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Burgess Hill, West Sussex, United Kingdom
I love patchwork and quilting; I love learning new techniques and perfecting the old ones, but most of all I enjoy passing on what I have learnt to others. The most important thing is that we all have loads of fun!

Find out what's going on in my Patchwork and Quilting world.

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Christmas is a-coming

I spent the day making Christmas cards. Used a combination of Free Motion Embroidery and some of the decorative stitches on my machine (Janome Memory Craft 4800) and Mettler metallic threads. I just drew a rough outline of the image I wanted using my Sewline white marker, filled in the shape with fancy stitching and then straight stitched around to neaten off the outside.
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Thursday, 2 December 2010

All snowed up

After constant snow fall during the night I decided to cancel classes for the next few days. I don't want people to risk trying to get here and getting stuck on the way.
This posting is a bit of an experiment; the first time I have blogged direct from my phone, including a dodgy photo of the snow take this evening, out of the backdoor.
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Sunday, 3 October 2010

Thanks for the push, Viv

Thanks to Viv for 'nagging' because I haven't blogged for a while, I decided to let you know what progress I've been making lately.
Following the Mariner's Compass Quilt class on Friday morning, I got my 'West' block complete (as in North/South/East/West) and finally got all those blocks along with some border pieces attached to my compass.

I know the white looks a bit stark in the photo, but it's going to have a trailing vine of flowers appliqued all over it, so that will tone it down a bit.

Prior to that I've been catching up on a bit of quilting. My favourite quilt of the moment is the Four in a Box quilt. I didn't like it much at first, as it was all a bit too busy, but it's definitely growing on me and fast becoming a favourite to snuggle up with on the sofa.

I took a while to decide how to quilt it, but in the end I went for "In the Ditch" around each block, and then a geometric pattern in each Four-Patch and a trailing vine of hearts in the border.

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Christmas is Coming

Well it's only 4 months away - as at yesterday.
For once I'm ahead of the game and have completed my samples for this year's Christmas Patchwork Workshops where we'll be making a Christmas Star Table Runner and matching Placemats.
Well, when I say completed I mean I've done the patchwork bit, but they don't have any backing or quilting yet.
I used fabrics from the FruitCake collection by Moda.
And I'm planning to use the same block to create a Sofa-Throw, but I'll probably try different fabrics for that one.

Friday, 20 August 2010

Foundation Piecing - You can do it too!

I've shown pics of this quilt at various stages. Now it is finally quilted and bound.

If you want to make one for yourself I have a mail order Block of the Month Workshop for it.
You get a fabric pack up front in a choice of colours and then instructions every month to make all the blocks and the border.

Monday, 9 August 2010

Food For Thought

So, if you looked at the photos from the other day - kitchen floor tiles - large cooker in the background - you'll realise that we love to cook. Well, Alistair does most of the cooking these days, since I am busy with my workshops. Yesterday he came up trumps - using a rather over-grown courgette from our garden. He sliced it open, removed the seeds and stuffed it with beef machaca mixed with borlotti beans, chopped onion and peppadew peppers (you could always use some chilli con carne). Topped with grated cheese and breadcrumbs and baked in the oven for about 40 minutes (could have been a bit longer). Served with sour cream and chile sauce. Yum Yum. I'd love to do this again!

Saturday, 31 July 2010

A Day in the Garden

On Thursday I had a lovely day teaching a 'Handy Bags' Patchwork workshop and managed to get a 'sample' bag completed for myself - This is done using Hunky Dory fabrics for the strips and the lining and Verna for the accent.

 Yesterday Alistair and I spent a very productive day together in the garden, clearing out a load of rubbish, rearranging a few things and generally having a good old tidy-up.

Very satisfied to have everything done by mid-afternoon, so we sat on our bench with a glass of wine and surveyed our handiwork until it started to cloud over.
(Photos were taken this morning and we've had a light shower overnight)

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Latest Patchwork Projects from the Cooper Household

Alistair has been doing his own patchwork - working very hard to tile the kitchen and downstairs bathroom floors.

I have been designing my own Bargello Quilt using diddy-little bits of paper in preparation for the Advanced Bargello class that I'm running in a couple of weeks.

Here are the fabrics that I'm planning to use.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

V&A Quilts

Spent the day at the V&A yesterday, visiting the Quilts 1700-2010. I have mixed thoughts about the exhibition, but on the whole it was great and I'm really glad I went.
I was really interested to learn that early quilts were displayed by the wealthy to demonstrate the expensive and exotic fabrics that theycould obtain, so we shouldn't feel too guilty about buying lovely new fabrics especially to make our modern-day quilts. The utilitarian quilts made from scraps seem to have appeared a bit later, as printed cotton fabric became more widely available to the middle / working classes.
It was interesting to see how quilts were used to make political statements or to commemorate military or historical events. Nowadays we do a similar thing, but on a much more personal level i.e. we might use the quilt to remember an event in our own lives, but not usually a national event.
Of the quilts from the modern era (20th and 21st Century) there were two or three that I liked (Grayson Perry's Right to Life, Liberty Jack and the Wandsworth Prison Quilt) but on the whole I felt that the exhibition didn't really reflect what Quilting means to me, or what is going on in the Quilting world today.
They missed an opportunity to showcase the great variety of modern techniques and fabrics that are around. There is a fantastic gallery of recent quilts on the V&A website, but I only found this after I got home - I didn't see this being promoted at the exhibition.

Saturday, 29 May 2010

Making Progress

I'm feeling very pleased with myself as I have got quite a few things done in the last couple of days.
I have finally finished off the quilting on my Disappearing Nine-Patch quilt. I very naughtily put the binding on before the quilting was finished, because I needed to take the quilt to a couple of places for display, so the border got a bit puckered up in places (definitely won't be doing that again). Despite that, I am rather pleased with the results.
I'm really enjoying quilting now that I have got into the Free-Motion technique. It used to be my least favourite part of quilt making, but now I would have to say that making and attaching borders is the bit that I don't really like doing. However, I can get past that because I am looking forward to getting on with the quilting.

Talking of which here are two other quilts that I have just attached the borders to so they will be next for quilting. First is the Foundation Piecing Block of the Month Quilt.
I run this as a class here, but I am also working on making this available by Mail Order - just need to put a bit more detail in the handouts, since I won't be there in person to explain what to do.

Secondly, the quilt for the Stack and Shuffle Class. This is made with a Layer Cake (in this case Boutique by Moda) and I have called it Four In a Box.

I've also got ahead of myself and made the binding for these last two quilts plus one other. I like to make the binding while I'm in 'sewing' mode, and I've got the right thread / needle / foot in the machine. That way as soon as the quilting is finished I can get the binding on and do the last bit of hand-sewing, which I strangely enjoy!

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Showing Off

Saturday was a very successful day at Newick Village Hall. It was lovely to have a good selection of quilts on show - things that some of my students had made at workshops over the past few months. Here are a few of those on display:

Friday, 14 May 2010

Newick Fabric Sale

Just about finished loading up all the boxes of fabric ready for the Fabric Sale tomorrow.
Fabric from £5 per metre.
Special Prices on the day:
Olfa - Large Cutting Mats (36" x 24") £25.00
Micro-Stitch Tacking Gun £17.00
All Moda Jelly Rolls and Layer Cakes £20
All Moda Charm Packs £7.50
June Tailor Cut-n-Press I  £18
June Tailor Cut-n-Press II  £28
June Tailor Shape Cut 12"  £20
 Click Here for a Map

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Two Quilt Shows and loads of fabric

Quilts in the Garden / Racecourse
Didn't get around to posting any pictures from the Quilts in the Garden/Racecourse show. It was a busy 3 days, although a bit quieter than usual on the Saturday. Due to the unfortunate last-minute change of venue, I think a lot of people, especially coaches, had planned to spend the afternoon at Trentham Gardens, so they all went off and left us a bit earlier than expected (and then of course had no chance of coming back for a last minute bit of shopping!). We had a relatively uneventful drive home, thanks to the SatNav which helped us avoid a major traffic delay on the M1, unloaded, returned the van and crashed out for the night at about 11:30 pm.
In Between
Took a day out after QITG and then had to get straight back into the swing of things with Stitch and Chat at Partridge Green and Newick, two days on the trot. Then four workshop days, a visit from Brian, the Makower Sales Rep (ordered some new Jungle fabric, a few odd bits and pieces and a nice selection of batiks) and then getting ready for the Wealden Quilt Show. Meanwhile new fabric arrived - Moda's Garden Party and Butterfly Garden, plus Bubbles, Georgia and Claire de Lune. Alistair worked hard to get them all up on the web-site and to send out a couple of newsletters.
Wealden Quilt Show
This is a great show in a lovely part of the Sussex countryside and the weather this year really helped to make it an enjoyable two days. Loaded up the car first thing on Friday, drove over the Ashdown Forest to Crowborough and got set up in less then 90 minutes - good going eh? Lots of familiar faces, but met a lot of new people too. Lynette and her team do a great job organising the show.

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Quilts at the Racecourse - Set-up Day

An early start today. We were up at 5am and out of the house just after 6. A fairly trouble-free drive, just a few slow spots, but the lovely weather helped make the journey more pleasant. Stopped a couple of times for coffee and a sandwich and arrived at Uttoxeter at 10:15.
Not only is this a different venue for us, we have also decided to change the look and layout of our stand quite drastically, so we took a while to decide exactly where we wanted everything before unloading the van and getting all the fabric out on the shelves.
Of course I forgot to take any photos today, so you'll have to wait until tomorrow to see how it all looks.
Looking forward now to a busy weekend - hoping that the good weather will bring out the crowds to see the fantastic display of quilts. I've only seen a few of them so far, but the standard looks high as usual.

Just a reminder of where we are - Quilts in the Garden (now at Uttoxeter Racecourse). Come along and say 'Hello'.

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Non-stop classes

Another string of busy days.
Starting last Monday - I went out to Sandhurst (near Tenterden in Kent) to do a 1 day workshop on Foundation Piecing. I was very well looked after by the ladies there, who even provided a sit-down lunch - very civilised!
Tuesday I had a couple of 'catch-up' sessions with people who had missed classes earlier in the year because of the snow.
Wednesday was another busy but fun Stitch and Chat afternoon at Newick. Alistair came along to help with the refreshments. Even so I still find it hard to get round and say hello to everyone and see what they're working on.
Thursday - day off!
Friday - Applique class - we were making the fabric flowers that were in my last posting.
Saturday I had my real beginners here all day for Part 2 of the Introduction to P&Q, teaching them to do rotary cutting for the first time, after working with templates and paper piecing in the first lesson.
On Sunday afternoon I went to Ditchling to help out at a charity event in aid of Computer Aid International. We had about 15 people sitting round the table making simple patchwork blocks using fusible Vilene to applique hearts and flowers. These will be made up into a 'community quilt' which will be auctioned in aid of the charity.
This Monday was Foundation Piecing Block of the Month - a catch-up session with one student, followed by a full class.
Tuesday I had a lovely day out with my Mum! This was in lieu of Mother's Day. I usually find that I have something happening on Mother's Day, so it has now become a tradition that I take Mum out a few days afterwards, instead of on the day itself. (it also means that restaurants aren't fully booked and we're not fighting for a table with all the other mothers!) It was a lovely sunny day - we started off visiting a 'special place' in Cudham and then took a drive out to Westerham and found a little Italian restaurant for lunch. Then back to Mum's house for a cup of tea and some sewing - I showed her how to make the fabric flowers which we had done at the Applique class last Friday.
Wednesday afternoon was the Beginners Block of the Month; they were also being introduced to rotary cutting and made really good progress.
Today (Thursday) I have people here for the Sew-a-Row-a-Month quilt.
Tomorrow I have two ladies here for part 16 of a 15 part course! They had both got a bit behind with their blocks and borders each month and so had asked for an extra session to help them get it finished.

And somewhere in amongst all that a couple of fabric deliveries arrived - with a definite 'Spring' feel to them:
Verna and Cottage Garden.

Saturday, 6 March 2010

A Productive Day

I managed to tick quite a few things off my 'To Do' list yesterday.
First, I sewed a binding around my Shadow Quilted Baltimore Wreath block.
Aesthetically, I'm not that happy with it, but as a sample for this particular technique to use for my Applique class, it does the job.

Secondly, I made a few fabric flowers using different techniques. These will be part of another block in the Applique class. I just need to make some leaves and stems and put them together into a Flower Garden!

And finally, I made quite a bit more progress with the quilt for my Stack and Shuffle Layer Cake workshop.
I'm calling this quilt Square Dance.
I'll finish it off by adding a light border, a patterned border made from the remains of the layer cake and a final light border.

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Stack and Shuffle

Started making up my Stack and Shuffle example ready for the workshop at the end of March. Used the new Boutique Layer Cake. I came up with a good idea for keeping all the bits in the correct order. I'm glad I took these photos, especially the one of the completed blocks. When you're working on them at close quarters it all looks a bit busy, but when you step back, as in the photo, you can start to see the overall pattern emerging.
I can't wait to get it finished now, but I have other more pressing things to work on - like the Medallion Quilt.

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Jelly Roll Workshop

Another fun day yesterday with a full class of four students making Jelly Roll Quilts; two were making the Basketweave Quilt and two were making the Star-Crossed Quilt, which was a good balance. It works out that one group are cutting whilst the others are sewing and vice versa.

Saturday, 20 February 2010

Charming Squares

It's been a hectic week, hence the lack of posts.
I did manage to get a bit of sewing done to finish off my second Charm Square Quilt - called Shadow Boxes - in time for the workshop yesterday.
This one's made from the Birdie Charm Pack.
If you want have a go, you can buy my pattern which includes this quilt and also the Disappearing Nine-Patch (below), both in one booklet.
This one's made from the Tranquility Charm Pack.

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Out to dinner

Having spent most of the day yesterday sorting out all the new fabrics - Boutique, Blush and Eden from Moda - we drove up to Wallington in the evening for dinner with our friends Karen and Ian. We haven't seen them for ages, so there was lots of catching up to do, and I'm afraid quite a bit of alcohol was consumed!
We're sitting eating our breakfast just now; not allowed to post pictures of our hosts in their dressing gowns, so here's pictures of Tiggy and Pickles instead.

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Janet Cooper Quilts

An unexpected free day, due to the cancellation of a Jelly Roll Workshop at Polegate near Eastbourne, which has been snow-bound today. So Alistair and I got to work putting some meat on the bones of my new Patchwork and Quilting information site -

So far there is just basic information on patchwork, quilting, its history and explanation of some terminology, but we'll be continually adding other bits and pieces, including free patterns and guides on some techniques.

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Ouse Valley Quilters

What a lovely bunch of quilters at Ouse Valley in Lewes yesterday evening. A huge room full of people that I was there to teach Foundation Piecing to. It was a bit manic, but great fun! Once they got started, everyone was working at a different pace so it was hard work to keep up with their progress and give them right instructions at the right time. I hope they enjoyed it as much as I did.
Meanwhile, Alistair was manning the 'Shop', which was busy, despite it only being a week since Ardingly.
As usual, they put on a lovely spread of cakes and savouries, so it was lucky we had skipped having dinner before we came out.

Friday, 5 February 2010

Sunny Sussex Countryside

No workshops on today, so after a bit of office work this morning we took a trip out to our local farm shop, Townings Farm, for 'supplies'. Alistair stocked up on flour from Plumpton Mill, since he's now got into a routine of baking bread or rolls once a week. The grain is grown at Plumpton Agricultural College on the South Downs and is then ground at the restored watermill in Plumpton before being sold through local village and farm shops.

We stopped to take some photos of our future 'dinners' on the way back.
I think this is an Aberdeen Angus-Longhorn cross (I'm sure Carole will correct me if I'm wrong!)

The dark sheep are the Hebrideans, with a few
(white) South Downs in amongst them.

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Back to teaching

Finally recovered from a tiring weekend.
Straight back into it, with New Fabrics arriving on Monday afternoon.

Tuesday afternoon was Stitch and Chat at Partridge Green.
This morning I was choosing Moda Christmas fabrics for delivery in June and this afternoon I was back to teaching - Free Motion Machine Quilting.
This evening I have been playing around with some new metallic threads that I picked up at the weekend - mixed results. The Mettler metallic threads worked fine, with just a slight tension adjustment. However, I'm having real trouble with the Madeira Jewel (Holographic) threads. They give a great effect on the front of the work, but the tension is just not right on the back, especially when going round tight corners.
I'll experiment further, maybe trying a different bobbin thread; I'm loathe to resort to adjusting my bobbin tension, in case I mess things up for regular sewing.

Saturday, 30 January 2010

Ardingly Day 2

Where was everyone today? It was a very quiet day, not just for us, everyone else said the same.
Still, it gave me a chance to do a bit of shopping myself. I bought some metallic threads, so I'm going to have a play about doing some fancy quilting using those - I'll let you see the photos of that when I'm done.
Also, stocked up on several pieces of cheap fabric to use as quilt backings.
Proof that we did have some customers today!

Friday, 29 January 2010

Ardingly Day 1

A really busy start today. I actually remembered to take some photos while Alistair was finishing setting up, before the early-birds arrived! Lots of familiar faces at the show and lots of new ones too. Thanks to everyone who came to see us.

Thursday, 28 January 2010

Ardingly Set-up Day

Last minute preparations at home this morning, printing off flyers etc. Then loaded up both cars (having recharged the flat battery on the Mondeo overnight) and drove all of 15 minutes up the road to the showground.
We've gone for a slightly simpler set-up this year, but it still took us 4 hours to get everything laid out and organised.

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Ardingly Quilt Show

Ardingly Quilt Show is coming up this weekend, so I'm spending all my time, between workshops, cutting up Fat Quarters and generally trying to get things organised.

Piles of bolts waiting to be cut.

Pile of cut fabrics waiting to be folded.

Thank goodness for Really Useful Boxes!

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Cute or What?

Just running through my Bag making instructions for Saturday's 'Handy Bags' workshop.
I made up a miniature version, only 6" x 8". Very cute don't you think?
I was rushing it a little, so don't look too close, but I got this together in less than an hour!

Tuesday, 19 January 2010


I've been working on the Butterfly block, which is the last block of my Foundation Piecing Block of the Month quilt. Here is the block on its own.....

...and here it is laid out with all the others.

Just the borders to get together next.

If you like the look of this, you'll be pleased to know that I'm working on getting it set up as a mail order / web-download project. 'Follow' the blog so you'll be the first to know when it's ready.

Alistair has been busy hunting round the web and finding lots of links to pages with FREE quilt patterns for you to print off or download. Just click on Free Patterns on the top Menu Bar to find a page with all the links built-in.

Ooh, and I'm set up on Twitter now too. So if you want more blow by blow updates of things as they happen, then look at