I have followed Lu’s work for some time from seeing her
screen printed fabric on Etsy, to
her first fabric range, ‘Summerville’ for
Moda, to meeting her and taking part in her fabulous Portholes class at the first Fat Quarterly Retreat
so it is a pleasure to be interviewing her for this blog hop
The book is stunning Lu, such beautiful photographs and I love
the sketchbook style layout. Did
you have a strong idea of how you wanted the book to look when you set out to
I didn't really have any idea that the finished book would be so
close to the ideas pages I took to the initial meeting - I knew I wanted the
instructional pages to be very visual because it's the way I personally work
best, but I didn't think the editorial team would be quite so enthusiastic
about it! I think that it was quite a departure for them in terms of style, but
I'm so glad they took the risk because I think it's turned out brilliantly. The
photography is amazing in the book - Mark, the photographer, was really easy to
work with, everything he did worked so well. The book is more than I expected
and at the same time everything I hoped it might be.
Do you still keep a sketchbook to record your inspiration and
Even at art school I was terrible at keeping a sketchbook - all
those blank pages were so scary! I'm more of a 'scribble it down on the back of
an envelope' type. I'm not terribly organised, but I try to keep sketches
together if I can - I find pinboards a really useful tool - I've got two
massive boards in my studio for keeping ideas in one place.
Who taught you to sew and when did you first get into quilt
making? What were your early
My mum taught me to sew, but I was a very impatient pupil so I
didn't really make anything properly until my GCSEs. During my A level Textile
course I discovered Amish Quilts which coincided with my mum learning to quilt.
I was fascinated by the process but not so excited by the twee fabrics associated
with quitting in the early 1990s - the Amish quilts appealed because of their
unfussy fabric choices. My first proper quilt was made for my then boyfriend
(now husband) for his 19th birthday in plains and plaids in blues. I tied it
rather than quilted it and it's much more conventional than my quilts now.
We've still got it and use it for picnics, it's looking a bit pathetic these
You cover a lot of techniques in the book, I particularly like the
bagging out method for the mini quilts, they look brilliant! What would be your top tip for creating
the improv look?
If you're a conventional quilter and the thought of improv is
rather frightening, than my top tip for loosening up would be to pop some
scraps from a previous project into a paper bag and shake it up. Sit at your
sewing machine and pull out two pieces (without looking!) and stitch them
together. Keep pulling out scraps, one at a time and stitch mindlessly and
randomly - don't try and make anything in particular, it's just an exercise in
loosening up! Using fabric scraps from similar colour groups will always make
things look more cohesive, even with improv.
You make quilts, design and print fabric, teach and write for
books and magazines- describe how you spend a typical working day.
I rarely schedule work that clashes because I don't enjoy working
flat out on lots of different things. I prefer to finish one big job before
beginning another, even if in reality that doesn't always happen! My typical
day includes leaving the house at 8am to take the boys to school then I'm home
just after 9am to I answer emails, package up any Etsy orders then work on
designing/printing/writing/sewing until 3pm when I leave to pick the boys up.
You often mention how your family and home informs your
work. How does your creative
activity fit into your family life and space?
Because my husband works on the farm, I'm very lucky with how
involved he is in looking after the boys. He has never complained when a
deadline means he's got to be around more. Sometimes it's just not possible and
my mum and dad help out, but it's not such a problem these days as the boys are
older and able to amuse themselves. When the boys were tiny, my husband always
did the bedtime routine so that I could work into the evening. My studio is
just off the boy's playroom so they know where I am if they need me and I can
see them playing in the garden during the summer. I try to keep my sewing stuff
in the studio, but it does tend to overflow a bit…
Can you describe your sewing space at home and the new Turkey
My studio in the house was the old kitchen. We live in the
farmhouse that my husband was brought up in, and I've lots of fond memories of
my late mother in law cooking and baking in what's now my studio. My print and
sewing table is where the dining table was, I've painted the wooden kitchen
cabinets a pale blue. The walls are white and I've got a blue floor. I've got a
large storage room where the old pantry was and I've got light from 2 big
windows and a half glazed door. It's a lovely space to work in - it seems
slightly removed from the rest of the house, but in reality it's just a room
away! The Turkey Shed studio houses my mum's long-arm quilting machine and lots
of new tables for the workshops. It's got a cute little kitchen area at the
bottom end with a blue wall and a loo just off it. It's a great space with
large wall areas for pinning up work. I haven't personally hosted any workshops
in it yet, but my friend does a monthly creative textile class in it and the
space works really well!
and here’s a
recap on all the stops and a giveaway
coming up. If you want your info all in one place, go to Stitch, Craft, Create
There are giveaways along the way, including here! A copy of Lucie’s book ‘Quilt Improv’
is waiting at David and Charles publishers here in Devon, ready to be sent to
anywhere in the world.
the giveaway: leave a comment about your favourite motif on fabric.
example, I like fruit prints, especially apples. Make sure your email
address is included in your profile or as part of your comment e.g your name
(at) gmail (dot) com otherwise I won't be able to notify you if you win. Giveaway open until Wed 15th Jan. Good luck!