Sarah is a modern day quilter – and must be incredibly busy – not only does she have two children to raise she also designs and makes quilts for various publications, runs her website and instagram pages, writes a blog and contributes articles for magazines. She worked closely with Dashwood Studio to design their Great British Quilter Back to Basic fabric collection AND if that is not enough Sarah runs the social media for The Quilter’s Planner a hardcover planner and diary designed specifically for quilters and has an Etsy shop selling pouches she designs – Phew!
Who/what inspired you to take up sewing and how old were you?
I’ve been sewing since I was six years old! I had a love affair with cross stitch for many years, but that was before I discovered patchwork. Now my heart truly belongs to quilting.
What type of sewing projects do you prefer?
I love sewing lots of different things, from pouches, bags, cushions, mini quilts. But it’s making quilts that I love the most. Baby quilts are great for trying out new techniques and they are much more manageable to quilt when under the sewing machine, but making a big quilt is so satisfying. They just take me much longer so they don’t happen as often as I would like!
What is your inspiration for your designs?
I find inspiration all around me. It could be tessellating shapes in tiles, colours from a photograph, or a technique that I want to explore and develop. Recently I wanted to experiment with the ancient tradition of Japanese Sashiko, and to produce a piece that had a modern feel to it while still retaining it’s authenticity. I’m really pleased with the result and I’ll be teaching this as a class at various times throughout the year, including at The Quilter’s Guild AGM in Stirling.
What do you consider your best piece of work?
Oh this is a tough one! I am particularly proud of this quilt that I designed for Love Patchwork and quilting magazine. I just love the rainbow aesthetic against the low volume background, and it was a wonderful opportunity to raid my stash and find use for as many fun prints as possible. Since publication the quilt has been with Hobbs Batting, touring around different quilt shows in America, which has been such an honour. It’s a shame I didn’t get to go with it!
What is your very favourite thing that you have made?
I think my ultimate favourite project has to be my Up and Away Baby quilt. This was the first foundation paper pieced pattern that I designed, so it’s really special to me, and it’s been a huge success. I hosted a Sew-Along on Instagram last year, and it’s been wonderful seeing so many versions popping up in my feed. I think I love it because it’s so simple yet quite whimsical, and you can have so much fun with different fabrics and colours.
Do you have a favourite colour to work in?
If anyone has followed me on Instagram for more than five minutes, it won’t come as a surprise to learn that my favourite colour is pink! So I tend to gravitate towards that, but I mostly like fresh, bright colours, often popping against a white background. I’m thrilled to be an Aurifil designer this year, and yes, pink is my chosen colour! I can’t wait to design a beautiful block for them in beautiful pink shades.
What type of fabric would you choose to work with?
I always like to work with cotton, and my very exciting news for 2020 is that my debut collection, Great British Quilter, Back to Basics for Dashwood Studio is coming out at the end of February. So this collection shall be featuring in my work and projects a lot more, and I can’t wait for quilters to get their hands on it and see what they do with it!
Do you prefer hand work or machine work?
This is a tough one because I love both. I love the speed and precision of the machine, and I’ve had so much fun teaching walking foot quilting classes over the last 2 years. There are so many possibilities with a straight line! But I also love to slow down and hand quilt, as it gives a lovely heirloom quality to the quilts. With this in mind I put together a 12 weight Aurifil thread box to go with my Back to Basics Collection, and it has 20 colours so there’s a colour for every project.
Are you an early riser or a night bird – when is the best time for you to sew?
I am without a shadow of a doubt a night owl! I always seem to wake up at night and have my best ideas, and I really have to make myself go to bed, usually just before midnight, because I know I will be very tired in the mornings…I am NOT a morning person!
What other hobbies or interests do you enjoy?
I love embroidery, although I don’t get as much opportunity as I would like to embroider. I also have a Tula Pink needlepoint project that’s been on the go for about 6 years so far! Outside of the sewing room I love going to the gym. I go to classes most week nights, as it’s my social time as well as my exercise. It’s a great healthy balance after spending most of the day sitting sewing and being on the computer. And when I’m not doing that my 2 children keep me very busy, as children do. There’s never a dull moment!