How I started Quilting

My interest in craft and sewing has been with me since childhood, though there were few opportunities to practise. My grandmother, who I never met, was a seamstress in a Milliner’s shop in Poplar. My mum made many of my clothes and was never far away from a sewing machine.

I have a deep interest in colour, shape and line and am just as happy painting and drawing. Fabric, however has a texture which is very pleasing.  Other crafts I do are tapestry, knitting, and cross stitch.  I think of myself, however, as first a gardener then a quilter. 

In 1970, I made my first piece of patchwork from a magazine article - a hexagon clutch bag. In around 1998, I began a City and Guilds Patchwork and Quilting Diploma near to where I was living, in Harlow. In fact, I retired from my job as a College Technician in order to give me time for this pursuit. (My working career began in 1964.) 

In around 2000, I joined the Ash Valley Quilters in Hertfordshire and also the Embroiderers’ Guild for a while. Then, having developed arthritis, I took the opportunity to study for an OU Degree in Humanities and Religious Studies.

In 2010/11, I got creative again and joined Cambridge Quilters and soon got involved with the Committee, producing the programme leaflet and newsletters, and the noticeboard.  Whilst recovering from a hip operation, I began to remember all the things I learned in my City and Guilds course, during 2000-2004.   

I very much enjoy hand-sewing. Currently I am working on some traditional quilting involving patchwork. Practical items appeal to me most, and I thoroughly enjoy the ‘designing’ stage of my quilts. A lot of my sewing notions come from charity shops, the older the better, and my favourite shop is ‘And Sew On’ at Blake End, near Braintree. I join in with Great Chesterford’s Charity Sewing group whenever they meet, if I can.  

Being in Cambridge Quilters is a wonderful experience and I have enjoyed many workshops: Sandie Lush, Gill Theokritoff and Carolyn Forster to name just a few. I am collecting Carolyn Forster’s Block of the month and hope to work on that next year, (featured in ‘Today’s Quilter’ magazine).


Janet Allen  

< New image with text >>

If you would like to learn more about patchwork and quilting check out our Learn and Links pages.

If you would like to share your quilting story contact Marion Curtis on



Print Print | Sitemap
© Cambridge Quilters 2016