Meet the expert – A Q&A with Janet Clare

How did you discover quilting?

My Mum is a quilter and as I love all textile crafts it wasn’t too long after she started quilting that I did too.

Was there a single moment when you fell in love with quilting, or did it happen gradually?

I was a knitwear designer when I first started quilting- knitting was work and quilting was a hobby. Nowadays it’s completely the other way around! When my boys were little I joined a local quilt group and really caught the quilting bug there and learnt lots too.

Do you remember the first quilt you ever made?

My first quilt is a simple star design which I English paper pieced and made in the traditional thrifty way, using any fabric I could get my hands on. It’s very badly made but is still one of my favourites!

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Where do you find the inspiration for your designs?

The answer to that is everywhere, which is not remotely helpful to anyone trying to understand the creative process I know, but it’s true. Keep your eyes open and pay attention to whatever catches your attention and then try and work out what that spark was; it might be a texture or a colour combination.

What kind of designs are you most drawn to?

I particularly like vintage textiles and traditional quilts.

What tools and materials could you not live without?

My sketchbook, my sewing machine and fabric. All the fabric!

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Which other quilters are you really excited about right now?

I learn something from every quilter I meet.

What projects are you currently working on?

I’m writing my next book and am also designing my next fabric collection for Moda.

It is great that you can combine your love of quilting with travel. What has been your most memorable destination and why?

Last summer I was fortunate enough to travel to Australia and teach in five cities there. That was an amazing and inspiring trip, full of new experiences, sights and colours.

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This December you are leading Stitchtopia’s German Christmas Markets tour. Can you give travellers a sneak peak of the type of thing they can expect on this trip?

I’m so looking forward to taking everything in, having fun and collecting inspiration during our days out for our times stitching together on the boat. Amelia Earhart said ‘Adventure is worthwhile in itself’ and I am so looking forward to making new friends and having a stitching adventure!

What other destinations would you love to visit and why?

I’d love to go back to Prague (without small boys this time!) as I found it a fascinating and interesting city full of history and culture.

How do you relax after a busy day of quilting?

I start knitting or just carry right on sewing, unless we’re watching the latest Scandi box set and then I have to read the subtitles instead!

Janet is leading our German Christmas Markets Quilting Cruise in December, find details of the trip here…