Last night at Bristol Quilters we had another fantastic talk, this month from Janet Clare. I warmly recommend her website www.janetclare.co.uk, which is lovely in itself but also has some links to other gorgeous sites which would be perfect for a bit of time to yourself surfing.
Her talk was great, refreshingly honest and modest. I liked her approach to quilting, ‘I enjoy myself and I get it done.’ Finishing things and not feeling guilty about turfing out stuff that hasn’t worked was a strong theme, as was the idea that the best way to finish things is to finish them. So, she works on pieces as she is waiting for the pasta to cook, for example. This comes from her Irish mother who can’t bear to see anyone sitting idle. This is challenged with the colourful inquiry, ‘Why have you got your two arms the same length?’ I might try that out at some point.
I liked the practicality of her approach. She starts with the face on her embroideries, because she likes to start with the hardest part, so that if it goes wrong she hasn’t wasted much time. She works with polyester thread because it is less likely to snap, but also because that’s what the shop near the children’s school stocks. She said she didn’t do anything she didn’t enjoy, and is not keen on machine quilting because of all that manhandling the quilt under the machine, and she never unpicks because she finds that boring. She did counsel changing machine needles every five hours, which sounds like sensible advice.
I also liked her comments about selling work, which she doesn’t do – only patterns which were available from her Etsy shop. She said:
If you don’t sew you don’t know what you’re looking at. If you do sew you know you could do it yourself.
Which I think is very true.
I really liked the fact that she brought us all a small present – a pattern for a dog applique with movable legs so that it would work in a number of positions and was therefore very versatile. I love dogs, so I loved that.
She runs an email club where she gives away patterns periodically. I like that kind of generosity which doesn’t cost much but makes people feel good. And Hugo looks like a very splendid dog.