Five Minutes with quilter Sarah Payne
Sarah Payne is a freelance quilting teacher, designer and TV demonstrator. We caught up with her while she was prepping samples for her next show to talk about her passion for fabric and the lure of the quilt festival.
ECT: Tell us a bit about your quilty world
SP: Craft has always been a very big part of my personal identity and it’s been the way I make a living for the past 10 years. I started with a shop, ‘Bee Crafty’ in Ellington, Cambridgeshire, which I am no longer involved with but is still going strong, and was then asked to be the quilting expert on ‘Create and Craft TV’, the UK’s first dedicated craft television channel. That’s when everything changed. I now do 20 shows a month and last summer I brought out my first book, ‘Sarah Payne’s Quilt School’, which became an Amazon best seller.
ECT: It sounds a busy schedule, but you also find time to design fabric collections and run workshops too
SP: Yes, I am absolutely passionate about fabric and I love being able to share that with other people. My second fabric collection, ‘Elegant Plumage’, based on my recent trip to India, is coming out in April [check out Hobbycraft and John Lewis to buy] and I run workshops with ‘CraftyMonkies', teaching on luxury retreats all over the country
ECT: Why quilts in particular?
SP: A quilt is so personal - it’s something you sleep under, have next to your skin, snuggle under when you feel poorly so there’s an emotional resonance. And they are made from so little too.
ECT: You’ve recently been to the Houston International Quilt Festival and the European Patchwork Meeting in Alsace. What do you love about these events?
SP: Being with people who breathe the same passion. Most of us quilters work alone in our sewing rooms, so it’s only at events like these that we can get to show off our creations and see what other people are doing. I always leave festivals fizzing with inspiration.
ECT: You’re bringing a group to the India Quilt Festival with us next year. What makes India an exciting destination for quilters?
SP: When I visited rural India, I was really struck by the very basic nature of the way the quilters work. They don’t use rotary cutters or die cutting machines for example, but instead literally tear the fabric into strips and then sew the pieces together. And the block printing is all done by hand. We can just go to Hobby Craft and knock up a quilt in an afternoon, but in rural India, creating a quilt is a real labour and that gives them a deeper meaning. The quilts at Festival will be rather different - we can expect to see some of the most amazing technical and art quilts.
Find out more about out India Quilt Festival 2021 programme here