Festival of Quilts

I’m back from 5 days at The Festival of Quilts. I work so hard to get everything ready for it that by the time I get there I am quite nervous about it all – Will anyone like my new work? Will anyone buy anything etc etc?

By Thursday lunchtime I am usually beginning to relax a little.

The day after the show I am usually feeling a bit like a zombie, and wander aimlessly around my studio etc, but today i have been sorting things and trying to get organised, and trying to work out what direction I should go in the future.

I am really trying to reduce the amount of teaching I do and concentrate on only the best.

I think i had better do some more “sardines” quilts and some more houses quilts as everyone seemed to really like them.


I never get much chance to see any of the quilts, these are some of them that caught my eye


We had a lovely evening with one of the judges and we were asking her why one of the quilts won a first prize – it was really interesting, the first thing she said was that many of the quilts did not fulfil the rules of entry of that category. I made my game and entered it in the quilt creation category, and when I read the judges comment it said it was not 3D

So my game. I made it based on the idea of Pachisi – an Indian game like ludo and now have some kits for sale.

Here is my entry


It was stitched using Decora 12 – a Madeira thread given to me by Madeira Israel


It comes in such fabulous colours and is so easy to use. Don’t use it in the bobbin and use a top stitch needle and you shouldn’t have any problems.

They also gave me some frosted matt thread but i have yet to use it


Back to Festival of Quilts. I did loads of teaching this year – I was offered it, but next year I will go back to just session a day.

Thanks to all my helpers my stand was managed in my absence wonderfully by Fiona, Lesley, Shoshi, Dorothy and Carina


I was lucky this year to be given (without having to pay for it) a little extra space, however I did have to pay for an extra light.

It was lovely to meet up with students and friends from all over the world. There is such an fabulous atmosphere – everyone looks like they are having fun. I spoke to a very sweet lady who said she hadn’t been able to sleep well for 3 weeks she had been so excited at being able to come and have a day off by herself.

I was given a beautiful book by my friend Shoshi. I love the colours of the Palestinian costume. Now I just need some time to look at it


I was given another book. This one is all in Polish but look at the patterns / illustration.

You can see why i like it

Thanks Madeline


There is never much chance to buy much from all the shops but i did buy some fabric. I liked this as it is shaded and I have a plan to use it on one of my next projects

Its a moda fabric


Watch this space!

More thread came today for me. This time it is from Mettler as I am going to use their thread for my workshops in Maastricht in Holland in October


Yes it is variegated! I have a plan, this is for 2017, but the grey is for 2016

Now….so much admin etc to catch up with.






New Quilt

I’ve inherited this quilt. So what can anyone tell me about it?

I think it is was probably made in Northumberland and probably Victorian.

The back is white and the edging is machine stitched. There are no laundry marking numbers on the edge

It isn’t worth much but it is rather nice.


Gone global

I just don’t know how it happens some time, but occasionally a quilt of mine will get shared on a website / facebook page etc and then the number of people looking at my website goes sky high.

This week it has been my turnip quilt.




I have had messages from someone in Moscow asking me if they could  buy it and another one that made my day.

“Beautiful, beautiful work! Also love your piece (not sure of the title) of the spice pots. Simple but exquisite!

Thank you for being out there, creating such beauty. I needed a lift this morning and you’ve given me that, thank you!”

Here is another lovely email

Firstly, let me express my admiration to your quilts and other art! it’s wonderful. Yesterday my mother sent me a facebook link. so bright colours, so much life in it. I subscribed on your page:).

secondly, the question! do you sell the bettrave quilt? I would buy it and pay the delivery to Moscow, Russia. Or maybe I could pay you for the image in a very good quality, I would really print this picture for my kitchen maybe. It’s so cool andso violet!:)

Here is another small JQ I made this week


I sent an image of it to my friend in Israel with the words

“Walk out of your door at 7am and you might meet these 2 ladies”

This week I made one of my favourite Sunday morning breakfasts for some friends




It is great following an energetic exercise class, Best eaten with some proper hummus – Sainsburys sell the best (not their own make but one with a green lid)

I’ve been on a lot of trains lately and I was sorting through some of my India photos and I found these and thought perhaps I should share some of these photos of the children – happy memories


Catching up and getting ahead

With so many images from my recent teaching trip I just wanted to make a couple of Journal Quilts. They will be September and October so I am ahead!

There is a small street in Jerusalem where an art project designed lots of umbrellas to be positioned high up. This quarter all the JQ’s have to have a small piece of orange


This one is inspired by the bowls of spices in the market in Jerusalem


My new kits should be ready for Festival of quilts. the graphic designers always make a good job but always always leave it to the last minute.

This is the first page of the instructions

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I have a couple of residential classes to do this year and next based on the Interchange applique method and I have been working on some slightly different approaches using Jelly Rolls. I have never really seen the need to buy a Jelly roll until now. These 3 small quilts were made with 1 Jelly Roll and I still have loads left to make another couple, although not quite the right colours. Maybe I’ll have to buy another one

This is my sample


Here is a finished quilt – I really like this one


And this one I don’t. there isn’t enough contrast in colour and I thought the red and blue would work well together but they don’t. It’s good when teaching to be able to have an example that doesn’t work well.


Summer time

Lots of my friends know how hard the last few months have been for me. I feel like I have been up and down the country and half way around the world, never really being able to concentrate or really enjoy the fantastic opportunities I have been given.

My mother finally passed away and I know she was proud of the way we have all dealt with the situation.

Not a career change but flower arranging was one of my jobs

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So now I have a massive amount of catching up to do. But first I want to share some photos of just how beautiful Northumberland is when the sun shines.

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I always drive past the angel of the north so this week took some more photos


Some beautiful sunsets


Beautiful places and good times had, at a sad event.

Lovely photo


Now I need to get ready for Festival of Quilts. Finger crossed it will all go ok. I have never been so badly prepared – I’ve a lot of stitching and lacking of kits to do this week.


Although I think I would rather be getting on with some new ideas I have





Israel again


Teaching abroad is always challenging. Have I remembered everything? It can seem difficult as the terms used and methods are always different, there are new places, new people etc and living out of a suitcase is not easy.

All my teaching in Israel went well and I could show you photos of students holding up quilts but I’m never keen on seeing these type of photos.

Here are some general pictures of life in Israel


Note the gun, but normal guys, normal lifeIMG_6616


I did enjoy meeting Yael – the Madeira Israel sales rep ( who had a broken wrist as well- hers looked a bit cleaner than mine)

She gave me some of the Decora 12 to try – I am very impressed with the thread and I shall be using more of it in the future. When I have some time to do some decent samples I will post some images

Check it out – use a top stitch needle and you shouldn’t have too much trouble but don’t put in in the bobbin.

I have stayed with my friend Shoshi several times, I love staying with her for many reasons one reason being that she lives so close to the sea in Bat Yam. I love walking along the beach in the early morning and at sun set.



On Saturday we were invited to join a grafitti tour of the Florentine area of Tel Aviv. Effie gave us an entertaining tour – he was such a knowledgeable guide.


We even managed a trip to the cinema to see “You before Me” – Don’t go without a hankie

The next few days I stayed with Leeanne who has become another dear friend. We did lots of lovely things in Jaffa like photograph doors, and go “wow” at something that nobody other than a serious textile artist would see.

I have lots of photos!


We had some good street food, wandered into the shops, chatted, visited Sedona market, went to the arts and crafts market, bought fabric, and had a few days of looking at things that I love. We did squeeze in a little culture by going to to Diaspera Jewish museum,

There was a quote in the Jewish museum that I really liked


but didn’t go into the Design Museum, as the exhibition I wanted to see was not on yet, the outside is spectacular.

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I have visited Jerusalem several times and still get a tingle when I see the Dome of the Rock.

IMG_7661I love wandering the souq, bought a few pieces of textiles and visited the Palestinian Heritage Museum. I also went to see some good friends who live there.

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I have always been interested in ethnic textiles, and was invited to go to Beer Sheva where I met up with Melissa and Judy. We visited Lakiya to see the embroidery and the weaving. It is such an inspiring place to visit, the women are paid for their stitching which gives them independence. It reminded me so much of the Indian cooperatives that I have been involved with. The one thing that struck me that was so different was that the Bedouin men can have several wives, which must make life even harder for the women. The project really showed how embroidery can have such a positive role to play in the lives of women.

Look at the shapes of the concrete memorial structure we visited and the photo of national bird the Hoopee

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My final day was spent in Ramla, a place that many said was not worth visiting, but I found it such an interesting place thanks to Moshe, our friend and knowledgeable guide who showed us round.

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I feel so lucky to have had the opportunity to go to Israel again, do lots of teaching, see some amazing places, meet some talented quilters, spend time with  friends, make new friends (who I hope I will see again), and enjoy the fabulous food and sunshine.


Perhaps, if you are a nervous traveller you might not enjoy Israel, but I had a brilliant time.

Thanks to all the ladies who gave me such a good time.


I have hundreds of photos but posting and sharing them will have to wait




Its been a few weeks since I wrote a blog post.

Its been, on the one hand a difficult few weeks but on the other a fabulous few weeks.I have had very little time to catch up – my time has been filled almost every minute of the day.

My wrist is still in plaster but I, hopefully, don’t have many more days to go until the pot is removed. I am hoping that it has healed well. No doubt I will be impatient and expect it to be back to normal straight away. I will work hard at the physio to get it working properly so that i can go back to doing my exercise classes asap.

I have been away for almost 2 weeks as I was invited by the Israeli Quilt Guild to teach at their Summer Workshop, to give a talk and to do some additional teaching.

I was also invited to carry out some research and I wanted to see a bit more of the country  to gain some inspiration for more quilts.

This is the fourth time i have been to Israel. It is a country with massive political issues and most quilters live with a little bit of a fear for their safety. The weather is fabulous (that’s if you like it hot and sunny every day – up to 37 degrees) the food amazing (humous tahini, fresh vegetables, delicious salads etc, etc, and the countryside spectacular.

I keep returning as it is the people I return to visit. They are very hospitable, kind and fun quilters.I have made some very special friends. I always have lots of invitations and return home with so many good memories.

So where do I start….

I will write several posts as I was taken to many fabulous places and have lots of photos.


My flight arrived late and I went up towards Haifa to stay with Elsy . It was so good to have the chance to be able to sit on a balcony in the late evening and have a glass of wine.

The next day Elsy took me to Akko to the Citidal, the Mosque, the folk museum and the Hamman.


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We then went to see Eytan George Hurwitz a guy who had an embroidery exhibition in the town. He was a wonderfully eccentric guy who had been seriously injured in an accident and taken up embroidery. He casually mentioned he had been to Halifax. I asked why? He said that’s where his mother was born, so when I explained that was where I lived we then spent some time chatting about Yorkshire.



Elsy then took me to right to the far north of Israel to see some caves.



The next day we visited Caesarea in the morning and in the afternoon I set off to Tiberias as I wanted to go to see the Sea of Gallilee and to go to Safed to see the artists colony. I booked myself into the hostel, had a wander round the small town of Tiberias- described in my guide book as neglected, yes it is a bit tacky but I really liked it and had some delicious hummus and a glass of wine sat in a small restaurant . It was boiling hot!

Safed is a small town with a large orthodox Jewish population and many artists. I wished i had had more time to spend there, it was good to see some very inspiring art work for sale and good to be able to speak to the artists





More to come another day