Julia Gahagan - Miniature Quilts


by Anne L



Julia (our Chair) announced the Notices and business i.e.


Log Cabin blocks, coffee cups and cupcakes to be handed in.  SQ donated 60 crème egg covers for charity.  Ingredients table will be available at the April Meeting.  Two places still available for the NEC trip in August.  Anything for discussion at the May AGM should be notified to Julia by the April Meeting.


This coming Saturday, Sylvia Critcher is running a Workshop at SQ, cost £30 to non-members.  Applications for the June 4th Paint Workshop now being taken, 9 places are still available. Please contact Julia if you are interested.


Sutton Quilters are holding an event at Sutton Library on the 8th and 9th April 2016, all welcome.  On the 19th/21st March  Creative Quilting at Hampton Court are taking part in a Worldwide Quilting day and are offering 15% discount on purchases.


Details were also given of the requirements for the April meeting when we will be working in small groups.


Project Linus thanked SQ for the quilts we have made and we were informed that Surrey Carers and Social Services also have approximately 400 children in Care across Surrey who have a need for quilts and it is intended that they will be included in donations of future quilts.


SUBS FOR 2016/17 NEED TO BE PAID BY THE 17/5/16 – the AGM


Julia Gahagan the took the floor and gave us a brief overview of her quilting life.  She spoke of how she likes to break the rules, and although she still works full-time told us of her connection with the Care System and that she still manages to run Workshops and give talks.

We were told of her progression from making her own clothes to getting into patchwork resulting in her attainting a City and Guilds qualification.  After this, she and some of the other students formed a group called Stitch Witches.  However, Julia’s preference soon turned to making miniature quilts after being given a book by an American Author “Mastering the Art of Quilt Making”.

There were numerous examples of her work and designs on display and Julia generousl passed oundmany pieces of her earlier work.  Duriing this period she found that some fabrics/designs were not suitable for small quilts.  She spoke of her progression and mistakes she made to get to her current position.

Julia entered her work in several Competitions at Malvern and Sandown and achieved top three placings.  Her tip is, don’t be frightened to have a go.

The materials and techniques she uses in her Applique work include Fabric Glue Pens, net, chiffon, wadding, free-motion quilting, and where appropriate, zig-zag stitching.


Shadow work is also one of her loves and she gave the following tips:
Only use 100% cotton – make sure the design is scaled down for miniature quilts.
Don’t throw away your scraps.
Hand dyed and marbled fabrics are good.
Spray Starch is a useful tool and lightweight Vilene is best. Threads used are standard Gutterman polyester or cotton, and the size of needles that you are comfortable with; a 1/4inch seam allowance is also used.
It is easier to press the seams open, but don’t use steam as this will distort the block.
Julia’s wadding of choice is Hobbs Thermal as this is needle punched and is perfect for miniatures, or a thin cotton wadding would work. Netting used has to be very soft.


Miniature quilts only need a moderate amount of quilting, preferably in rows and spread out – reduce stitch size. She has found that hand-quilting is much harder to achieve.


When binding the mini quilts Julia uses a single 1inch piece of fabric for each side – using mitred corners is not necessary, as this can add bulk.
Don’t worry about mistakes, you can always cover them with flowers and please make sure that you think about your eyes – don’t work for too long,
Julia has her own website HOMEGROWN TEXTILES, on which she is assisted by her family, however, due to other commitments by family members she is not sure whether this will continue.


Future plans, keep doing what she is doing, and work on more Mediterranean designs, undertaking challenges and competitions and is passionate about lifelong learning.


Thanks were expressed to Julia Gahagan for a very interesting talk and a wonderful display of miniature quilts.