Find out more about Valerie and the bright idea that became Justhands-on.tv
Like many girls of her generation, Valerie was given a sewing machine for her 21st birthday; sewing was always important both in terms of nice, fashionable clothing and also in the home – curtains and cushions – but having discovered patchwork and quilting in the mid 1980’s Valerie no longer does curtains, buttons or turning up men’s trouser hems!!
In the 1970’s Valerie’s mother used to make quilts using the Hexagon template and papers and the offcuts of clothes from the dressmaking, so the quilts were, and are, a real family history. Visiting her mother was always inspirational for Valerie and she always left full of good intentions to make her own quilts, just like Mum; unfortunately, unlike Mum, Valerie’s patchwork didn’t fit as well and became a UFO in the cupboard.
10 years later Valerie moved to Wallingford, discovered a neighbour who taught appliqué, a local quilt shop that sold fabric (Village Fabrics when Kathy and Arthur Warner were in charge), the rotary cutter and strip piecing and that was the beginning of her continued passion for the craft.
In 1989 Valerie, with Kathy’s blessing and help, opened the shop, Creative Quilting at Hampton Court Surrey; back then the shop was tiny but it was an excuse to be able to buy more fabric and felt like a personal fabric stash! Over the years the shop has blossomed and grown, moved up the street to 32 Bridge Road, and sold to Isabelle Saulet.
Valerie continues to help in the background organising the shop’s class schedule and helping on the stand at various shows; her own teaching schedule allows her to share her passion for patchwork and quilting.
The idea behind Justhands-on.tv is to continue that sharing through workshops and demonstrations and to concentrate on the talented patchworkers and quilt artists that we have in this country; to allow patchworkers to enjoy workshops and inspiration in their own home environment from tutors that they might not otherwise have access to – at anytime of the day or night that suits them and their lifestyles; and encourage groups and shops to tap into this wealth inspiration of talent.
It has been, and continues to be a learning curve – both on technology and habit; – learning that the computer can be a source of fun and inspiration (not just spam and junk emails!).
Any regrets? Well, running the website does take me away from my sewing machine AND I do regret that my mother wasn’t alive long enough to share my patchwork journey with me – she would have LOVED it.