Well today, I had the absolute pleasure of meeting Tracey Pereira, the lovely owner of Quilt Me Happy – a quilting business set in the rolling hills of rural Hampshire.  Tracey’s creative HQ is a purpose built workshop in her back garden, and her independent business is thriving.  Not only does Tracey design and create the most beautiful quilts for both babies and the home, but she runs her own on-line quilting shop, is a qualified judge, a teacher of both patchwork and longarm quilting and a fountain of all knowledge when it comes to quilting.

I met Tracey through my sister, who had bought not one, but two absolutely gorgeous quilts for her two children.  These beautiful quilts are used really for decorative purposes only as they are really just too precious to use.  Beautifully crafted with fabric suitable for boys and with their names taking pride of place, these two quilts are precious reminders for my sister of her boys babyhood and one day they are sure to become family heirlooms.

Until I met Tracey, I must be honest and say that I had a pre-conceived idea as to what I thought quilting was all about.  I assumed that it was a hobby for older ladies with plenty of time of on their hands … but that could not be further from the truth.  Yes there are plenty of ladies over the age of retirement who partake in quilting, but what I didn’t realize, is that there are large numbers of thirty-something’s all picking up their ‘fat quarters’ and new fangled sewing machines and creating quite a stir!

Tracey has always been a ‘hands on’ kind of gal – gaining a BSc in Power Engineering and an Msc in Advanced Manufacturing Technology, Tracey worked for both Rolls Royce and IBM as a Manufacturing Engineer before her journey into the quilting world, which stems from the time she spent living in the USA (coincidentally overlapping my time in the States & only living about 45 minutes me in California.  It’s a small world eh?).  Sorry, I digress.  Anyway, quilting is a huge industry in America and on her return, Tracey not only brought back a love of traditional hand quilting, but also a rather large and brilliant contraption that allowed her to be one of the first quilter’s in the UK who could also offer a Longarm Quilting service.

I watched Tracey prepping a customer’s quilt, ready for the longarm quilting process and was totally absorbed;  so captivated was I by the pinning, smoothing, aligning and all manner of tweaking that took place before Tracey was happy to start, I temporarily forgot that I was actually there to take photographs.  I just stood there in awe and temporary silence (difficult to believe I know!)and watched while Tracey turned handles, moved fabric and pressed a myriad of buttons, before gently guiding the needle to where she wanted it, and applying a variety of small tack stitches to hold the three layers of fabric in place.


Tracey then showed me how she customizes the stitching patterns using a computerized system – she enlarged, reduced and scaled a pattern in a matter of seconds, making light work of what seemed a rather complicated process.  For me, that is a sign of someone who knows what they are doing – they have the skills and experience to make it look so easy.

After showing me how this huge piece of equipment could also be used manually for the most intricate of patterns and detailed stitching, she let me loose photographically speaking on all of the quilting loveliness that surrounded us in her workshop.   I didn’t need much persuading to start hooking things out of draws and off shelves in order to take photographs of all the lovely threads, gorgeous fabrics and lovely accessories I could find.  The light was fading fast, so I even braved the sub-zero temperatures and snow to venture outside to take a few shots.

Tracey then demonstrated sewing curves on a smaller, more conventional sewing machine and also hand stitched some traditional paper backed hexagons – which, I am told, are making a comeback, especially with the younger generation of quilters.

During our time together, we spoke about all sorts, like long lost friends.  We talked about our desire for lifelong learning and our need to be creative.  We also compared notes on teenage sons and found that we both have 17 year old boys who share a passion for music but not a love of academia.  We spoke about the guilt we feel about being a working mum and the constant juggling we have to do in order to keep everyone happy and have a good work/life balance.  Needless to say we consoled each other on that one.

Before I left, I asked Tracey what was next for Quilt Me Happy and this is what she said …

“I have already started designing a few quilting patterns and I have a couple of my digitized patterns for sale but I would like to get my name in print with some good patchwork patterns.

I’d also love to teach classes on Craftsy – a video teaching platform – but that’s a scary thought so this may be a pipedream!  And finally, I want to work on my own quilts and have a one woman show in the next 5 years”.

After meeting Tracey and learning so much about quilting, I just may have to attend one of her workshops – best I add that to my ever-growing bucket list!

Here are a few of the photographs I took whilst in Tracey’s company.  As you can see it was a photographer’s dream with all manner of yummy things catching my eye.  Unfortunately all of Tracey’s completed quilts were back in the house and I was unable to photograph them, but if you hop on over to her website http://www.quiltmehappy.co.uk there are plenty of examples of her fabulous work in addition to some lovely fabrics and accessories.  You can also find Tracey on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/QuiltMeHappy and contact her via email at teepeequilts@me.com.





Love and blue skies

L x