My Journey To Quilting
Quilting is more than a craft, it's a work of art shared and gifted with love.
Hello and welcome, my name is Clare, founder and quilter of Riverport Quilting. This is my journey to quilting, I hope you find some inspiration throughout. Quilting is not for everyone but, enjoying a quilt made with love certainly is for anyone.
I have been making patchwork for 20+ years; at first the traditional hexagonal English paper piecing by hand. Then moving on to American piecing on a machine but still hand quilting. In the last 5 years I have been machine quilting on a domestic sewing machine and a Handi Quilter Simply Sixteen longarm.
Riverport Quilting was born from my enjoyment of crafting and my delight of handmade gifts I could put love into for family and friends. As a young bride and mother it was a necessity to be mindful of our spending, this encouraged me to be as creative as possible utilizing my craft skill as a way of making gifts that were special to each person. I was always before 'quite fond of the idea anyhow, given each gift was unique and fitting for my friends and family. A keepsake that would last a lifetime with memories. This passion for the handmade craft grew and soon the first Riverport Quilt would be created.
In 1993 I purchased for the first time, fabric for my first quilt from Laura Ashley and it was curtain fabric. This is the point where not only did I begin breaking the rules of quilting but it sparked a new approach to quilting for me. It was as if I was the rebel of quilters! The woman in the shop when purchasing my curtain quilt fabric, was beside herself (there were rules to how quilts were made and here I was trampling roughshod straight through them). I had the confidence of youth – no pattern, no measurements and not much of a clue either – but I knew what I wanted in my head. I never did finish that first quilt at the time.
I pulled that half finished patchwork top out of the loft 2 years ago, worked out where I had gone wrong and finally finished that quilt. I have it on my bed at the moment. 26 years it took me to finish.
Quilting kind of took a back seat after that – I started a couple more, but never managed to finish them and it was too expensive to continue doing that so I knitted – a much cheaper hobby and the kids benefitted. Buying patchwork quilts from bedding shops was so much cheaper – I could afford that, so I suppose that satisfied my need for homemade stuff. I loved the fact (and still do) that patchwork was a way of using scraps of fabric from other projects to make something so useful. The patchwork patterns from America interested me – with all their different names.
By the time the children were teenagers I could afford a more expensive hobby and they definitely were not into hand knitted garments by then. I discovered a local vineyard, with a medieval barn, that hosted a quilt fair. This would be about 20 years ago and I went to that, mostly out of curiosity, but fell in love with fabric and the different ways it could be combined to make something amazing.
It was quite a few years before I really started looking at the quilting patterns that held the 3 layers together. That really became my new love. Especially when I discovered the long-arm machine; made specifically for quilting. I’m as obsessed with the function of the quilt as I am over the design of the patterns. I really believe the quilting should accentuate the patchwork and help that shine, rather than steal the limelight and take over on a quilt. I suppose it’s when you have a panel, like the Dream Big flower that the quilting can really highlight the fabric. Quilting is a fine art that is created and crafted with love and care. Each stitch, pattern creates a welcoming, warm gift leaving you wrapped in love and comfort.
As you can see my passion has continued to grow, I knew it was time to set in stone and thus Riverport Quilting was born. If you are interested in quilting please join our members area on the top right on the site. There you will have access to all blog posts, connect with other quilters, learn tips and tricks and you are always welcome to reach out with any questions. Of course if you’d like your very own Riverport Quilt made for you or a loved one, please reach out and let me know your ideas.
A little History about our Town & How our Name Came to be.
Riverport Quilting, so named because the town - St Ives in Cambridgeshire - where we are situated was founded over 900 years ago, in 1110 by Henry I. St Ives in Cambridgeshire was one of the biggest trading river ports in Britain for much of the last millennium.