Jennie, also known as the Calico Queen (UK) or Muslin Mistress (US) told us that whilst doing her son’s paper round she had a chance encounter with a lady who taught patchwork. Jennie was fortunate to have been offered lessons as long as she provided lunch, and bearing in mind she had been in catering business before, this was no hardship.
Several other chance encounters happened in that she applied to teach evening classes, was accepted and on the back of that, was offered a job on a shopping channel and Quilting Classroom came into being which was broadcast at 8am on a Sunday morning. She says that the producers trusted her as they left her alone on set for 30 minutes whilst she demonstrated her craft.
Jennie continued her talk with a variety of demonstrations, on how to make trumpets, triangles, partial seaming, crackers which then could be used as placemats, posh crackers, bags, bowls (which could be used as a hat if it snowed), taking 60 deg diamonds to make into a star, bunting, fabric flowers just to mention a few. She has a catch phrase ‘nipping and tucking, twiddling and fiddling, manipulating and manoeuvring material’ which makes me smile everytime I hear it.
Her first book, Tucks Textures and Pleats, written as a result of a dare, established her as the fabric origami expert travelling the world to teach, up until Covid and lockdown. Several books followed and all contain detailed instructions as to how to make the items as well as humorous stories of events in her life.
As a result of the lockdown in March, Jennie has written her most recent book, Material Magic which contains instructions as how to fold a square into a flower which she then demonstrated to us.
Jennie’s final story of the afternoon was to tell us that her three grandchildren came to visit just after she moved house three weeks ago, she took them shopping into the local supermarket which has the Post Office attached. On her shopping list was a bottle of gin for her elderly aunt and to save time she gave the grandchildren the shopping, her payment card and asked them to go and pay for the items whilst she went to the Post Office. A few minutes later there was a loud ‘We can’t serve them’ and when she went over to find out why, the assistant said the grandchildren ‘Were too young to be served alcohol’. They are 10 years, 8 years and 6 years! She is now known in her local area as being an alcoholic as well as being totally nutty.
This was an excellent talk and I have struggled to limit the number of the highlights of the talk as there were so many.