It’s almost impossible not to be drawn into Jemima’s quilty world. Her enthusiasm for patchwork quilting shows in her bold designs and energetic colour schemes. Despite our aesthetics and the way in which we create quilts being extremely different, I have long admired Jemima and her creations. She has a confidence for using bright colours in her quilts that others may shy away from. Her designs are bold, striking takes on traditional quilt blocks, even going so far as to turn them into crochet blocks and patterns.
I recently listened to two interviews with Jemima on the Quilt Buzz Podcast and Craft to Career Podcast and I just new I had to get in touch with her and chat all things quilts, crochet, teaching and being a Quilt Pattern Designer.
Hi Jemima, thank you for joining me. I’d love to start with some general background questions.
Could you please tell us where you call home?
Perth, Western Australia
How long have you been doing patchwork quilting?
Since I was 16 so for 30 years (oh no – now I have given away my age – lol)
Was this the first craft you tried? Did you dabble in another craft first?
I first tried crochet, My Nanna taught me how to when I was 7 years old and absolutely loved it from the first stitch.
Who or where did you initially learn the skills of patchwork and quilting from?
Initially self-taught from Magazines, until I was about 18 and could take myself to Quilting lessons at my local Quilt store.
What made you get into patchwork and quilting?
With lots of fabric always in our home (as my mum would make our clothes and bedroom décor) I loved collecting up the leftovers from mums’ projects and use these in the quilts I started to make. At school I loved Textiles and sewing my own clothes as well, so I was familiar with a sewing machine.
I’d love to chat about your signature style.
Looking at your Instagram feed is like scrolling through a bright rainbow! Would you say you’re drawn to more bright and bold saturated colours?
Yes, I am a big lover of all things bright and bold – I think this has changed over time as when my girls were young, I used to sew with a lot more pastel colours.
What is your favourite colour combination?
I love Pink, Aqua and Navy together. And I always love it when you can add in a metallic accent of some sort.
Your design style is quite modern with a nod to traditional quilt blocks re-imagined or reworked, is this how you would also describe your design style?
That is a great way to describe my style – I love looking at ways I can add my own style to classic blocks.
How did you develop your design style? Has it changed a lot from when you first started quilting?
Very much my design style starts with patterns being able to be made by beginner quilters. Over the years I have drawn inspiration from family and friends and stories I can build quilt design around. I love looking at Architecture and Street Art– especially how this can be re-imagined into my quilting designs.
What do you think is a key element in a modern patchwork quilt?
I think that it doesn’t have to follow rules – you can interpret, change or make it what you want it to be.
What do you think takes a quilt design from traditional to modern?
In how the maker sees it being constructed – changing it or working it so that it doesn’t have to be how it may have been traditionally pieced.
Do you have a favourite quilt block?
Well I think it’s safe to say I love Equilateral Triangles.
Let’s chat about crochet and your new book.
How long have you been crocheting?
I learned to crochet when I was 7, from there I was immediately hooked.
What drew you to this craft and how did you learn?
My Nanna would start me off with a traditional Granny Square Centre and then from there I would use all the yarn I could be given to make a lap size blanket, going round and round, then when it was too big for me to carry, Nanna would start me off again on a new Granny Square Blanket and this continued for years.
What sparked the idea of designing quilt patterns with matching crochet patterns?
This was actually an experiment that turned into something bigger than I imagined. I began to see in Crochet designs the correlation between block styles and how many of these existed in the quilt patterns I loved. I then decided to look at what Quilt patterns I had that could then be re-interpreted as Crochet Blankets. So, after looking through my designs I settled on taking my Aurora Quilt and seeing if I could make it into a crochet version. Little did I know how much people seemed to be invested in my experiment as I went along and the call for a pattern then for this crochet version was asked for again and again.
What came first the quilt pattern or the crochet pattern?
The Aurora Quilt pattern was first then came the Merryweather Blanket – the sister blanket to the quilt.
What was the most challenging thing about converting a quilt pattern to a crochet pattern?
Keeping the skill level at beginner. I had big great ideas for how crochet blocks should be constructed with all types of stitches but trying to keep it simple, meant pulling at the reigns so to speak.
Is this the first time you have written crochet patterns? How did you find that experience versus writing a quilt pattern?
I had written a few Crochet patterns and also my Merryweather Blanket pattern before the book. Writing the Quilt patterns came easily, the Crochet patterns definitely took me longer to write and edit.
Do you have a favourite pattern from the book?
Vivienne’s Heart Quilt and Blanket, these are named after my Nanna so are very sentimental to me.
Some questions to close with.
Teaching patchwork is a big part of your quilting career, what is the most rewarding thing about teaching the skills of patchwork/quilting?
Seeing beginner quilters start to flourish in their new skills and watching them as they go from unsure in where to start through to making something they previously thought unachievable.
What would be your number one piece of advice for someone just starting their journey with patchwork and quilting?
Take a class in person, you will learn so much more than you ever imagined you could. Having someone show you through the process can really set yourself up.
What is something you have learnt from someone else that had a big impact on the way you design or create patchwork quilts?
That not necessarily loving a technique doesn’t mean a “bad thing” or is a waste of time, it takes you in the direction of what you do love and shows you what you like to create most.
I am a strong believer in community over competition. What are your thoughts on the quilting/patchwork community in terms of support and encouragement?
I am all for collaboration – I wouldn’t be anywhere without it, and I am happy to share my experiences and skills with those who want to work together. I think it comes back to my professional career as a teacher in which sharing is how we learn.
How do you think sewing/patchwork/quilting/crochet benefits your life? Does it benefit you mentally, emotionally, physically?
All of the above.
What do you love most about patchwork and crochet?
I love sharing the skills, knowledge and techniques I have learned with those that are keen to learn.
Some Quick fire Questions:
Currently reading: Uppercase Magazine
Currently Listening to: Speak Now (Taylor’s version)
Currently Watching: Outlander Season 7
Do you have a favourite tea? Peppermint but I drink coffee over tea
Favourite flower: Dahlia’s
What would be your spirit animal? A Squirrel
Favourite decade? Hoping it’s still to come.
New Quilt on the Block Online Course
Jemima is so keen to share the joy she receives from creating patchwork quilts, that she has created a fantastic online course, New Quilt on the Block, geared towards helping quilt novices to make their first quilt confidently and easily. In this completely online course, Jemima shares her knowledge and years of experience making patchwork quilts.
The course has been created to take you from feeling overwhelmed in not knowing where to start, to proudly showing off your very first quilt. You will learn the foundation skills of cutting, sewing, piecing and quilting, which will allow you to read and understand pattern instructions, sets yourself up for future projects in your quilting adventures and can save you from a quilting disaster.
Just to let you know friend, that I am an affiliate for Jemima’s New Quilt on the Block course, I will receive a commission if you use the link above and purchase your spot in the course.
I hope you have enjoyed getting to know Jemima as much as I have. It’s always wonderful to come across someone so willing to share their beautiful creations with us, as well as their knowledge in not just quilt making, but also insights into being a patchwork designer and business owner.
If you would like to check out Jemima’s latest book Quilt It Crochet It, as well as her other patterns, notions and products you can do so HERE.
Follow along on Jemima’s Quilty Journey in these places –
There is something so enjoyable and inspiring about visiting local Quilt Guild Exhibitions. It is such a wonderful opportunity to come together to celebrate this incredible craft that brings us all so much joy. After a two year hiatus, the Camden Country Quilters Guild held their 31st Annual Exhibition last weekend, 5th and 6th of August. I was thrilled to be able to take my shop down there and set up among the other fantastic stall holders.
It is always such a joy for me to set up my booth. I always aim to create my own little mini version of my dream shop, and I feel like I have now got my set up perfected, creating an aesthetic that matches my brand, and a space that is pretty and inviting. I had so many lovely comments on my stall over the weekend which was very humbling.
It was wonderful to catch up with other patchwork business owners, and the sense of camaraderie was fantastic. I am a big believer in community over competition, and that by building each other up, supporting and encouraging each other, we can all succeed, and our unique voices can reach across the country and globe. I had many business and design chats with my peers that as a relative newcomer, I am so grateful for.
Of course, I never come away empty handed when I visit a quilt show! I love to support my fellow patchwork businesses and so I picked up these beauties. I have a thing for collecting strawberry themed fabric at the moment, and fruit themed fabric in general…not sure why? I couldn’t resist the gorgeous Fabelism ginghams, and of course I got some pretty florals and Liberty too. Fabrics were purchased from The Stitchers Cupboard, Material Obsession and The Makers Republic.
I also had the opportunity to visit a local op shop prior to setting up on the Friday. I love to have a good rummage through op shops, I find it exciting and thrilling not knowing what treasures I will come across. This visit proved most successful! I picked up some vintage embroidered linens and doilies, some carlton ware plates, blue transfer ware, vintage fabric and royal albert mugs (there were four of these and I wish now I had gotten them all). I also loved the rose folk art key storage box, though I don’t know that I’ll store keys in it.
After I had finished setting up on Friday I had a little time to spare before the Members only opening night, so I took myself off to a local restaurant bar for a bite to eat and a sneaky cocktail! I felt it was well deserved.
I thoroughly enjoyed perusing the many quilts on display, and I loved the variety of designs, styles, aesthetic, and techniques that were on display. Below is a gallery of my favorite quilts from the show.
I must thank everyone who came and visited me at the show, for supporting my business and what I create. There was much admiration for my tiny EPP pieces I had on display, and it is this that motivates me to continue pursuing my passion for this craft. A big thank you to the Camden Country Quilters Guild, the ladies run a tight ship and are so friendly, inviting and helpful.
Lastly, a huge shout out to my Mum who helped me on my stall over the weekend. I would not be doing this craft if you hadn’t dragged me to quilt shows twenty years ago! Your help, guidance and encouragement is invaluable to me, and I greatly appreciate all of your help.
If you can get out to a local Quilt Guild show I highly recommend you do. It is a wonderful way to grow awareness of this craft, to celebrate it and each other. It made me so happy to have some people come to my stall who had never done patchwork quilting but wanted to come along and check it all out. Every single one of them left inspired and with a desire to get started on their own quilting journey.