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, 26 April 2012

North Somerset Quilters and other things

Last Friday I went to Backwell having been asked by North Somerset Quilters if we would be interested in taking a trade table.  Debby was still recovering from her operation and so my husband offered to come with me - at least he drove, helped me unload and then went on to Clevedon for a walk and then a pint watching the sun go down.  No alcohol for me, I was busy working!  The speaker that night was Gwenfai Rees Griffiths, and yes she was Welsh.  I was made to feel very welcome and it surprised me how many people I recognised.  Gwenfai was an excellent speaker, she told her life story through her quilts.  She was very amusing and didn`t mind making fun of herself.  Her quilts were absolutely stunning and just took my breath away.  She was remarkably laid back about people touching the quilts, in fact she positively encouraged people to do that.  She has won lots of competitions not only in the UK, but also in America.  I didn`t  have a chance to take any photographs because by the time I had finished selling and packed up, she too had packed the quilts away.  My favourites were her wholecloth Welsh Quilts, the work that had gone into them was just amazing.  I particularly liked the fact that the design of one of them was taken from images in the church she had married in and had her children christened in, it was just lovely.

Debby and I love to buy quilting books, we use the fact that we have a shop as an excuse, but we would buy them anyway.  I have two new ones which I am loving and thought I would share them with you. The first is The Modern Quilting Bee Block Party by Alissa Haight Carlton and Kristen Lejnieks.  It is about 12 women who met online and each month they decided they would sew one quilt.  Every month one person would be the host and would be responsible for organising  that month`s quilt by chosing the fabrics and the block.  They would then all make a block each and send them back to the organiser who would then make the quilt up.  At the end there were 12.  If you like bright contemporary fabrics then you will love this book, if you are more into traditional quilts then you might not like it so much.  Of course as usual I want to make all, or at least most of them.  The one above is, if not my favourite, then one of my favourites

This quilt is based on a wonky Log Cabin made from old (they actually refer to them in the book as upcycled!) shirts.  The completed blocks are different sizes, but when completed are turned into four quarters, and then all stitched together.  I love the make do and mend ethos of this one, although you would have to cut  up a lot of your husband`s shirts to make it!  I remember going to Oxfam once in Hampstead and the shirts were all fantastic and about £15.00 each so I gave that idea up straight away.

This modern dresden plate block is fantastic, I just love the colours, and the wonky blocks.  I wasn`t too sure about the way they tell you how to put the circle in the centre, but I would just do that my way!

The other book is Flower Power Patchwork by Anne-Pia Godske Rasmussen who if you haven`t guessed already is Scandinavian.  I can`t show any photographs because I have had huge problems posting this blog today, I lost it once and had to start again, and now it doesn`t want to show any more photographs, and I am so scared that I will lose it all again that I have decided not to try any more!  I am sure it isn`t me because I keep reading of similar things happening to other bloggers.  Anyway back to the book.  It is full of small projects, no quilts, but they are all beautiful.  Everyone who has looked at it has loved it and gone away inspired, and guess what the projects are based on flowers!

I have had this week off, and I am afraid to say it has not been a good week as far as stitching is concerned.  I have finished the quilting on the quilt I showed you last week, I just have to bind it, but I just can`t get into anything else.  I think this is because I need to make some sample cushions based on flowers.  I was really looking forward to making them, but you know what, I just can`t seem to get going, nothing I do looks right.  I will have to put them away for a few days and come back to them I think.  I also made a big mistake this week because I went to the library and came back with a pile of novels, and of course I started one and then just couldn`t put it down.  Every time I go back to the sewing I keep thinking of the book and then find an excuse to have another cup of tea, or think I will just read for another 15 minutes, and before I know it, it is lunchtime and I`ve wasted another morning!  My house by the way, is a tip!

Debby is off to Sardinia on Sunday morning.  If I go away, I like to have everything booked weeks in advance.  Last Saturday she told me she thought she ought to get her accomodation booked!  If that was me I would be having a nervous breakdown.  She announced yesterday that she really needed to get her legs waxed before she went, talk about cutting it fine - she is in the shop every day this week.  She did however manage to get an appointment at 5.15pm today.  I too was in the shop today.  We had just driven down the road when I remembered I had left something in the shop - actually it was tea.  She did tell me that if she didn`t get there in time she would never forgive me, but turned round and took me back.  We then took ages to get out of Wellington as all the lights were against us.  We made it to the motorway in record time and then had a white knuckle drive back to my house.  I do hope she got there in time, but I am scared to ring her in case she didn`t!

Happy sewing.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

In sample mode

I have had a fairly uneventful couple of weeks.  We all got through Easter and now feel about a stone heavier!
Debby was working last week, although I did go into the shop on Friday while she was doing a workshop with a seaside theme.  No photographs I am afraid, but she is bringing in the samples to go in the window, so I will take some then as I thought they were great.  I did go to Wellington on Saturday morning to do some shopping.  It was very nice being a customer instead of a shop assistant!  I went with my friend Jenny who does not stitch and I think she thinks I am rather peculiar at times although she does say if anyone is going to encourage her to sew it would be me - I have seen her sewing basket and trust me it`s never going to happen.  We both managed to find some new clothes to spend our money on, and paid a visit to the Old Sale Rooms which have re-opened as a vintage/antique shop along with a very nice tea room.  It was good to see so many people in there.

Back to the shop for me this week.  We have now sent out details of our new workshops and so there is now the panice to start making the samples.

 I started last week by putting together a very bright quilt made in strips.  This is for my first Beginner`s Workshop.  I decided to use some of the brighter fabrics we have, but am now thinking perhaps it is too bright and that it might put some people off, so  have now cut out a blue one with narrower strips which are much more subdued.  I still prefer the bright one.  I have started to quilt it by hand with perle threads, but there is a long way to go yet.

   I won`t cut up the strips like I did in the other one, and they are half the width.  I have only got as far as cutting, but hope to start putting the top together later in the week.

Yesterday I decided we needed to have a Jubilee window so set to work on making some bunting and a couple of cushions.  I showed you some of the fabric we have a couple of weeks ago, but it`s no good having fabric for the jubilee and olympics and putting it in the window when its all happening and too late!

I was quite pleased with the union jack cushion, but  I have a confession to make, I appliqued it rather than foundation pieced it.  The big heart in the middle is to hide a mistake I made, but I decided afterwards that it finishes it off rather nicely.  Anne Baxter is doing a workshop for us tomorrow on a shabby chic union jack cushion and its beautiful.  Mine would not compare very well I am afraid, but it does look good in the window.  We have been lent a lovely old singer sewing machine which is also part of our window display.

Last week when I was off I felt like doing some dressmaking and made up this dress and matching bag to go in the other window.  I was rather pleased with it.

It`s a little halter neck dress with a full skirt and I finished it off with some suffolk puffs with buttons in the centre

Finally I made a little bag to go with it again finished off with the suffolk puffs.

 I now have to start thinking about the rest of the workshops.  I have bags to make and I am also doing a gift day which should be interesting!  Debby is going to be making a quilt based on court steps and she is also doing a dollies and houses workshop, to name but a few - watch this space.

Happy stitching

Thursday, 5 April 2012


Debby working hard at Westpoint
Well we survived Westpoint.  We were obviously more organised than I thought in the last blog, as we did get everything in the two cars, and didn`t forget anything!  Westpoint was definately quieter than last year.  The weather was lovely the whole weekend, and I don`t think the petrol situation helped.  In fact we tried to get petrol before we left on Friday, but couldn`t and of course the red light went on on the motorway.  Debby went into panic mode having once run out of petrol in the dark in the middle of nowhere.  We managed to get some at Exeter, so the panic was over, but it was a worry.  Despite all this we had a good show, and it was lovely to see so many customers old and new.  You never know what you are going to sell, on the first day we sold so many jelly rolls and layer cakes we were worried we were going to run out, so took more back on Saturday, and guess what, we hardly sold any!  I managed to have a look at the quilts and photographed some for you to see.  Unfortunately I didn`t have time to take any details, so you will just have to enjoy them.

The first one right at the top of the page was made of lots of tiny pieces, I think the maker said there were over 4,000, that really is a labour of love!  I loved the colours of the yellowy one immediately above and it was beautifully pieced.

 Again another beautifully pieced quilt, the photgraph doesn`t really do it any justice.  I have nothing but admiration for people who attempt this kind of piecing and make such a good job of it!

Finally I photographed this one - not very well - simply because I liked the colours.

I drew the short straw this week, because it was my turn to work in the shop and therefore put everything away!  Chris, Debby`s husband had dropped most of it off for us, and put it all at the back, and it really didn`t take me very long at all, I am quite impressed at just how organised we are getting.  I was surprised to see Debby in the shop later in the day, she had popped over to drop a couple of things off, but kept coming back to show me what she had bought!  A little gallery has been open for the week next to us in an empty shop, and Debby bought a really lovely little piece, it`s hard to describe, because it was partly photograph, but mixed in with mixed media on glass.  Chris was debating whether to buy a picture of some birds which was quite expensive and Debby was trying to persuade him not to, which I thought was a bit mean as she had just bought one she liked!  She later came back with a gorgeous top from a new clothes shop that has opened called Snob.  They have some great stock, and eventually when I am not in the shop I will pop over, because every time I walk past I drool over the window display.  Unfortunately their hours are the same as ours so it makes it rather difficult.  There are two new clothes shops in Wellington and they both seem to be rather good, and another one is opening later this month.   The fish shop closed this week which is a great shame, although they are continuing to trade at the Farm Shop at Rumwell.  The Mary Portas bid has gone in, but there is such a lot of competition.  We get quite frustrated that more people don`t realise what a lovely little place it is to come and shop.

Happy stitching