Today I have the extreme pleasure of sharing with you one of my absolutely favorite people in the quilting world! Lynne has been a sliver of delightful nonsense and a whole bunch of fun ever since she came on my radar screen just over a year ago! (Has it only been that long?!) She inspires me with all of her complex geometric creations and unabashed enthusiasm for sharing her craft. I haven’t seen her do anything that I dislike even if she thinks something is “rubbish”. I also like to pretend that I’m British myself sometimes now and try to incorporate words like rubbish and poppet and other wonderful words. So sit back and let Lynne inspire you and make you laugh all at once. It’s a wonderful gift she has!
Hi, I’m Lynne, a UK quilter. I blog at Lily’s Quilts and you can also find me on Flickr and occasionally I also pop into twitter. I’ve been sewing all my life and discovered the terrible addiction that is quilting last year. I have a penchant for union jacks and also for fussy fiddly paper pieced geometric blocks – oh and of course for English paper piecing. Poor Angela has had me stalking her for some time – she’d love to be in an online bee without me but, any bee she’s in, I just muscle right on in there too. Seriously though, Angela and I have become very good friends through the online Flickr and blogland community and often go to each other for advice and ideas when we get stuck, she is so talented and always extremely generous with her ideas and praise.
Where in the World are You?
I am in the UK, in England, slap bang in the middle of the country. We’re always the first to get the snow in England and live in the middle of nowhere so tend to get cut off for days at a time. I was born and brought up near London and we moved up to the countryside a few years ago. From living in London, we now live in the middle of nowhere, a mile from a tiny village
How long have you been sewing/quilting? How did you become interested in quilting?
I have been sewing since I was little. Then about 15 years ago, I fell in love with what we in the UK would call American Quilts, on a series of business trips to Washington and had a go at making one or two but there were no decent books, no modern quilting fabrics, no inspiration and it was all a bit lonely and sad.
Then last February, I popped round to a friend’s house (Mandy of Simply Solids) to pick my kids up from a play date and she was sitting at her machine making a quilt. I got chatting to her about quilt, she showed me what she’d made, then showed me her blog and that was it, I was completely hooked. Within a month, I had made two quilts from Moda Bake Shop and then there was no stopping me. Mandy then went on to open the UK’s first online solids shop and there I had my very own shop, right in my little English village. Mandy and I often stand at the school gates chatting about quilts and quilting.
Is quilting common in your area or are you a lone crafter?
Quilting is relatively unusual in the UK although I have my mate Mandy to share the hobby with – she often comes round for quilting days. Through the internet, I have also met Trudi Quilting Prolifically, Justine, Sew Justine Sew, Brioni Flossy Blossy and Katy I’m a Ginger Monkey who have all been to my house for sewing days.
Do you find it difficult to get quilting supplies and fabric in your area?
I have two local fabric shops – one has a really extensive selection but I rarely go there as the people who run it are quite unfriendly. The other has a smaller selection but I am a regular there and I love it – it is everything a LQS should be – friendly, fun, Ann, the owner knows, me, knows my kids, knows my husband – we’re practically family! Her shop is called Quiltessential and is in a beautiful restored watermill in Cromford, Derbyshire. If you’re ever in the area, you will receive a very warm welcome from Ann – her shop is the best. Whilst it is easy to get hold of quilting supplies and fabrics in the UK, they are much more expensive than in the US. Charm packs cost $15, layer cakes $45, solids are $14 per yd and prints $17 per yard. We can of course have fabrics shipped from the US but, together with the shipping costs, we can also get customs charges which make the fabrics as expensive as if they were ordered in the UK.
What designer/designs are you exposed to the most as a result of living where you do?
I think the designers and designs I am exposed to come exclusively from the internet with the exception of whatever fabrics Mandy and Ann have in stock which catch my eye. I guess I would add to that though that it has been incredibly exciting to watch the success of Aneela Hoey’s lines for Moda given that she’s a British quilter and fabric designer.
What is your favorite part about the international nature of the online quilting community?
I love everything about it – the mutual support, the friendships, the humour and fun, the quilting inspiration and the fact that I now have friends all around the world. I love that you can go online at any time of the day or night and find people who are happy to chat, give advice and help out with tricky decisions about where to go next on a project.
How good are you at filling out customs forms for the postal service?
Oh I now have stocks of these at home, I use them so often!
If you could own any fabric at all in the world, what would it be?
Well when I happened upon Happy Zombie’s Happy Mochi Yum Yum, I had to have that immediately but I have since found out that she had an earlier line, Holiday Happy, which I would love to have made a holiday quilt from – the palette and scale of her prints fit perfectly with the things I like to make.
But can I also mention two British fabric designers – Aneela Hoey’s fabrics have been a complete breath of fresh air and burst onto the quilting community like a whirlwind. When I saw Sherbert Pips, I immediately had to design a quilt based on that line – it really inspired me. It completely captured for me the experience of raising kids in the UK – taking them to the park, swinging on the swings, scooting on their scooters, dogs running around in the park. The other British designer’s fabrics I love are Lu Summers’ beautiful home printed fabrics. If you have not seen any of these in her quilts, you will be blown away by her creativity. I would love to make a quilt from her fabrics.
What sewing machine do you own? Do you love it or hate it?!
When my Grandpa died 30 years ago, he left me £100 and I bought a sewing machine with it and loved it. That sewing machine lasted years and years but, soon after starting quilting, it really couldn’t cope with the demands being placed on it so I upgraded to a Janome Horizon. I absolutely adore every single thing about it. I asked around before buying the machine and it was the one I kept coming back to although it was out of my price range. Mandy and I decided to drive to Birmingham to a big sewing machine shop there on my birthday. The day before, I phoned them and asked whether they had a Horizon in the shop I could try out. He said that they did and that Janome had a £500 discount on the machine that week. That was it – Mandy and I spent the day in the shop trying the machine out and I’ve been happy as Larry ever since.
What does a typical sewing session look like for you?
Typical would be me sitting in the dining room (which is now my sewing room) with piles and piles of mess all around me. I sew most when the kids are at school and relish the peace and quiet. My favourite sewing sessions however would be when I have someone else over sewing too. Mandy and I quite often have sewing days where we sit and chat mostly and sew a little bit. I have an enormous dining room table so she also brings all her quilts over to mine and we baste them together. Trudi Quilting Prolifically has been over for the day to sew with us and we had a sewing weekend with Katy Ginger Monkey, Brioni Flossy Blossy and Justine Sew Justine Sew where I confess we didn’t manage an enormous amount of sewing.
Anything else that you want the world to know about you?
I like to speak to myself in different accents – Irish, Liverpudlian, Dolly Parton, Scottish, Somerset. I love Country Music which is quite unusual in the UK and extremely uncool. I love dancing, especially at weddings, even though my kids tell me my dancing is really embarrassing.
Thank you Lynne for sharing all of that with us! I think one of the things that tickles me the most about you is knowing that you talk to yourself…and not just that, but you use different accents. I’d love to be a fly on the wall of your home! Someday I hope to at least meet you in person!