Thursday, 29 October 2015

Hazels Quilt Retreat 2015

This week we have some lovely ladies here on their own quilt retreat.

There has been lots of productive work completed over the last few days and they have also kept me very busy longarm quilting some of their makes.

This first quilt has been made for charity. Its going to be raffled for Ovarian Cancer, so I quilted this with my compliments.

The pattern chosen by the ladies was 'dragonflies' . This is a gorgeous quilt in lovely aqua & jades - the pictures don't really do this quilt justice and I really hope that they raise lots of money for the charity.

The next quilt had been on the go for some twenty years!

The pattern chosen for this one was 'circles & squares'

and the back

The third quilt - modern feathers was started in one of Hazels classes and finished here during the retreat.

The pattern chosen was 'funky feathers'

Next up, this lavender & green quilt. The pattern is called 'pansies'

& finally, quilt number five
 the pattern chosen for this one is called 'bountiful feathers'

well my poor Rodney & DellBoy now deserve a rest - they have been on overtime for these ladies, but we are all pleased that they have had a super retreat and we look forward to welcoming them back to Quilt Sandwich at The Royal Bridlington soon. 

Saturday, 24 October 2015

Recent Longarmed Customer Quilts

Here are just a few of the recent quilt tops which I have been asked to quilt by some of my customers here at Quilt Sandwich. It is so nice when customers take the time to contact you when they received their quilt back.

Norma chose Circle Meander for her quilt and asked me to quilt and finish & hand sew the binding.

Here is a copy of the email she sent me when she received her quilt -

Hi Fiona,My Quilt has arrived and I just want to say a big thank you for turning my duckling into a SWAN.I am so pleased with it.Thank you once again. regards Norma 

Justine chose Hearts & Loops for this quilt. The hexagons are hand pieced and machine appliqued. She asked me to add a border to your quilt too and add binding and hand sew to finish.

Justine collected her quilt in person and was thrilled to bits.

Arlene Chose Curly Q for her quilt. I know she was very nervous as this was the first quilt she had made and it was a present for her husband. She asked me to quilt and add binding and hand sew to finish.

here is a copy of the email I have just received from her -

My Dear Fiona,

My quilt arrived here safely today. Both myself and my husband are absolutely delighted. We were suprised at the speed of the turnaround and the incredible value for money.

It looks even better than I expected it to. I am so happy with the backing fabric and the choice of quilting pattern is
perfect for the blocks. I am very pleased with the colour of thread that you have used as well.

The colours and block pattern of the top was chosen by my husband and the whole thing is a gift for him. He asked me to express his thanks to you, he thinks that "the whole thing is wonderful".

I would be happy to recommend your work to anyone and please feel free to use this email as a review or endorsement.

With many thanks, hope to see you in the not too distant future,

Arlene x

 thank you so much for all the lovely comments and thank you for trusting me with your lovely quilts.

More details on my longarm quilt service can be found here -

Monday, 12 October 2015

The Biggest selection of Quilt Backing Fabrics in the UK!

How did I get to have the largest amount of extra wide Quilt backings in the UK?

When I started longarm quilting I was amazed by how many people brought me quilts with make do & substandard fabrics for backing their quilts. After all the time and effort that goes into making a beautiful quilt top, surely we should not spoil our quilt by using something less than perfect.  When I started to look deeper into this issue I found the reason why.

Extra Wide backing are difficult to get hold of because not all fabric manufactures make them, so to get a range you have to deal with a lot of different companies. Most of them need to come in to the UK from USA, some go via Holland too and the delivery times of these can be several months.

I decided that it would be a good idea to stock a few for my customers, little did I know that this would soon grow to being the largest collection of extra wide quilt backing in the UK!

Why is it important to use an extra wide backing fabric on your quilt? When you load a quilt for longarming you attach the backing fabric first and attach this to two cloth leaders which in turn are attached to two rollers. This is then wound tight and bungee cords are attached at the sides for side tension.  If you are joining fabric to make a backing this puts extra stress on your joining seam and can cause puckering or bearding through the join.

These are some other questions I regularly get asked -

How wide are extra wide fabrics?
Most are 108 inches wide, the batiks are generally 106 wide.

Batik? - I was told never to use batik for backing because it is too closely woven.
Yes that is correct regarding standard width batik. the extra wide ones are a slightly different weave and are specially designed for backing fabrics.

If I buy some extra wide fabric, can I use the remaining fabric for standard patchwork/binding?
Yes of course.

Why do longarmers need at least four inches extra of backing & wadding all round my quilt top?
The first reason is for loading. The backing needs to be attached to the rollers - so there is some fabric that cannot be quilted. We need to attach bungee type cords to the side to create some tension - so we need fabric to attach our clamps to and some spare which will be distorted by this.  The other reason is that when we are doing a pantograph - an all over pattern, we actually need to quilt right across and OFF the quilt top at all edges.  When the quilting is done the quilt can be cut down and any spare fabric is returned for reuse.

Why can't I just use a bed sheet?
Sheeting is a much higher thread count than patchwork fabrics. When you quilt it the needle makes a hole rather than going between the fibres. This can cause bearding (ie the fibres from the wadding can poke through the holes).

Extra Wide fabrics are too expensive.
First of all you need to consider that an extra wide fabric is two and a half times the width of the fabric normally used for patchwork.
I stock fabrics ranging from just £10 per metre to £25 per metre.  So in reality the £10 per metre fabric would equate to just £4 of normal width and the £25 batik range would be around £10 per metre if normal width, so really they are better value than standard fabrics and it saves you having to join and have a seam down the back of your quilt.

What fabric do you stock?
I have extra wide fabric from Moda, Whistler Studios, Studio E, Windham, John Loudon, Timeless Treasures, Kaufman etc.

How many different fabrics do you have?
Currently I have 123 but I have more arriving all the time.

Where can I see your fabrics?
They are in my secure on line shop which can be found here
If you are local or want to come & see in person - that's fine. My fabrics are at in our hotel - The Royal Bridlington, Shaftesbury Road, Bridlington. YO15 3NP    I just ask that you telephone me or email me in advance so that I can make arrangements to be around.  Telephone number is 01262 672433 email is

What else do you sell?
I have a full range of wadding - poly, 80/20, black, cotton & wool plus Moda Scrap Bags, & some fantastic Colour Me Quilt Kits plus some other bits which are handy on our workshops and retreats.

This year I decided to take a stand at Harrogate Quilt Show for the first time. Here is my overloaded stall.

I had a great time and met so many lovely quilters that I already knew and many new ones of course too.

So when you need some backing fabric, have a browse at my selection.

Sunday, 4 October 2015

Jan Hassard Retreat 2015

Last week saw another great retreat with Jan Hassard at The Royal Bridlington and students had travelled from all over the UK plus Holland to attend.

Day One - Infinity Squares

Day Two - Undulations

Day Three - Twisitng Triads

Jan Will be teaching here at The Royal Bridlington again in September 2016. Details can be found on the website here -

Gail Lawther retreat 2015

We have had a super retreat last week with Gail Lawther.  Three full days of different projects to choose from including Gail's stained glass pieces & rose windows

Here are the ladies hard at work

Time for lunch....

Back to work

Time for afternoon Tea

and a few of works in progress

Gail will be back here at Quilt Sandwich, The Royal Bridlington in April 2016. Details on website soon -