Category Archives: Blog

My Lovely Bernina 930 Record

Dorothy Russell Quilt Workshops. Bernina 930

Bernina 930 Record

We have been having the most amazingly lovely weather for the past week here on Anglesey so this quilter has been a gardener. Now that spring has arrived in style there has been a lot to do – there still is! – but considering the sun-burn (really!) I’m going back to being a quilter and one of my first tasks is to test-run my Bernina 930 Record which so nearly ended up in the skip, but was rescued by my husband and restored to life by hours of electro/mechanical obsession. The machine is not much younger than my son who is 26, and it has been my ‘workhorse’ all that time, though now joined by two Janome machines. It has made, repaired and quilted during all those years so you can imagine how I felt when there was a bang and a puff of smoke appeared from it. It felt like the end of the road… but no! Apparently, there is a common fault on the motor control board. Bernina seem to regard the 930 as obsolete. Few, if any, electronic parts are still available and the motor control board for mine is definately not; but all is not lost… a transformer which powers the LED lights went ‘pop’ and took a few components with it in a plume of smoke. We could not find any service agent who could repair it as the special Bernina repair kit for that particular fault is no longer available; so it is rather surprising that the Bernina 930 Record attracts such high prices in America and the UK. My husband repaired the motor board, bought a 1981 service manual on the Internet, gave my Bernina a good service and adjusted the clutch. I think I now have the cleanest, happiest, purriest machine in the world back in my workshop ready for active testing. If you have a Bernina 930 Record which has suffered this board problem, DON’T GIVE UP, and don’t send it to the tip! Find a dedicated engineer with a knowledge of electronics and mechanics. The Bernina 930 is too good to loose. I wonder how many of these wonderful, sturdy machines have been lost. I have to go now – I have a machine to test-drive! Dorothy 28th March 2012

Magic Tile Workshop May 2012.

  Meanwhile, I’m nearly at the end of the current series of Individual Workshops. I can’t believe how quickly they go by. This year I have taught Wholecloth, Machine Quilting, Magic Tile, Free-cut Curves and have only Notan left on Sunday 3rd June. Then we’ll get together for the Pot Luck Lunch on Sunday 10th. I love teaching – it is so rewarding to see what everyone produces from an initial stimulus: always putting their own ‘stamp’ on their work. Dorothy Russell Quilt Workshops-magic-Tile-2012   The photos were taken at the Magic Tile workshop. Dorothy 31st May 2012

Some of my Beginners with their Quilts. March 2012

Dorothy Russell Quilt Workshops 2012         These images show some of my Beginners on the last day of the Course, proudly holding their lovely quilts. Would you believe one of them has never done any machine sewing before – I’m not going to tell you who, and I can guarantee you can’t guess!   The church is next to the hall where my classes are held and it looks beautiful with all the daffodils in bloom. There are no images of the evening Beginners and their work yet, we’ll catch them at the Show and Tell at our Summer Pot Luck Lunch. By then there will be bed quilts made by the Intermadiate groups too. They’re all beautiful.   Dorothy 15th March 2012

Dot Russell Blog 23rd February 2012

Dorothy Russell Quilt Workshops. Sunny February day

Sunny February day at a Dorothy Russell Quilt Workshop in Llandygai.

What beautiful weather we had today. At lunchtime, my Intermediate (day) quilters and I couldn’t resist eating outside in bright sunshine and real warmth. The temperature rose to 16 degrees. How good is that for 23rd February? …! The daffodils were just beginning to open; let’s hope that we have similar weather next Thursday so the Beginners (day) group and I can enjoy a similar lunchtime treat, with daffodils for St David’s Day. Dorothy 23rd February 2012

The Opening of our Exhibition ‘Falling into Place’ at Canolfan Ucheldre, Holyhead. 2012.

I am so very proud of all of my students whose work appeared in the exhibition and thank you to everyone who came to the opening and made such lovely comments. ‘Falling into Place’ ran from 7th January to 5th February 2012 at:-
  • Canolfan Ucheldre, Millbank, Holyhead, Anglesey LL65 1TE
  • 01407 763361
  • Open Monday to Saturday 10am – 5pm. Sunday 2pm – 5pm
Dorothy Russell Quilt Workshops 2011. Opening of Exhibition'Falling into Place' at Ucheldre, Holyhead Opening of Exhibition ‘Falling into Place’ at Ucheldre, Holyhead Seeing one’s work hanging in a gallery, where it is well lit and easy to study both close up and from a distance, is rather special and a very different experience from working closely on a quilt. It allows one to see the piece in a new way. It is even possible to fail to immediately recognise one’s own work in this situation as it seems to take on an independent identity. It is also good to be able to share all the hours of work and the skills developed through study and application, with an appreciative audience. Dorothy Russell Quilt Workshops 2011. Opening of Exhibition'Falling into Place' at Ucheldre, HolyheadDorothy Russell Quilt Workshops 2011. Opening of Exhibition'Falling into Place' at Ucheldre, Holyhead All the quilts made on the Beginners Courses were in the Main Hall, while work from Intermediate Courses and Individual Workshops was in the Gallery. Even though many of the quilts, especially the beginners’ quilts, are based on similar layouts, one comment, frequently repeated, was how different they all are and how they reflect the individual maker in the choice of colours, fabrics and the application of specific techniques. We all had a lovely afternoon together, enjoying the work, chatting, meeting people and generally ‘hanging out’. I would like to say a big thank to everyone at Canolfan Ucheldre who was involved in hanging the exhibition and permitting us to use this lovely venue. I understand how much work is involved in such an undertaking. You really did us proud. Thank you all. Ucheldre were very pleased with the visitor response – Thanks to those of you who commented in our book.     All the quilts made on the Beginners Courses were in the Main Hall, while work from Intermediate Courses and Individual Workshops was in the Gallery. Even though many of the quilts, especially the beginners' quilts, are based on similar layouts, one comment, frequently repeated, was how different they all are and how they reflect the individual maker in the choice of colours, fabrics and the application of specific techniques. We all had a lovely afternoon together, enjoying the work, chatting, meeting people and generally'hanging out'. I would like to say a big thank to everyone at Canolfan Ucheldre who was involved in hanging the exhibition and permitting us to use this lovely venue. I understand how much work is involved in such an undertaking. You really did us proud. Thank you all. Ucheldre were very pleased with the visitor response - Thanks to those of you who commented in our book.The tea/coffee scones etc went down very well too! Dorothy p

Smith Stirling Art Gallery

Smith Stirling Art Gallery. Stirling

Smith Stirling Art Gallery. Stirling

Branwen 1 and Branwen 2 are now, as part of ‘Spirit of the Celts’, installed in The Stirling Smith Art Gallery and Museum, Stirling, Scotland FK8 2RQ. The exhibition will remain there until 8th January 2012 before travelling to France. If you’re in the area it is well worth visiting. Dorothy 22nd Nov 2011


Berclas Holiday Cottage. Wholecloth Quilting Workshop

Berclas Holiday Cottage. Wholecloth Quilting Workshop

Over Bonfire weekend I enjoyed the company of four lovely quilters from Gloucestershire. Berclas Holiday Cottage. Wholecloth Quilting WorkshopIt was Dilys’s ‘significant’ birthday (and I’m not saying which one!) and her husband, Dave, gave her a quilting weekend at Coed y Berclas, with three friends, as a suprise present. They managed to keep the secret so well that Dilys had no idea where she was going or what she was doing until her train was arriving at Bangor – brilliant! Take note all you husbands out there who are looking for a special present! Their two day workshop was ‘Wholecloth’ and covered both designing and quilting. Sandy and Dot chose to do cushion covers while Dilys and Moira worked on cot sized quilts: in fact Moira will be making two (twins) – that’ll keep her out of mischief for a while! They did the design work on the first day and transfered it to fabric ready to begin quilting on the second. This involved a lot of work but they made it – and I got a reputation as a slave driver! I can’t be too much of a slave driver though as they managed to pop down to the pub at the bottom of the hill for a meal and to watch the bonfire night fireworks. This year the Beaumaris Firework Display was cancelled (they’re extending the pier) but we had a splendid view of Bangor Fireworks which take place near the root of Bangor Pier and we didn’t even need to leave the house to watch them! Very impressive. Sunday was spent hand quilting: this is always a little like magic as stitches give a three dimensional quality to the work and images drawn onto fabric come to life. Dilys, Sandy, Moira, Dot – your designs are all totally individual and they’re beautiful. I really enjoyed the weekend – you were all great company and very hard workers! Have you finished the quilts yet? Dave, you get masses of ‘brownie points’.
Berclas Holiday Cottage. bangor Fireworks

Bangor Fireworks

Berclas Holiday Cottage. Wholecloth Quilting Workshop Dorothy 20th Nov 2011  

The Great Northern Quilt Show at Harrogate Show Ground

Last Friday saw a coach full of quilters from this area – North Wales – heading off to Yorkshire and the Great British Quilt Show at Harrogate Show Ground. This is a perennial favourite of mine: it was the first show I ever entered work into and I find it far more relaxing than the busier and more demanding Festival of Quilts – although I love them both!
Great Northern Quilt Show. Winners 2011

Great Northern Quilt Show. Winners 2011

‘Overleaf’ – Susie Corke – Overall Winner. and ‘Sweet Dreams’ – Anne Gosling – Sue Belton Award.
Great Northern Quilt Show

Great Northern Quilt Show

The work at Harrogate tends more towards a traditional approach and the amount on offer is easier to take in within a day. The exhibition area, however is very poorly lit and therefore rather unfair to some of those whose quilts are on show. This is a shame considering the amount of work which has gone into every piece of work. We didn’t arrive in time to sign up for any of the mini workshops they run but I did meet a friend of mine who lives in Yorkshire. We started at primary school together in County Durham: Jen had a quilt exhibited for the first time this year. I, of course, ‘needed’ more fabric and a few ‘bits and pieces’ and had a lot of fun looking round the stalls until I was satisfied. I have gone for rather subdued browns/blues for the beginners quilt samples this year, very unusual for me but it’s good to ring the changes from time to time. For my own work, I think it’s time to push the boundaries and become more experimental but I’m keeping all my ideas to myself for now. Dorothy  

Cwilt Cymru – Spirit of the Celts

You might also like to look at the Bonnie McCaffery website to look at a video referencing Spirit of the Celts. Images of ‘Spirit of the Celts’ (in which I have work) appear in part two of Bonnie’s podcasts. We also appear in Luana Rubin’s equilter video Scroll down to ‘Celtic Fringe’. ‘Spirit of the Celts’ will be touring for the next two years. Enjoy! Dorothy

Festival of Quilts at the NEC August 2011

NEC Festival of Quilts. Dorothy Russell

NEC Festival of Quilts.

We’re just back from Festival of Quilts at the NEC where ‘Spirit of the Celts’ exhibition is having its first outing. Contemporary quilters from Wales (Cwilt Cymru), Northern Ireland and Scotland (Turning Point) have used the title theme to develop a collection of individual wall hangings.
Branwen 1 at the NEC in Spirit of the Celts. Dorothy Russell Quilt Artist

Branwen 1 at the NEC in Spirit of the Celts

As ever, Festival of Quilts was buzzing with an international throng of visitors studying the competition quilts, looking for bargains among the stalls and talking to exhibiting quilters in the galleries. Lots of interest was shown in our work and the feedback was very positive. We were also photographed by Bonnie Lyn McCaffrey and will probably appear on her video website Look out for us there. My work which appears in ‘Spirit of the Celts’ is based on Branwen, a Celtic Welsh princess associated closely with Anglesey, whose legend appears in the Mabinogion. Her life was not easy and her end tragic: I wished, through my work, to tie her story to those of women today. The members of Cwilt Cymru are: Judith Barker, Bethan Hughes, Janine Jones, Millie Thomas, Judy Stephens, Gwenda Williams, and me. We’re the newest group to form and I hope we can continue working together, although mostly, as we are spread across Wales, we share briefs, use email/Yahoo groups/phones to communicate and only meet up infrequently. It was good to see the whole exhibition hanging together and to meet members of the other groups.

Beginners Quilting Workshops September 2011

Although it seems no time since I was teaching Individual Workshops, it is nearly time for my Beginners/Intermediate Groups to start again in September. I’m really looking forward to seeing everyone again. If you think you’d like to join one of the Beginner groups, email me or give me a call – there’s still a little time. The Pot Luck Lunch this year was great fun – this is the only time when we can all get together and see everyone elses work, as well as enjoying a social event. This year the weather was on our side too; instead of last year’s downpour, I considered handing out sun lotion.
Machine Quilting workshop Dorothy Russell

Machine Quilting workshop with Dorothy Russell

Silk Painting Workshop. Dorothy Russell

Silk Painting Workshop. Dorothy Russell

Some of the work we were looking at came from the Beginner and Intermediate Courses and some had been produced during the Individual Workshop sessions which were held between Easter and 3rd July 2011. These are images from Machine Quilting, Silk Painting and New York Beauty.
New York Beauty Workshop. Dorothy Russell

A section from New York Beauty.

        machine Quilting workshop Dorothy Russell In January 2012, members of all my groups will have an Exhibition called ‘Falling into Place’ at Ucheldre in Holyhead. It’s a lovely gallery and well worth visiting – especially while our exhibition is there, of course! Dorothy    

One Big Day – in the summer of 2011.

On the day of the Royal Wedding, Anglesey organised a special celebration of its own, ‘One Big Day’ held at the island’s Showground.
Royal Wedding Patchwork and Quilting demonstration Dorothy Russell

Royal Wedding Patchwork and Quilting demonstration Dorothy Russell

There were huge screens to broadcast the wedding, a fair, stalls and a host of TV crews. I was there with Elaine, Maria, Tina and Daf (my husband) demonstrating Patchwork and Quilting and we had a good view of one of the screens.
Royal Wedding Patchwork and Quilting demonstration Dorothy Russell

Royal Wedding Patchwork and Quilting demonstration Dorothy Russell

A good day was had by all, we met lots of interested people, enjoyed working together and got a lot of quilting done between us.
Royal Wedding Patchwork and Quilting demonstration Dorothy Russell

Royal Wedding Patchwork and Quilting demonstration Dorothy Russell

My Individual Workshops are about to commence – Wholecloth starts on Sunday 15th and I’m really looking forward to it – I have missed the buzz of teaching although I have been very busy preparing for the workshops, catching up on Journal Quilts for the Contemporary Quilt Group, and occupied with our holiday cottage. Three of the workshops are full and there are only a couple of places possible on Silk Painting and Fabric Bowls. The Intermediate Course which starts in September is also full. I’m taking names for the Beginners Course which also starts in September. Dorothy

Totally Textiles – Textiliau yn Llwyr – The Opening

Dorothy Russell Quilt Artist The Opening at Oriel Ynys Môn Totally Textiles 2010

Dorothy Russell Quilt Artist. The Opening at Oriel Ynys Mon Totally Textiles 2010

The opening of the exhibition at Oriel Ynys Mon on Friday 12th November 2010 was a superb evening. The gallery had a festive air and it was fun to chat to lots of new people as well as old friends in this lovely exhibition space. Among the guests were the Marquis of Anglesey and Lady Anglesey with their grand-daughter who is studying textile design: their interest in ‘Watery Sunday’ and ‘Ghekko’ was delightful as I answered their questions about the techniques I had employed while making these two wall hangings. It was a most enjoyable evening. The exhibition is now ‘up and running’ and yesterday it was graced by a visit from Simon Calder, travel writer and TV presenter, who, while visiting Anglesey to address local tourism operatives in the Council Chamber, made time in his busy schedule to call in at Oriel Ynys Mon. Dorothy

Totally Textiles Exhibition at the Anglesey Gallery. Oriel Ynys Môn Tecstiliau yn Llwyr

Dorothy Russell Quilt Artist at Oriel Ynys Môn Totally Textile

Dorothy Russell Quilt Artist at Oriel Ynys Mon Totally Textile

Daf and I took several of my quilts and wall hangings to Oriel Ynys Môn in Llangefni where they will be on exhibition in the main gallery from Saturday 13th November to 24th December 2010 as part of Tecstiliau yn Llwyr – Totally Textiles, the gallery’s textile themed Christmas Fair. It was good to be involved in hanging them with Nicola and Ian from the gallery and a privilege to be able to stand back and see my work in this large space, in a way which is not usually possible. While my quilts are on the walls, there will also be textile work for sale, made by a number of craftspeople: this will fill the central area of the gallery. Their work isn’t in place yet, but I’m looking forward to seeing it at the opening on Friday evening. Dorothy

Scottish Trophies 2010 and Quilts at Oriel Ynys Mon.

Dorothy Russell Quilt Workshops. The Scottish Quilt Championships 2010

The Scottish Quilt Championships 2010

My quilts arrived back from The Scottish Quilt Championships and I was surprised to discover that as well as the three 1st prizes they had collected, ‘Pink’ had also taken 3rd place in the Large Wall Hanging section. My trophies followed, three engraved platters. I’m not sure where they’re going to live yet, but I’ll find them a good spot.
Dorothy Russell Quilt Workshops. Oriel Ynys Mon 2010

Schizm. Oriel Ynys Mon 2010

I’m really enjoying teaching my Beginner and Intermediate groups and their work is coming along really well. Such fun! There’ll be pictures soon, possibly after our Christmas pot luck supper where we will also have a show and tell. From 13th November to 24th December, as part of Oriel Ynys Mon’s textile themed Chritmas Fair (Anglesey Gallery), there will be an exhibition of my quilts and wall hangings in the main gallery. I’m finishing off a few new pieces and resolving what goes where. I always enjoy looking round their exhibitions but this time I’ll feel very much at home. Pop in and see my work if you’re in the area, and as there are a number of textile based craftspeople who are selling their work, you may also find a few special Christmas presents. Oriel Ynys Mon opens seven days a week from 10:30 to 17:00. Address: Oriel Ynys Mon, Rhosmeirch, Llangefni, Anglesey LL77 7TQ tel: 01248 750282 Dorothy

Busy September…

Dorothy Russell Quilt Workshops. Journal Quilts 2010

Journal Quilts 2010

The weekend 24th – 26th September has been very busy one way or another. Three of my Journal Quilts were included in the display of JQs by the Contemporary Group at the Exeter Show – many thanks to Hilary Gooding for putting photos onto our Yahoo site. Exeter is a long way from Anglesey and it’s great to see where our quilts go on their travels. I received a call from Roger of Grosvenor Shows, organisers of The Scottish Quilt Championships, with the news that I had won three awards: 1st in the Large Wall Hanging category, 1st for Wholecloth and 1st for Hand Quilting. Quick flash of excitement…! Since Scotland was outside our travel plans, we went back to plan A and headed to Ruthin to see Dyffryn Clwyd Quilters’ exhibition in St Peter’s Church. The church is architecturally very interesting and of course it was enhanced by the lovely quilts. It was also good to see lots of familiar, friendly faces. I gather Bethan has had to put up with a lot of amused ribbing after her appearance on S4C (TV) – what great publicity! Well done all. To end the day we visited Ruthin Craft Centre, they always show such inspirational work and we got very involved looking at the furniture, ash bending, stunning lustre glazed ceramics and some fascinating finely folded paper jewellery/structures. At least we’re now on the mailing list so we shouldn’t miss their next exhibition. Grosvenor’s ‘Fabrications’ magazine may have a writeup on the Scottish Quilt Show, so look out for the next issue to get a flavour of the work. Now I need to turn my attentions to the Christmas Fair Exhibition at Oriel Ynys Mon (the Anglesey Gallery in Llangefni) – Totally Textiles. My work will be on the walls in the main gallery where there will also be textile craftwork for sale. The Fair opens on 13th November and closes on 24th December. I can recommend the cafe either for a snack or a light lunch. Oriel Ynys Mon (Anglesey Gallery) opens seven days a week from 10:30 to 17:00. Address: Oriel Ynys Mon, Rhosmeirch, Llangefni, Anglesey LL77 7TQ tel: 01248 750282 Dorothy Russell

Summer of Success

Dorothy Russell Quilt Workshops. Elaine Thomas. Winner Harrogate Wholecloth. My First Bed Quilt. Prize Giving

Elaine Thomas. Winner Harrogate Wholecloth. My First Bed Quilt. Prize Giving

It’s getting very close to the start of the Beginners and Intermediate Courses. The first Beginners workshop is on either Wednesday 8th September (18:30 – 21:30) or Thursday 9th September (10:00 – 16:00). The first Intermediate workshop is either Wednesday 15th September (18:30 – 21:30) or Thursday 16th September (10:00 – 16:00). But before we all get totally consumed in new beginner quilts and landscapes, I want to boast about a few successes for members of my groups. I’m very proud of all of them. Dawn Williams lovely Beginners and Magic Tile quilts won 1st and 2nd prizes in Holyhead Show. Well done! A very well deserved win.
Dorothy Russell Quilt Workshops. Dawn Williams. Winner Holyhead Show.

Dawn Williams. Winner Holyhead Show.

Lynne Walters sent me a photo of the quilt she has made for her three year old grandson following the Machine Quilting workshop. It looks lovely and I’m sure he’ll love it for years to come.
Dorothy Russell Quilt Workshops. Lynne walters. Machine Quilt

Lynne Walters. Machine Quilt

Gina Kent won 1st prize with a quilted pillow and 2nd prize with her Beginners quilt at Beddgelert Horticultural and Craft Show. She also won the cup for gaining most points in the Craft section. It’s a pity we’ll lose Gina to Scotland soon but we wish her well. There are shows up there too if she isn’t too busy with building work. Jean Raynor won 4th prize in the Llangefni Eisteddfod with her Beginners quilt. Isn’t this great! Then to cap it all off, Elaine Thomas’s lovely blue and white quilt took 1st place for Wholecloth Quilting and won ‘My First Bed Quilt’ at The Great British Quilt Show in Harrogate. Elaine could hardly believe it but no-one who saw the quilt at our Summer Party on 4th July will be surprised. It is now moving on to The Scottish Championships in Edinburgh where the theme this year is ‘Blue and White Delight’ which couldn’t be more appropriate so keep your fingers crossed for her.
Dorothy Russell Quilt Workshops. Elaine Thomas. Winner Harrogate Wholecloth. My First Bed Quilt

Elaine Thomas. Winner Harrogate Wholecloth. My First Bed Quilt

I’m looking forward to seeing all my old friends and meeting lots of new ones, so roll up your sleeves, clean your machines and get ready for some fun (and hard work!?) Dorothy Russell


The Individual Workshops have come to an end, until next Spring/Summer, and we finished on a high note. Dorothy Russell Quilt Workshops PartyDorothy Russell Quilt Workshops PartyOn Sunday 4th July all current members of my quilt groups were invited to a Pot Luck Lunch. The original idea included sunning ourselves on the terrace but the weather had other plans. Nothing daunted we had a brilliant get together with a fine, (slightly dessert biased) lunch, lots of chatter and merriment and a show and tell which filled me with huge pride at everyone’s achievements. Have a look at the photos and see if you agree with me. A Pot Luck meal is great fun as each person attending brings a foody contribution with them: this means that no one person has the responsibility of feeding a crowd and the number of people bringing food directly meets the number of people there to eat it. This strikes me as a pretty perfect system. In addition, as each person needs to make only one dish, we tend to eat very well. It’s a form of temporary communal living! Thank you to everyone who dived in to do the washing up too. On the 4th we gathered at 12:30 and chatted in small groups until everyone had arrived then we settled to the serious business of eating lunch. It is always lovely to enjoy a meal with friends and this was a social gathering of lots of friends. orothy Russell Quilt Workshops Party   Sated, we all settled in one room for a ‘show and tell’ session featuring work from both the earlier twelve week sessions and the more recent Individual Workshops. First was a round of the ‘Beginners’ quilts and although they were all based on the same grid and methods which build one on another throughout the twelve sessions, each person puts her own personal stamp on her quilt by the colours and patterns of her chosen fabrics and the images selected for the later blocks as well as the way each is quilted.   I won’t say any more but will leave you to look through the photographs on the right and come to your own conclusions.     Following this were various pieces produced by the Intermediate Group who worked on Wholecloth at the beginning of their course then moved on to individual projects while running in parallel were their ‘Round Robin’ quilts where each had the same grid to work from, put together a pack of fabrics, made the initial block then handed the pack on to another member of the group who then added a block.Dorothy Russell Quilt Workshops Party When each pack had been to every member of the group, the whole was returned to its originator who assembled the quilt made of all her collegues’ blocks, layered, quilted and finished it and was the proud owner of a very special piece of work which contains lovely memories of all the people she has worked with. Dorothy Russell Quilt Workshops Party I have persuaded Elaine, who has finished her wholecloth bed quilt, to enter it into both the Great Northern Quilt Show in Harrogate and the Scottish Quilt Championships. I’d love to get everyone to put work into some of the national shows, so watch out! I also have plans to hold an exhibition on Anglesey of all our work so we need to get everything finished.   Dorothy Russell Quilt Workshops PartyWe finally moved on to looking at work from the Individual Workshop series which were all one day workshops covering a variety of topics. The Magic Bowls were fun and make lovely presents – they are easier to make than they appear and the results were lovely. Next came the Magic tile which always gives dramatic results and the quilt tops shown had everyone entranced – I suspect there were group members who wished they had joined that class. Dorothy Russell Quilt Workshops Party   There were similar comments about Silk Painting; it was an intense workshop and much enjoyed by all, with beautiful results and Elizabeth had her work framed which further enhanced it.   Dorothy Russell Quilt Workshops PartyMachine Quilting is always a bit of a challenge and makes a very full day but everyone worked really well and produced lovely work as well as acquiring a very worthwhile skill. Dorothy Russell Quilt Workshops PartyDebbie has continued working on her piece and has added some very interesting stitch patterns. Dorothy Russell Quilt Workshops Party         Dorothy Russell Quilt Workshops PartyThe Accurate Curved Piecing workshop is also very much about developing a transferable skill and contrasts strikingly both in working method and outcome with Free Cut Curves With Prairie Points which offers a much freer way of working and produces a very contemporary look. Each piece is again very individual and striking and I think Daphne has found a great way of working which really suits her while I suspect that Debbie will be next on my list for entering work into exhibitions – you have been warned Debbie… (and you aren’t alone!) Crumbs, now I’m making it sound like a threat, it isn’t but I suspect that without a little push, most people think that exhibiting work is something other people do and don’t have enough self belief to take the plunge. Dorothy Russell Quilt Workshops PartyThe final Individual Workshop was a contemporary interpretation of Reverse Applique which is spontaneous, challenging, fun and produces wonderful results. A lot of people in the group framed their work and this always makes each mounted piece a little more special. Again, these small pieces make great, very individual gifts and Rachel, who missed our party because she was at a wedding, took hers as a present for the bride and groom. It was also lovely to have Linda Paris from Shrewsbury at the Reverse Applique Workshop: she came up for the day with her husband, who spent his time on Anglesey playing golf: she settled in and became one of the gang. (Linda long arm quilts tops for people who can’t keep up with the quilting themselves or want to rush on to the next idea: she had been to Llandygai before as a speaker at a local quilt group meeting.) Dorothy Russell Quilt Workshops PartyAs a finale Julie, a guest staying at our holiday cottage and doing private workshops with me, and Freya, my daughter, showed some of the work they have been doing. Although Freya had made a quilt top when she was much younger this was her first attempt at quilting and she has done very well. Julie, in addition to work done with me, brought a lovely colour wash quilt she made for her daughter some years ago for her 18th birthday. It was much admired and had a story all of its own. At the end of our Show and Tell I felt it was time to put the kettle on for a well earned drink but there were other plans afoot. The beautiful sewing box made by Dawn and presented to me by her on behalf of her group left me very tearful and as Jean put it “Dawn’s the first person who’s ever managed to stop you talking!” Ok, Jean, I probably misquoted you but don’t sue because you’re quite right! I was so touched. Earlier in the evening the Intermediate Group gave me a lovely coral necklace which I have worn every day since and a few weeks ago the Evening Beginners gave me an Amazon Gift Voucher with which I bought two (and a bit ) books, textile related of course! I would like to take this opportunity to say a big thank to you all. Dorothy Russell Quilt Workshops PartyIt was lovely to see everyone who came to our Pot Luck Lunch and to everyone who couldn’t make it, there’ll be others. It has been a great privilege teaching you all. Although I haven’t mentioned everyone by name, I want to tell you how proud I am of what you have all achieved: you are very special people and I look forward to seeing you again in September when the twelve week sessions start again. Have a lovely break. love, Dorothy Dorothy Russell

Contemporary Quilt Group – Journal Quilts

This year, for the first time, I committed to joining others in the Contemporary Quilt Group – part of the Quilters’ Guild of the British Isles – making Journal Quilts; one small quilt a month. This year the stated size is 7 inches wide and 10 inches high. I decided to use my own emotions as the inspiration for each quilt, basing each piece on the way I feel on the day I begin working on it.
Dorothy Russell and the January Journal Quilt

Dorothy Russell’s January Journal Quilt

The first four images were posted, as required, on the Group’s Yahoo site by 30th April and I have already completed May’s offering. These little quilts are fun to make and can be experimental as there’s not a huge commitment of time given to each one. It is, never the less, a good idea not to leave each piece to the end of its month or I’d have to work on twelve ways to depict ‘stress’!  
Dorothy Russell and the February Journal Quilt

Dorothy Russell’s February Journal Quilt

So far there has been some variety in my emotional state, thus the first one, January, represents a day on which ‘I Woke Up Angry’, for no known reason: in fact it was this which gave me the whole emotion based approach to my 2010 Journal Quilt series. February’s piece is entitled ‘Today was a Good Day’ which says it all and the colours and shapes represent a very positive and mellow mood.
Dorothy Russell and the March Journal Quilt

Dorothy Russell’s March Journal Quilt

March brought ‘Cheerful’, a complex little silk painting enhanced with machine quilting beading and one green ‘blob’, also decorated with beads, denoting the fact that, in this kind of mood, even when things don’t go according to plan, it’s ok. For April’s quilt I took a selection of small offcuts from one of the workshops I’m currently teaching and arranged them on fine calico. I machine quilted the layers together then used fabric crayons to colour the background. The quilt is called ‘Loving my Workshops’ and I really am. I love teaching and I’ve got a wonderful group of students.
Dorothy Russell and the April Journal Quilt

Dorothy Russell’s April Journal Quilt

All of my journal quilts will have top and bottom layers fringed all round and the wadding will be visible at the edges. I have coloured the edges of some of the quilts so far but do not wish to be restricted to applying colour where I don’t feel it helps to portray the emotion I’m working with. I’ll add the rest of the months in groups of four as I submit them to the Contemporary Quilt Yahoo group site. Dot Russell 5th May 2010

Silk Painting Workshop

These images are from the Silk Painting Workshop held on Sunday 25th April 2010 at Talgai Hall, Llandygai nr Bangor; one of the Individual Workshops I am teaching at present. The day was great fun as you can see, but there was often silence in the room because of the level of concentration and lunch was a brief break as everyone wanted to get to the next stage. You can judge the results for yourself. Scroll down through the images.
Dorothy Russell running the Silk Painting Workshop

Dorothy Russell Silk Painting Workshop

The white lines left by the gutta (resist) are a gift to quilters and I look forward to seeing how these paintings look layered and quilted. I gather further silk paintings are already being planned – once you find out how fascinating the results of silk painting are, it’s hard to resist doing another and another and another. You get the picture! The next twelve session Beginner and Intermediate Courses start again in early September. Dot Russell 27th April 2010

Liberty of London Quilt Competition

Dorothy Russell and Liberty of London's Quilt Competition

Dorothy Russell and Liberty of London’s Quilt Competition

Liberty of London have set a competition for quilters but it’s going to be tough going for anyone who takes it on. They want a ‘most exquisite, most intricate, most amazing quilt’ made using Liberty fabrics, no bigger than 180cm square – that’s about 6 feet square – and all to be finished and a photograph emailed to them by 30th April 2010. I suppose it’s possible but eating and sleeping might have to go out of the window! I have to mention that their fabric costs £19.95/metre plus post and packing if you aren’t in London. In case you’re keen, I’d better mention that the prize is £500.00 for the winner to spend at Liberty. Get stitching?! Well, look on the bright side, they didn’t set a minimum size, did they! Dot Russell 29th March 2010

Quilts 1700-2010 Exhibition at the V&A. My visit to the Press Preview

Dorothy Russell at the Victoria and Albert Museum Quilt Exhibition 1700-2010

Dorothy Russell at the Victoria and Albert Museum Quilt Exhibition 1700-2010

Quilts 1700-2010 at the V&A, curated by Sue Prichard, will be open from 20th March to 4th July 2010 and, having been to the press preview, I can recommend that anyone with an interest in quilts, take a trip to the museum to see the work assembled: some comes from the V&A’s own collection, other pieces are borrowed from sources such as Beamish in County Durham, St Fagans museum in South Wales. However, the quilt which has travelled furthest is the Rajah Quilt, made by women travelling as convicts to Van Diemen’s Land, now known as Tasmania.
Mrs Shepherd 1935 Northumberland at the Victoria and Albert Museum Quilt Exhibition 1700-2010

Mrs Shepherd 1935 Northumberland at the Victoria and Albert Museum Quilt Exhibition 1700-2010

18th Century Cot Quilt at the Victoria and Albert Museum Quilt Exhibition 1700-2010

18th Century Cot Quilt at the Victoria and Albert Museum Quilt Exhibition 1700-2010

The most stunning work, for me, is wholecloth or work whose intrinsic beauty relies on the images created by stitch alone. It is the hardest to photograph and is therefore under represented in publicity for the exhibition but is a must to see. There are very early cot quilts, late 19th and early 20th century North Country and Welsh quilts in this catagory and the most stunning 18th century unwaddeded bed quilt with beautiful, delicate, finely stitched designs covering it entirely: a stunning piece of work. Very evident in all publicity are the colourful, pictorial quilts of the late 18th and early 19th centuries, celebrating victories, the ‘great and the good’, as well as personal occassions. They are very photogenic. The work of male quilters is also represented in tailors’ and soldiers’ quilts, mention of Joseph Hedley (Old Joe the Quilter) 19th century tailor and quilt maker from the NE of England and information on current Fine Cell work by guests of Her Majesty at Wandsworth. The ‘make do and mend’ policy born of scarcity and poverty is also not forgotten.  
Tracey Emin at the Victoria and Albert Museum Quilt Exhibition 1700-2010

Tracey Emin at the Victoria and Albert Museum Quilt Exhibition 1700-2010Exhibition 1700-2010

Representing the present; although I’d debate how much they relate to what is happening in the quilting world as I understand it; are pieces by such luminaries as Tracey Emin and Grayson Perry; selected as much for the ‘pulling power’ of their names as the validity of their contribution to ‘quilts’. I hope they ‘pull’ in a mass of viewers who would not otherwise contemplate visiting a quilt exhibition. Far more recognisable to me were works by Sara Impey and Pauline Burbidge. Wandering through the two rooms dedicated to this, the first exhibition of quilts mounted by the V&A, is a special experience, a direct insight into threehundred years of patchwork and quilting in Britain, and I would suggest you find the time, the trainfare and the entry fee to take advantage of this rare opportunity to experience all this exhibition has to offer. Dot Russell 19th March 2010          

First day of the Copperfield Sale

Daf and I didn’t turn up the minute the doors opened but we weren’t far behind the earliest birds. It was, as ever, a lively meeting of the quilt ‘clans’ as they gathered for this annual ceremony – no cabers tossed but bolts of fabric flying everywhere, as Mary’s team efficiently measured, cut, folded and priced metre after metre. Queues formed in the orderly fashion expected of quilters and people helped each other find ‘just the right design/colour’ (thank you Carol!). It was like being among friends – actually, come to think about it, I really was among friends! Finally, exhausted by shopping, we could flop onto a welcoming sofa with a cuppa supplied by the lovely Twiggy and nibble guiltily on a biscuit. Amazingly this was enough to revive some sufficiently to go looking for that last little bargain. Three more days to go then Mary and her team can close the door and collapse quietly on those same sofas and be glad that next week will be a little quieter. See the Video on You Tube Dot Russell 3rd March 2010

Preview at the V&A ‘Quilts 1700 – 2010’ Exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum

I have been invited to a preview of the much publicised Quilt Exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum, ‘Quilts 1700 – 2010’. I’m really looking forward to seeing how they portray the history of British quilts. The work has been selected from the V&A’s own collection and pieces range from spectacular bed hangings and a silk coverlet from the 1700s to contemporary textile related work by some well known artists. As they seem to be selecting people such as Tracey Emins, normally recognised as coming to textiles from a fine art background, I wonder if they have looked any deeper and discovered some of the superb work created by artists who come to fine art from a textiles background. The Quilt Exhibition will be open to the public from 20th March to 4th July 2010 in Room 39 and the North Court in the V&A. It’s great that we’ll have access to part of the Victoria and Albert Museum’s collection which is not usually on show and it’s really good for quilting/quilters that the V&A are giving us and our work such widespread publicity in this Quilt Exhibition. Get your tickets booked! Dot Russell 25th Febuary 2010

Cwilt Cymru and Moelfre Quilters

I enjoyed my day demonstrating at Quiltfest. Y Caban, Plas Newydd, was in a delightful location set on a hillside above the centre of Llangollen and the ‘Breakthrough’ exhibition contained superb and thoughtful work, created in responses to the set theme, made by some of the best contemporary quilters in the UK. The day was enhanced for me by meeting all but one of a new contemporary group – ‘Cwilt Cymru’ – of which I am a member. We hale from various parts of Wales and being able to get together for a ‘business lunch’ at The Cornmill, Llangollen was a real treat. Working alongside similar groups from Northern Ireland and Scotland we form ‘Celtic Fringe’ and are producing work which will be exhibited first at Festival of Quilts 2011, then touring to various venues throughout the British Isles. Yesterday I gave a talk to a new group – ‘Moelfre Quilters’ – I already know/teach some of them but I’m quite sure they’ll extend the same warm welcome to other speakers/new members. They have a website, so If you live in the area or are visiting, take a look at their ‘calendar’ and pop in to meet them. See you next week at the ‘Copperfield’ sale. Dot Russell 25th Febuary 2010

Copperfield annual sale at Valley

Wednesday 3rd to Saturday 6th March 2010 It’s a little later than usual this year. I’m not sure how much there’ll be left by Saturday. In case you’re not aware of this event, the Copperfield sale is one of the local highlights in the Anglesey quilters’ year. Pop along to Four Mile Bridge, Valley for a cuppa, a biscuit, a chat with fellow quilters and lots of bargains. Dot Russell Website Blog 5th Febuary 2010

Individual Workshops

There’s still a little snow on the mountains of Snowdonia but the snow and ice we had on Anglesey is now long gone and I for one don’t mind if it doesn’t return until another winter comes round. We usually only have meaningful ‘white stuff’ about once every three years here, which suits me very well, although I love looking over at the snow capped mountains. I had to cancel one of my Beginners sessions so I’ve added a replacement day to the end of the course, on Thursday 18th March. When my current courses finish, in late March, I’m going to run a series of Individual Workshops, each one running independently. Have a look at the Workshops and Courses page for more information. The Individual Workshops are not only open to my current students but to anyone who’d like to do them, so if you’d like to join any of them please let me know and if you’re not sure of the ability level required, email me or ring up for a chat: it’s always good to talk to new people. Dot Russell Website Blog 23rd January 2010

Christmas Pot Luck Supper 2009

  On the evening of 17th December 2009 we all had a lot of fun . One of the great things about a Pot Luck Supper is that everyone brings a contribution of food – main course or dessert – and, as ever, the spread was wonderful. Before we ate, Jane Edwards, North Wales Area Rep for the Quilters’ Guild of the British Isles, gave us lots of information about the workings of the Guild and the benefits of membership. She illustrated the differences between the Contemporary, Traditional and Miniature sub-groups with pieces of her own work which were eagerly examined later. After supper we enjoyed looking at quilt tops made by members of the current Beginners group and some of the Intermediate group showed their finished pieces in a Show and Tell session. To round off the evening I showed, and gave a talk about, some of my own work, and afterwards everyone had the opportunity to scrutinise it more closely. By the time the evening ended and we had tidied the hall, I was quite shocked to realise just how late it was – the time had literally flown by – we all had such a lovely time. I’m sure we’ll have another Pot Luck Supper at the end of the Twelve Week Courses. Many thanks to Jane for her contribution. All the best for 2010…! Dorothy 18th December 2009 Dorothy Russell Quilt Workshops 09 Christmas Party.