Our January Prize Draw Winner's Story

Lisa Hardy, who was the lucky winner of £100 of Cotton Patch vouchers in our January competition, has been kind enough to tell us a little more about herself and her quilting.

We thought others might be interested in her story. We had planned to write something based on what she told us but there was no need – we have just published her own words, with her permission, of course.

Many of us will recognise some of her challenges as a relatively new quilter. But I think you will agree she has made a fantastic start.

You can read about Lisa here:

I am a mum of two (boy, 12yrs, girl 15yrs), living in Nottingham working full time as a Barrister specialising in criminal law. I have always loved sewing - but hand sewing only (lots of embroidery and tapestry) and only bought my first machine in September 2015. For the first four months, I made all sorts of bags, purses, make-up bags, bunting and book bags for Christmas presents and birthday presents for family. However, my aim behind buying the machine was to learn to quilt.

Between 1996 and 2000, I lived near Solihull and came across the Cotton Patch shop. I had always wanted to learn to quilt, even back then, and bought my first ever fabric from the Cotton Patch! I bought a lovely range of white, red, blue and neutral brown with a view to hand piecing a quilt for my then fiancé. HOWEVER, having realised that I had completely underestimated the amount of work needed to hand piece a double bed quilt, no idea about how to cut the fabric and combined with realising that the red fabric colour would run when it was washed, the project was put into the loft never to be seen again. When we moved house, it was thrown away! I can’t believe I threw away fabric!!! That was my first contact with quilting.

I had a neighbour who was a prolific quilter and we would spend time admiring her latest creations... Juggling being a barrister and mum doesn't lend itself to spare time to sew, but my neighbour persuaded me to give it a go, knowing how much I had yearned to learn how to quilt…. leading to me buying my first machine (a Janome) in September 2015. I love the machine, became quickly addicted and spend any spare moment at my machine. However, I must admit that I am now yearning for an upgrade to a 7 series Bernina so that I have more throat space to quilt… it is almost impossible to quilt a double quilt on my Janome.

I started a quilting course in January 2016 and have just finished my 7th quilt - although 3 of them were baby sized quilts. I attach a picture of my son’s quilt (above), which was the first quilt that I have made - I designed it myself because there weren’t too many masculine patterns involving horses on them and both my son and daughter are mad about horses. I feel really proud of the quilt - I still can’t believe that I made it. I used an external company to get it long arm quilted. It is double bed sized and I wanted something that would really enhance the fabric. I have completed a Farmer’s Wife quilt in my monthly class, but being a complete perfectionist, unpicked THE WHOLE of the quilting of it once I had finished binding it because I didn't like the border. It took me a week to unpick it, and at present, I am still "stitching in the ditch” the main body of the quilt before attaching the final border. I try to grab a couple of hours to quilt on a Friday night or Saturday afternoon in between the usual household chores/taxi service etc.

I have acquired a shocking fabric stash already - complete fabric addict - and especially love modern quilts. I joined the Quilters Guild and Modern Quilters group in November although haven't managed to find time to attend any meetings.

I love the idea of long arm quilting, although I tend to doubt I would have the skill to operate a long arm machine… I will be keeping an eye on your business, however, because once the kids leave home I have secret plans to create a sewing haven in a spare bedroom! Our current spare bedroom isn’t quite big enough for what I envision!!

Thank you so, so much, for the prize. I am almost certain that I am going to be investing in some Free Motion Quilting Rulers to try to develop my skills…

With kindest regards,

Lisa

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