"I have now been sewing for more than 50 years and the reason I sew has changed over that time. I still sew mostly for work: in the early days it was to create shop samples for Creative Quilting which I founded back in 1989, but now I need samples for students to see as I am still involved as a member of the teaching staff. I also make quilt samples to share in the shop which showcases a range of fabric (just an excuse to use the fabric really!) and of course I also make samples for the Justhands-on.tv workshops that I present. So most of these quilts have to be reasonably quick to make and therefore rotary cut and sewn by machine. But it’s not a hardship as I love being able to use my sewing machine and have real withdrawal symptoms if I have a couple of days away from it.
"I particularly like the fact that the Oakshott plain fabrics have that lovely ‘shot’ look and are not therefore a flat plain colour, which means they work in well with other ‘luxury looking’ fabrics. And when they weave stripes, you can rely on the fact that the stripe is straight!
"I am inspired by the fabric rather than the pattern and the Oakshott fabrics work so very well with simple designs that rely on colour placement. Paths and Stiles (below) is an excellent example of this.
"One of the main challenges for students is 'What can I make with this?' ‘This’ can be anything from pre-cuts such as layer cakes, charm packs and fat quarters to yardage: but it’s a challenge I actually enjoy. I have made several modern quilts with Oakshott's Fat 8ths bundles, which work very well as the colour grading is subtle but perfect. The size of the bundle is deceptive... despite their name, there can still be left overs!"
For more from Valerie go to www.justhands-on.tv
Valerie's designs for Oakshott include: