I was brought up in the Northwest of England, the “middle child,” with an older brother and a younger sister. I learned to knit and sew at an early age and kept my family’s Barbie Dolls and Action Men well dressed. University took me to Reading where I met my future husband, Steve. Knitting him a long “Doctor Who” style striped scarf and making needlepoint pictures gave welcome relief to the chemistry and microbiology courses demanded for my degree in Food Science. We married two weeks after I graduated and more than 40 years later have four married children and nine grandchildren.
We moved to Naperville, IL from London in 1995. I had been teaching cross-stitch and just had my first pattern accepted for publication when we moved. Buying warm coats for the Illinois winters and making new friends kept me busy for a while and then in 1998 I discovered quilting.
I took my first class at Stitches and Stuffing in Naperville. There seemed to be lots to learn. Five years later I started teaching classes at Pieceful Heart Fabrics in Lisle, just 10 minutes from my home for 10 years until the shop closed in June 2013. I am now teaching and speaking at Guilds and quilt shows around the country and continue to learn.
I’m a member of my local quilt guild, “Riverwalk Quilters Guild,” where I have served as program chair, vice-president, co-chair of “the Gathering” committee, and also a 2 year term as president. I am also a member of the Fiber Art Divas, an art group that meets at Naperville Art League and of PAQA, the professional art quilt group. In 2012 I co-founded the Naperville Modern Quilters Guild to further explore the modern quilt aesthetic.
In 2013 I was invited to appear on Quilting Arts TV and have since taped several segments on various topics. I am a regular contributor to several magazines and am the author of two Modern Machine Quilting QATV workshop DVDs, and two books, Modern Machine Quilting (Interweave press) and Butterfly Stitches (C&T Publishing).
A class with Phil Beaver in 2005 challenged me to take my art further and I have been creating more of my own original pieces. I have also developed lectures and workshops of my own and am available to visit your shop or guild. After taking many different classes locally my style could be described as “eclectic” but I am known best for my originality and innovation when completing my projects, particularly in the realm of free-motion quilting and embellishment.
I believe we all have an innate need to create in some sphere of our lives, being made in the image of a creator God. Quilting is my outlet of choice. I share my love of quilting as an inspiration to others. I have found that as I pass on the knowledge I have gained on my journey I learn more tips and techniques that take me still further.
Quilting is a choice and as such I think that all quilters have the right to choose the elements of their craft that bring joy to them. There are always parts of our lives that we just “have to do” in pursuit of our long-term goals. It’s the same when we quilt. I always encouraged my children to try a new vegetable but could accept that there were some that they would never learn to love. I encourage my students to try all the processes involved in finishing a quilt but accept that there will be some people that find their joy in making tops by machine whilst others enjoy handwork and still others love to machine quilt. That’s OK! That’s where teamwork comes in and there’s a whole community of quilters out there willing to help.
Please contact me with your comments or queries about a visit.