Recent Talks

This page gives a taster of our recent meetings. To see similar information about talks we have had in the past, please go to Archived Talks.

For information on future meetings, please see our Programme page.

11-09-2018 Magie Relph

At our first meeting of the Autumn Term Magie Relph brought us an amazing show of colour with a large selection of African textiles, baskets and other pieces. Magie explained the origins and development of wax print fabric in Africa and then took us through a range of interesting designs and their meanings. At the end of the talk, Magie invited some of our members to model a selection of fabrics showing us how they are traditionally worn.


10-07-2018 Terry Donaldson

Our speaker on Tuesday was Terry Donaldson who shared with us her love of the sea and coast in her talk entitled ‘Full Circle’. Terry explained how from an early age she has enjoyed walking on the beach where she takes inspiration from finds such as shells, pebbles, fossils, views and even rusty bits of metal all collected in her sketchbook. These thoughts are translated into beautiful pieces which evoke memories of the coast through the skilled use of stitching, texture, fabric creation techniques and quilting and it’s no surprise that her pieces often win prizes. I particularly loved the natural colours and the stitched themes that reminded me of growing up by the coast in Devon. Our thanks to Terry for an inspiring talk!


26-06-2018 Fay Maxwell

Our speaker on Tuesday was Embroidered Textile Artist Fay Maxwell. It was clear from the start that Fay has a lifelong love of stitching, taking traditional techniques and a variety of thread types and mixing them up to create a whole range of different looks. Fay shared some valuable guidelines to approaching a project to avoid getting stuck in the initial stage of choosing colour and materials. I think that these ‘rules of five’ would be equally useful in planning a quilt. Our desire to touch and look in detail at Fay’s work was completely satisfied by the magnificent number of samples that she brought and passed around the group. Many thanks to Fay for the wealth of inspiration gained in a very enjoyable morning!


22-05-2018 Jan Tillett

Jan Tillett made a welcome return to Romsey Quilters yesterday after her last visit in 2015. She started making toys at a young age, moving on to cross-stitch, tapestry and dress-making but never wanting to throw fabric away! Since then Jan has always experimented with techniques and materials often using them in a different way to their original purpose including garden netting, water soluble fabric, shrink polyester and even sweet wrappers! Jan uses free motion embroidery on layers of fabric, threads/mohair fibres and organza to create new fabrics with interesting textures that may then be used for bags, shawls, dresses etc. This often results in pieces that are as interesting on the back as they are on the front. Jan brought plenty of samples with her for us to admire – she is truly a textile artist!


24-04-2018 Sarah Waters

At this week’s meeting we welcomed Sarah Waters who talked to us about ‘The Art of Felt’ and her life-long love of sheep, wool and felt-making. From learning to spin, weave and dye yarns as a teenager, Sarah progressed to running her own sheep farm, importing coloured merinos and running her own knitwear business. In 2017 Sarah created her ‘Stone’ exhibition for the Knitting and Stitching shows and she explained the evolution from design inspired by observing, drawing and photographing stones in nature, through the many creative stages including sourcing and preparing the fleeces, adding details, rolling and pressing etc. It was amazing how true to nature Sarah’s work was, making you want to reach out and touch it to confirm it is felt and not stone!


10-04-2018 Penny Bicknell

At our meeting today, Penny Bicknell talked to us about ‘Quilts made by more than one person’ and gave us lots of food for thought. Penny brought a wonderful selection of her work including some stunning pieces however she was also happy to share what had not worked so well for whatever reason. There were quilts produced by two people; samples made by those participating in courses; international internet based quilting groups and round robin quilts.Penny currently collaborates with the By Design Group and showed us some of their vibrant work. It sounds like clear ground rules are needed and this sort of collaboration could challenge you, help you make friends and help you if you’re in a rut. We just need to be brave and give it a go!


27-03-2018 Project Linus

The main focus of our meeting today was to bring in our Linus quilts. To start things off Joan and Brenda from the local Project Linus group explained how it all began in America in 1995 when a lady saw the comfort that a blanket had given a child cancer victim and started organising blankets for her local children’s cancer unit. Locally, quilts and blankets are donated to various places including children’s wards at Southampton Hospital, the neo-natal unit at Princess Anne, Poole hospital and local charities that help children. Our committee then took it in turns to hold up some of the many quilts that our members had made. A number of these used fabric kindly donated by Bryan Taphouse of Lewis & Irene who joined us to see the finished items. Today’s tally of 135 quilts will be added to those already collected over the last couple of meetings and we will find out the overall total at a future date. There was an amazing array of colours, patterns and sizes on display and hopefully the love and enjoyment sewn into these quilts by our members will provide comforting hugs to local children when they need it most.


13-03-2018 Anna McDowell

We had an interesting talk today from Anna McDowell about the rise and fall of the Dorset Button industry. Started by a soldier in Shaftesbury in the early 1600s, the industry grew and flourished. At it’s zenith it employed around 4000 people and produced 4 types of button which fastened the clothes of both rich and poor. Machines saw the end of the industry in 1825. Anna continues to make buttons in the traditional way and produces beautiful bespoke creations for film work & Living History Groups. She urged us to keep the art alive in our own small way. A fascinating insight into the history of these amazing buttons!


27-02-2018 Sallieann Harrison

Despite technical challenges yesterday, Sallieann Harrison gave us a fascinating insight into her Quilting Life with a wonderful array of pieces both large and small. Sallieann first discovered quilting when she went into a fabric shop in the US where she was living at the time, found a door at the back marked ‘Patchwork’ and went through into a  room full of quilts! Sallieann’s pieces cover a whole range of techniques including traditional and miniature quilting, felted wool applique and even punch needle which she learned in the US. Her teaching has taken her to places such as the Bath Museum, Bristol School of Sewing and the WI Denham College with classes covering both her own designs and those of other designers such as Rosalie Quinlan and Carrie Nelson. I was intrigued by the Panama Pyramid quilt which recently won an award for best piecing and seriously impressed by the 3700 pieces that made up the tumbler quilt. Many thanks to Sallieann for an interesting and enjoyable insight into her life and her quilts!


13-02-2018 Joy Salvage

The cold, wet and windy weather did not prevent a good turnout this week and it was well worth it to see the lively and refreshing presentation from Joy Salvage. Joy explained how she got into quilting: from joining groups to rising to the challenge whenever someone told her she couldn’t do something! Inspiration from a book called Lively Little Logs led her to log cabins and she has taken it to a whole new level. I can’t imagine the patience and perseverance it took to make 40,000 pieces into 3,800 miniature log cabin blocks in her quilt called Log Cabin Crazyness which won a well-deserved first prize in the Guild section at FOQ 2015. It’s amazing how much Joy has achieved given her young age and that she works full-time (although not watching television clearly helps!). Joy most definitely showed us the potential of (miniature) log cabins in a very entertaining and enjoyable session!


23-01-2018 AbbieAnne Searle

On a very gloomy morning, AbbieAnne Searle brought colour and laughter into our meeting! She showed us a cornucopia of her work and entertained us with a talk about her 20+ year involvement with patchwork, quilting, embroidery & much more. Her quilts & hangings showcased her talent with colour and the varied techniques she uses. Her relaxed & encouraging spirit shone through. AbbieAnne’s workshop the next day was full of inspiration. There was lots of tracing, stitching, clipping (and of course chatting!) as beautiful table runners and snazzy beach hut pictures took shape. The best possible way to spend time on such a rainy, blowy day!


09-01-2018 Quilters’ Guild – Treasured Textiles

We had a nice relaxing meeting to start 2018 as we delved into the Quilters’ Guild Textile Treasures trunk. Each item has been carefully preserved from the 19th and 20th centuries and described a moment in time through the underlying story that came with it. Seeing old letters cut up to piece the hexagons and the different types of fabrics used highlighted the resourcefulness of the era and created a tangible connection to the original maker. Very enjoyable!


28-11-2017 Julia Gahagan

Today Julia Gahagan transported us well and truly into the festive season with her talk entitled ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas”. Julia has a love of all things Christmas from angels and Santa, to stockings and garlands and she shared with us her collection of pieces built up over many years. Some were inspired by patterns in books or magazines and some are Julia’s own creations however they have all become part of her family’s Christmas tradition and will be heirlooms for future generations. Julia’s enthusiasm for festive makes was inspiring – it must be great to look around your decorations at Christmas and remember how each item was made and re-live the memories associated with them. Julia also brought us some of her miniature quilts and explained the method she has developed using foundation piecing and shadow work which I found very interesting.


14-11-2017 Karen Berry

What an interesting talk we had this morning from Karen Berry! Evolving from an early interest in why people quilt, Karen gave us a fascinating presentation on the history of quilting both in the UK and America, exploring the origins in fashion and thrift and how available materials have influenced the way quilts were made. Karen not only illustrated this with some beautiful antique quilts from her own collection but also with a specially prepared booklet that provided further examples. All in all, it was a very enjoyable and absorbing morning!  


24-10-2017 Bryan Taphouse (Lewis & Irene)

At today’s meeting, Bryan Taphouse and his wife Jackie made a very welcome return to Romsey Quilters! Bryan described how Lewis & Irene came into being just four years ago created by himself, Jackie and their daughter Hannah drawing on their many years of experience in the fabric world. It feels like the company has been around for a lot longer and I think this is because of the care and attention that they put into every aspect of the business. The focus on quality from the choice of A+ grade cotton and finish to the characteristic use of colours and designs gives the fabric an individual and easily recognisable look and feel. Bryan also described the very personal hopes and dreams that have inspired their fabric ranges from a favourite holiday place in the country to their love of animals and nature. (In fact proceeds from certain ranges are generously donated to the charity Act for Wildlife led by Chester Zoo).


10-10-2017 Alicia Merrett
On Tuesday, Alicia Merrett delighted us with her talk entitled “Visual Music – My Journey as a Quilter” describing how she had moved from starting to stitch at an early age, through doll and toymaking, finally discovering quilting in the early 90s. Alicia loves playing with shape and colour and during the presentation she explained how her designs are inspired (among other things) by places she has visited, computing, science, the works of Shakespeare and maps and aerial views. The map quilts that Alicia had brought with her were remarkable: both visually pleasing from a distance and full of stitching detail when viewed close-up.

On Wednesday, inspired by Alicia’s talk, some of us attended a workshop to learn how to construct our own maps. Alicia took us through the concepts of planning and laying out our maps and how to select colours to create our own work. What was interesting was that whilst we all started from the same point, our individual choices of colour and fabric meant that every map promised to be a unique and personal piece. All in all it was an enjoyable way to spend the day!


13-06-2017 Liz Brooke Ward
What beautiful and individual work Liz Brooke Ward brought to show us today! In her talk entitled ‘Whatever floats your boat”, Liz took us through a collection of her pieces and explained how she takes her inspiration from lichens, the landscape and literature and told us how her fascination began. To achieve the look and feel that she wants, Liz hand-dyes her fabric and threads and experiments with different techniques and materials all of which are reflected in the uniqueness of her work. A great example of this was made for an exhibition with the theme of August. Liz took her inspiration from a poem by Thomas Hardy entitled “August Midnight” using recycled velvets, silks and organzas which really give texture and body to the words of the poem. It was truly stunning!


23-05-2017 Sandra Sherwood – Days For Girls
Our meeting this week, led by Sandra Sherwood, was an in-house workshop to make kits for the Days For Girls charity which aims to provide access to lasting feminine hygiene solutions for girls in Uganda and the third world. Sandra was making a return visit to Romsey Quilters and started by taking us through each of the components that make up the kits after which, assisted by her friend and colleague Marcia, set members to work on cutting, stitching, overlocking, applying studs, threading ribbons. Thank you to all the members who took part and made this a very productive morning!


09-05-2017 Jan Hassard
We were very grateful to Jan Hassard on Tuesday for coming to visit us despite a back injury. Jan’s talk was entitled ‘Colour and Illusion’ and her amazing quilts certainly fulfilled the brief! Jan showed us a varied selection of design and colour including her first quilt made in the 1970s from over 700 hand cut 2” squares (thank goodness we now have rotary cutters!). Alongside this were bargello, double diamond, scrap, undulations, 3d honeycomb quilts and many more. Jan also showed us some of the heritage quilts from her collection purchased from places as far flung as Ottowa, Charleston, Houston and France and including a rare triple wedding ring one in Clarice Cliff colours. Jan has twice won the Quilters Guild prize for colour and it’s no surprise when you see how her combination of intricate design and choice of fabrics result in such remarkable three dimensional pieces.

On Weds, Jan led a group of us in her Infinity Squares workshop. There was a lot of concentrated cutting and stitching in the morning to prepare the colour strata used to construct the geometric squares in the afternoon. Jan was on hand to give advice and guidance and provide an unpicking service if required! Overall it was an intense but very enjoyable day.



11-04-2017 Mavis Walker

At this week’s meeting, Mavis Walker brought us something completely different – her Chess Set – which won the Quilt Creations category at the 2015 Festival of Quilts. Mavis introduced us to each of the figures in the set, describing how they had been created, from the lowly pawns (who have no mouths as they were not allowed to speak) to the individual personalities of the rooks, knights, bishops and royal personages. As the talk progressed Mavis drew her audience into the story behind each of the characters, explaining how the faces (which are drawn from people she knows, has seen or read about) had been constructed. Every part of the figures has been carefully considered and sourced and each element adds to the colour and essence of their personalities. There is such attention to detail in every feature from the boxer’s ears to the Rabbi’s arthritic fingers that is not surprising that the set took ten years to make.


28-03-2017 Sally Ablett

Today Romsey Quilters welcomed Sally Ablett who designs quilt projects for magazines, trade shows and for fabric designers to help bring their new fabric ranges to life. The idea of receiving a whole pack of fabric from which to make a quilt sounds great initially however the reality of the short turnaround time to design and then make up one or more quilts is completely different. Sally works 5 full days a week in her sewing room making use of the design software EQ7 to assist the creative process. Sally took us through a plethora of quilts, explaining the basis of her designs, the fabrics and the piecing. I particularly liked the two quilts that showed different ways of using a charm pack. I found all the designs inspiring and attainable thanks to the thought that Sally puts into ensuring that her projects are easy to piece.


14-03-2017 Kathryn Chambers

Wow – what an interesting and informative talk Kathryn Chambers gave us on Tuesday. Kathryn is a member of Contemporary Quilters West and when they decided they would each do a series of quilts she didn’t want to limit herself so chose the whole universe as her subject! For the first part of her talk, Kathryn took us through the quilts making up her series entitled ‘Evolution – a Brief History of the Universe from the Big Bang to the Present Day”. These 24” square pieces use raw edge collage techniques and are beautifully embellished with hand-stitching and Kathryn explained the concepts she had drawn on for each of the designs. It was hard to pick a favourite as they were all so detailed and beautiful.  Kathryn then introduced us to eco printing and dyeing: rolling up items such as leaves, rusty nails and flower heads in cloth and leaving them under rocks, hedges etc. to allow the elements in the local environment to affect the dyeing process. The results are both incredible and unique.


28-02-2017 Kate Percival

Our speaker on Tuesday was Kate Percival who gave us a presentation packed with bright and cheerful images entitled The Embroidered Garden. From a very early age, Kate has been obsessed by trees, plants and natural form and using her background in art and design, Kate captures ideas in her sketchbooks wherever she goes. These become the inspiration for trialling designs, experimenting with paint and in her sewing. Kate’s excitement and enthusiasm for her art was tangible through phrases such as ‘love of squelchy, curving shapes’, ‘marinating ideas’ and the ‘lure of colour’. It was great to be able to share the energy and joy in her creative process!


14-02-2017 Philippa Naylor

Our meeting on Tues in Romsey Town Hall was well supported both by members and visitors alike as we were entertained with a very lively presentation from Philippa Naylor. Philippa has packed so much creativity into her life since first starting to sew dolls clothes as a child. She has trained and worked as a designer, made cakes, bespoke wedding/evening dresses and fancy dress costumes all before even being introduced to quilting. The intricacy and beauty of Philippa’s quilts are a visual testament to her hard work, professional approach and amazing attention to detail. Philippa’s talk was humorous and absorbing and packed with as much information and detail as her quilts!
At the workshop on Weds, Philippa effortlessly guided the class through the techniques of trapunto and corded trapunto including hints and tips on free motion quilting. Two very enjoyable days!


24-01-2017 Anne Moore

On a cold and extremely foggy Tuesday morning we welcomed Anne Hellyer (Moore) who brought some lovely examples of her work and gave us a fascinating talk entitled ‘How did I get here?’. Anne’s work clearly shows the influences of her artistic/engineering/architecture family background and the City and Guilds course and other workshops that she has attended in the past. However, what comes across is the pure enjoyment that she gets from playing with different materials such as soft furnishing fabric, hessian, tomato puree tubes, bubble wrap, tissue paper and so on. Anne particularly loves paint and she explained how she experimented with different mediums to develop her method of dyeing fabric to produce the colours and textures that are so particular to her pieces. A very enjoyable morning!


10-01-2017 Cherrilyn Tyler

At our first meeting of the New Year we welcomed Cherrilyn Tyler who talked to us about how her early unfulfilled desire to be a fashion designer had evolved through her life into the unique style that she now uses to create her very personal works of art. Whilst Cherrilyn uses materials such as net, gold thread, organza, silk paper and chiffon to make her pieces, each one goes far beyond its component parts as she weaves her own feelings, experiences and essence into every in stitch. All in all, a very personal and fascinating insight into Cherrilyn’s talent.