Interview Elly Prins
By Irene Amse
On a busy Monday morning, I drove to Zoetermeer where Elly Prins is located with her beautiful company and store where she mainly machine quilts various patchworks.
In her store, you can also buy fabrics and all kind of accessories or gifts.
Even being a week too early for my inerview, I received a warm welcome, with a cup of coffee and the busy work was laid apart for a while.
How did you get involved in the Quilt world?
I had many professions. While working at the hospital I trained also as a dressmaker and afterwards I tought sewing classes. My sister was making a quilt and I went with her to a quilting class. From there on, I started also teaching quilting in my sewing classes. I was using a sewing machine which was uncommon; inthose days, quilting was mainly done by hand.
Twelve years ago my sister, who was living in Canada, returned to the Netherlands with a quilt machine quilted. When I visited her , I came with two quilts to let her friends show me how to machine quilt. I was immediately hooked!
With the help of my parents I looked for a quilting machine. There was one in Europe, in Belgium to be precise, manufactured by Gammill and imported from Canada. I purchased it to quilt a bed spread.
Five years ago I bought a second machine from a different manufacturer.
I wasn’t very happy with it and this is why last August I bought a second Gammill, that works with a sophisticated computer system.
I started in my garage and then I moved to the attic of my former house where the machine fits perfectly. I work in my favourite space for almost eight years and ten women help me now to quilt. I have stopped teaching because I couldn’t combine it with my own quilting activities.
Next to quilting and selling fabrics I started four years ago as a distributor for sewing tables.
I see that you create about 5 quilts per week, how do you get your inspiration?
Once or twice a year I travel to America to fattend the Longarm Machine Quilters’ classes. I find a lot of inspiration there. At the same time I subscribe to different video courses and magazines which keep me informed of the latest techniques and designs.
Do you have your own style?
No, not really, each quilt I make is different. I start from the subject. Actually, I am thinking about th quilt I have to make for the market in May in Veldhoven in the Netherlands. The theme is “Flora” and every time this way of proceeding is a new challenge for me. I try at least once a year to create a new quilt with new fabrics. I prefere colorful fabrics and big quilts, I am not fond of little quilts.
Do you remember your first quilt?
Yes, that was a Lone Star Quilt on the sewing machine with Schroeder fabrics.
How long it takes to quilt by machine?
In average, if we use a regular pattern, it will take us about eight hours.
Usually, before starting quilting, it takes one hour to install the quilt on the machine.
Free Hand quilting takes much more than eight hours.
Alongside the machine quilting we can also make the sandwich for customers, taking care of the bating, the back and the basting, so the customer can start immediately with the quilting.
Is there someone who inspires you?
Jacqueline de Jong is a woman who inspires me. Also a book can inspire me, such as French Braid or Wonder Wonders. I like to give my own touch to a hype, for example a French Braid quilt with a Jelly Roll. (The French Braid is a design that uses small strips of fabric to approximate the look of braided hair.)
My passion is quilting , not to design a quilt, I am not a traditional quilter, I like beautiful colors such as Batik.
And my customers are my greatest inspiration!
How many machine made quilts you can make per week?
In average five quilts per week. And we stand on several markets, we have an online webshop and the shop is open for two mornings a week.
If you like to know more about Elly Prins please visit her site: www.machinequilting.nl