Spring has (nearly) sprung…

…And when Spring arrives we know it’s time for World Textile Day!!  This annual event takes place every March at our home, the Minerva Arts Centre, and is a very eagerly anticipated event.  This year it’s happening on Saturday 17th March, opening at 10am and closing at 4.30pm.  There is always lots to see and the Fair Trade market gives you the opportunity to handle and buy fabric that you can’t find anywhere else. At 11am Susan Briscoe will be giving a presentation called ‘Hand to Hand: Japanese Sashiko’ and at 2pm there will be a panel of experts discussing their most treasured textiles plus a short talk.  There is free entry on the day, and tickets for the two above mentioned sessions can be bought on the door – £3 per session or £5 for both.  Refreshments will be available, prepared and served by our local quilt group, Welsh Heritage Quilters. Don’t miss out on a wonderful day.

Our next event, also eagerly anticipated, is this year’s exhibition by Welsh Heritage Quilters (WHQ).  Opening on 24th March and running until 7th April, this exhibition, called True Colours is open from 10am until 4.30pm every day except Sundays.  These exhibitions by WHQ happen every two years and are well known for the wide range of items displayed and visitors always remark on how colourful the displays are. So this year the group decided to use this as a theme and you will find quilts and other items using the colours of poppies to mark the centenary of the Armistice; the colours of the Suffragette movement; the colours of the Welsh flag, as incorporated into the group’s logo and generally just wonderful use of colourful fabrics – both vibrant and muted.

Here are a few images to whet your appetite!!

A quilt in the colours of the suffragettes by Jackie Morley

Poppies by Pauline Sherwood

Owl by Chris Lane

See what I mean about the colourfulness!!! I’ll add more later.

In the meantime, I hope(especially if you’re in the UK) you’re enjoying the weather. Looking fprward to seeing you in beautiful Mid-Wales soon!!

Hilary Beattie

Hilary Beattie will be running a spring school for The Quilt Association this May.  Hilary taught here in Llanidloes in 2016 and that three-day retreat was a run-away success with many students booking again for this year. As a result, the school is sold out, but we hope that you will come and see Hilary’s work, plus the work of other members of Art Textiles:Made in Britain in the exhibition at The Minerva Arts Centre during May.

Anyone who has met Hilary, seen her teach, or demonstrate at quilting shows, will know that she is passionate about her art and tireless both in its execution and in the promotion of textile art as a movement.  Her work goes from strength to strength as she embraces new techniques, and experiments vivaciously with new materials. Hilary explores personal subject matter and shares with the observer her many passions, whether it is, for example, her love of the coast, her beloved dogs, her garden, or her own emotional journey.  What singles Hilary out as a true gift to textile art in Britain is the generosity with which she shares her knowledge, and, especially, her ability to impart that knowledge with engagement and enthusiasm,  to both experienced and novice practitioners.


This exhibition by members and guests of Art Textiles:Made in Britain opens at The Minerva Arts Centre, Llanidloes on May 6 2017 and runs until 3 June 2017.  The gallery will be open from 10.30 until 4.30 each day except Sundays.

There are related workshops as follows:

Rosie James – Photostitch – May 6 2017
Hilary Beattie – The Language of Flowers – 18 – 20 May 2017
Cas Holmes – Unfolding Landscapes – 22 – 23 May 2017
Sylvia Paul – Concealed – 1 – 2 June 2017


Quilt Association City and Guilds Graduates

“I feel quite sad now that it is over. I have thoroughly enjoyed my course, all of it, some parts more than others, at each stage I have been inspired, and enjoyed the challenge.  I have grown in so many ways, but especially confidence.”

Recently, several students have graduated from our City and Guilds Level 2 Certificate in Patchwork and Appliqué. They produced some outstanding work, as varied as their own personalities. During their online studies, they have filled sketchbooks as they learned about the elements of design – 

They have practised design development – 

and learnt practical skills such as traditional stitching techniques, Procion MX dyeing and free-motion quilting – 

and produced beautiful finished items focused on Patchwork and on Appliqué –

We had some lovely feedback from the graduates, (as well as the quote at the start of this post)  saying such things as;

“I learned a lot during the course and did things I would never before have                a) thought of doing or                                                                                                        b) thought were things I was capable of, probably just because I didn’t know how. In future if I come up with an idea, I will be more inclined to find out how things are done and can I acquire the tools needed rather than saying “that’s not for me”

“You have been a super tutor and your course is quite outstanding…wonderfully constructed and designed.”

“I have really enjoyed the course and learnt so much”

Some of you will have heard that City and Guilds are about to radically change their creative provision.  No one is sure yet exactly what they intend, but we do know that we can continue to register new students on our programme, which is 7161 from the Creative Techniques pathway,  until 2018.  If you are thinking of taking a City and Guilds course don’t delay.  We continue to be the best value online provider, with our price held despite increases in administration costs.


Anja Townrow Workshop

A day when the concentration levels kept the workshop very quiet!  Everyone created perfect points using Anya Townrow’s personal method of foundation piecing, and everyone agreed that her teaching method is both efficient and charming!

Anja’s own work is just beautiful – take as look at her website for examples, kits, and more.

We hope that Anja will be with us again in 2016, teaching a two day workshop full of techniques and with students completing a wonderful stitched ring binder.

Quilt Association Gift Vouchers

Stuck for a present idea for the stitcher in your life?  Why not give them a gift that, as they say, keeps on giving, by buying them a workshop gift voucher.  You can either choose for them, or purchase an open voucher which enables them to take their pick from our programme, (subject to places being available).

Voucher image


We will then either email you a voucher to print and give, or we can email the recipient on your behalf.  Vouchers are valid for one year from the time of purchase.

For more information, or the latest programme news, email education@quilt.org.uk


Read the article about us!

When you get your copy of July’s issue of Patchwork and Quilting Magazine, turn to page 58 and you can read all about us and out twentieth year of exhibiting at The Minerva Arts Centre!

The magazine has always been very good to us and always has great coverage of our annual summer exhibition.  If you haven’t seen it for a while, do take a look – it has a fresh modern feel and is still one of the very best quilting magazines on the shelves despite much new competition!

Exhibition April 12 – 27

Quilt and Stitch

Members of Welsh Heritage Quilters and Mid Wales Embroiderers have joined their creative forces to build an exhibition crammed with delights.  It is a cliche, but also a truism, to say that it is unmissable.  The exhibition, at The Minerva Arts Centre in Llanidloes, is open everyday, including Sundays from April 12 to April 27 2014 from 10.30 until 4.30.  Admission is £2.00.

Here is a sneak preview.



WHQ Quilt Stretch

Many thanks to Juliet Griffin for this post!

Everyone’s favourite game at last Wednesday’s Welsh Heritage Quilters meeting – a quilt stretch!  This is Gerry’s beautiful “barn-raising” quilt, being expertly stretched and basted in her absence by a keen team led by Polly.

Jeni, Polly and Sheila

The stretching frame consists of four long pieces of timber with wide strips of firmly-woven fabric stapled right along their length.  The frame is made up to the correct size for the quilt by simply assembling the pieces of timber into a rectangle of the correct size and clamping the corners with extremely strong sash cramps.  The chosen backing fabric is pinned, face side down, to the fabric on the four sides of the stretching frame, followed by the wadding (batting) and the completed quilt top.  (Gerry’s quilt is being stretched the other way up, backing fabric uppermost, as her top is unusual in being a little larger than the backing.)  The clamps are adjusted so that all the layers are kept reasonably taut; this helps ensure they are all lying flat and square.  Then the three layers can be secured together.

Jeni and Polly

Polly spent a while visiting the Amish while she was in America and is enthusiastic about the methods they taught her, including the use of a large lattice of herringbone stitch to tack together the layers of a quilt before it is quilted.  Some quilters use special safety pins instead, or straight tacking stitch, but the herringbone holds the layers together a little better.  The lines of herringbone stitching run all the way along the quilt from top to bottom and all the way across from side to side, about five or six inches apart.  Polly always uses white or off-white thread, just in case the dye from a coloured thread should run and spoil a quilt.

Jeni and Sheila

The sewing always progresses from one end of the quilt to the other.  This is because human beings have arms of a limited length.  Once each line of tacking has gone as far as our arms can efficiently reach, the sash cramps holding the end bar of the frame are released and the basted section of quilt rolled carefully around it.  Then the bar is clamped back to the side bars and sewing can resume from where it left off.

Once the whole surface is basted, the quilt can be unpinned from the frame and taken away to be quilted.  The tacking will hold the layers firmly together while the sandwich is manoeuvred around, whether in a long-arm quilting machine or in a hand-quilting frame.

Rose busy threading needles

It’s a race against time to stretch and baste a quilt in the hour and a half of working time available, so we work very fast and get as many people as possible around the frame.  Two or three mighty souls sit and thread needles as fast as they can, sticking them ready in a polystyrene block.  As each sewer uses up the thread in their needle they dash across to the threading table and swap their empty needle for a full one.  This quilt was a king-size one so we started at half past twelve to get an extra hour or so.  (These photos were taking in the tea break, when most of the working team had dashed off to grab a well-earned cuppa and a biscuit.)

Rosemary taking tea – Julie is being mother today!

This is only the second quilt stretch I’ve had the chance to work on since I joined WHQ.  You’re a bit concerned the first time in case you do something wrong and spoil someone’s lovely quilt, but the more experienced members of the group are extremely encouraging and happy to show you everything you need to know so that you gain confidence very quickly.  The sewing is great fun, fast and flowing, and the frame is always surrounded by banter and gossip and laughter.

The bargain table at WHQ

Meanwhile, a selection of weird and wonderful scraps had been dumped on the neighbouring table, and WHQ members were rummaging for crazy pieces to work into their future projects.

Minerva 13 is now open – Preview notes

This summer’s must-see quilt exhibition is now open.

On Sunday members of The Quilt Association, and friends of the Association were invited to the preview.  The Minerva was dressed in her new garb and looked very smart.

Despite the glorious weather and the Wimbledon final, lots of supporters came and contributed to the lively atmosphere.  The quilts were, of course, the main attraction, but the chat, the shopping opportunity, and the wonderful buffet (thanks to Jean Pegg, Jeni Morrison and Christine Cooper for their kindness) seemed important too!

 The retiring chair of the board looked pensive as he contemplated all the free time he will have:

our new chair started as she means to go on, by being charming and attentive to the guests:

and the quilts kept their thoughts to themselves.

Cauldron 2013 4