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.

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Busy, busy, busy

I don`t know where the time goes to, it`s nearly two weeks since we updated our blog, so here we go again!
We have been busy with our accounts, or should I say Debby has been busy with our accounts, while I have made sympathetic noises and tried to look like I know what she is talking about, however she is not easily fooled.  Jamie the accountant and Debby have taken on a saint like status as far as I am concerned.  Every time an email has arrived from him I go into a state of panic daring myself to open it wondering what he wants now, while Debby calmly gathers the necessay information and duly sends it back to him, and he duly deals with it with no fuss.  I want to tell you that it is all over now, but I am not going to, because if I do there will be another email to worry about!

It has been my week in the shop although Debby came in on Wednesday as she ran a Jelly Roll workshop for a lovely group of ladies that meet at Puriton.  She took a couple of packets of biscuits with her which came back unopened, I commented to her how good they were, but she told me they had brought their own, and cakes!  Of course now I have opened one packet, and Debby the other and guess what all of them have gone!

I have been trying to get some of my projects completed this week.  I have one quilt  that just needs two edges of binding stitched down.  I have nearly completed another layer cake quilt which I am really pleased with, and which I will photograph next time.  I have made it in a Moda fabric called Ruby which I love.  I have another to make, but this time have used fabric which I wouldn`t normally use from another Moda range called Blueberry Crumb Cake.  Because they are for a workshop I feel I have to cater to different tastes, but it`s not always easy, I would much prefer to use bright fabrics.  I also started some applique panels earlier in the week.  I have got so far with them, but can`t make up my mind whether to stitch by hand or machine.  Unfortunately my machine isn`t working and my old one isn`t so good, but I will have to make a decision soon because again they are samples for a workshop.

We have had a few new deliveries in the last two weeks.   The photograph above is a selection from Moda,
which has been selling really well, particularly the fabrics with the hearts on.  Marie who comes to our Wednesday evening class has made a lovely heart themed table runner using some of these fabrics, and of course I just have to make one, bearing in mind we need a Valentine themed window.  I have cut it out, but that is as far as I have got.  Hopefully I will get it completed this weekend - watch this space! 

The two ranges above are from Stoff.  The checks and stripes are 60" wide, and proving to be very popular, we had a lady who came into the shop last week who bought some along with some greys that we have, and then put them together with a bright acid green, and they looked fantastic.  I love it when other people put together fabrics that I wouldn`t even have thought of, and of course I now want to make something using these colours too - it`s not going to happen!

One of my other projects this last week has been to make a small item for a new quilt magazine which is to be published soon.  I have made the project to go in the second edition.  I`m not going to tell you any more about it, because I can`t quite believe it will actually go in there, so until it does and I see it with my own eyes my lips are sealed.   There was some trauma involved with this because it was while I was making it that my machine decided to pack up on me and I had to complete it on my old machine, which does not stitch nearly as beautifully.  I am not as happy with it as I would have liked to have been, but it has now been sent along with the instructions, writing those were a whole other trauma - but we won`t go there, lets just say I will not be so critical of other instructions in the future!

We have ordered yet more Christmas fabric this week, this time from Stoff.  The rep came to see us and we were determined we were not going to order anything else, but needless to say we caved in.  They are very clever people these reps.  What they do is put the not so good stuff at the top of the case and you think well thats OK we will have some of that, but they save the best pieces for the bottom of the case, and they just keep coming, and we don`t ever seem to learn.

Hope you all have a great week and keep sewing!

Friday, 13 January 2012

Back to work

I hope you all enjoyed your Christmas and New Year break.

Over the holiday I managed to spend most of my time sewing which was a real treat, much more enjoyable than tapping on a computer keyboard. I produced over 70 star blocks (more than needed) but once I started I couldn't stop I had forgotten how relaxing it is.  Because the blocks are all random I spent quite a long time laying them out and moving them around until I was happy with the way they looked.  I stitched the blocks into rows and laid them in order on the ironing board and then proceeded to knock them off, I now cannot work out the original layout so haven't completely finished.

On our new system I was back at work on the 3rd January which was a bit of a shock and I thought it would be really quiet because all the sales were on at the time.  Surprisingly we had a steady of flow of people coming in and late in the afternoon it was lovely to see Anne Baxter who brought in some samples for her workshops.  Whilst we were wandering around the shop she asked me what was wrong with my skirt and it appeared that for the most of the day I had had the back of my skirt tucked into my knickers.  I nearly died of embarrassment, she then said it was lucky that it had been quiet! So the reason I had been busy was probably that everyone in Wellington was sending their friends in to look at the funny woman who couldn't dress herself properly.  This seemed to set the trend for the week really.

Over the last couple of months I have had trouble keeping my glasses on particularly when leaning over and I have been asking my husband to tighten the screws which he has been meaning to get around to.  On Wednesday afternoon I was serving a customer, my clothing was all in the right places but when I bent my head forward yet again my glassed dropped off but this time one of the arms decided it really had had enough and fell off completely.  Because I can't see without my glasses I had to sellotape the arm back on, not attractive at all plus they were then lopsided.  I felt like Jack Duckworth from Coronation Street for the last couple of hours of the day.

I thought I would also show you the gorgeous wall hanging that we have in the shop which was produced by Shirley Sherratt.  Everyone comments on it, the use of colour and the machine quilting, we have had several offers to buy it but I know Shirley will not part with it and I don't blame her.

Now to the bad news.  Joan and I have made the difficult decision to increase our prices on 23rd January.  We have absorbed every price increase over the last year but unfortunately cannot carry on doing so any longer.  We will continue to keep our clearance corner and our reduced baskets so hopefully this will help out with the cost of your projects.

Finally I thought I would also mention about all the quilting magazines Wellington Newsagents hold.  They have a brilliant range including magazines from Australia, America and France so are well worth a visit and are only next door to us.


Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Back in the swing of things!

Well I don`t know about all of you, but I feel that Christmas never happened, it seems to long ago.  I spent last week feeling thoroughly sorry for myself and spent most of the time on the sofa comotosed watching daytime TV - yes it was that bad.  Having got over my infection I then picked up some horrible viral thing which at one point the doctor thought was the flu,  but which thankfully I got over quite quickly. I am now back in the shop this week and it is a relief to get back to normal.  I am now working hard trying to make all the samples I was going to make last week! 

At the end of the week, I thought I must get on with something, but couldn`t be bothered to go into my workroom, and sit at the sewing machine, so finally started on my camelot quilt which I am piecing by hand. I managed two, and have 14 more to go.  They are quite fiddly to do, especially if you don`t feel too great, and they are not quite as flat as I would have liked.  This was worrying me slightly, but last night I was looking through a little book I have `The Quilter`s Book of Days`, its a perpetual calendar really, and I use it as a birthday book.  Each page has a photograph of a quilt and quotes about quilting, and  I just happened to come across this quote - `My top was perfect ... but when we flapped it out on the bed it had a big belly enough to hide a cat ...There seemed to be large pockets of air trapped underneath.  No sooner did we burp one side than the air pockets redistributed to another! ... Then I heard these immortal words: "Don`t worry, it`ll quilt out."  I thought this was very appropriate, because I had decided the very same thing.  If you are interested the quote is from `How Not to Make a Prize-Winning Quilt` by Ami Simms.   I am trying not to use too much pink, but as always am drawn to it.  I am determined that my next block will be blue, but I expect some pink will~s/Ac ' _PALike most people I have a huge pile of UFO`s but I seem to have even more ideas i, WZkvH;p would like to do, and I will probably give in to these first and they too will become more UFO`s.  I have several tops ready to be put together and quilted, and as always I keep putting if off as this is my least favourite job.  The plan is to get them ready next week when I am not in work - in fact I am determined this will happen and then I can get quilting.

I had a request yesterday from one of my daughter`s friends who has taken up knitting.  She couldn`t understand why the more she does, the wider the piece seems to become.  I gave her several suggestions, such as perhaps she has been casting on more stiches as she goes along.  Anyway I hope she resolves the problem, I am slightly put out that she is knitting and not stitching.  In fact my daughter tells me that lots of her friends have taken up knitting and stitching, and they keep asking her for advice.  We have had a good laugh at this, they seem to assume that because I have always done it, and now have a quilt shop that Katie will know everything there is to know and solve all their problems.  They couldn`t be further from the truth, she has absolutely no interest at all, although she loves to cook.  I have high hopes for my grandaughter Georgia who loves making things even though she is only 4 and I got very excited last year when my daughter-in-law asked to come on one of workshops, which she seemed to enjoy.  In fact I got so excited that I bought her loads of sewing bits and pieces, fabrics and a book on Sewing for her Christmas present, so I hope she was as enthusiastic as she appeared to be!

Debby is, I am sure enjoying her week off.  I will see her tomorrow when our first class starts tomorrow night.  We have fianlly managed to send out our workshop list up to the end of April, and hopefully there is something there for everyone.   We have been very pleasantly surprised at the response and have filled quite a few places already.  Debby started a lovely quilt top using a jelly roll and layer cake which is in the window at present, and she seems to have achieved quite a few other things during the holiday.  I am looking forward to seeing them!

 I had a telephone call today from one of the reps asking if he can come in tomorrow to show me next year`s Christmas fabrics.  I can`t quite believe that just two and a half weeks after Christmas I will be ordering fabric for next Christmas.  However what really scares me is the prospect of ordering the fabrics without Debby, I just hope she likes what I choose.  Normally we order together so it is a big responsibility.  I can usually tell if I have got it wrong as Debby will smile sweetly at me but in a certain way so that I know she is thinking what did she do that for - wish me luck!

On that note - happy sewing until next time.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Happy New Year

A happy new year to you all!  Hope you all had a great Christmas, and are now in the mood to start 2012!  I haven`t got off to a very good start as half way through the holiday I got a nasty infection, was put on antibiotics and couldn`t have a drink. It was the first time I have not been out on New Years Eve for many years.  I just started to get over that and then went down with a horrible cold, so have been feeling very sorry for myself.  I haven`t done any sewing, I just couldn`t be bothered, but this morning I did get out my Trish Harper Camelot pattern and cut some pieces out, but I seem incapable of making a decision on which fabrics to use!  Debby however has spent the holiday making a king size quilt.  Chris her husband tells me that she has stayed up late most nights working on it, got so tired she kept making mistakes and spent the next day unpicking them, only to repeat the process the next day and the next and ....  However she must have got some of it right because it is nearly ready for quilting.

I thought long and hard this morning about what I could actually show you on this posting.  I have no new work, lots of ideas as usual.  So I have decided to show you some of my old work, most of it is not patchwork and quilting, but in my other life, for those of you who don`t know, I used to teach textiles and fashion, so you might be interested!  I have no work of Debbys to show you, although she has done a City and Guilds in Embroidery, and has produced some fantastic things in the past.  The pink piece above is a couched sample, I have always loved couching and the textures you can achieve.  In this one I have used several pieces of fabric apart from threads of all thicknesses.  I think one of the reasons I love doing it is because it is so easy.  I am left handed and quite often struggle with new stitches, unlike Debby who seems to be able to produce any stitch beautifully.

The 2nd piece is a manipulated sample that I did many years ago.  When I was teaching one of the modules that my students had to complete was Manipulated Textiles, and this is one of my pieces.  I have to add that the students who were only 16 when they did this project had wild imaginations and produced some amazing work over the years, my sample seems quite boring in comparison. 

It is strange because although I loved doing all this kind of work, I always come back to patchwork and quilting. All you really need is a needle and thread, whereas a lot of textile work these days involves things I don`t particlarly want to use such as glue, paint, heat guns and lots of other weird and wonderful stuff, and I really don`t like getting my hands dirty. The red sample above is one I did for a crazy patchwork workshop a couple of years ago.  I decided to go contemporary, although I did make some little silk evening bags too, but much preferred this one.  I had to push myself slightly because as I said before I am rubbish at learning new stitches, but I really enjoyed it.  Finally the heart sample is one I made years ago.  I had lots of little bits of silk and decided to use them up, each heart is different.  I am very fond of it, and one day I might even frame it!

On a different note Debbby and I have decided to change the hours when we will be in the shop, and are going to do one week on and one week off, apart from Thursdays when we are always in the shop together.  I have a class on Thursday morning, and then we see reps and get on with our paperwork in the afternoon.  We both felt that we just don`t seem to have the time to create new samples and think about new ideas, let alone housework, so decided we might have more time this way.  We will give it a try anyway, and hopefully it will work.  I look at a lot of blogs and this last week people have been posting what they completed last year, and it is so depressing, they must spend their entire lives at the sewing machines, or stay up half the night! I don`t think I will ever be that organised, and how on earth do they get their photographs in those lovely 3 x 4 grids, I might have to go on a course if I have time!

Happy stitching.