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Valerie's Blog

Malta - Our first international retreat

November 18th, 2017

Jennie and Valerie have just come back from our first international quilting retreat in Malta with Stitchtopia/Arena Travel

After a  couple of days sightseeing and chilling at the hotel, our ladies enjoyed 4 days of workshops learning how to twiddle and fiddle with Jennie and then creating a quilt with Valerie combining the Dresden Plate/Grandmothers Fan blocks on day one  with Flying geese on day two to create small medallion style quilts.

Most of the ladies spent equal time with both Jennie and Valerie, but a few remained all four days with one of them, in order to complete larger projects.

As you can see from this picture taken by Stitchtopia, Jennie Rayment's class was so enjoying the course, they are all started 30 minutes early - Such keen beans!


These pictures were taken by Teresa Wardlaw  - some lovely Dresden plates and also some Tucks and Textures too


And the evening entertainment was thoroughly enjoyed too. One night Jennie took everyone on a fun and lively tour of twiddles, fiddles, nips and tucks  and another evening Valerie demonstrated two of her favourite quilt ideas - the crazy quilt from 6 Fat quarters, and then Thangles for the perfect half-square triangles (even after a glass of wine!) - who better to learn from!

The final night of Show and Tell, saw all our ladies share the fabulous work they had created and look back on a fantastic week at the retreat.


If you want to join us for a retreat - keep an eye out as we will shortly be announcing some new international retreats for 2018; or if you want to join us for something closer to home - do have a look in our retreats section



Oakshott Open Days – how can you resist?

October 22nd, 2017

Who are Oakshott Fabrics:

You may have seen some Oakshott fabrics in our Shop, but who are they? Oakshott is a family-run business which has been supplying quilters and textile artists the world over since 2003. The brand is renowned for the high quality of its fabrics and the sumptuousness of its colour ranges. The collections are designed entirely in-house and ethically sourced from respected weavers, currently in India. Oakshott’s fabric colourways are achieved by selecting a base colour warp and marrying it with a rainbow of weft threads. This enables fabrics to be mixed, matched and toned with confidence to produce stunning results.

Oakshott Open Days

5_oakshott-open-days Oakshott Fabrics’ Open Days promise fun and surprises. For two days only, their warehouse will be transformed into a Pop Up Shop brimming with tantalising displays of their signature ‘shot’ cottons.

The upcoming dates for the Open Days are:

Saturday 9th December 2017     10am – 4pm
Sunday 10th December 2017     10am – 1pm

You'll find all sorts of fabrics from tempting stacks of their famous Colour Pick bundles, to a rainbow of shimmering pre-cut lengths, it will be a feast for the senses. We're sure you'll find yourself stroking and marvelling at the fabrics’ soft touch and admiring some of the latest work from leading designers. It will be an opportunity to get your hands on Oakshott’s newest additions, catch a sneak preview of up-coming products and solve those Christmas gift conundrums, all at once. Early birds might even snap up a few remnants and seconds.

Can you afford to miss out?

5_logo Venue: Oakshott Fabrics, 19 Bamel Way, Gloucester Business Park, Brockworth, Gloucester GL3 4BH
T: +44 (0)1452 371 571
Click here for directions

Pots, Jugs and Flowers with Hilary Beattie

October 17th, 2017

We've just had a fantastic weekend at our retreat at the Aztec hotel in Bristol with Hilary Beattie. As you can see from the pictures below all the students produced completely individual interpretations of Hilary's theme for this weekend, which was pots, jugs and flowers. Most were made using materials Hilary provided - they were able to select  materials freely from a  choice of 5 large boxes of fabric and papers and developed their own compositions - so much more versatile that individual kits - thankyou Hilary.

These are a few showing the students progress from the first day to the end of the second day

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And here's some of the rest of the lovely works



I'm sure you'll agree they have all worked very hard indeed (and by all accounts played hard too!!

If you'd like to join us at one of our retreats, click here for more details

Under the Edge Quilters

September 16th, 2017

A group of Gloucestershire quilters recently staged an exhibition of their Project Linus quilts.

Under the Edge Quilters, based in Wotton-under-Edge, Gloucestershire, made more than 20 quilts for the charity, which will be distributed to local hospitals to provide a sense of security and comfort to sick and traumatised babies, children and teenagers. The charity's website can be found at

Festival of Quilts 2017

August 18th, 2017

Valerie and our Director Steve Barton, took a working visit to this year's Festival of Quilts, and Steve couldn't help but steal some time to admire the amazing array of quilts and take some pictures to share with you.

This is Steve's favourite - in beautiful colours and with some fantastic detail. It's from Linzi Upton who won the Contemporary Quilt Category with her Beelzebub quilt5_new-phototastic-collage-foq

Steve loves the beauty of this and it's very timely, given the World Championship Athletics at the moment! (Men and their sport eh!!). It's Birgit Schueller's quilt 'The Sprinter' - and gained 1st place in the Quilters' Guild Challenge


This was the Winner in the  My First Quilt category by Anita O'Brien.

Anita told us she still have a lot to learn but it means a lot to her that many people, and many more experienced quilters than her, liked Peter and Amina's Quilt.

Anita says "More people should take the plunge and enter - we need to get lots more young people into quilting - I am not that young - an advanced 57!"


Another amazing quilt - stunning colour design by Rebecca Handyside


....and here's a selection that are a little more modern and minimalistic:



Valerie took advantage of a coach organised by local quilters, to have another look round on the Sunday;  as well as a few purchases, here are some of the quilts that caught her eye.

Philippa Naylor was the winner in the miniature quilt category this year- obviously exquisite but do pay attention to the extra-ordinary edging (there was a full size quilt in the show with the same delightful edging, and even that was mindblowing!)


Jackie Harvey was another winner with her wonderful jacket-  'Silvery Threads' - a boy's silk waistcoat inspired by those of the 18th century -


you can view more of Jackie's amazing work in our video - A little bit of love in every stitch.

Kate Crossley (another of our contributors who made the amazing Grandfather clock a few years ago now - click here to enjoy) had an entry entitled 'Whole World' in the Art Quilt category - full of her thoughts dreams, memories and future hopes -  and you can see that she fills it with her usual interesting bottles and bits


"The Burning of the Books" by Jasmine Derbyshire of Brighton got awarded 2nd prize in the 12-16 age group

4_childrens-category-934 - Valerie Nesbitt - valerie

and some taken at random when wandering around:

Quilts FoQ

A Textile treat in Wivenhoe, Essex

July 13th, 2017

We spent the day filming the textile exhibition 'Threads' which is on show at The Nottage Maritime Institute, Wivenhoe - just outside Colchester in Essex.

What a delight - not just the exhibiton but the location too

Here we are admiring the view during a hard day's work!


4_nottage-institute-2 - Valerie Nesbitt - valerie

A huge thankyou to all the contributors , and particularly to Janet Harker and Annie Bielecka-Jones for organising the day and looking after us so well.

To find out more about the exhibition which runs until 23rd July- click here

and keep an eye open for the films coming onto the site.


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Book of the Month


Butterflies and Flowers by Kathleen Laurel Sage

A collection of ready-to-use designs that will bring mother nature indoors for you. Free p&p in the UK for the month of January 2018

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Product of the Month - January 2018

5_diving-board-fat-quarter-bundle-of-5-designed-by-alison-glass Diving Board Fat 1/4 bundle of 5 designed by Alison Glass
Five fat 1/4's bundle of this lovely range. Product of the Month for January 2018 so free p&p in the UK for January PLUS entry into a draw for 1 months FREE subscription

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