About us

This is the start of a new adventure for Joan and myself, an exciting new patchwork and quilting shop called Dotty Dolly. We are based in Wellington, Somerset, at 13 Fore Street (opposite the Nat West). You can contact us on 01823 660879.

We are easy to get to from junction 26 on the M5 - come and see us if you are passing by.

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Getting ready for Westpoint

Debby and I have spent the last two weeks getting ready for the quilt show at Westpoint.  It is quite problematic because our storeroom is quite small, and Debby doesn`t like mess!  I don`t either really, but somehow or other I seem to cope with it better.  Anyway we have both been cutting fat quarters as if our lives depended upon it - in fact we could probably do it in our sleep now.  There is always a debate about how many we cut, if we cut too many we have to find a home for those that we don`t sell when we get back and if we don`t cut enough will we run out.  Luckily Exeter is so close that we can pop into the shop on the way back and cut up some more if necessary.  We were going to leave the shop an hour earlier to set up today, but as usual things conspired against us so we left the usual time along with Chris Debby`s husband with his estate car, I must just add it is a Mercedes, so rather posh!  We were a little disconcerted to find that everything went in his car, apart from two small tables and a shelf unit which were still in my garage. When we went to Malvern last Autumn we hired a van! I`m not sure if we are just getting better at this, or we have left loads of things in the shop without realising.  We will find out tomorrow!  We do need to leave early tomorrow to do the tweaking, but hopefully as they say it will be alright on the day.

I ran a Layer Cake Workshop on Saturday which I thoroughly enjoyed, I just hope everyone else did!  It was interesting in that most of the class had very bright layer cakes, and only a couple had more traditional fabrics.  Barbara brought a bag of Sanderson linen prints which she had bought for 20p each and cut into squares.  She made a really unusual but lovely quilt top.  Anne brought a very bright layer cake with lots of red, with a lime green contrast which certainly had the wow factor.  The picture above shows Rhian`s turquoise and reds with a touch of pink.  She brought the completed squares to the Thursday morning class today and they were looking really good .

Trudy busy cuttting her pieces into squares, another red and turquoise fabric, it looked brilliant.  Trudy came to a Beginner`s Workshop a few weeks ago and is now well and truly hooked.  She is turning out pieces like there is no tomorrow!  She came with her lovely mother in law Anne - a different Anne than I mentioned earlier - who went for a stunning red and white mix of fabric.  There was certainly a lot of red last Saturday, my favourite colour!

Mary working away on her machine.  I had never met Mary before, but it didn`t take me long to realise that she could probably have taught me!  She belongs to Apple County Quilters one of our local quilt groups.

One interesting point about this smashing group, I always take biscuits to go with the tea and coffee to a workshop, but usually come away with most of them still in the packet.  I am sure they won`t mind me telling you that I had about three left and I took two packets!

I expect you have all heard of Mary Portas.  The government has provided some money to help several British High Streets, and she is going to decide which towns will be chosen, and advise on how best to use the money.  Wellington has put in a bid, along with lots of other towns, and the bid goes in tomorrow.  Keep your fingers crossed for Wellington, it would be so fantastic if they were chosen, but there`s a lot of competition out there.  We have had a new clothes shop open in the last couple of weeks, it`s called Snob and has some great stock.  Another clothes shop has re-opened where Diva used to be and now stocks one or two of my favourite labels.  It would be fantastic if you come over to Wellington if you paid them a visit, I`m sure you wont be disappointed!

We will let you know how Westpoint goes when it`s all over. 

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

It hardly seems possible that another week has gone by and its time for another post.  Debby is off having a well deserved rest, although she has still kept busy sorting out a few last queries on the new wesbsite which is nearly there.  It`s been a long time in the process, but it will be worth it when it`s ready.

We have had some great new fabrics this week.  Above are some of my favourite - Cool Britannia by Benartex.  We have already sold quite a bit, the most popular seems to be the crowns, but personally I love the pale blue with the buses and guards, etc. on it.  Customers are buying it for bunting and cushions, but I quite fancy a couple of bags - watch this space.

  This great fabric is again by Benartex and is called House and Home.  I just love the little houses.  For some time now I have fancied making a school house quilt, and this makes me want to make one even more.  Thats another one to go on the `to do list`.
  This last selection is once more by Benartex, and is called Olivia by Michele D`Amore.  A different kind of feel altogether.  When it arrived I knew I just had to do something with it, and as the window was due for a change I decided this was just the excuse I needed.  I loved the look of it with the linen, so decided to make two cushions and then a bag, but I had some scraps left over so made this little drawstring bag and a few hearts.  The fabric also comes in blue.

We have started to get ready for the Quilt Show at Wespoint next week, but it is always a problem about where to put everything.  We have a small stockroom at the back of the shop, but space is at a premium.  I have already warned Debby when she comes in that she will probably trip or fall over the boxes which seem to be everywhere.  It hasn`t helped that last Saturday when I had just sat down to eat my lunch I heard a dripping coming from the stockroom.  On investigation I discovered water was coming through the ceiling!  I rushed next door to tell Helen and Jim or landlords, but when I got back it wasn`t just dripping it was gushing.  I was rushing around like a mad woman trying to move things, but getting rather wet in the process.  They switched the water off straight away and called the plumber, but it took a while for all the water to come through the system.  I decided to leave everything just in case there were further problems.  When I went in on Monday morning I had to put it all back, but why is it that it never goes back in the same way, and you seem to end up with more stuff than you started with!

I have been meaning to say for ages now, that last year at Malvern we met a very lovely lady called Sue Phillips from Newport in Wales.  She is a longarm quilter and Debby sent a quilt to her. A few weeks ago she brought it back down to us and it is beautifully done.  We were really impressed, and we thought her rates were very reasonable, so if you are looking for somewhere to send your quilt tops, then her email address is school.house@btinternet.com.  If you are passing by the quilt is hanging up in the shop.

 The magazine Somerset Life has done a feature on Wellington this month, and did a little interview with us.  There is the usual awful photograph of us, but the whole article is good, and amongst other things gives an explanation about how the Duke of Wellington got his name.

Finally Wellington this week is buzzing with the news that Mary Portas came to town!  Wellington has put in a bid for the High Street project which she is involved with.  Lots of people say she was here, one person even said that she had been into our shop, but I think Debby would have told me, and I certainly didn`t see her!  However until today I hadn`t met anyone who had actually seen her, in fact the person I spoke to hadn`t seen her either but her friend had!  Apparently she was looking outside the old Woolworths store - who knows!!  


Wednesday, 14 March 2012

This week seems to have gone by very quickly, not quite sure why as I seem to have spent a lot of time not doing very much, but thinking I should.  I had my little op and was very impressed with my treatment.  I felt like a teenager when I got there as most of the others were quite a bit older than me - one man was 95!  There was one person younger than me and she said she felt like a baby - she was.  We were the only ones to have a general!  The consultant did tell me later that the younger you are the harder the eyeball and therefore the more difficult the operation is, so  she prefers to do generals in those cases.  (I am no spring chicken I might add!) I felt a little better, but not a lot!  Having had it done I now realise how bad my eyesight is in the other eye, but I have to wait a while to get that one done. 

Enough about my eyes.  I did manage to complete a top for a layer cake workshop I am doing in a week or so`s time.  The colours aren`t my favourite, but I think it`s good to work in colours other than your favourites. I quite like the contrast between dark and light. I think the layer cake is called blueberry crumble.  I have made two more for the workshop which I have hand quilted, but I will endeavour to machine this one, although I prefer to quilt by hand. 

I also completed a small quilt and matching cushions to go in the window.  No picture, but the quilt was made for a baby  from a panel and the cushions from matching fabrics.  Debby and I work had to change the shop windows and aim to do them about once a fortnight.  It can be quite a challenge at times because rather than just putting fabric in the window we like to show people what you can make with the fabric, but we don`t alway have time to make the things that we want to. We get lots of very positive comments, so that puts even more pressure on us!  I have brought home some fabric to make into children`s garments, as I don`t think a lot of people realise that the fabric we sell is ideal for making clothes.  I also have some denim and a range of Moda Feedsacks fabrics which go really well together, but somehow I am not feeling that inspired, I expect it will come in the end - hopefully for them to be completed in two weeks time!

I think most of you know that I follow a blog called Stitcherydo.  Last week Shirley from Stitcherydo did a book review on a new book called Utility Quilting by Carolyn Foster, I then saw it mentioned on several other blogs, so of course had to order it.  It hasn`t come yet, but as soon as it does I will tell you all about it.  I also ordered another book called Sew Serendipity Bags by Kay Whitt.  I discovered this when a customer came in the shop with it.  This lady had seen the article about us in Sew Hip and had made a special journey to see us.  There are some really lovely bags in it, the patterns are included and lots of excellent instructions.  Hopefully I will show you a completed bag soon.  That has just reminded me that when I was in the North one of my cousins who lives in France, but was over to see her mum had a fantastic bag which she had made from a French pattern.  I am going to France in June, and what am I looking forward to the most - to buy some magazines, how sad am I.

Whilst talking to Shirley a while ago she said she thought solids were going to be big news this year, and  I have noticed they are creeping in all over the place.  She sent me an email earlier this week to say have a look at a blog called Sew Create It.  The blogger who I think is called Sarah has challenged people to make a quilt using solids.  She gives lots of hints and tips about using solids and the whole thing is positively inspiring.  I dug out this quilt that I made years ago using solids.  I made it originally for when my son went to university, but then didn`t think he would look after if so said I would give it to him when he finished.  He then went off to work in the Far East and somehow or other he never got it and it`s beens stuck in a drawer ever since. I nearly sold it a couple of years ago, but couldn`t quite do it but I got it out to have a look at today, and thought you might be interested. 

I am back in the shop tomorrow for the next 10 days or so.  Debby will be on her knees, and in fact when I have finished my class tomorrow morning she is not hanging around, but leaving the county immediately, she`s probably worried that I will find another reason to keep her there!

We received an email yesterday about a quilt exhibition at the South West Craft Centre, Church Lane, Tavistock.  The quilts are all made by a lady called Margrette Munro, and is open until 24th March.  Tavistock is a great little town on the edge of Dartmoor - my husband and I alway used to say we would like to retire there!  If you get a change go and have a look.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Sew Hip

Time for another post, I am back from the frozen north as my husband calls it, but actually it was really warm for a change!  It was so nice to come back and see Sew Hip in the shop window with our cushions, and to read all about ourselves inside.  Its even better to walk into the newsagents and see it on the shelves!  We have to brag a bit, so above is a photograph of the front of the magazine and below a picture of the `posh pants` bag also featured.  I have been making these bags for years, and they have always been popular.

Back to last week Debby must be worn out, although it was her week for working last week, she had a workshop to run, the evening class on Wednesday and my class on Thursday morning.  I have had a workshop today so she has been in again, and then on Thursday I am having a cataract removed from my eye, and being the coward that I am, I am having a general aenesthetic (don`t think I`ve spelt that right!).  I really cannot bear the thought of someone messing around with my eyes, and I know I wouldn`t keep still.  That`s another couple of days when I won`t be around.  I think she is still speaking to me, but if any of you come in the shop and see her in a huddle on the floor, it`s probably because she is so exhausted that she has fallen asleep.

Today we have had an applique workshop called Farmyard Heaven.  I think we all enjoyed ourselves, I certainly did.  Although none of the work was completed everyone was well on the way.  Everyone appliqued the pieces by hand, and by the end of the day were ready to put their borders on and start quilting. 

It was a small class as a couple of people had to drop out at the last minute, but we decided it was cosy!  I love the colours, it never ceases to amaze me how different they can all look. 

Debby and I are now working out dates and themes for our next workshops from May onwards, it`s never easy trying to think of themes that will appeal to people, but we have a  few ideas up our sleeves.  Then of course we have to make the samples, there never seem to be enough hours in the day.

Last Friday I went over to Radstock with Shirley from Stitcherydo, we went to see a quilt exhibition at the museum.  We took ages to get to the museum  as once we got to Radstock it felt like they were digging up the entire town and the queues were terrible.  When we finally got to the museum we discovered it was only open in the afternoons.  We decided to go over to Frome which was only about 10 miles away.  For those of you that don`t know Frome has turned into quite a trendy shopping centre, particularly if you are into vintage.  There is a little street called St. Catherine`s Hill, and the shops are great.  I spent a small fortune in a lovely wool shop called Marmalade Yarns, and then Shirley spent some too. If you get the chance I would thoroughly recommend a visit.  We had a nice lunch and then went back to Radstock which took some time.  The traders must be going mad.  The exhibition was very enjoyable and as usual very inspiring.  I particularly loved the older quilts on show.  The museum itself is a good place to visit, and the staff, all volunteers are very helpful.  It is a charity so there is a charge, but well worth it.

Thats it for another week, so happy stitching!


Friday, 2 March 2012

Busy week

Had a busy week this week.  On Monday we had a Sewing Bag workshop which seemed to go well, everybody went away with a completed bag and as you can see they all look completely different. 

Sadly Joan had to attend a funeral in the North East this week so I had no mate to help with the class on Wednesday evening or Thursday morning. Yet again the 'alone' signal must have gone out as one of the reps came in with samples that had to be ordered straight away but Joan will be pleased that I didn't go completely mad. 

We had a delivery today of these robot fabrics which are really cheerful and the fillers could be used with many of the other fabrics we already have.

This week  I have also been focussing on our website, all photos and text have been sent off (with the help of my husband)  although he did send the wrong ones to begin with.  So fingers crossed it should be finished sometime in April.

We also had a visit from Gary (plus Rose, his lovely wife) from Timeless Images who came over last Thursday evening to take some professional photos of the shop which will be useful for our website and promotional bits and pieces - exciting.  Good news is that he didn't want photos of us.

One of our customers bought in this lovely bunch of daffodils as a thank you for helping with her first ever quilt for her first grandchild.  We discussed what to do in the shop which she then completed at home, she would return for the next stage until finished.  She was really pleased with the end result and now just has to wait to find out what type of baby it is.

On Saturday 3rd March there is a Vintage Fabric sale at Trull Village Hall which starts at 10am, so if you have some free time it is worth a visit.  Unluckily (or luckily) I am working so will not be broke by the end of the day

Hope you all have a good weekend