Pam & Nicky Lintott together run The Quilt Room, a shop and longarm quilting service, housed in a 15th century inn in the historic market town of Dorking in Surrey. They are also the authors of the best-selling series of books on jelly rolls and pre-cut fabric bundles. I asked Pam & Nicky about their experiences with quilting and their brand new book, Quick Quilts with Rulers…
How long have you been quilting, and what do you love about it?
Pam: “I made my first quilt, which was a paper pieced hexagon quilt, when Nick and I were living on a boat in the Mediterranean. I still have the quilt and it brings back lots of memories. When we came back to the UK I opened The Quilt Room in 1981, so as you can see I have been quilting a very long time. What I loved about it then is different from what I love about it now and I do think it is a hobby that evolves and changes with your lifestyle. Hand sewing hexagons was very relaxing but what I love now are the quick, speedy techniques. I love finding ways to create beautiful designs using quick methods. I obviously haven’t grasped that you are meant to slow down with age!”
Nicky: “With mum running the shop, quilting has always been part of growing up although I didn’t actually make my first ‘proper’ quilt until my early twenties. I finally succumbed and joined the business back in 2006 and haven’t looked back. For me, I love the patchwork, but also the quilting. We have two computerised Gammill longarm quilting machines and I can spend ages working out patterns – I really love all the new modern designs emerging at the moment.”
Why would you recommend using rulers for quilting?
Pam: “Rulers are the ultimate quilters’ gadget. I love anything that makes a job easier and using rulers allows you to create designs that would be quite fiddly without them. You can of course make different shape templates but why would you bother to do that when a ruler can give you those shapes with a single cut.”
Nicky: “I have always used rulers in the quilts that I have made. I love the strip rulers by Creative Grids – they really are clever and so easy to use.”
Which type of ruler do you think is essential for all quilters, and why?
“If you mean what basic ruler everyone should have, I would say the 6½in x 24in ruler is a first buy. Most beginners think it looks enormous, but that is definitely the one to go for. A large square – maybe a 12½in square is useful and that would be my second buy. Then the choice is endless and such fun. We show you how to use three innovative rulers in our new book, Quick Quilts with Rulers, and you can see how many varied designs you can create with those three!”
Some of the photographs in the book are stunning – tell us about where they were taken!
Pam: “Thank you. Nicky took most of the photos as we decided to have a working holiday and went off to Barbados. It certainly was a bit of a treat but we felt the quilts would look lovely with an ocean backdrop. The cover photo on the book has a story behind it as my husband Nick was being very helpful and climbed the tree to display the quilt. Unfortunately he slipped and ended up in the water, which was not a problem, but he took the quilt with him. We did panic a bit but it all turned out okay as we dried the quilt overnight and went back the next day and took the photograph.”
Nicky: “I love photography. It is a serious hobby of mine and what better way to practise than on holiday! It really was a working holiday but we had great fun trying to find good spots to photograph the quilts.”
How long do the quilts from the book take to create?
Pam: “That is a difficult one as some take longer than others. We do have two quilts in the book called Friday Night and Saturday Morning and I really did make one on Friday Night and the other on Saturday Morning. They use the Kaleidoscope Ruler which is so fantastic. We had this ruler in the shop for a few months before we realised none of us knew how to use it. I took it home one Friday with some lovely French General fabric – four fat quarters of cream and four fat quarters of reds. I started playing and could not believe how fast things went together. I had the quilt top finished that night and not a scrap wasted. Next morning off I went again with eight fat quarters in thirties reproduction fabric and some background fabric… and that is how our Friday Night and Saturday Morning quilts were made.”
Why do you use a long arm quilting machine for your quilts?
Nicky: “We bought our first Gammill longarm machine seven years ago and last year we became the Gammill dealers for the UK and Europe. We use the Gammill Statler Stitcher which is a computerised machine and can do just about anything we would ever want it to do. We both love the look of hand quilting but realistically we need a workhorse to quilt the number of quilts we make for our books and the shop. The Gammill is capable of such intricate patterns, and these are great, but also the simple modern look of the quilting patterns often gives the quilt a very ‘hand quilted’ look.”
You’re well known for your jelly roll quilt books, so what inspired you to write this book?
“In our jelly roll books we purposely don’t use too many specialist rulers. We allow ourselves the Creative Grids Multi-size 45/90 for making half and quarter square triangles and also a 60 degree triangle – that is all. When we made our Friday Night and Saturday Morning quilts using the Creative Grids Kaleidoscope ruler we were really amazed. How could you not want to show people how to use it? Then we made Flower Power using the Two Peaks in One ruler and that set us off using that ruler. Once you start it seems to take you on a journey as you keep seeing new ways to create different designs. The Flying Geese & 45/90 ruler is fantastic and, thinking about it, this could be our third buy as an essential ruler. It not only makes the flying geese design but also quarter and half square triangles, and the 90 degree triangle enables you to do strip tube piecing which is great fun. We cover this technique in the Geometric Breeze quilt. Some people shy away from specialist rulers and we just wanted to show how great they are to use and to give people the courage to try something different.”
Which is your favourite quilt design from the book?
“That is just too difficult to answer. Flicking through the book to try and make a decision we realised that whatever design you use, quilts are memories. Such a lot goes in to the making of a quilt; it could be the fabric used, the place you made it or where you took the photograph, but they all trigger a memory and that is what makes quilts so special.”
Do you have any tips for quilters who haven’t used specialist rulers before?
“Have fun with them and allow them to do the work for you. They are all easy to use and our instructions are very clear and take you through everything step by step. Why not have a go at the Friday Night quilt using the Kaleidoscope ruler and if you are the slightest bit nervous before you start, this quilt will make you realise just how easy they are to use.”
Visit Pam & Nicky’s website for more information about The Quilt Room, and follow them on Facebook or Twitter to keep up to date with their latest news. Check out their latest book, Quick Quilts with Rulers, and don’t miss their other books and quilt patterns too!
*Some of the images in this blog are not suitable for third party use.