Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Val - August Member of the Month

1. Tell us a little about yourself.

I'm retired. I was a social worker and a mental health officer for 20 years. I currently live with my daughter Janette. I was a mature student and went into social work. I worked in childcare then mental health. I loved it but I was relieved when I retired. I retired 3 years ago due to health. Now I am fighting fit and enjoying my retirement.

2. Where did you learn to sew?

I have been sewing for as long as I can remember. I watched my aunt who was a dressmaker. My mum knitted but wouldn't teach me. I wanted to go to needlework college but my mum said I had to go to a clean college so I learned to become a secretary.

3. What project are you proudest of?

That's a difficult question as I made both Janette's and my own wedding dress. I would say I am proudest of my underground railroad quilt. It's my first largest completed quilt.

4. What was your biggest disaster?

When I was 14 I knitted a lovely banana coloured, honeycomb jacket. It was beautiful. However, I washed it and when it was done it dropped to my knees.

5. What other crafts do you do?

I am a flower arranger and have been a national competition winner. I was also a demonstrator. I also enjoy painting and cross stitching.

6. Some of your favourites;

Favourite material - batik's - it's so variable and the fabric is nice

Favourite product - free motion foot - it allows you to stitch by moving the fabric rather than be quilted. It allows you to write or draw with stitches (railroad quilt was done this way).

Favourite designer - Eleanor Burns - she teaches quilt in a day and has a no nonsense approach

Favourite colours - turquoise, blues and greens - muted but shiny sea colours.

Favourite Store - Bramble Patch

Favourite craft book - I can't remember what it's called but Philipa Naylor has just brought out a beautiful book on quilting. She's an English quilter who's work is perfection.

7. Your ideal project/ future goal?

To improve on what I'm doing.

8. What do you like to listen to or watch whilst stitching?

Russel Watson or classical music

9. What would your advice be to other stitchers?

Have a go and experiment. Until you have a go you don't know. I wasn't actually into quilting at first. Janette had brought back lots of lovely fabric from New Zealand which she said she was going to use for quilting but had yet to learn. The idea of cutting up perfectly good fabric just to sew it back up again seemed wrong to me. Our local group was having a beginners class and I suggested to Janette to sign up. She said that she didn't want to go on her own and had hoped that it would be something we could do together. I said that I would go for one or two and now I am more addicted than she is.

10. What's your favourite non craft book?

I love Patricia Cornwall. My favourite book though is Jane Eyre. I've read it many times. When I went back to university I had to take a course which involved studying the book. I was worried that it would put me off but instead I love it all the more.

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