So Rachel, tell us how you came to be working for Quilt Direct?
Well, you can blame Charlie for that! Charlie and I met at primary school years ago and have always been around one another with the ponies growing up and later when we had our children. (We both have two boys of similar ages). Then we have gone through the infant/primary/secondary school together, meeting up in the playground. Charlie asked me if I wanted a job lots of times and once the children were more independent I thought I would do one day a week… I now do four!!
Tell us about your family and hobbies.
Well, I am quite busy with the boys and their activities. I also have my horse who is called Roo, she is a 17.2hh Irish Sports Horse and I usually do showjumping competitions. I also have Esta who is an 18 month old baby sports horse who I will train and ride in the future.
What is your role at Quilt Direct?
I mainly look after the website. This involves listing all the new products that we have and adding and amending the content. I also design and edit all the sliders that you see on the website. I also help out with the warehouse when needed, picking, packing and posting.
What was the worse job you ever had?
Working in a milking parlour! I had to collect milk samples for testing and it was very smelly and mucky.
What is on your bucket list?
That one is easy! To have a horse for everyday of the week! There would be Monday… Tuesday…….
Tell us about your sewing experience.
Absolutely none when I joined Quilt Direct. You may know that Katherine does teach us as a group and sometimes individually. Katherine is teaching me how to use the Bernina Long Arm Q24 which I really enjoy and I like using the templates too.
Thank you for sharing with us Rachel.
So, Louise, tell us about how you came to Quilt Direct?
I was a friend of Katherine’s and I used to run my own business some years ago, so Katherine and I had a lot in common . When my last job ended, Katherine asked me to join her at Quilt Direct.
Can you tell us about your background?
I have mainly worked in the travel and hospitality industry. I had my own travel company for many years where I specialised in horse riding holidays. I have ridden all over the world and have had many exciting adventures on my own and with groups of clients. I lived in Spain for two years and then moved to Portugal where I lived on my Quinta (farm) for seven years.
What about your family?
I have four children. Cameron is 32 and works in hospitality. Emily is 30 and she is a nurse at Derriford hospital. Joe is 14 and he lives with his dad in Portugal and the baby is Jorge who is 12 and he lives with me. I also have a granddaughter, Heidi who is 2!! I have a cat with mental health issues and a dog – I will tell you more about him in another blog.
What keeps you out of trouble in your spare time?
Well, I am quite busy with Quilt Direct weekdays. I help Ali with her garden at the weekend. I like to spend as much time as I can with Jorge – usually catching up with maths homework! But we do like to go to the beach and the cinema. I have some good friends in Tavistock and I like to meet up for a coffee and a natter. I also make cakes!!! Mainly for Quilt Direct for when we have our ladies on our courses in the Bernina Studio.
So, what is your role at Quilt Direct?
My job is twofold, Marketing and Studio. I look after all the social media, so it is me that writes the blogs, does Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. I also look after other advertising and organise the shows that Quilt Direct attends. The other part is that I organise all the Bernina Studio classes, Guest Tutors, Lectures and Demo’s. I am currently working on week long Bernina Retreat. This is very exciting and I have potentially six ladies coming from the north of England to spend a week in our studio being taught by Katherine.
What was the worst job you ever had?
Collecting the winning bingo tickets in a bingo hall and calling out the numbers to the bingo caller. It was terrible but someone had to do it I suppose. I did not last long!
Do you have anything on your bucket list?
Oh lordy YES!! I have not been able to travel for a long while. If I could, I dearly wish to take Jorge to Costa Rica as it is amazing. We both want to do the Amalfi Coast and even though I’ve been to India three times, I would love to take him there too. However, those trips aside, if I could, I want to ride across the Andes from Chile to Argentina, that is a four week trek!! Eek!!
If you had a super power, what would it be?
Interesting…… be invisible? But I think that would cause me a lot of headaches and get me into trouble.
How are your sewing skills?
Ah, sadly somewhat lacking. I have tried to learn to sew many times in my life but did not really achieve anything. I am a complete beginner. Katherine does teach us all on a monthly basis. My ambition sadly does not match my ability, but I persevere! In fact I absolutely adore the quilts and the whole world that it has opened up for me.
Thanks for chatting with us Louise. Look out for our next staff member interview.
Three of us ladies here, (Charlie, Rachel & Louise) all have boy children. The three eldest are all in the same year at College, whilst the younger two are close together at primary school. With the half term holidays looming all three ladies pulled together to take it in turns for a childcare day. Louise took them to the otter sanctuary and the beach. Rachel took them to the movies and Charlie took them swimming. (I think Charlie got the short straw!). It is also a tradition at Quilt Direct for Katherine to include the children for an afternoon in the Studio during holidays. She had in mind a creative Halloween project. This was to make double sided motifs and hang them together to create a window garland for trick or treat night.
This is what we did:-
Katherine, Louis and Charlie had a lot of fun deciding which fabrics to use and there were few “squeals of delight” when they hit upon another fabric find. We had stars for the witch’s hats, spotty metallic for the spiders, silver metallic for the ghosts and various other contrasting fabrics for the circles.
We needed first to prepare the applique components and we did this by cutting “Steam and Seam 2 sheets” to match the size of the fabric. We then pressed this to create a tacky side to the fabric and then put on warm and natural cotton batting. Making a sandwich of two pieces of fabric with the batting in the middle. We then steamed the whole piece together for 16 seconds. Katherine stressed that it was important to steam the sandwich not iron it, at this stage, as the steam is actually what sets the piece.
The boys then used a ruler and measured each die that we were going to use and calculated how many shapes they could fit into the sandwiches that had been prepared. Katherine explained the mathematical way to calculate this. They used the Accuquilt GO Halloween Medley. They cut the motifs using the Accuquilt GO Big Fabric Cutter.
Much fun was then had by all assembling the garlands. We found that stringing them together didn’t work too well at first and concluded that we needed a spacer. Charlie was all for popcorn, but it was decided that pasta quills would work better as a spacer. So off to the shops to get some pasta and some sweets. Using a large needle and fishing line, Louise then strung them all together.
We all think that they look amazing and so much fun.
Click on the link below to see all our Accuquilt products.
I was staying with family in Tavistock and a visit to Quilt Direct and the Bernina Studio. I was given the opportunity to make something (anything I wanted), and the first thing I thought was of my friends newborn baby born 16th February at 27 weeks old. Tony and I had not yet found a gift to give to her and so I thought this was the perfect opportunity to make something special.
At first I wanted to make a quilted blanket, however with such a short time frame (a matter of hours), I was wisely advised maybe something a little quicker would be more suitable, and so a pillow was decided upon.
The first step was to design something to go on the pillow, and her mummy absolutely adores cats, so that was the focus. I also wanted something that would stand out for her. A design was chosen on the Bernina Designer software and personalised.
Next was to choose a fabric – PINK OBVIOUSLY! We then watched in awe as the Bernina 700 embroidery machine ……… created the stitches on my chosen fabric as if by magic. It took around 45 minutes to complete the design and I already knew the pillow was perfect (PS I have never picked up a needle never mind use a sewing machine).
So the next stage was to machine stitch the backing fabric on (which I chose a lovely rainbow design, almost like a rainbow sky). I also promise I am happy on the photo above, this is absolute concentration face. Katherine helped and guided me through the next steps of cutting the fabric to the right size, and setting up the Bernina 570 sewing machine to attach the back to the front. The next step was to get straight lines (and for someone who can’t even walk or drive straight this was a challenge), however Katherine attached a seam guide on the machine bed which helped to ensure the lines were straight giving a perfect finish.
The pillow then needed to be stuffed before being hand finished (waaa).
A coffee was needed at this stage, made by the lovely Ali. The pillow was stuffed and then hand sewn using a ladder stitch (demonstrated by Katherine first) and was fairly easy to follow.
We also decided to add a label, so Mia could always remember who made the pillow for her! The writing was stitched on machine… and the border was made using a pattern on the machine, giving these lovely little hearts!
And voila! The finished product. I can’t believe I actually managed to make something that was so lovely and I know will mean so much to my dear friend. I am certainly not saying it was easy, but was made far more doable thanks to the help of Quilt Direct! Thanks again, I am sure we will be visiting again soon (from Newcastle Upon Tyne).
Propducts used for this project:
Only a handful of day to go until the 2018 Festival of Quilts.
We’re looking forward to being there, we’re looking forward to seeing you there.
And if you need some motivation just have a look at the winning quilts from last year’s festival
See you at Stand A42 opposite the Bernina Stand and NOT at Stand B32 as listed in the showguide.
Get rid of the cotton and muslin bits and pieces. Some of you probably even still have an old towelling nappy stashed away!
The OESD Perfect Embroidery Press Cloth is the only press cloth you will ever need!
The OESD Perfect Embroidery Press Cloth
- Presses puckers out of embroidered fabrics
- Prevents embroidery texture from getting crushed
- Absorbs steam to set a perfectly pressed finish
- Lasts forever (well, maybe not forever, but for a very long time)
- Is easy to use, easy to maintain
- Measures 20 inches square
It is great for quilt blocks – the texture of the press cloth is perfect for accommodating bulky seams!
Have a look at this video of the OESD Perfect Embroidery Press Cloth in action
The Perfect Embroidery Press Cloth can also be used like a traditional press cloth.
Just place project right side up on ironing surface and place press cloth over the top of the project.
Do you have a quilter in your life?
Here are a couple of useful ideas for Christmas gifts ( if you are the quilter in someone’s life, just leave this page open where it can be seen!)
If you’re still stuck for ideas there’s always a nice new top of the range Bernina Machine,
or maybe just a fabulous Quilt Direct gift voucher
We hope we’ve made Christmas shopping a tiny, little bit easier for you!
The Accents in Design Fine Line Ruler is designed for all types of quilters, quilting machines and right or left handed quilters.
The ruler base is 1/4″ (.236 thick acrylic) thickness and 2-1/2″ wide. By transferring the ability to control the ruler with your fingers using the finger grips, you will ease tension in your shoulders while quilting — the placement of your fingers on the ruler is a natural position for your hand and your arm.
When using traditional rulers and templates with a longarm or frame system, keeping your ruler or template in place puts pressure on the base of the ruler or template. This will sandwich your quilt top under the ruler and puts pressure on the ruler base on the underside of your quilt. This method can create inconsistent stitches because your machine isn’t able to glide as freely across the top of your quilt with the added pressure.
Traditional rulers and templates cannot be utilized by the sit-down machine quilter — the design of the Accents in Design Fine Line Ruler has changed that! It offers excellent control. Using the Fine Line Quilter’s Ruler on a home sewing machine system, you never have to break your thread, raise your feed dogs, or change to your walking foot to achieve straight line designs. You can easily outline a block with “stitch in the ditch”, or outline your patterns within your block and continue on in “free-motion” without ever breaking your threads.
Sit-down machine quilters can outline a Mariner’s Compass motif without turning their quilt. Don’t pivot your quilts to change stitching directions, change the angle of your ruler and complete vertical, horizontal and diagonal design elements.
- Thick crystal clear cast acrylic base for durability and an unobstructed view of your pattern and material.
- Resistance strip on the underside of the ruler base keeps your ruler in place while quilting.
- Laser scoring on the underside for design width accuracy. Incremental scoring (from needle down) edge of ruler base to edge of hopping foot = 1/4″, first scoring from ruler edge = 1/2″, second scoring from ruler edge = 1″ of width for your designs.
- Incremental scoring is the same on both sides of the ruler base. No matter which hand or direction your ruler is placed, the incremental scoring is the same.
- Finger grips: Promote a natural hand position on the ruler. Keeps you in control of your ruler at all times. Allows you to manipulate the ruler, even a tiny bit, to keep you stitching where you need to be. With the finger grips you can have light resistance or strong resistance on your quilt top. The control is where it needs to be.
Buy Accents in Design Fine Line Ruler from Quilt Direct