Tuesday, November 25, 2008

North Sea Quilters Exhibition at Rooijackers

From the 8th November until Christmas you can see an exhibition of our works at Rooijackers, sewing machine shop/ official Bernina Artista dealer. You can visit the exhibition during opening hours from Monday To Friday from 10.00-18.00 and on Saturday from 10.00-17.00. To find out more about Rooijackers or download a route to their shop, please go to their website www.probleemlozenaaimachines.nl. Have a glance at the photos, taken at Mr. Rooijacker's showroom.
You can combine visiting the exhibition with a walk on the beach Promenade, a nice lunch at one of the beach restaurants and turn your excursion into a fun day-outing.

Maria Laza-Bihari

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Winner of the Long-arm Quilting Voucher

North Sea Quilters organized a lottery among those quilters who visited our booth and signed up to our newsletter at the General Exhibition (Algemene tentoonstelling) of the Dutch Quilter's Guild (Quiltersgilde) in Arnhem. The prize of the lottery was a 95 Euro long-arm quilting voucher, which is an equivalent of quilting a 165 x 180 cm sized patchwork top with an intensive phantograph .

The president of the Dutch Quilter's Guild, Jeanne Hamers-van der Werff drew the winning lottery at the end of the exhibition on the 10th September.

The winner of the 95 Euro long-arm quilting voucher is Mevr. A. Sauer.

We would like to congratulate to the winner!

Jeanne Hamers-van der Werff and Leslie Carol Taylor during the drawing of the winner lottery ticket.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Participation at the ASH PTA Information Fair

In the last couple of weeks we were very busy attending various open days, fairs, patchwork exhibition, which meant less time for writing our blog. I'll try to make up for it and give an overview about these events. Let's start with the ASH PTA Information Fair at The American School of the Hague, which was hold on the 6th September. This is a great event for the parents to meet the representatives of local organizations, clubs, churches, small business. This was the second time that we took part in it and we met many familiar faces. Thanks to "Little Amsterdam" everybody knew where North Sea Quilters was. It was nice talking to all the quilt loving/admiring people and to give information to the newcomer quilters about quilting in The Netherlands. I hope this will help them to carry on with their hobby even in their new home.


Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Darling Husbands

This blog is about our other halves. We generally hear the story that partners have no idea why we spend our leisure time cutting up perfectly good fabric into little pieces and then sewing the pieces back together again. Well come on, seriously, isn't that obvious??!!??!!

The next point of contention is about the stash of fabric we quilters all have. Why we don't use it up. Well, the answer to that one is obvious too, I mean, you don't ask a stamp collector whether he's used up his first edition stamps to write to his Aunt Grace in South Africa, do you?

These are very general remarks we hear around us. However, we also hear a lot of stories about very supportive husbands who happily follow their wives around to all kinds of quilting venues. Now, whilst these are not our stories to tell, we are allowed to disclose facts about our own darling husbands.

Sandor has happily put up with Maria's quilts being on the living room floor (the obvious design board), between him and the television for days on end (I think he could just about use the remote control). His job means he has to travel. To faraway countries. But the silk and other fabrics he has brought back for Maria are to die for. Her North Sea Quilters reversible jacket is an example of the silk he brought back from Cambodia.

Wahid has put up with Marybeth's Gammill long-arm quilting machine being in their BEDROOM for many years. And recently has really been absolutely fantastic; he accompanied Marybeth on their last visit to Egypt to the Tentmakers of Cairo's quarters in the city*. Even though the taxi driver was not happy about going there. With Wahid as an interpreter Marybeth got to talk to some of the tentmakers, and, of course, buy some of their work.

Now Bob, has happily watched Leslie convert their garage into the North Sea Quilters Studio and in addition has agreed to accompany us to the Quilt Show in Val d'Argent in Sainte-Marie-aux-Mines again this year. Now, we know he is a francophile, and likes to take pictures of quilts, but to still agree to go after this picture he took last year ....

DHs at Val d'Argent, September 2007

So this blog is dedicated to all partners, who show an interest in what their other halves do, whatever that may be!!!!

* also covered in a recent article in QuiltersLog, the European Quilter's magazine

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Maria's Quilt: the Dance of a Quilter - Midnight Minuet

It is my turn to introduce my quilt I made for the long-arm quilting gallery at the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham. How many times I learned that I should trust my first instinct, but I always think, rationalize. This was a fine example of it.

Maria Laza-Bihari: Midnight Minuet

When I started to work with the challenge fabrics, thinking through colour combinations my first reaction was to dig out an old project, as it had all the colours I had in mind: red, purple and green. It was a variation of the Storm at Sea Pattern which I fell in love with a long time ago. But this project had been prepared for hand-piecing and all the pieces were cut in centimetres! I had a look at it and discarded the idea, as it would have been a very time consuming project and this time I wanted to concentrate on the quilting and not the piecing. I took another direction and I played with several ideas, based on sashiko patterns. Days of drawing, designing and finally one morning I woke up with the IDEA. Let's not go into details otherwise I will never finish this blog. One thing is sure Equilter and My Blue Bamboo benefitted from my search for the perfect fabrics. Unfortunately none of them worked well in this design with the challenge fabrics. The outcome was a few interesting projects for the future and of course plenty of beautiful fabrics in my drawers, but concerning the challenge I was back to square one or should I say back to my first instinct, the old Storm at Sea variation. I always wanted to finish it and now everything pointed in this direction. Once I was sure, it went "fairly quickly". All I needed was to sew day and night (as the deadline and my holiday were coming closer) and to take over the living-room floor as a design board. Of course I wouldn't have been able to do this without my family's patience and understanding. I have to acknowledge they were very supportive or maybe just worried that we'd miss our holiday ?! The quilting still was ahead of me. I wanted to stitch in the ditch to emphasize the circles and turn these secondary patterns into the main focus and then fill up with free-hand quilting. I was very excited as this was my first SID on the long-arm quilting machine. It was nice to see how the circles came alive under my fingers. I couldn't finish the quilting completely before it went to Birmingham, I still need to do the free-hand quilting. It was a compromise, as I don't think my family would have accepted if I had cancelled our holiday. I promise I will post a photo of my quilt in our blog, once it is finished. Until then you can look at the photo, taken in Birmingham.

One more thing; I have to thank Marybeth for the name of my quilt, "Midnight Minuet" . It represents the whole story of my quilt.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Leslie's Quilt

So to continue from yesterday, I will talk about the quilt I made for the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham this year. Well for some time I had wanted to make a pickle dish quilt. For those of you who don’t know, a pickle dish is like a double-wedding ring but with triangles instead of squares in the rings. That’s made it a lot clearer hasn’t it?

Pickle Dish Quilt

Now I had fallen in love with the double wide quilters’ sateen we buy from Christian Lane Quilters. We have used it on the back of some of our quilts and it is truely gorgeous. Combined with a mixture of purples and greens, this quilt was going to look stunning. And using the sateen for the background would leave me plenty of space to machine quilt to my heart’s desire.
The point about the pickle dish is that it involves curved piecing, and cutting curved pieces. Now that is not easy at the best of times. Trying to cut curved pieces from 108” wide slippery sateen is hard. Piecing bias pieces of stretchy slippery sateen is practically impossible, but then I do like a challenge.
Anyway, the top got pieced and I was really happy, and then I started on the quilting. As I am the proud owner of a Statler Stitcher, I knew I could draw my own design, digitize it using Autosketch and that with the Statler’s Creative Studio programme, fit the quilting exactly where I wanted on the quilt. In the end I decided on a peony with some swirls around it and the name of the quilt became “Peony Pickle”.

Digitised Peony

At the moment we are at the Quiltersgilde ATT, the Dutch Quilt Guild’s Annual General Show in Arnhem, The Netherlands. So we will be able to tell you all about that on one of our next blogs.

Leslie Carol Taylor's quilt in the long-arm gallery at the Festival of Quilts 2008

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Summer in The Netherlands

We have been very busy over the summer, not updating the blog obviously, but then it is no secret that we really prefer sewing and quilting to doing anything else.
Now what have we been busy doing??? Well for some reason we thought we would have a quiet time over the summer regarding our machinequilting for customers. Well we are pleased to inform you that there are enough really addicted quilters in NL who keep up their patchwork and quilting all summer and don’t want to go and sit in the garden or go to the beach. Maybe it was because we had rather a lot of rain.... Now we really enjoy quilting other people’s quilts, and we will show you some of the pictures over the coming weeks, but we also like quilting our own projects!!!

So our plan was to work on our own quilts. Our friend Beryl Cadman (Gammill long-arm representative for Europe) organises the long-arm gallery each year at the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham. She usually selects a theme beforehand such as Blue and White Stars (2006) or Black and White and One other Colour (2007). This year the challenge was to completely incorporate two half yards of fabric which we received beforehand: a mauve Japanese floral with chrysanthemums and a small green floral to make a 90” by 90” quilt (about 230cm square - yes that is quite big).

Detail of Robyn Fahy's black and white and yellow quilt

Now we each had our own ideas of what we wanted to do. Marybeth was inspired by the hydrangeas in her garden. Her idea was brilliant: to use a snowball block in different sizes, and vary the colour from top left to bottom right; the centre of the blocks the flowers ranging from hydrangea blue to mauve to pink and the corners the leaves in a variety of greens. Now we don’t know exactly how many different fabrics she used in her quilt, but we think equilter did quite well out of it...

Marybeth Tawfik's "Hortensia Hideaway"

Next time more about Maria’s and Leslie’s quilts!!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Patchwork workshop at the Quilting Retreat in Budapest

We are so excited about our Patchwork Retreat, which we organize in Budapest from 4-7 December 2008. Please look at the picture of our festive table runner, which you can make during the two days workshop. It is a North Sea Quilters' original design. We love to play with hexagons. Though they seem to be complicated, but it is very easy to sew them together and it goes quickly. You should be able to finish it during the workshop. We take care of everything, the sewing machines, fabrics, all you need is to sign up and enjoy the workshop and Budapest in its Christmas decoration.
You can find detailed information and sign up on

Monday, June 16, 2008

Quilting Retreat in Budapest

We are pleased to invite you to our quilting retreat in Budapest from 4-7 December 2008. It will be a lot of fun with a two days workshop, visit to the famous Christmas market and shopping as much as you want.
During the workshop we will make a festive table runner. You don't need to carry suitcases of fabrics for the project, as it will be provided by North Sea Quilters. It will be exiting to mix and match the fabrics. We are aiming for the shiny, spectacular center piece for your Christmas table. You will have the opportunity to sew on industrialized sewing machines at the education center of the Hungarian Taylor's Association.
We will stay in the heart of Budapest at the 4 star hotel Danubius Astoria, just a few minutes away from the building where the workshop takes place and not far from the Christmas market and the main shopping street Váci utca, and don't even mention the famous patisserie Gerbeaud.
We make sure you will have a very relaxing weekend, we take care of everything. Maria tries to help you with all your questions and requests as she is from Budapest.
If you are interested, you can find detailed information on our website under retreats:

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The ten-weeks Little Amsterdam Course Finished

After ten weeks of hard work, but spiced up with a lot of laughs we finished the course of Little Amsterdam. During this course the participants made their own version of the prize-winner Little Amsterdam. Though they used the same color scheme, all of the quilts are different and very special. The quilters let their creativity fly incorporating their own houses, personal memories into their quilts. On the right you can see the first finished Little Amsterdam quilt. Below there are some photos from the course.

Having fun with the embroidery stitches on the Bernina

Photos of the finished projects

Thank you for participating in the course.


The Short Course of Little Amsterdam Finished

We had our last lesson of the shortened Little Amsterdam course. During this course the participants pieced only the center part of Little Amsterdam, the bridge houses, they appliquéd the bridge over the water, added the sky border and the dog-tooth border. We had a lot of fun during the class. We would like to thank the ladies for participating in the course.
Here are some photos from the class and the finished works.

Happy quilters with their work

During the class

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Leslie's Firework Quilt at the Bernina Booth

During the Patchwork and Quilt Days in Rijswijk Leslie Carol Taylor's Firework quilt decorated the wall of the Bernina Booth. Leslie used different techniques, the "firework blocks" were paper-pieced by hand, the rest of the patchwork top was machine pieced. She quilted it on the Bernina Artista 440 Sewing Machine.

North Sea Quilters Congratulates to Yuko Kaldenberg

The Patchwork and Quilts Days Show in Rijswijk (28-30 March 2008) hosted several exhibition as Q-Art Belgium, works of Agnes ten Hoeve, "A garden, passionately", organized by the 13th Carrefour Européen du Patchwork in Val d’Argent, France and also the Bernina Quilt Competition with the theme "Celebration", which featured traditional and art quilts in different categories.
North Sea Quilters also supported the competition with a voucher for long-arm quilting services of the value of 100 Euro. Our prize was presented to Yuko Kaldenberg, who won the 1st prize with her "Feathered star" quilt in the " Traditional Advanced " category. We would like to congratulate her and the other winners of the competition. Please find below some photos of Yuko's quilt. You can also admire the beautifully hand-pieced and hand-quilted work.

Feathered Star by Yuko Kaldenberg

Details of the quilt

Bernina presents the prizes

The winner with North Sea Quilters in front of Little Amsterdam

Patchwork and Quilt Days in Rijswijk

The last weekend of March we participated in the Patchwork and Quilt Days Show in Rijswijk, The Netherlands. We were very excited, as this was our first occasion to be behind the table, as a vendor and to serve our customers instead of being served. It was a good opportunity to show our designs, patterns, kits, the unique hand-made Hungarian indigo fabrics (Kékfestő) and bring closer the long-arm quilting services to the quilters in the Netherlands. We enjoyed very much meeting our visitors and talking to them. We would like to express our thanks to those who visited our booth. We hope you liked the exhibition and had a very nice weekend. We also would like to thank our family, being patient and surviving the weekend without us and also a big thanks to our friends, who popped in and supported us.

Here are some pictures about the preparation and the North Sea Quilters booth.

Getting ready for the show and waiting for the opening

Having a break and helping our customers

Monday, March 10, 2008

How to Service Your Sewing Machines

I often surprised how quilters don't realize the importance of cleaning and taking care of their sewing machine. May be they forget, may be they don't know or they are scared to do it. I don't even dare to mention the issue of changing needles...
I thought it's time to encourage you to tackle this "cleaning-the-sewing machine" issue and as a first step, you can read the advices of a sewing machines' expert, Mr. Ruud Rooijacker, dealer of the Bernina Sewing Machines from Katwijk. He is in this business since 23 years or I should say even longer as he follows a family tradition, his knowledge is in his blood. His father opened his sewing machine shop 57 years ago. Today Mr. Rooijacker owns a beautiful, light show room with all the Bernina models.
He was very happy to give you advices on how to maintain your machine at home and when you should take it to the specialist for a service.

How often do you need to service your machine?
- It depends on the usage of the sewing machine. If you sew every day on your machine, you should service it once a year. If you use once a week, but oil it on a regular base, your machine needs a service in every 2-3 years.
When you should oil your sewing machine?
- If you can listen to your machine, you can tell from the sound, that it's time to oil it, provided that it's a machine made of steel parts, like Bernina.
How to clean and oil your sewing machine?
- You can lay your machine on its back. It is easier to reach the hook.
- Take out the hook and clean the hook with a brush and a piece of cloth;
- Clean the inside part with a vacuum cleaner;
- Lower the feed dog, take out the needle plate;
- Clean with cotton buds;
- Put 1-2 drops oil on the side of the axle of the hook.

Why do you need to change needles very often?
- It is easy mathematics. Just think about the distance of the take up lever from the bottom to the top, with an average stitch length of 3-4 mm-s. How many times goes the lever up and down, lifting the needle and feeding the thread through the needle? So it is very important to always choose a good quality thread with a good quality needle and always the right needle for the right project.

If you would like to learn more about taking care of your sewing machine or considering buying a new one - may be a Bernina - , you can visit the "Rooijackers naaimachines" shop in Katwijk. Mr. Rooijacker and his colleagues are very happy to give you a "tour". You might end up joining the happy group of "Bernina girls", just like us and our students.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Little Amsterdam Sleep-Over

Maria has been very busy keeping you updated, but now it’s my turn to write something (Leslie).

Yesterday I visited the quilt shop in Haarlem: “Irma’s Sampler”. It is a very nice shop with a very nice selection of fabrics and I hadn’t been for some time. Haarlem is easy to get to either by train or car, and if you go by car there are several car parks within easy walking distance of the shop. Irma’s Sampler is right next door to the Frans Hals Museum, so you can easily take your family along and leave them there whilst you spend your time more usefully choosing fabric. There are plenty of very nice coffee/lunch places around, so if you go with friends and have lunch afterwards you will still have the opportunity to go back to the shop afterwards (you know, for that one thing you couldn’t justify at first and think about over lunch and then decide you really must get because it probably won’t be there next time you visit!)

My reason for going (apart from the obvious) was to talk to the owner Gré Koopman (lady on photo) about hanging Little Amsterdam in the shop. There were quite a few ladies in the shop (some of them for the Hundertwasser workshop) and none of them had been to the European Quilt Championships in Waalre, so had not seen the quilt before. And that is exactly the point. By hanging Little Amsterdam at Irma’s Sampler people will see her who otherwise would not have had the opportunity. Funny it was the day of the Hundertwasser workshop, in which you also make houses, but don’t have to be careful about your ¼” seam allowance and can make the houses as crooked as you like!

Anyway, Little Amsterdam will be at Irma’s Sampler until 22nd March, when we will get her back again in time for the Patchwork & Quiltdagen in Rijswijk (scroll down linked site for English text).

Go visit her at Irma’s Sampler, where the pattern book will also be for sale, or if you can wait that long at Rijswijk.


Thursday, January 24, 2008

Hanneke's Quilt for Her Daughter

This time I would like to introduce you Hanneke, our friend from the IWC quilting group. She just finished her quilt, what she made for her daughter, Katy. I took some pictures of this beautiful, colorful quilt during our quilting session at the IWC office. Hanneke kindly offered to write about her inspiration for the quilt.

Katy's African childhood quilt by Hanneke Wood

"I had been thinking for some time about a quilt for Katy to take to University with her -while we were visiting the School of Stitched textiles last summer (I am doing an online City and Guilds course with them) Katy spotted and fell in love with a border fabric, warm colours and African people and I found an equally enchanting fabric with African mothers and babies (both Timeless Treasures but discontinued I think). To complete the challenge Katy found a very bright and vibrant green batik to include in the quilt.

Where to start - we poured over books, looking for inspiration, and finally used some ideas from Roberta Horton's The fabric makes the quilt (Lafayette, 1995)- her design concepts were particularly helpful, "Repetition makes things go together" , "It's important that the line is'nt straight" , "Don't centre", "Keep the eye moving" and "If it's too big, cut it off. If it's too small, add on to it."
I explored my stash and 'auditioned' lots of fabrics, a continuing process in the making of this quilt as it evolved! I used lots of batiks, some 'klimt' fabrics (Makower ) whose colours were perfect, and some of 'Jabulisa's' African printed fabrics. I then started my making 'wonky blocks' centred around the themed fabrics, and the quilt started to grow. After much rearrangement, the quilt top was complete, bordered with a deep red batik from Evy at Quilterspalet here in The Hague and I chose to back it with a soft checked flannel - I asked North Sea Quilters to machine quilt it for me, which Marybeth has done beautifully, quilting in the ditch and including a border pattern inspired by the recurring zigzagging triangles in the African fabrics.

The warm vivid colours, and the liveliness of this quilt remind me of Africa where
Katy spent the first three years of her life. Absolutely the best quilt to accompany her on the next step in her life!"

Thank you Hanneke for sharing your story behind the quilt. We were lucky in the IWC patchwork group to enjoy looking at and quilting beside this cheerful quilt for a while and we didn't let Hanneke to take it off from the wall until it was time to go home.
I wish Katy that this quilt will bring her the comfort and the warmth of home when she her new life at university.