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I recently had the pleasure of an interview with Limerick quilter, Paula Rafferty. We all that a story when it comes to how we got started quilting and we think it’s fun to chat with fellow quilters and learn about their quilt journey.


Paula Rafferty Standing next to her  quilt.



PB:  So Paula, tell us…how long have you been a quilter?  We’d love to hear about some of your early quilting experiences.

PR:  I joined the Irish Patchwork Society in 2002 after collecting fabrics and books for several years. Trained as a fashion designer so working with fabrics wasn’t new to me but quilting was. I attended lots of workshops by both local and International  teachers. I really leaned towards Art Quilts and each quilt I created was a learning process, exploring new techniques, finding out which I liked.


PB: How has your quilting evolved to now?  Is there a type of quilting that you enjoy the most?

PR:  I love foundation piecing, and photo transfer techniques. I tend to work in two ways: 1) creating art quilts for exhibition ( I need deadlines to get anything finished !) and 2) what I call therapy quilts ( traditional patterns, where I can cut up loads of fabric into simple shapes and just enjoy the therapeutic nature of sewing without thinking, letting the colours and patterns find their own way!) Did a rough count over christmas and I’ve made about 150 quilts in the last 12 years, and that’s just the ones I can remember.

Here are just a few of Paula’s works.

 Horse Quilt 37 by 31 inches


Celtis quilt


Fly Away76 by 65 inches



PB:  Do you design your own quilts?

PR:  Yes, I think that will all the work that goes into creating a quilt, it should be original. Being inspired by other quilts is fine, but I like to add my own touch to each piece that I create. I like to work in series, and usually have about three or four on the go at any one time.

PB:  When choosing fabrics, are  there specific kinds of fabrics that you are drawn to more than others?

PR:  I love to dye and print my own fabrics, I’m at my happiest when I’m elbow deep in dyes or paints. I adore the serendipitous  effect of working with dyes, not knowing what the end product will look like, just enjoying the process.


Plastic bag dyeing



Plastic bag dyeing with guild members


Line drying dyed fabrics

PB:  I am fascinated with the prison art project that you are involved in…can you tell us a bit about that?

PR:  I have been a full time art teacher in Limerick prison for the last fifteen years. I mainly work in textiles but over the years have worked with mosaic and stained glass, felting and various printmaking techniques, drawing and painting. As my own quilting skills have developed, I have passed them on to my students. I believe my enthusiasm for textiles has been passed on to my students, allowing and facilitating them to create work they never thought possible. I started to show the work in quilt shows several years ago and the response has been amazing. It is a privilege to be able to show something positive that comes out of such a negative environment.I believe we are all capable of amazing things, the only thing that stops most of us is our own self doubt.


Thank you, Paula, for visiting with me!