• Nicola

Meet the quilter: Catherine Galliers

This week we welcome Shropshire Quilters member Catherine Galliers. Catherine lives at the far end of Lyth Hill with her husband Ian (and a herd of deer, but that's another story...) is an accomplished tutor - teaching at Watson & Thornton and Felt Sew Wooly - and will be showing us how to make Pickle Dish blocks at January's workshop (hopefully!).

How long have you been quilting?

I started quilting 26 years ago when two of my daughters were at school/nursery in the day leaving me with a little bit more time…! I went to a few classes with Linda Paris at Watson & Thornton in Shrewsbury to learn some basic rotary cutting and traditional block designs.

Just some of Catherine's quilts displayed at home!

Do you still have your first quilt?

I once made a quilt as a teenager with Laura Ashley offcuts, cut up with my mother’s bacon scissors (the best scissors in the house!) and measured with a stationery ruler, sewed together on my dad’s turn-handle Jones sewing machine. This quilt doesn’t have any wadding and was backed with an old sheet (I didn’t know they needed wadding!!!). It still exists and it lines the boot of my car! It was on my bed for several years.

Do you have a favourite fabric style or colour?

I quite like brightly coloured fabrics, particularly red. I like interesting country-style prints, with animals, leaves and nature designs on them.

An English Paper Pieced quilt made with Catherine's favourite fabrics

What's your essential notion or tool?

This is a tricky question… One year my dear friend Heidi (also a Shropshire Quilter) for Christmas gave me a beautiful wooden unpicking tool. On one end is the unpicker and on the other end is an awl, which is a small pointed tool, very useful for holding down small seams or tricky bits of applique under the sewing machine foot, to save sewing over fingers!

And your favourite snack (or tipple)?

I have found that drinking and quilting do not go together well, it just leads to wonky seams and stitching outside the ditch (thankfully I have a wonderful unpicker!). However, I am rather partial to a small slice of Bakewell tart in an afternoon.

Do you listen to anything while you quilt?

Without fail, Steve Wright in the Afternoon on Radio 2. I always have a little dance around my cutting table when there is a good song on (particularly George Ezra or Cliff Richard!)

Can you share a top tip/online resource?

A good tip which I think is important for both beginners and advanced quilters is to never forget about your pressing, at every stage of your project you should take a trip to your ironing board. If you keep your ironing board in a separate room of the house, it helps to get your steps in for the day and keeps you active!

An online resource which can be very helpful for inspiration is Pinterest. I am sure you all use it already. Before I start a project I like to have a look on there, because someone has always done something similar before you!! However, it is important to not let ‘Pinteresting’ become the activity that takes over your afternoon, set yourself a limit to avoid quilting procrastination!!

Can you recommend a book?

My favourite quilting book and the one I use the most often is The Quilters Bible by Linda Clements. There is a bit of everything in this book to start you off before getting a more detailed book out about something you have forgotten to do.

Have you had any quilting disasters?

Once I tried to back a cot quilt with some luxuriously thick fleece… it went horribly wrong and would not run under the walking foot, I didn’t break any needles but the whole thing bunched up horribly, the whole project turned into a dog blanket for my spaniel Greg, he loves it! Lesson learnt: always buy good quality fleece backing that’s not too thick.

Another disaster, because we all have them! On my first attempt at the Mariner’s Compass Block, I was bit overambitious with the size and it went so horribly wrong. It happened to be bin man day and so to prevent me retrieving it from the bin for a second attempt, I put it straight in there and watched it go down the drive in the bin wagon! I can happily say, many years later I have now cracked this block!

Do you have a favourite quilt block?

Without a doubt, folded flying geese are my favourite – maybe they’re not officially a ‘block’ but you can easily sew them into a square to make a block shape! I often use them as borders around quilts.

Work in progress: a Liberty EPP medallion quilt with a Flying Geese border

Where can we find you online?

I have started to post on my Instagram @quiltlikecatherine if anyone would like to follow me to keep up with my quilting antics!

Thank you Catherine, its been lovely to get to know you!

And we'd really LOVE to get to know our talented membership too: if you'd like to share your quilting story please send an email to info@shropshirequilters.org for the Q&A sheet.

Visit again next Friday to meet another quilter...

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