As we embark on a new adventure, a new year, and a new website, my first blog post is an introduction to me. I’ve been crafting for almost as long as I can remember; my mum learned how to knit left handed, so she could teach me. Neither of us were terribly successful, and so she then taught me how to do it right handed. She gave me some hexagons when I was about 7 or 8, and I wanted to sew them together – which I did, but without templates. A few years later, I undid the initial work, and redid it with templates – and this then became the first quilt I completed (admittedly about 20 years after the initial step). I remember having a basic sewing machine around the age of 7 or 8, but I don’t think I really ever got on with it – I don’t know what happened to it. When it came to crochet, I had to sit in front of her, and mirror image what she was doing. I don’t know how the sewing started really, although I know I did some binca work, a hand-sewn hand puppet and a swimming bag – all at primary school. I’ve been doing patchwork for about 35 years, and quilting for almost 20. My love of fabric really took off when I discovered a quilting shop in Cambridge, whilst I was doing my teacher training (the shop was called Hemsley’s I believe). The shop was responsible for increasing my stash, and decreasing my funds! I started off more or less teaching myself, but have done various workshops in different techniques, including printing, dyeing, postcards, stained glass work, and mixed media.

 

My first quilt – started around 1984, and finished in 2002

Since stopping teaching, I’ve become a foster carer, which has given me more time to sew and quilt. I’m much better at starting projects rather than finishing them, but I’m working on rectifying this. I started a local quilt group – it has since disbanded, but it introduced me to like-minded people; the biggest influence and greatest gift has been Parkham Patchers. At this group, I have learned more techniques and done more classes. This group has been my lifeline through some very difficult times. In order to look after others, I know that I need to look after myself – and the way I do this is by making sure I go along to PP every week. I avoid having meetings or appointments on a Wednesday, and I will say ‘no’ to helping family out during a Wednesday morning, because it is the one time in the week that I get to meet with my like-minded friends.

I have a substantial SABLE (Stash Accumulated Beyond Life Expectancy) and many PHDs (Projects Half Done), and have many, many crafty interests – embroidery, beading, EPP, foundation piecing, back basted appliqué, free motion quilting, BOMs, crochet, and interpreting my own designs and ideas. I also love making ragdolls and clothes for my nieces and granddaughters.

One of the ragdolls I’ve made

I can’t claim to be an expert about anything, but I’m willing to have a go at most things – and I enjoy trying new things, to see how far I can go, and what exactly I can do. Future blog posts will include details about my quilting journey, things I’ve learned along the way, original designs, quilting as therapy, and more!

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