Since I was nineteen years old I have been making traditional patchwork quilts after I went to The National Patchwork Championship, just to fill the coach up that was going! At the time I was studying Hotel, Catering and Institutional Management at Westminster College.

While I was at college I went to evening classes to learn to make quilts, but once out at work I didn’t have the time to continue these. After a couple of years I left the food industry and went to work at a local family owned department store, I started out on the housewares then moved to the book department, eventually working up to Assistant Buyer.

It was at this time that I began to teach Patchwork quilting in the evenings at a community centre. After a while, I thought about doing the City & Guilds Patchwork and Quilting, but I was newly married,  working during the day, teaching two evenings a week and also doing up our house! I had no time to spare and also when I looked at the course I had already been teaching most of it for a while!!!

I gave up teaching and went part-time at work, moving to the Haberdashery and Wool department, when we started trying for a baby - our daughter, Laura, was born in 1999. I returned to work, part-time, only to be offered the buyers job for the Haby and wool department, and quickly had to learn to knit and crochet! I did this job for the next nine years, building up the department, doing demonstrations and introducing a knitting club. Unfortunately, with changes in the business, my department was shut down and I was made redundant.

I had no idea what I wanted to do and all the part-time jobs in retail I applied for I was told I was too qualified. I kept being told by friends that I should go back to teaching or at the very least demonstrating.

I looked into City & Guilds again, there was no college round where we live that was doing it, I would have had to travel a long way to do it and I was told I would have to do Level 1, 2, 3 then my Degree and teaching qualification. It would take years, and lots of money (all my redundancy money!) to get, plus after reading the information I knew I would be bored doing levels 1, 2 and 3. I had taught most of the work but I wasn’t allowed to jump in at a higher level.

I was lucky a local Patchwork group asked me to teach them, they meet at the local Arts Centre and the Manager saw what I did and offered me a job. I was back teaching.

Other than the two years I went to classes, when everything was ‘old school’ and hand sewn, I am completely self-taught. I read lots of books, research and try different techniques, coming up with ways I can make things and also teach them.

My teaching principles are: to create beautiful items that anyone with a small amount of sewing experience can create, its not complicated, yes sometimes takes practice but if I can do it, so can you! I don’t create highly complicated decorative display quilts, I create quilts to be used, cuddled under, washed and loved.

The other side of my quilting is Quilted Postcards, these started out as simple applique designs, these designs have been the core for my first three books, something I dreamed about creating but never thought I would, but we have!!! But over the years of creating them they have morphed into Arty embroidered designs as well - my favourite!!

Tortoise Crafts, is me, I am the designer and creator but it has become a family thing. Tony (my husband) is the technology and photographic side, he did all the photography for the books, and formatting and all the computer side, he designs and maintains this website and also our Etsy shop and Redbubble shop and he is always supporting me and pushing me to try things. Laura does all the proof reading and gets called to look at and offer advice on things, she doesn’t want to create quilts but she enjoys cross stitch and embroidery, specialising in Blackwork embroidery, her designs are available in our Etsy Shop. We are a team, without them I couldn’t do what I do!!

Although traditional patchwork & quilting, and the Quilted Postcards take up most of my time, I also do embroidery, cross stitch, knitting, crochet and weaving and work with Laura on different designs.



Dates for the September Term 2024 for my classes, morning & afternoon, will be the following Tuesdays

September 24th

October 1st, 8th, 15th & 22nd

Half Term is 29th October

November 5th, 12th, 19th & 26th

December 3rd.

****If you are interested in joining my Patchwork & Quilting class, would you please contact the Fairkytes Office on 01708 456308, email fairkytes@havering.gov.uk  or call into the office****


I am a Patchwork & Quilting Tutor at Fairkytes Arts Centre in Hornchurch, Essex. My classes are for mixed abilities, from beginners to more advanced.

The Morning Class, has been running for a number of years and is very mixed abilities, from ladies that have been coming for a few terms to a couple that have been coming over ten years.

The Afternoon Class, was new for September 2023 and is more aimed at those that wish to build on their skills and learn new techniques.

For the term starting in September I will be showing how to create some seasonal themed items and also continuing to make a quick quilt using pre-cut Charm Packs.

The format of both my classes is the same, we start with ‘show & tell’, where everyone shares what they have been working on over the previous week or anything creative that we have seen, books, exhibitions, videos..... I then give a demonstration of the current project that we are working on, going through different techniques and ways of working. I give hints and tips I have learnt over my 30 years plus of making patchwork quilts and also add in a smattering of history and embroidery. All the projects that I teach have full instructions to go with them, and work with the demonstration I give. These instructions include all the patterns pieces, they are emailed out on the Monday before the class, and help you to work on your project at home.

Everybody works at their own speed and style, hand or machine work.

Either classes are suitable for beginners, as I teach from the basics, but please note that this is a Patchwork & Quilting class, and some basic sewing skills and knowledge and ownership of a sewing machine is advisable, as we don’t have sewing machines available in the classes and projects are for making in your own time at home.

For further information on my classes please contact me or Fairkytes directly. Fairkytes Arts Centre, 51 Billet Lane, Hornchurch, Essex, RM11 1AX.  Tel - 01708 456308


I had a number of my pieces published in Popular Patchwork magazine which has since been incorporated into The British Patchwork & Quilting Magazine.

Since then I have been working on the designs for the Quilted Postcards - Little Quilts Of Creativity book and finally published it in April 2020, a long with the second book Quilted Postcards The Flower Edition published in March 2021, Book Number 3 Quilted Postcards - The Christmas Edition in August 2021 and now Book Number 4 Quilted Postcards - The Art Edition in March 2023.

My first book book has also featured in Today's Quilter as one of their "Fresh Picks".

September 2013 - Sidney Snail

March 2014 - Soft Toy Play Mat

April 2014 - Dog Draught Excluder

May 2014 - Floral Quilt

May 2014 - Bag Special Issue

June 2014 - Laura’s Owl

July 2014 - Art Deco Border

September 2014 - Cottage Cushion

October 2014 - Bird In A Cage Cushion

January 2015 - Botanics Cushion

February 2015 - Rainbow Fish Cushion

July 2015 - Rainbow Hexagons Quilt

July 2015 - Sweet Gifts For Summer

August 2015 - Heart Of Hearts Cushion

September 2015 - Toadstool Quilt

November 2015 - Art Deco Rose Cushion

December 2015 - Hexagon Table Topper

April 2020 - Quilted Postcards - Little Quilts Of Creativity

July 2020 - Today's Quilter - Book Review

March 2021 - Quilted Postcards The Flower Edition

August 2021 - Quilted Postcards The Christmas Edition

October 2021 - British Patchwork & Quilting - Retail Therapy Book Review

March 2022 - Art Quilting Studio - Article on my Quilted Postcards

March 2023 - Quilted Postcards The Art Edition