Welcome back everyone! Today we’re going to visit a very unique sewing space. Are you ready for an adventure? Meet SusanClaire, the Gourmet Quilter. She’s creative, adventurous, and doesn’t let anything stand in the way of her sewing.
Hi everyone, thanks so much Carol for inviting me here. It was so good to meet you at the Quilt Designers Retreat.
My name is SusanClaire Mayfield, otherwise known as GourmetQuilter .......because quilting is delicious! I live in New Zealand in a delightful old home on 3 acres where I am fortunate to have a wonderful studio area. I spend a lot of time in that studio designing and making quilts as well as writing up the patterns and making video tutorials with my long-suffering husband as my cameraman! I also have a small quilting shop and classroom here.
The last couple of years have seen a few changes in my routine, we have 3 sons and 2 grandsons, currently! One son and grandson live in London, UK, so we decided to go for a visit to the UK and maybe stay for about 3 months, living on a canal boat. So off we went, and it was terrific to be able to see the boys and when our time was due to come to an end we decided that we would like to stay longer. Now, the boat we had been staying on was only 7 feet wide and 50 feet long, which in itself was fine, but I did find it a little small for quilting in! So we thought if we were going to be there longer, and through a winter, we would need a little more space, so we bought a boat that was 10 feet wide and 57 feet long - a mansion! The boat was named "The Great Escape", very appropriate!
So we set ourselves up so that we were quite comfortable and the sewing room converted very readily into a living room when needed!
The boat was fully self contained and we were able to move around on the canals quite easily, rapidly settling into a routine of the skipper needing to steer the boat into the locks and yours truly becoming quite fit with all the manual winding and pushing of heavy gates!
I set up a "lock stitching project" as there were times when I had to wait for the locks to fill or empty, and not being someone who likes to wait idly...! The project was large EPP hexagon and diamonds using novelty fabrics for an "I-spy" type of quilt. However, it wasn't all just relaxing...
I loved those lock gates! Some of them were unbelievably heavy, however many of them looked so amazing with the growth on them.
I was invited to be part of a Blog Hop featuring some Oakshott fabrics, we were to design a project using some of the new colours by Oakshott. These fabrics, if you don't know them, are delicious "shot" cottons and are wonderful to work with. Inspired by the lock gates I made a small wall-hanging of a lock gate with wired greenery, there is a free downloadable pattern here
We had a fabulous time and enjoyed all sorts of aspects of boat life, such as taking the boat to the supermarket - yes, they have mooring available outside the supermarkets on the canal! Even better than that, we discovered a couple of quilting shops in easy walking distance from the canal, so supplies were organised.
We came across quite a variety of bird life.
Even lots of serene looking swans
However, this swan was very deceptive and took a dislike to us and tried to chase us away quite determinedly!
During the winter it was very wet and rainy and the boat, whilst very cozy, didn't offer a lot of exercise! So we soon discovered that rain and wind in London meant lots of broken umbrellas that were abandoned on the side of the roads, so the idea of using the fabric from the umbrellas or "brollies" as we call them, came into being and we would set out, in bad weather, "umbring" to see if we could rescue some abandoned umbrellas. We were very successful and it became a a fun, if damp, occupation walking the streets of London Umbring! These are just a few of our finds. I made quite a few small bags and wallets from the fabrics.
As I have been doing the Quilting Tips & Techniques videos for a while, we felt it was good to continue these on the boat, one of the reasons for wanting more space was that the cameraman couldn't get far enough away to be able to film! Space was indeed limited, however where there's a will there's a way and so it was decided that small projects would work best. There are always quilts to be seen if you know where to look! This unsuspecting rower found herself posing, precariously, so the cameraman could take a photo of the quilt!
A typical view of traditional canal boats
So in between travelling around on the boat and spending some time with our boys, there was plenty of time for quilting. The piecing and smaller projects could be done inside, however basting was an outdoor occupation, here in central London on the roof of the boat
and on the beautiful sunny days, quilting was also outdoors on the roof
One of the delightful moorings in London.
Thanks for coming on my journey, I am happily back in New Zealand at the moment, quilting indoors as it is winter here!
♥THANK YOU♥ SusanClaire for sharing one of your fun adventures with us!!
Want to have more fun with the Gourmet Quilter??
Check out her upcoming block of the day quilt along called That Town and Country. Sign ups are underway and early birds get a BIG discount.
Watch all her wonderful tips and tutorials on herYouTube channel.