Hi everyone, welcome back

By the time you read this the inaugural UK Handi Quilter Academy, which I was lucky enough to attend, will be over and everyone will be back home, I thought you might like to hear about what we got up to. It took place in Bristol at the Aztec Hotel and Spa, and was arrange by Liz and Pete Holpin of Pinhole quilting and Christine Porter, whom many of you will know as the organiser of the Cabot Quilting Conferences.

It got off to a very good start, at registration, along with the information pack, everyone was given a goodie bag, there were rulers, scissors, thread etc. Everyone likes a surprise goodie bag don’t you think.

Looking forward to playing with the rulers.

The first session I had was a trunk show by Kelly Cline, a HQ Ambassador who hails from Kansas in the USA. She told us a little of her background and how she got into Vintage quilting, her speciality, then astounded us all with her beautiful quilts. Some were created using lace doilies, some were vintage hankies, while others were embroideries, many of these are salvaged from estate sales and thrift shops.

This piece is amazing, no photograph could do it justice

Some more of quilts Kelly showed us

Vintage linen stitched onto Satin
Beautiful quilting enhances the dresser cloth
This is a stunning piece
Beautifully hand embroidery

The second session was on grids and fills with Kim Brunner, another HQ Ambassador, also from the USA. I had been to some classes a few years ago with Kim, and knew we were in for some great teaching, she certainly didn’t let us down. She talked us through her methods and then set us all of to create our own version of her fills.

This was beautifully stitched on leatherette by Kim

This long weekend is definitely a case of eat, sew, eat sew, sleep, repeat….. the food was wonderful, I may not eat for a week.

Day Two – Vintage Quilting with Kelly Cline

I think everyone will have been very impressed when they walked into the room we were going to call home for the next couple of days, we were met with the sight of an entire room full of sit down long arm machines. I’m a Sweet Sixteen owner, a sit down longarm and love my machine. The room next door housed the stand up longarm quilters and their machines.

Ready for the delegates

A fabulous day was had vintage quilting with Kelly. Now, anyone who knows me will tell you that I don’t do ‘old stuff’ (apart from my husband, that is). I can’t go into antique shops, and you will never, ever get me in a charity shop, I don’t know why, I really can’t explain it. So I knew this was going to be a challenge for me. How did I get on? I loved it, it was a fabulous class, with a great teacher, she was so relaxed and lots of fun. We were told to go choose from a selection that she had brought with her, there was lovely selection to choose from. I even managed to touch my piece without gloves on. A major step forward for me. I chose a heavily textured piece and thoroughly enjoyed working on it. We used Cindy Needham stencils, to help mark out parts of the design, I’m sure everyone was delighted with how much they achieved in the day. I know I was.

Day 3 – Ruler Quilting with Kim Brunner

The stencils were back in use today, these were used as a basis for creating the designs we were stitching out. Kim showed everyone step by step how to replicate her samples.

Some of the samples we were replicating

Kim has a very different approach to Kelly in her teaching methods, she’s very prescriptive in how you go about achieving a good sample, which certainly paid off as we all left very happily with lots of stitched out samples to take home. No procrastinating in this class, I found it really refreshing to be told exactly what to do and how to do it. Her instructions were clear and concise and she made sure everyone knew exactly what to do.  If you had any doubts about the use of rulers before the class, you were in no doubt by the end that these are a fantastic addition to any quilters gadget box..

Day 4 – the final day

We had two morning classes, one with each teacher, the first I went to was with Kim, we stitched out a binding mat, once again using rulers, the second was a doodling class with Kelly. We sat and doodled on pre outlined quilt sandwiches, this was very relaxing after the previous couple of days non stop quilting. Not that a Quilter would ever complain about that. In fact to be truthful it’s every quilters idea of heaven, I know it’s mine.

After lunch I had a really excellent session led by Pete Holpin, he taught us about sewing machine timing, and how to recognise when there was an issue, and what to do about it. I found this to be very informative, and although I would be unlikely to want to repair a timing issue myself and would prefer to leave it to someone who knows what they are doing, I now have a better understanding of how my machine works. This was followed by a forum, which included an enthusiastic discussion on entering quilt shows and then the drawing of a raffle which raised over £300 for the local NSPCC. I was lucky enough to win two goodie bags full of lovely items.

As if this wasn’t enough there was a cocktail reception and Gala dinner followed by a keynote speech by quilt artist Pauline Burbridge.

I can honestly say it was a really excellent weekend, Liz, Pete, Christine and the entire team made us feel welcome, and really went out of their way to make sure everyone had a wonderful time, the hotel was great, as were the staff. I’m sure everyone came away tired, but at the same time enthused and energised, and hoping that there will be many more UK Handi Quilter Academies. It was well worth every penny spent to get there. If you ever get the opportunity to attend a Handi Quilter Academy, or for that matter, any event where you can be totally submerged in the event, I would say go for it, you won’t regret it.

If you have made it to the end of this lengthy blog, thank you for persevering with it, I really didn’t want to leave anything out.