Show and Tell – 25th September 2019

Below are some of the items/work from our Show and Tell on the 25th September. They included items started at Festival of Quilt 2019 workshops. If your work is not included(because I failed to take a decent photograph) or you would like to let me have a better photograph of what you made, please do email them to me! Annie

Fused applique portrait class with Lea McComas at the Festival of Quilts 2019

In preparation for this two day raw-edge appliqué class, Lea had edited and prepared an A3 printout for each of the 13 attendees from photos that they had already sent to her studio in Colorado.

These images ranged from close family members and pet dogs to a blonde prisoner in the dock and 70’s pop icon Donnie Osmond. 

The first step was to create the pattern. Each photo had been converted to grey scale using Photoshop elements so that it had five tonal values. With a light box (or, in some cases, the round windows of Hall 9!) we traced the outlines of the different tonal shapes on to freezer paper with a mechanical pencil, labeling them 1-5 according to their tonal value and simplifying the edges as necessary. Using a highlighter, we drew around the edge of the picture so that we could easily identify the border. We also highlighted the edges of different major shapes to make the piecing easier. The next step was to mark the edges of the lightest pieces, 1, with red arrows where you would need to add a quarter inch seam allowance when cutting out those pieces. When positioned, this allowance would tuck under the adjacent darker piece. Working from the centre outwards, you would then repeat the red arrow marking for edges of the next tonal value, 2, where it would meet and underlie 3, and do this for 3 to go under 4 and so on. 

Carefully tracing the different areas of the face
Marking the face up with red arriows

The pieces were then carefully cut out into the larger sections of the face and background.

A tacky fusible material such as Lite Steam-a-Seam2 or Mistyfuse (which is not repositionable, so one has to be super-confident in accurate placing) was then pressed on to the selected fabrics and the lightest shapes cut out adding a quarter inch where indicated.  

The portrait was gradually built up on a Teflon sheet, from light to dark, and once satisfied with the layout, it was ironed, before transferring the portrait to a calico base-layer. This was done by carefully peeling off the Teflon sheet from the back of the assembled portrait which was ironed firmly into position on the calico. Additional smaller detail such as eyes, lips and frown lines could then be superimposed on the face.

The next step, the usual quilt sandwich followed by as much machine stitching as you wanted, was left to be done at home. Before stitching, very fine bridal tulle (in beige or white as appropriate) can be added over the top to keep the raw edges neat. As a minimum, each piece should be stitched around on the darker fabric, close to the edge. We were also strongly advised not to quilt contours as they are difficult to get right and can easily distract from the form rather than add to it.

Lea McCormas with Annie Folkard at Festival of quilts

The workshop also included instruction on how to prepare digital files for use in making our own patterns, fabric and colour palette selection and tips for stitching and finishing the portrait quilt. 

Finished portrait of Billie


All in all, a great class with lots of helpful tips. (And very challenging! Happily, Lea is a passionate yet patient, calm teacher who never gave up on any of her pupils – Ed)

Next meeting date Wednesday 25th September

Hope you have all enjoyed the summer and managed to stitch away despite the heat and holidays getting in the way. Our next meeting is on Wednesday 25th September at  7pm. We should have lots to talk about with all the quilt shows, workshops and courses that members have attended so please do bring any notes or samples to show. We thought it might also be an opportunity for an enhanced Show and Tell with quilts and UFOs  (unfinished objects) and WIPs (work in progress), bags, toys etc that you would like to share with the group. Any new techniques or methods will be particularly welcome. 

Sabine will  present our financial statement, as we have successfully opened a group  bank account and are beginning to build up enough funds for us to consider speakers for 2020.  We will call this an EGM, rather than an AGM, as we have decided it would be better to hold the AGM at the beginning of the year in January.

Please do rememberthat we now meet in the Mansel Centre, 1 Mansel Road, just up on the left hand side from Fielders Art shop. We have now confirmed our dates for 2020 (4th Wednesday in the month) except for August (no meeting) and December (3rd Wednesday) (see below) and as a result we are looking for recommendations for speakers. So please let us know if you have any ideas of interesting talks that members might be eager to listen to. Note, we realise that Wednesday does not suit everybody but this was the only day available for booking. 

I have been in touch with a contact at St. Georges to see if they have any requirements for syringe/chemo bags that we can make from scrap fabrics. Sizes are specific to different hospitals but I will report any progress at the meeting. 

Finally, don’t forget to bring your Lavender Bags along for the Challenge. 

All good wishes


for Southwest London quilters

Contemporary textiles course starting in September

Our Vice chairman, Regina Al-Habib Nmeir is running a course that some members might be interested in. It is held on Thursday mornings from 10 – 12. at Sutton College and starts in September.

The link below takes you to further details:

It is called “Contemporary Textiles & Creative Embroidery”
and it sounds like it might be a lot of fun.

Mansel Road Centre

Report of SWLQ meeting on Wednesday July 24th.

Although this, our first meeting at the new venue (Mansel Road…..) was only attended by a few, it was as guest, Sue Southwood, remarked very ‘buzzy’.  Sue, a leading member of Wimbledon International Quilters, had brought lots of books from the estate of a fellow Quilter that were being disposed of for donations to Macmillan Cancer Care. Few of us could resist and Sue later reported that the donations amounted to over £70.

Lesley, our Lavender Bag Expert, was not due until later so we chatted and stitched and tried out the very well designed kitchenette just behind our room. Unfortunately we hadn’t sussed out how to turn on the urn so had to resort to the kettle. But, oh ye of little faith, we have now found the important switch and hot water on tap will not be a problem for future meetings. Once Lesley had arrived and settled in she brought forth her bundles of linen and lavender bags and gave us all an insight into both the best fabrics to use, the lavender and the decorative stitches. She was also very generous in letting us choose linens and decorations from her stash with which to make more Lavender Bags for our next Challenge. (To be presented at the September meeting where Lesley will bring enough lavender to fill one bag each. For those of you not able to be present last Wednesday, don’t be put off, you can see from the examples below what Lesley’s Lavender Bags look like but yours might be totally different. Diversity is the name of the game. Please be encouraged to have a go!)

We  had planned to visit the Carshalton Lavender fields project on Saturday but the forecast was not good, rain all day, but details were given on how to get there etc. Alternatively supplies are available from the Daisy online shop.

We then had the Show and Tell,  the theme of which was Light and Dark. Only four entries, with mine, embarrassingly so, being the winning one. Interesting to note that Annie’s  entry was her ruler case. Having just been on a course for learning how to use rulers, she made a very functional but decorative case for her set of rulers, where she practised her ruler quilting which I have to say on first sight looked like Sashiko. If you have any questions about this rapidly popular technique I am sure she will be willing and able to answer them.

So, a new venue, how did it go? A tad small but with windows that opened on to a terrace and the option  of expanding into the next room it has real possibilities. Look forward to seeing you all at the next meeting there on Wednesday September 25th and meanwhile, enjoy FoQ.

Light and Dark challenge entries:

24th June Meeting

At this month’s meeting on Monday 24th June, …..

At this month’s meeting (on Monday 24th June) which is the last one that we will be holding at William Morris House, we are going to tackle another of the Modern Quilters tutor boxes, so please bring with you two or three pairs of contrasting squares measuring 7.5″ which you think will go well together. We will provide a few cutting boards and rotary cutters if you want to get started.

The so called “Marbles” are surprisingly easy to stitch together. Hopefully it will help to overcome any fears we might have about stitching curves which, I must admit, feel very strange to begin with.

This design is quite similar to the block known as the “drunkard’s path”, but it is a bit more “improv” the shapes do not have to match too exactly.

Just to check it out, I had a quick practice and was quite pleasantly surprised that the curved seams went together. You could use this quilting exercise as the theme for next months challenge, if you are short of other ideas as it works well using light and dark coloured fabrics and you could make a small panel, contemporary cushion cover or place mat.

Below is a picture of the sample that is contained in the tutor box that we have received.

You are also welcome to bring along your boxes, which Regina showed us how to make at the last meeting, to show off how the box has progressed, and if not yet finished you can carry on with it in the meeting if you like.

SWLQ May meeting report

There were ten of us at the meeting where, to start with, Sabine announced that we had found a new meeting place which allowed us to book dates for several months ahead. This will give us the chance to book a speaker, when funds permit, which we have been unable to do so far. So if anyone knows of someone in the quilting world who preferably lives in the Greater London area who they can recommend then please let us know. The new venue is the Mansel Road Centre, in Mansel Road just up from Fielders Art shop on the left hand side. We will be meeting there on the 4th Wednesday of every month except December as below:-

July 24th

August No meeting due to holidays

September 25th

October 23rd

November 27th

December 18th

Sue announced that Alison had been coopted on to the committee and will be taking on the role of Membership Secretary from Annie.  We have arranged our first social outing – to the Olive, an Italian restaurant in Raynes Park. It is near the 131, 57 bus route or possible parking in the Waitrose car park. We will be booked in for 7pm on Wednesday June 5th. Alison has taken names but if you missed the meeting and would like to join us, please email

After a few more dates were announced, see below, Regina started on her mini workshop in making fabric boxes. Most members had already cut out their cardboard shapes based on the hexagon templates sent out earlier. They then progressed to covering the sides with fabric and gluing them in place. There were lots of questions for Regina particularly about the gussets which led to peals of laughter when she showed us the Knicker Knot! I kid you not! It is a very secure but simple way of starting a line of stitching. See the instructions in the files area of the website. If members could bring their boxes along to the next meeting it would be good to see them.

After and during the coffee break we bought raffle tickets from Kathryn who was selling them for Project Linus. We also voted on the May Challenge which was to use a piece of brown patterned fabric. The range of entries, although small, was very varied – from a pictorial cushion cover to modern quilted pieces to an intriguing embroidered piece. The worthy winner was Karolina, whose picture of a brown horse on a cushion cover with impeccable applique and beautiful curved bias bindings was for her horse mad daughter. Lucky girl!

Then there was just time for Show and Tell. Annie showed us her sashiko cushion worked whilst in hospital. Not only sashiko but french knots were incorporated into the border.

Sashiko cushion cover

We also handed over to Alison our completed rows of Tiger Tiger blocks for the Group quilt. (Meg, who is away has the photograph we took at the last meeting in case there are any missing row labels).

Next was Alison with her latest work in progress – a double quilt with two different blocks repeated throughout. She had used her own free motion quilting design on each block and was now considering quilting the sashing. No doubt we will see it at a later date. Finally I showed the bunting I had changed to display the group name. I made the bunting many years ago and it has been in use for Camra’s Battersea beer festivals, Garden Museum literary festivals and even a wedding. So I thought I could easily reuse some of it by bondwebbing the letters of our group name on to it. I used white fabric but think I will do a second set with black fabric. I am hopeful that we could use these for our first exhibition. (Nothing like being ambitious!)

South West London Quilters bunting

The Bi-monthly challenge for completion by the July meeting is to be based on light and dark. It should be no more than 20 square inches and when making it, the idea is to think about the use of contrasting colours in the design.

Dates for your Diary

June 5th Olive restaurant, Raynes Park 7pm

June 24th Next Meeting WMH 7pm

June 3rd – June 29th London Quilters Exhibition at Swiss Cottage Library

June 18th – 29th Menier Gallery, Southwark St, “Material Evidence” Quilt Art exhibition

June 21st – 23rd National Quilt Championships at Sandown RacecourseMay 29th – 9th June PRISM exhibition at the Arches, near Hoxton Underground

S W London Quilters Challenge

The Challenge that is part of the South West London Quilters meetings is bi monthly. So every two months a theme is chosen and the entries submitted at the meeting in two months time. The theme is generally chosen by the committee but can be suggested by any member.

The Rules: The work does not have to be new but the maximum size is 20” on any side. This means that it can be as small as a postcard. Work can be 2D or 3D. You can make anything you like! You might choose to make a piece which, like a modern quilt, has no border. It could be pictorial, a landscape, pieced, wholecloth or a piece of textile art using paints, dyes, resist, anything you fancy. Ideally it will be a finished article.

Why you should take part: Taking part in group activities like this is fun and it increases your senses of participation. The fact that the piece can be small is quite encouraging. It feels doable and doesn’t mean a huge outlay in fabric or cost. It is also anonymous which is quite reassuring.

How to take part: If you are coming to the meeting, just bring it with you and leave it on the Challenge table. If you can’t make the meeting email and we will endeavour to pick it up from you and take it to the meeting. Each piece on the table will be allocated a number and during the meeting members (and visitors) will be asked to vote on their favourite piece. The work with the most votes wins a small prize.

(With thanks from Carol Wilkes from Quilters’ Guild Region One for permission to use her article in Our Patch.)

Fabric boxes, materials list for the May meeting

Linked to this post (below) you will find a list of things to bring with you to the next meeting on Monday May 20th, as well as the templates for the cardboard shapes needed for a hexagon shaped sewing box, which is the example that Regina has prepared for us to use.

It would be helpful if you can cut your cardboard shapes out in advance of the meeting, so that we will be working on these, rather than starting from scratch.

Example of completed sewing box
Example of what can be stored in the box.

Mounting card or similar card weight (about 1.5 – 2mm thick)

This also depends on the size of the box (you might get away with a thinner card used for a smaller box).

You can also use thinner cardboard for the inside of your box (empty cereal boxes…)

Use the templates to cut out your pieces; it is best to use a craft knife if you have one, but check the size of the printed pieces first (check length and corners…) also check that the inside pieces are slightly smaller than the outside ones, it helps to label your cards.

Wadding – (if you like, but not too thick).

Fabric (to cover your cardboard)

The seam allowance is about 1 cm; a bit more if you use wadding.

Lining fabric

(to cover the inside cardboard, can be the same or a different fabric…)


to stick the fabric onto the board, this can be a Pritt Stick or fabric glue stick works very well: Sewline or Prym Aqua Marker (I bought one at Amazon….)

Stronger glue

(to stick cards together)


(are very good if you have )


(to hand stitch, colour matching your outer fabric and if possible polyester)

Sharp sewing needles

bring a couple of long and short ones, so you can try out what works best for you.

We will be using a whip stitch to join the pieces together (stitches go through the fabric only)

If you make a sewing box you might want to bring:

  • elastic to hold a scissor and
  • and extra fabric for pockets inside and also the gussets!

Pencil, ruler, scissors…..

Gathering Lavender

SWL Quilters plan to have a group activity picking Lavender and possibly combine this with a pub outing in July.

Lesley who has experience in this area, told us that the time to collect at Carshalton Beeches was the last weekend in July when they held the Carshalton lavender festival.

Requirements: Scissors and a bag to put the lavender in. You could pick as much as you wanted. You were then charged according to how much you had picked.

Another possibility would be to go to Mayfield near Banstead. You could walk through the lavender fields in June and go to the shop and purchase the lavender that you wanted.

Once purchased or gathered, the lavender needs to be stored in a pillow case in a warm dry place for several months until the flowers are ready to fall off their stalks.

Lavender could also be purchased on line for example the Daisy shop.