I'm a UK-based quiltmaker, designer and teacher, with a special interest in hand-quilted wholecloth quilts. This web-site contains information on the following...
My Quilts: There is detailed information about the many quilts I have designed and stitched. These are arranged in various categories. As some quilts were made and exhibited as specific Collections, these groupings are also represented.
Teaching: Although I have cut down on my usual teaching activities of talks and workshops, I have started to capture and communicate my quilting experience and expertise in other ways. In 2018 I published a book, Welsh Quilting Design; further details are available here and the book itself can be purchased on Amazon. In the future, I hope to create some instructional videos (as opposed to the simple observational videos mentioned below). When I get around to it, these will either be made available on this website or, more probably, on YouTube.
My Web Shop: For many years I have made available for purchase a selection of my designs - from wholecloth and 'knots and beads' cushions to king-sized quilt designs in both the Welsh and Durham traditions.
Quilting Videos: As an experiment, my husband has toyed with recording videos, including time-lapse videos, of the methods I use in my quilt-making. They were shown at my Festival of Quilts gallery in 2019 and at my Paisley Pageant gallery at The Welsh Quilt Centre, Lampeter, in 2022; they can now be seen here on my website. For 2023, the Welsh Quilt Centre exhibition includes videos of me making a Welsh flannel quilt, and that quilt is being raffled by the Welsh Quilt Centre.
My Quilting Timeline: For anyone interested in a potted history of my quilting activities, a synopsis can be found below...
Although interested in crafts from an early age, I knew absolutely nothing about patchwork and quilting until the early 80s when we moved to the United States. My sister-in-law in Massachusetts had taken up patchwork and introduced me to the craft. However, it was almost another ten years before I actually tried my hand at making a quilt. By this time we were back in England and, as far as I knew, a long way from any help.
My first quilt was made in 1990 and was a cot quilt for our second baby who, unlike the eldest child, slept. After the first three patches I was already planning a school-house quilt for his brother. I started going to classes, joined a local quilting group and explored a variety of techniques. I loved the wonderful variety of patchwork, but found I didn't enjoy hand quilting over the seams - but hardly anyone machine quilted in those days.
1994 gave me a complete change of direction. At Quilts UK I had fallen in love with the beautiful wholecloth quilts made by Amy Emms, but thought I could never make one myself. However, a class with Barbara Chainey showed me how to draft a wholecloth quilt. This was the start of my lasting passion for designing and hand-quilting wholecloth quilts. This first effort, Berceuse, placed second in the cot quilt section at the Great British Quilt Festival and was my first rosette.
Following several other prize-winning small pieces, 1996 saw my first full-size wholecloth quilt 'Moonflower'. This was Best in Show at the Great British Quilt Festival that year and became my first 'international' quilt, winning the Merit Quilting award at the International Quilt Association, Houston the following year, and consequently forming part of their prize-winners exhibit at Quilt Expo Innsbruck in 1998.
Largely due to Moonflower's success, in 1997 I was asked to both teach and give lectures. I was also invited to demonstrate hand quilting at various UK quilt shows. To cover my costs I started designing patterns to sell. Other quilters sold motifs and so I decided to sell whole quilt and cushion designs instead. My technically gifted husband worked out how to draw patterns on our computer, so we bought an A2 printer and produced everything ourselves. The pattern for my prize-winning cot quilt Liberty Rose was our first effort that year and was rapidly followed by others.
In 1999 the Quilter's Guild of the British Isles had a national exhibition at Lord's Cricket Ground. The themed challenge to members was entitled 'Under the Covers'. Having been an avid knitter for years, I made the connection between the theme title and a cricket sweater and set myself the challenge of making a quilt look as much like a real sweater as possible. However, I don't think anyone expected 'Slip One, Knit One' to be large enough to fit a single bed...
The quilt was a huge success and led to the idea of creating a whole row of sweater quilts whose names read like a row of knitting. Thus the idea of a 'Lush Knits' collection was born...
In 2000, I attended a Lilian Hedley workshop, where I designed 'Romantic Rose' using traditional Durham templates taken from old quilts. The quilt won a second place at the Quilter's Heritage Celebration, Pennsylvania before being raffled in aid of the Quilter's Guild's 'Housing Our Heritage, Funding the Future' fund. The profits from the sale of its pattern also went to Guild funds for many years.
In 2003 I (finally) finished one of several applique quilts started over the previous few years. What started out as 'Millenium Tulips' was eventually named '2003 Tulips'! After receiving an Honourable Mention at IQA Houston it was chosen to feature on the 'Photo Finish' page of the prestigious Quilter's Newsletter Magazine.
That year also saw me try my hand as an author. I was asked to write the Hand Quilting section of Katherine Guerrier's 'Quilting From Start to Finish' (The Quilter's Companion in the US). I also wrote a section on wholecloth quilts and enjoyed the process enough that I thought I might write a book of my own when I had time.
In 2004 I finally got around to making Fantasy, a Welsh design I had published in 1999. This was hand stitched on ombre (shaded) sateen that had been pieced in eight large triangles, and it subsequently went on to become one of my most successful quilts.
Thanks to my friend Beryl Frank, in 2006 I started combining quilting with the knot used in candlewicking to launch my Colonial Cushion range of patterns.
2007 was a fantastic year. Not only was the new candlewicked, beaded and quilted quilt Crystal Dreams very successful at Festival of Quilts (and several other international quilts shows) but I was also given the opportunity to have my own gallery space at the show.
Alongside showcasing my bigger quilts, I made a series of sweater quilts, finally realising my original idea of a 'Lush Knits' series of quilts.
2010 Along with some more new sweater quilts, the Lush Knits collection toured with Grosvenor Shows that year.
Having taken 2013 off to write, I didn't manage a single word! I did complete several new wholecloth cot and sweater quilts that year, but my major achievement was to finish the applique on my quilt Roses are Red. Some quilts take time, but this one is my personal record as it started out life as a teaching sample in 1999 and was finally completed in the Spring of 2014. The border alone has over 1000 pieces in it!
With Roses are Red finally completed I decided to start another project that had been on the back burner for years. After finishing Aurora in 2002 I wished I had made several small but important alterations to the design. Rather than remake an identical quilt I'd decided it would be fun to convert the pattern into one that featured my beloved Colonial knots and beads. This proved quite a design challenge and it took me until 2014 to finally make a start on it. Pearl Princess was finally born just in time to go to the 2015 World Quilt and Textile Fair in the USA where it won Best Traditional Quilt. It then went to Festival of Quilts in 2016 and came second in the Traditional quilt category but, more importantly (and to my eternal delight), it earned the Viewers' Choice award that year.
My collaboration with quilt collector Jen Jones had started in 2010 and is still very strong. She has a simply wonderful (and extensive) collection of antique Welsh quilts and I have created several patterns for her using designs taken from her quilts. These are exclusively available from the museum shop at the Jen Jones Quilt Centre in Lampeter.
In 2014 nine new sweater quilts, along with all the other Lush Knits were beautifully displayed in Gallery 2 at her Welsh Quilt Centre. I was absolutely thrilled with how well she displayed the quilts for that exhibition.
Jen's quilts are a great source of inspiration and over the years I have used one motif in particular from a quilt in her collection. The first quilt to feature this paisley pear, 'In the Pink', was made in 2002. Over the following 10 years or so I had designed and made another four cot quilts using the same motif. A conversation with Jen about them in June 2015 led to an invitation to display them in Gallery 2. I immediately started designing and quilting, and by mid-February 2016 a collection of 24 hand-stitched quilts, Paisley Renaissance, was ready for exhibition.
This collection of quilts subsequently toured with Grosvenor Shows in 2017. They also featured in a gallery at the West Country Quilt Show later that year, creating a lot of interest in traditional Welsh quilts.
Along with my usual teaching and judging commitments, I spent much of 2017 finally bringing to fruition my long-standing intent to write a book about Welsh quilt design. Rather than produce a book of self-contained projects, I wanted to create one that de-mystified the design process itself. Having said that, it is illustrated with a number of especially-designed quilts, most of which had to be made for the book. This was a time-consuming process but, after much proofing and several false starts, the finished product finally became available on Amazon towards the end of 2018. Throughout, my husband's technical and photographic skills have been invaluable - but his meticulous proof reading really drove me to distraction!
As a 'thank you' to him, I also found time to start stitching Ahmran Eala, a double bed-sized silk wholecloth quilt. The design was based on (but not a copy of) a previous commission representing the Irish legend The Children of Lir, which he'd absolutely loved. Both designs made extensive use of Celtic knotwork patterns and proved an interesting challenge.
Making Ahmram Eala also led to the creation of a very novel sweater quilt called Machine Knit. When his silk quilt was finished, the husband wanted to cut holes in it to inset small red LED's to make the swans' crystal eyes light up. Unsurprisingly I refused, but I did make a sweater quilt with a Damian Hirst-type crystal skull for him to play with. He mounted small screens in the 'holes' of the eye-sockets, and a tiny camera in the top of the skull, then programmed the eyes to follow movement picked up by the camera using two tiny Rapsberry Pi computers. The end result is a skull with eyes that follow you as you walk around in front of it. It's quite uncanny and has caused endless amusement, as well as keeping the husband quiet for simply ages!
In 2018 I also revisited the paisley motif as it is such a versatile pattern. I found new avenues to explore, and I spent a lot of the year creating a new set of cot quilt patterns which extended ideas and designs beyond the traditions that encompassed the original set of quilts. These went to create the Paisley Parade collection for my second gallery at the 2019 Festival of Quilts.
Much of 2019 was spent making quilts and putting the finishing touches to the Paisley Parade gallery for the Festival of Quilts. Thanks to the husband's technical expertise, the gallery was supported by a local web-site showing how the designs were created. It also featured time-lapse videos of the whole process of making one of the quilts.
In 2019 the Quilters' Guild also acquired my original 'cricket sweater' quilt, Slip One Knit One, for their collection.
The paisley story wasn't finished! Along with selected quilts from Paisley Parade, 17 brand-new quilts were on display at the Jen Jones Quilt Centre in Lampeter. These were originally scheduled to appear in 2020 but, due to Covid, Paisley Pageant actually ran from March to the end of 2022.
During the Covid pandemic I tried to finish up some half-made teaching samples and use up some of my fabric stash. During 2020 I made two double bed-sized log cabin quilts and a cot quilt (all machine quilted), lots of small baby quilts for the premature baby unit of the local hospital, and finished the blocks for a large applique quilt which is in the later stages of hand quilting.
My judging activities have taken precedence over entering quilts in recent years, but in 2022 I entered two quilts into the Great Northern Quilt Show and won five rosettes, including Champion quilt.
For 2023 my Paisley cot quilts are being exhibited at the various shows around the UK organised by Grosvenor Exhibitions (though some of the smaller venues cannot show all 43 quilts).
I still have two large wholecloth Colonial knot and bead quilts and a Welsh wholecloth bed quilt in advanced stages of planning, a fabric stash as large as it ever has been, and hands that still work (most of the time)! So hopefully it's not the end of the story!
Over the last few decades I have been fortunate enough to be awarded approx 110 places/rosettes in major competitions, including overall winner in six national championships.