Last Sunday I took part in a workshop at Needle and Thread Workshops, which is in a lovely rural location just outside Lincoln. The workshops are held in a converted barn and all materials, equipment and food are provided. 'Free Motion Quilting for the Terrified' was led by Stuart Hillard. The photo below and biography are from the website.
Expect lots of fun, expertise and super stitching know-how on any workshop with Stuart Hillard! Stuart is a professional quilt designer, make and teacher with over 20 years' experience and hundreds of quilts under his belt. More than fifty of his designs have been published in national and international magazines and he is a monthly columnist for Popular Patchwork Magazine, Essentials Magazine and Sew Magazine and published author. A semi-finalist on the first series of The Great British Sewing Bee in 2013, global ambassador for Handi-Quilter, ambassador for Coats Crafts/Rowan/FreeSpirit Fabrics and regular guest on Create and Craft TV."
I watched Stuart on the Great British Sewing Bee and also on Create and Craft, so knew that he would be lovely, funny and patient...and he was. He brought some of his beautiful quilts with him...
They are stunning...
You can't see the quilting very easily but it adds complementary patterns to the quilts. This hexagon quilt is made from material designed by Stuart (I have some of this too, but it probably won't be made into a quilt!
What were we aiming for? Here is Stuart's sampler of nine quilting patterns, although there are more than nine ideas there.
We started with a ripple pattern, getting a feel for the machine and trying to control the stitch length. This was something I struggled with and my stitch length was far from consistent; however, Stuart said it was all about practise. This was only the second time I had ever tried free motion stitching, so I couldn't expect miracles (although a little part of me did!) The cake was very welcome and was a yummy lemon one. We stitched for about 15 minutes at a time, which Stuart said was the most you should stitch for without a little break. He was full of hints and tips, recommendations for materials and needles.
Here's my ripple attempt. The other ladies (and it was all ladies) in the group were all more experienced in quilt making than me and had all made quilts before.
Then it was time to start the sampler. Stuart showed us how to stitch the patterns first and then we went off to have a go.
This was the last pattern we attempted, called peacock feathers. Although I still struggled with a consistent stitch length, I really liked the end result.
Here's a plan of the whole thing which I drew today, just to give an idea of what it should have looked like and also to remind me about the unfinished sections.
It was an intense day, but one I enjoyed. The organiser, Sally, was very welcoming and Jan provided delicious refreshments and a lovely lunch (jacket potato, lots of salads, cheese, tuna followed by caramelised apple tart).
I have gained a lot of confidence about giving it a go and although I don't think I shall be quilting, I may well be able to use some of the patterns in free motion embroidery onto my felt. I will keep an eye on the website and look out for a free motion embroidery workshop. There are lots of ideas swirling around in my brain!