A brief biography


Sheena was born on

the Orkney Islands

and did a B.Ed degree

in Aberdeen. This included 2 dimensional design in textiles and since then she has been interested in exploring the artistic potential of threads and fabrics although she has been sewing since childhood.
Having been a Primary School teacher in Inverness for 30 years, Sheena is now a freelance quilting teacher and teach workshops locally, all over the UK and sometimes abroad. She also writes articles for magazines and her quilts have been featured in several books. Sheena's work has been exhibited locally, nationally and internationally since 1981 and she has won many awards in competitive quilt shows. She also sells her work and accepts commissions.

Sheena is inspired by many things. Some of her work is pictorial and is inspired mainly by Orkney seascapes, birds and Norse myths. These pieces often incorporate symbols and hidden images and require a lot of research.
Sheena is also interested in using quilted lines to create graceful movement, sculptural shapes and decorative patterns. Inspiration comes from relief sculpture, circles, patterns in nature, man made patterns and decoration on other textiles. Most of the lines are free machine quilted, a technique which is her specialty. It is fascinating how the surface of the quilt comes alive with the quilting. Some of these pieces are symmetrical and some are asymmetrical, some are wholecloth and some combine printing and stencilling or piecing and applique with free machine quilting.


To reserve a place on this course

click here to visit our deposits page to pay online.

Free Motion Quilting with Sheena Norquay 


May 11th to May 18th 2017 - FULL



During this week’s course you are going to learn everything you want to know about free motion quilting and practice all the tips and techniques taught by Sheena. By the end of the week you will have composed a sample selection worthy of kings as well as produced some wonderful wall hangings, bags or cushion covers.



Meet and greet supper with wine to get your creative juices flowing! After dinner Sheena will outline the course and show samples of the techniques that will be included. She will include information about threads, waddings and equipment. You can then decide on the sizes of pieces that you would like to make and cut out your fabrics. Three of the pieces can be made into a large shopping bag 18 x 18 x 6 inches, or three 18 inch square cushions or a selection of wall hangings. The fourth piece, a seasonal colour line, can be an 18 x 18 inch cushion, square wall hanging or a wide, skinny wall hanging of 8 x 48 inches.

The morning will be spent printing and stencilling circles, rings and grids within 6 inch blocks which will form 2 pieces. Techniques will be demonstrated and lots of samples will be shown which will give ideas for layouts and the use of the objects for printing and stencilling. You will be provided with a repeat and a bricked grid to use for printing dotty grids.

In the afternoon you will begin to free motion quilt the large circle designs after looking at various stitched samples and being shown various quilting possibilities. Free motion quilted trapunto will also be taught. In the evening students will be given ideas for quilting edges of circles and backgrounds.



Today we will look at how to quilt the printed grids. Samples with decorative lines and shapes will be shown and you will be encouraged to devise your own line designs. Some will be one way lines and some will be crossing lines which will create grid structures.



Today is an outing day to the Puces de la Cité in Limoges.

Whilst at the flea market photograph objects that can inspire free motion patterns or make drawings. Look at vintage objects, colour, shapes and lines and find interesting old textiles, linen and other haberdashery items.

In the afternoon we will begin drawing kaleidoscope designs, marking the designs on the fabric and working out points of connecting the lines. A kaleidoscope design for a 14 inch and a 7 inch circle will be provided. Sheena will explain how to create different kaleidoscope and border patterns using symmetrical motifs so you can draw your own designs if you wish.



Today will be spent free motion quilting the kaleidoscopes, twin needling or satin stitching the outlines and free motion quilting the backgrounds.



This morning, you will be given the choice of making a Seasonal Colour Line in a square format or a wide, skinny format. The square format can have 4 types of writing for the four seasons, the wide, skinny format can have one type or writing for the months of the year. Handouts for the lettering will be provided. Seasonal fabrics will be machine pieced together in a blended colour line and then pieced to two bits of calico before marking on the lettering. Sheena will show 4 methods of free motion quilting the letters and explain how fabrics can be used as inspiration for free motion quilting ideas for the other calico section.



Today there will be options of a half day or a day trip. We will continue to quilt the Seasonal Colour Line and Sheena will explain methods of binding, joining samples, constructing a bag from the pieces and how to make easy envelope cushion covers. We will also have a show and tell about what we have made.

Day 8 Today we will say our goodbyes and 'tie up any loose ends'. Most flights are later in the afternoon so the studio will be open for you to use all morning followed by lunch before you leave.




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The Old Barn



Cornwall PL15 9SX


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