borders, and some modern fill ins.  The Hobbs wool wadding has made it light and the feathers puff up  while the closer quilting recedes back, I love the contrast in dimension that this creates.    I used a circular ruler to hand guide my machine for the curved lines and to keep the feather centre motifs consistent, and the rest is freehand.

Myra made an excellent job of piecing this quilt, which makes custom quilting so much easier for stitching in the ditch particularly, as all seams were very well pressed.  This makes a big difference for pretty stitching in the ditch.

The last photo shows the back of the quilt..  I love the backs as much as the fronts.


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Norahs star quilt

This quilt was a gorgeous quilt, made by Norah, which I custom quilted freehand for her.  I really enjoyed quilting this gorgeous quilt top.  The colours that Norah chose to make this quilt were lovely.  We discussed the features of freehand custom quilting that she liked and disliked, and I came up with a plan incorporating these features... feathers, pebbles, curves, and a feathered border.  All of the quilting is completely freehand, with the exception of the curved lines which I used a curved ruler to hand guide my machine along.

I am so pleased with the results of this quilt.  In fact I would go as far as to say I love this quilt.  I believe it is a pattern from one of the Jelly Roll books by Nicky and Pam Lintott.


Maggies Bubbles

This is one of my favourite colour combinations for a quilt, white, red and turquoise.  I just love that fresh new feel.

My customer Maggie pieced this quilt, and asked for the Bubbles design, and a turquoise thread.  Such a lovely girly quilt.



Helens Bubbles

This lovely (and huge) quilt was made by my customer Helen, and I quilted it with the "Bubbles" design.  This has turned out lovely.  It has a very warm flannel as a backing fabric.  Helen also made a couple of cushion covers, and as there was plenty of backing fabric I also quilted the cushion covers for her on the longarm machine,  at the end of her project.

It seems like a long time since I blogged, things easily get neglected when you are super busy. 



Anns wonky houses...

This is a fun wonky house quilt, made by my customer Ann on a retreat with Katherine Guerrier last year.  She asked me to have a little freehand fun with it, so I quilted it freehand, and basically doodled my way over the quilt, quilting fun swirls, pebbles, curves and stars over the quilt.  Quilting to fit the blocks.

I was really pleased with how it turned out, and Ann loved it too.  She chose such fun colours in her quilt, and I love how those reds, blacks, whites, pinks and oranges all work together.  It was such a fun quilt to quilt...  


Hearts and Curls

One of the finishes before Christmas was this lovely little girls quilt in pinks and purples, made by my customer Jean, and sent to me for quilting.  She chose the Hearts and curls design, and I quilted it in a lilac thread as requested.  It turned out so pretty.

This quilt design was a tricky design to master hand guided,  (I don't have a computer system to do the hard work for me !)  It turned out beautifully.


Happy 2014 !! and ps a Happy Christmas too...

Happy New Year to all of my customers and readers of my blog...  I have been having a lovely break over the Christmas holidays with my family, after a very busy November/December trying to keep up with customer quilts and Christmas deadlines.  I admit I had rather overstretched myself with quilts this last couple of months and should have drawn the line a little earlier when promising Christmas finishes.  A couple of customers I had warned that it would be right up on the deadline, and it was...  the last pick up on Christmas Eve morning...  and as I am a glutton for punishment, I then quickly quilted a small gift quilt, which I gave to my Step Mother in Law for Christmas, made from Moda Vin du Jour fabric,  and I managed to squeeze in a small Christmas table runner with some seriously fast freehand quilting, although this was only 18" wide and didn't take long plus it was not bound until boxing day.

 I didn't manage to fit in the christmas stockings I had been hoping to make from a christmas fabric panel that I had managed to buy earlier in the year...  as part of a fat quarter bundle...  lol, but then there is always next year !  (along with the other two christmas themed quilts one I made last December, and one a couple of months ago !)

So, as far as my own quilting goes, it has all sat on the back burner, and I admit to have had a very lazy family Christmas holiday which just flew by and now we are all back to normal working.... I expect I will find time for it all eventually...  but for now I have lots of customer quilts for January to quilt and get back to their owners.

And after downloading my camera and ipod to my laptop, I now have tonnes of photographs to be shared on my blog very soon....

Here's to a happy and successful 2014 to us all....  so off I plod to my studio ....  hi ho, hi ho, its off to work I go !!!   





Hugs and kisses quilt

This quilt is one of my own that I pieced last June...  it has just taken me this long to quilt it...  I quilted it last Saturday ...  Ian and the boys were off at a bike show if I remember rightly,  so off I trekked to my studio and finished my quilt.

 I did a talk for the womens institute last Wednesday, and I felt I needed another quilt to show (I didn't actually as I had four full large bags - its amazing how many I have once you bag them all up from home and studio!!!)  Oh well - at least it is nice and quilted now..  This is a quilt by Jaybird quilts, and I made it from a layer cake called "Tradewinds" by Kate Spain and some white solid fabric.

It is entirely quilted freehand...  no rulers - no patterns, even the centre circles of the flowers are completely freehand...  although I did roughly draw the flowers with chalk before stitching them.   I am never using that brand of chalk again though as it would not come out with just water and I had to wash my quilt e machine.  Lucky for me I love that wrinkled effect, but I would have liked to see the new look for a while longer...  I used a cotton wadding, and that has wrinkled beautifully...   I used a yellow leafy backing fabric which seemed like a good idea at the time, seeing the quilting though now, I wish I had used a solid colour to really show off those feathers and pebbles...



BUBBLES AND TWISTERS...

I recently purchased some 30's playtime layer cakes and this quilt is made with one layer cake, and some solid cream fabric.  I bought a twister tool from the Duxford show last year and found some time to try it out back in September..  this must have been the fastest ever quilt that I have pieced and quilted from start to finish...  and it was so much fun.

I probably should have quilted a fairly traditional floral design over this quilt, being 1930's repro fabrics, but as I had inherited a few new panto designs along with Lucey, then I thought I would try out the one I felt looked pretty fun ...  "Bubbles"  and it does look alot of fun now its quilted ...  I chose the most blending thread I could in a  silvery beige..


Vertigo on Elizabeths blue and cream quilt

This quilt was made by my customer Elizabeth, who made a lovely job with the blues and creams.  She chose a very modern looking design called "Vertigo" and a pale sky blue thread.  It turned out lovely, and has made her quilt very textural with a modern feel to a fairly traditional design.   This quilt could have also been a prime candidate for some custom quilting too, although some of the prints were a little on the busy side, so we agreed that an allover would suit it too, as detailed quilting could possibly get a little lost in the prints..

Elizabeth was very pleased with it, and the vertigo design is very much her style.

Hexagon quilts

I recently hosted a workshop for some quilting friends, teaching the methods of how to make this hexagon quilt based upon the equilateral triangle.

My sample quilt is made from a very bright Moda jelly roll called Simply colour, by V&Co and some neutral marble moda in the setting triangles and sashings.

I custom quilted this a while back now in a weekend soon after buying Lucey, so I was using my quilt as a test piece to really fine tune the level of my table.  I freehand quilted simple swirls in the centres, and some simple freehand back and forths in the middle section of each hexagon.  The most time consuming part was the ruler work creating the circular movement around the hexagons, and of course the pebbling which is always a time consuming yet worth it task...  Although an allover quilting design would have looked very nice too, I just felt like custom would look good with the hexagons..  I love the back too, which gives a tiled circular movement.

I seem to be making hexagon themed quilts at the moment...  I recently finished piecing a Christmas themed one, with hexagons and triangles...  lets see if I get it quilted before Christmas though, as my last years Christmas quilt is still hanging on my rail of quilts to be quilted....  not complaining, just had a very busy year with customers quilts.  Maybe I will quilt some of mine over the xmas holidays...  I think I now have about 10 of my own to be quilted.  Not to mention the unfinished piecing projects..




Tilda fabric addiction...


Well things have been a bit hectic of late... with one thing or another...  mainly busy with customer quilting, but I lost a few days having some nerves in my facet joints in my back burned a couple of weeks ago now ... which was the most excruciatingly painful procedure ever...  they certainly didn't warn me it would be that severe..  but it is easing up a bit...  although as I have been in pain for over three years now, it is not much different at the moment, but it should take a couple of months to give relief (if it works...  )  but enough of my aches and pains...  lucky for me quilting really eases the pain and keeps me moving... its the sitting that I find so hard to deal with...

Well I really have to stop myself buying some more of this gorgeous Tilda fabric (mainly because of the cost !!) but it is the softest fabric ever and I can't help stroking it, and although I didn't want to cut into it, I decided that at least if I could look at it made up in my studio as a sewing machine cover then I would enjoy the view... and it was excellent freehand practice as small pieces don't take too long and you can get them finished on a weekend... 

The thing is once I used my fabric I really felt the need to go buy some more ....

Of course I couldn't just stop at one ...  I do have a sewing machine at home too which needed a cover...  and the leftovers make great cases too.

Just four fat quarters in each cover...  I covered them in swirls, pebbles and feathers...





Denises vintage modern poppies

This lovely quilt was made by Denise in the lovely Vintage modern fabrics by moda.   She has created a very effective quilt with the red and turquoise in a jacobs ladder format, the lights and darks play very nicely together..  I fell in love with the border fabric..  I am not sure if the range is still available, but I have a little stash of some fat quarters somewhere when I get round to using it....

I quilted it with a turquoise thread with the poppies design, and it has turned out just lovely.


Friendship stars for a new baby

I finally met my new niece last weekend, and surprised my sister with a new quilt for her new baby girl.  Isla is gorgeous - so sweet and cuddly.

My sister loved the quilt too, and I even managed to psycically match it to her new curtains too....  and there I was worried that she wouldn't like the green.....  things are just meant to be...  She was secretly hoping that I would have made a new quilt for her.

It has a lovely flannel backing, so soft and snuggly, and I quilted it fairly open so that it is nice and soft.  I used a gorgeous variegated thread by Superior threads called "Seashell" and it looks really lovely on the white fabric.

And as I didn't make it up to Lincolnshire last weekend (a little lady called Lucey got in the way !!)  I even got to show it at show and tell at quilt group on Thursday evening too....




Curlz - jelly roll pinwheel quilt

This quilt was made by a friend from Essex & Suffolk quilters, who won the "longarm quilting prize" that I donated to the Essex & Suffolk Quilters quilt show last year for the winner of the jubilee challenge.  It took Jean a while to "cash in" her prize, but here are the results...  it has turned out lovely made from a batik jelly roll, and some ligher batik background too..  which breaks up the blue beautifully.

Jean chose a butterscotch colour thread, and "curlz" allover quilting design.




Curlz on a jelly roll race quilt

This gorgeous quilt was made by Sarah and was made on the "jelly roll race" basis with added borders. 

Sarah chose the "Curlz" allover quilting design, and a bronze colour thread and a flat 80/20 wadding which drapes beautifully.

I love the fabric line used here,  it is a Moda range, I don't know the exact name but it is by French General which is a very distinctive style.  I just love those greens and terracottas.




Custom kaleidescopes

This lovely quilt was made by my customer Elaine, using diamonds to produce the star kaleidescopes.  It was excellently pieced and the centres lined up perfectly so I enhanced the centres with a continuous curve design to create a flower design.  I freehand quilted swirl feathers in the lilac borders,  freehand wavy lines in the inner borders, freehand swirlies in the sashings, and freehand pebbles in the pink background.   In the green squares, I quilted a freehand flower/swirl.   I had a lot of fun...  and was really pleased with my efforts.

Pastels are very difficult to photograph, but here are my best attempts..... 




and of course I love the back too...  the solid pastel blue backing fabric creates a lovely "wholecloth" effect on the reverse...


Meet Lucey.... my new longarm machine

When I left my studio on Friday night, never did I imagine that an hour later I would be buying another longarm quilting machine, but some opportunities are really too good to miss !

My quilting friend Kay from Scotland, contacted me via email and facebook, telling me about an APQS Lucey that was being advertised for sale in the UK....  she knew that I could be interested in upgrading my current set up...  as there are not too many of this particular machine yet over here, because they were a fairly recent addition to the APQS product line, therefore to find a secondhand one at a good price, was just too good to be true...  I nearly upgraded to this exact machine in April, but the time was obviously not the right time..

So on Sunday we hired a very long van, set off at 8am and drove 3 hours to the Cotswolds to collect my new machine...  dismantled it, loaded it, drove back and reassembled it in my studio by 7.30 that night...  all ready for work on Monday morning...  me and my husband were absolutely shattered...  but I am so thankful to my husband for his help and support this weekend..

Now of course my original machine an APQS Lenni, is perfectly fine for my needs, and has really worked hard in the last four years of owning him...  although I am not going to part with him just yet.....  but I had been wanting to upgrade my table to the improved bliss frame which came out a couple of years ago but really felt that just to upgrade the table would be a waste of my current table which would just go to waste without a machine to go with it, so I upgraded my current carriage instead which has been great.  All the while wanting to upgrade to the bliss table but feeling that unless I was also upgrading the machine too, it was just not worth the price tag...  import duties and vat alone add so much to the cost ! 

However, finding the space in my studio for the both of them was a bit tricky...  so I had to move out my workshop space into a working space for Lucey...  so on Saturday evening I was moving desks and furniture out of the way to make room for Lucey..

So from this....


To this.....


and my Lenni  is where he was originally in my other room. 



Scolloped edges and chevrons

This gorgeous quilt is another of Lynne Edwards students completing the project with beautiful results..  Judy made this quilt in green, red and grey which is a striking combination.

I quilted the inner section with an allover "santa ana" pantograph design, and custom quilted the inner sashing with a simple straight line, and the outer scolloped edges with custom freehand feathers and chevrons.

I think it has turned out lovely.  All of the feathers are completely freeform, and I had the assistance of my straight rulers to stitch the straight lines.

Judy and I chose a very fine grey thread (bottomline by superior threads) which adds a subtleness to the high contrast of colours in the quilt, whilst blending in and creating stunning texture in the quilt.

Thanks Judy for letting me quilt your quilt. 



As you can see it is a rather large quilt measuring almost 100" square...  I would really love to have a bed at my studio for photographic reasons, but just can't spare the space...  especially as I have some very exciting news to share very soon....

Happy holidays and hexies....

After relaxing on our family holiday for a couple of weeks in Brittany France, I am now back and raring to go again....  lots of customer quilting to get caught up on...  I took some hand piecing with me and managed to finish about 40 little hexagon flowers...  most whilst travelling... I managed to engross myself in a couple of good books too, and time by the pool and the beach with the boys and hubby... not much time left to sew.

Just before going away, I treated myself to a Sizziz Big Shot and hexagon die, so was happily cutting away for perfect hexies..

I also took a selection of just in Art Gallery fabrics called Reminisce along with which are lovely shades of green, red, blue, cream, yellow...   (by the way which are available at £11/m from my studio in 20 x fat quarter bundle, fat eighths or jelly roll cut strips)

It may be quite some time before this one is large enough for a quilt..  maybe it may become a bag instead...







Our holiday seems like a distant memory already....   lol

I have a new niece....

Congratulations to my sister Sally who has had her baby girl last night....  a big one too at 8 pounds 5 !!!  

I have to crack on with this.....  I started this a few weekends back now for my sisters little girl, but have been side tracked ever since....  we live a distance apart (worst luck) as it would be lovely to just pop over to see her and her new baby....   I will get this finished before we meet our new niece..  I've only had nine months !!!!


Alfresco friendship braid

This lovely quilt was made by a new quilter and this is her second quilt,  friendship braid quilts are difficult to master for a beginner due to lots of bias stretch, but Jo has made an excellent job of making this quilt for her daughter.  I have quilted it with the Alfresco design and a cream/pearl coloured thread.

It is such a fresh lovely quilt and as it looks so great on my bed I really must make myself another friendship braid quilt...  the one I already have made is in very dark colours and would look great in some brighter fabrics...

 
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