My Quilting History

I started patchwork way back in 1975, my daughter was about to start school (she was married in September 2009) and I worked part time. I somehow thought I was going to have lots of free time. A big ha ha, I don’t think I have stopped since.

Until 1979 I did "English One Patch", in that momentous year The Quilters Guild started and Beth Gudgeon brought out her "Patchwork Primer" which became my bible. Very few patchwork books or shops were available. The book wasn’t actually a how to but I loved it. I made every mistake as I worked my way through every block in the book. The eureka moment when I finally worked out the correct way to put a block together was wonderful.

Dorothy Osler did her best to get me to join The Quilters Guild when it started, I went to the first meeting in the north, but was totally intimidated as everyone seemed so professional and I was still doing patchwork with whatever bits and pieces I could lay my hands on (Mortgage and two children took up all surplus). It was 1984 when I finally joined.

1984 was when I first met Amy Emms, I had done a three day workshop at "The Shipley Gallery" Gateshead and the talk was all about when Amy did the workshops, alas for me she had retired. Later that year I did meet her at Frosterly, she did craft fairs to raise funds for the village hall. I had her all to myself for an hour due to very bad weather. She showed me how to draw feathers and patiently answered all my questions. Just watching her quilt was such a treat, at the end of the afternoon which I spent watching and listening to her she asked me for my address and phone number, then said "when you start teaching yourself", I said oh “no I won't be teaching”.

Over the following ten years she was very kind to me. She obviously saw something in me I didn’t know myself. I did take to quilting on a frame but I have to say she didn’t teach me to quilt, in fact she was prone to say I was her only failure. I couldn’t get used to a thimble and wouldn’t stick needles in myself on purpose. It took eighteen months to develop my style, I have practiced it ever since without thimbles or sticking needles in myself.

I started teaching for the local authority in 1985 (wholecloth, they contacted me). It’s not generally known away from the North East of England, just how much Patchwork I also teach. I have lost track of how many patchwork quilts I have made over the years, my family have some but charities got most of them.

1987 Made a quilt for "Woman & Home” Magazine.

1988 Commissioned to quilt a stamped top for Tyne & Wear Museums.

1988 Entered The National Patchwork Championships, won a first for quilting.

At the end of this year I was in a head on car crash, someone came from the other side of the road and hit me. Within a week Arthritis had set in this I have been fighting it ever since.

1990 My second entry in a quilt show was Harrogate, when I won the quilting cup.

1993 Asked to tutor at "Best of British" Quilters Guild weekend for the Quilters Guild.

1999 Awarded "The Joan Trowbridge" award for outstanding services to quilting in region 15e.

2001 Awarded the Amy Emms Memorial Trophy for services to quilting.

2004 Made an Honorary Member of The Quilters Guild again for services to quilting.

I taught OCN at Peterlee College for four years and local classes since 1985.I also travel the country doing workshops and lectures.

Travelling the world with my quilting, this year (2009) it was Norway.

For the last twenty four years I have had the privilege of exhibiting the quilts from Beamish Open Air Museum, getting up close to such a wonderful collection was magic. Sadly since Rosy Allan retired a new younger generation is now in charge and my services are no longer required.

2008 I was asked to take part on a DVD by "Twisted Thread" quilting, drawing feathers and talking quilting, not my first brush with the silver screen as a few years ago I took part on "Flog it" as a quilt expert.

I would like to thank the late Amy Emms and Dorothy Osler for all the help, advice and encouragement given to me over the years.

Anyone with any quilting questions can contact me by email.