Studio Stories

Jill Rose Brennan


Today we’d like to feature Jill Rose Brennan. Jill’s a quilter who makes all sorts “arty ones, beddy ones, large and small and commissions too. Here’s how we met. I’ll let Jill tell you in her own words.

“For quite a while I had been looking at the Machine Quilter Frames and had spoken with Martha Milne about how these might work for me. I had also ‘wandered’ over to see them at Festival of Quilts and had a little try-out. I was impressed. They seemed to offer the hands on approach to quilting on a frame – which was exactly what I was looking for. I love drawing across the surface of a quilt with my machine! 

I was lucky enough to be awarded an Arts Council ‘Talent Development Bursary’, which would be almost sufficient to cover the cost of the frame. I decided to go for it. Along with this, I bought the Juki TL98P straight stitch machine which Martha recommended. Joy! I loved it all immediately. I still love it all.”

So, after finishing a couple preliminary projects, Jill found dogs-on-quilt-all-ready-to-goherself, her very-kind husband and two dogs, packing up to drive to Italy. with the 8 foot Machine Quilter frame and the JUKI TL98P straight stitch sewing machine, Nifty Grip speed control handles and all the etceteras. The frame is designed to dis-assemble and re-assemble easily and quickly so it was no problem fitting the 8 foot frame in the car. There was still plenty of  room for the dogs!

While staying in Italy, Jill was planning to complete a specialimg_3577crop commission quilt.  This was a large piece of work  incorporating some favourite vintage quilt blocks that had been collected by an Italian designer friend, Hannah to be made into a quilt for her 8 year old son.

Hannah, known as   Nancy Mac in designer clothes circles didn’t want the typical young child’s quilt – she wanted one that could be loved for years and not be an embarrassment as he got older. A quilt to travel with. A quilt that will get worn and used and loved. The vintage blocks were supplemented by others using reproduction Civil War fabrics. Here’s a photo of the commission quilt loaded and ready to quilt on the 8 foot Machine Quilter frame set up in Jill’s Italian workroom


Jill made good use of her new found freedom and came up with an all-over design which was based on an Italian oak leaf. Jill chose a large cross-wound bright variegated 2,000 yd cone from Superior Threads’ Fantastico range. It was a bold choice and very much suited the quilt. The Fantastico range is a trilobal polyester designed to look gorgeous and perform well at the higher long-arm speeds.  Jill used Bottom Line in the bobbin; these threads work beautifully together being well balanced so as to give an even tension. The needle is also important. Jill used a 100/16 titanium coated topstitch needle. This needle has a larger eye making it ideal for free-motion quilting on a frame. The titanium coating makes it stay sharper for longer.2fsrender




fullsizerender3On the reverse was a world map panel that Hannah had also found,  a few more of the Log Cabin blocks and this is my favourite part; a piece of a favourite cowboy shirt with a POCKET!! What a fantastic idea!! I absolutely love the pocket.img_2050

What a gorgeous quilt! No wonder Jill had a hard time letting it go. At the handing over ceremony Jill said that “finishing a quilt is a bit like finishing a good book. You’re glad that it turned out well, but now you are going to miss it!”

“So, it’s been a bit of a journey, in more ways than one. But I have loved the choices that I have made along the way, the flexibility of working on the quilting frame, thank you Martha, it’s so clever; the Juki TL98P straight stitch machine I’m converted, these machines are solid!; and a challenging project which led to a thrilled, truly thrilled, recipient.  Next, one for his brother….watch this space!”


jill-in-studioYou can visit Jill at her studio in Eastleigh this weekend. The Sorting Office Studios are  open on Friday 18th Nov. –  for invited guests. And then Saturday 19th and Sunday 20th from 11am to 4pm for everyone.


We have all 15 of the studios open, The Hampshire Food Market and also a Creative Makers Fayre and buskers too. Find out more information on the Facebook pages :

The Sorting Office  @sortingofficestudios.