Meet Abigail from cut&alter.
Abigail is a fabulous LongArm Quilter and teacher (I promise that doesn’t mean she has really long arms! Hehehehe) I met Abigail when I joined Oxfordshire Modern Quilt Guild. She produces really inspiring quilts with amazing quilting designs. I thought it would be fun for you to get to know her too.
Now she tells us a little bit more about herself.
Q. Tell us a bit about your business
I am a longarm quilter who quilts for myself and offers quilting services for others, from a simple basting service for those who want to quilt their own to a fully custom quilting service. I am one of two Handi Quilter Educators in the UK and teach HQ owners through the supplier, Pinhole Quilting. I also offer private one-to-one longarm tuition on any make of longarm machine. I have recently developed quilting courses that I deliver to both quilters with longarm machines and those quilting on their domestic sewing machines.
Q. What prompted you to set up your business within the quilting industry? Have there been any key moments or turning points?
I was Home Educating my girls and wanted to be able to earn some money whilst working from home. A longarm machine seemed a good opportunity and it was also something that could be transportable should we move back to New Zealand at any stage! I always knew that if I invested in a machine it would have to pay for itself. I am glad to say that it does and that it has opened up lots of interesting doors. In the 3 1/2 years since I have had my machine I have definitely noticed an increase in the number of people who know what a longarm machine is. Initially I was always having to describe what it was and what I do, but due to an increased presence of machines in the UK it is becoming more well known with the industry.
Q. What's new with you? What does 2019 have in store for your business?
Teaching more, hopefully. I became a Handi Quilter Educator in August 2018 and since then I have been teaching HQ owners on their Foundation and Intermediate classes and I also offer courses run for both longarm quilters and quilters on domestic sewing machines. I have my first talk booked in for September which makes my whole family laugh. I was the girl at school and university who was always mysteriously ill on any day where public speaking was involved, so the fact I have voluntarily signed up to give talks is incredible and I have to say rather nerve wracking!
Q. Where in the world do you live and what do you love about it?
I live in Shipston on Stour in Warwickshire. We moved at the end of last year and whilst it is only 20 minutes down the road from Stratford upon Avon it really is quite different. We are right on the edge of Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire and Worcestershire aswell so there are lots of new places to explore. What do I love? The fact the girls are now able to walk to and from school - it means my work has really taken off.
Q. Tell us about the first patchwork or quilted item you made
I truly have been creating since as long as I can remember and was an early fan of EPP. I made lots of things with hexagons using my mum's scraps and even tried to make a cushion cover with corduroy offcuts and cardboard templates - you can imagine that one didn't get finished.
Q. How did you get into quilting?
My first proper quilt was a lap quilt made from vintage Laura Ashley scraps from all our childhood homes. I was living in New Zealand at the time and had just had our first child and felt rather homesick. The act of making the quilt and evoking so many memories bought a little piece of Warwickshire to the Bay of Plenty.
Q. Tell us about where you sew? Are you a neat freak or a messy maker?
I have to say I am a bit of both. Whilst I love everything in its place and do regularly tidy up to achieve that, whilst I am working on a project I have everything everywhere and sometimes all over the house too.
What is your best accomplishment so far with patchwork & quilting?
On a personal level I think it is my quilt Mini to Maxi - Churn Dash which received a Highly Commended in the Modern Category at Festival of Quilts 2018 and was then subsequently juried into QuiltCon 2019 - if only I had been able to go to Nashville. On a business level it is getting repeat customers. I truly want customers to love the quilting on their quilt when they get it back. They place a huge amount of trust in me to quilt their tops and it is wonderful when they come back time after time.
Q. What's the favourite item you ever made?
That is such a difficult question to answer but I do have a couple of favourites. One is a flag quilt called Should I Stay or Should I Go? This quilt has both the Union Jack and New Zealand flag on it and represents our family being split between the UK and New Zealand. The other is Where To Next? This quilt was made for the In the Spotlight gallery at Festival of Quilts in 2017 where the theme was No Place Like Home and I decided to make a map of Stratford upon Avon.
Q. What was the last item you made?
This was a rainbow mini quilt which used a new technique for me to achieve 100 squares in a 5" space! Teeny Tiny Rainbow then evolved from that challenge square and it is all made from scraps.
Q. What's your best sewing/quilting tip?
Replace both your needle and rotary cutter blade frequently. Also try piecing with a 60wt thread - it makes your seams so smooth and flat.
Q. Tell us what your favourite tool is?
A small cutting ruler that measure 6 1/2" x 2 1/2". I received this in a swap parcel from the US and thought I would never us it - I use it every day that I am in my studio. In fact I need to replace it because the lines have started to wear off it is so well used.
Q. Tell us your favourite fabric range?
I have never bought fabric ranges, in fact I very rarely buy fabric with a project in mind. The exception to this are Kona solids by Robert Kaufman. My stash of Kona colours is growing slowly but I would love to be able to afford a little of the whole range, that's 342, but who am I kidding I would like a bolt of every colour and the space to house it!
Q. What do you listen to/watch whilst sewing?
I don't. I tried an audio book once but my mind wonders and I kept having to rewind when I realised I had no idea what was going on. I find that I am actually doing a lot of design work in my head whilst I am sewing.
Q. Where can we find you? Online or in real life
I am most active on instagram as @cutandalter and over on Facebook fb.com/cutandalter and I have a blog www.cutandalter.blogspot.co.uk which I hope to keep more up to date. In real life you can find me at Quilts UK in Malvern and Festival of Quilts demonstrating the Handi Quilter machines at Pinhole Quilting's stand and I am always open to suggestions for teaching, talks and collaborations.
Thank you for that Abigail! Love seeing all your fabulous quilts, and oh boy the thought of quilting with corduroy! Yikes!