Recently I collaborated with the lovely Machteld from Quilting Maggie, designing a block to be used with her Maggie Jacket pattern. It was a great experience and we got to know each other well! Machteld wanted to learn some more about my quilting journey so I said ask away!
Here's what she wanted to know:
How long have you been making quilts?
I started my first quilt a a teenager and then took a loooong break. I've been quilling non stop since January 2021 so I've made up for lost time!
At what age did you begin to learn to sew?
My mum first taught me to hand sew when I was about 3 or 4. She started off a sampler for me to finish. It had rows of different stitches in different coloured embroidery threads and I remember it had a really chunky blunt needle. She tried to teach me to use a machine and although she is an accomplished dressmaker herself she is not an accomplished teacher! I learned to use a sewing machine properly when training as an upholsterer and taught myself to quilt by just diving in there.
Were there special people or circumstances that encouraged you to begin to quilt? How did you learn to quilt?
In my teens I'd been to an exhibition at the American Museum in Bath where they have an extensive collection of American quilts which fascinated me. My mum also had some books on Kaffe Fassett's incredible quilts which I used to pour over. My style has changed a lot but I still think he's the King of colour and pattern mixing. And because I was home from school sick a lot in my teens my mum taught me to English paper Piece to keep me occupied.
What do you like most about quilting and patchwork?
I love the feeling it gives me. If I can steal your phrase, it makes me feel excited and relaxed at the same time. I love that the creative possibilities are endless. You can go completely wild with colour and fabrics and make something out of your own head but equally if you're tired and don't have the bandwidth to do that you can use a pattern for guidance or follow it to the letter and you're still being creative.
What kind of quilts do you like to make best?
Throw quilts. They're not too big, not too small. Just right!
How do you decide on the colours and fabrics that go into your quilts?
I love pattern and print but I usually end up with solid fabrics. It's the same if you look inside my wardrobe. Usually I just have a feeling right from the start about colours and even if I play around with them I'll often come back to my first fabric pull. Sometimes I feel like I should have a definitive colour 'look' across my quilts but I like playing around with colour too much. Maybe a style will emerge over time. I try to use what's in my stash but when the quilt wants certain colours sometimes I'll have to order in.
You're from the United Kingdom, have any English patchwork traditions influenced your quilting?
I'm not sure if they have. Obviously I started out with English Paper Piecing and I'm in awe of traditional English and Welsh whole cloth quilting but I feel like my design tastes in general are more influenced by my Danish heritage. (read more here)
Do you have any favourite fabric lines?
I love Pure Solids from Art Gallery Fabrics. They are just so crisp and easy to work with and they fray far less than other brands.
Where do you sew?
My sewing space is currently in what was the dining room of my house but not for long I hope!
What do you do when you are not quilting?
I have to read every day. I feel a bit 'off' if I don't. Mainly books about Renaissance and Medieval history as research for a book I have been writing. I'm taking a break from it at the moment but one day I'll finish it.
How would you describe your style of patchwork design?
My style is quite bold. I like oversized shapes and something that looks simple to the eye, even if it isn't. My style is still evolving so I'm not quite sure I can say definitively what it is yet!
Did you like to design a block for the Maggie Jacket?
I loved designing a block for the Maggie Jacket. I'm quite a goal oriented person so I love having a brief to work to. It was fun to think about how the block would look on an item of clothing and think about the scale of it and how it might look as it moved, or when you could only see a part of it. And also to come up with a block that could be used and combined in different rotations and colourways to achieve different looks.
How did you like making your quilted Maggie Jacket?
I love to learn new things! I made my husband a shirt for Christmas a few years ago so the Maggie jacket is only my second ever garment. It's been on my list to make more of my own clothes so it's been great to do that and combine it with quilting. The pattern is very comprehensive with tons of diagrams which are so helpful for a relative newbie garment maker like me. I know I'm going to be wearing my jacket all year round!
You can read my interview with Machteld of Quilting Maggie HERE