Designer Chatt: SusanClaire of Gourmet Quilter, NZ

When we heard that SusanClaire – the fantabulous designer and maker of the Lock Gate quilt – had forsaken her idyll in New Zealand for a few months exploring English waterways and visiting the Quilter’s Haven we grabbed the chance of a chat.

To begin at the beginning:

  • she’s been sewing since she was five years old, but the teddy she embroidered and the doll’s clothes she made have long gone;
  • as part of a travelling family she covered the globe (on holiday from boarding school, which she went to aged eight); but got off the family train in Australia, where she met her husband with whom she emigrated to New Zealand aged 20;
  • she’s been teaching sewing and quilting for 30 years and lives over the shop/studio/classroom south of Wellington, where she still runs classes on demand;
  • her small shop offers fabrics and patterns (and has been online for patterns some years now, so don’t despair that she’s not actually there).
GourmetQuilter SusanClaire on the roof of her barge in Paddington Basin
GourmetQuilter SusanClaire on the roof of her barge in Paddington Basin

Inspirational bits:

  • have machine will travel; SusanClaire uses a Bernina 550QE on a SewEzi sewing table (see picture, looks like a giant quilt hung up behind her), and she obviously wouldn’t be without it [anybody out there travelled further with their machine?];
  • she loves to use a whole variety of new fabrics, no old bits in her stash then; and isn’t it great when passion and business come together?
  • a notebook with square paper accompanies her everywhere and she is forever scribbling and doodling – especially when she wakes up at midnight and wants to do something;
  • she’s also a great fan of  Electric Quilt software when it comes to designing.

Why is SusanClaire the Gourmet Quilter? Because her chosen craft is:

Fat free, sugar free, cholesterol free and full of fibre.