Happy Memorial Day weekend! While folks here in the US are honoring our fallen heroes, taking time with our families and friends and hopefully enjoying a bit of sunshine, UK makers are celebrating the launch of a brand new podcast, heralding the our Great British Quilters! Founded by Aurifil Designer Sarah Ashford, the series aims to delve into the lives of these creative sewists and quilters, giving us a sneak peek into the inspirations behind the art.

We’re thrilled that Sarah agreed to a quick interview to help introduce the series and are thrilled to be a part of today’s launch!


Hey Sarah! It’s great to talk to you today about your brand new Great British Quilter Podcast! We are so excited about it and thrilled to be able to be a sponsor, along with Bernina UK. Can you tell us a little more about the Podcast and how it came about?
Hey Erin! Well as you know I founded the Great British Quilter Challenge nearly 3 years ago now, which is a month long photo challenge on Instagram, where quilters respond to daily prompts. It has been such fun and a great way to strengthen the identity of the British Quilting Community. Last year I launched the GBQ Aurifil thread box, curated alongside Charlie Mankin of Sydney Rose Designs and championed by 10 other high profile British Quilters. This year I wanted to delve a little deeper and find out more about the journeys of the quilters and people in the industry. Everyone has come from a different place both geographically and creatively and I wanted to find a way to share these stories. Podcasting is such a great medium and is growing in popularity so it seemed like the perfect option; plus it’s brilliant for us quilters because we can sew while we listen!

What format does the podcast take? And can you tell us a little bit about the guests you have lined up?
The podcast is in the form of an interview, and I have the pleasure of interviewing a different guest for each episode. I made the decision early on to interview the guests in person, as I wanted to feel a real connection with them, and I think that translates across the sound waves. My first guest is a good friend of mine and very talented quilter, Jo Avery. Jo lives up in Edinburgh so the podcast was the perfect excuse to go and visit her, and of course learn more about her quilting journey. She has such a wonderful story and is very funny, I know you’re going to love listening to her.

I do indeed have lots of other guests lined up for the show; more quilters, designers, a fabric company…you will have to tune in to find out more! I really do want this to be a behind the scenes look at everyone in the industry because real stories are so fascinating. As quilters we all love fabric but at the end of the day we’re humans, and it’s in our nature to connect with one another. All my guests have such interesting stories to share of how they’ve got to where they are today. At the end of the podcast I ask my guests to share a top tip, either relating to quilting, social media or business. I want the podcast to be interesting and entertaining but also to provide value to the listener. And my guests have great tips to share!

Have you ever recorded a Podcast before? How did you learn to do it?
No! I’ve listened to podcasts but until now I didn’t have the first idea of how to record one! But I’m very much of the attitude that if I don’t know something I can find out. We have so much information at our fingertips through the internet and I feel so grateful to live in a time where I can teach myself so easily. So I watched lots of Youtube tutorials, did my research, and I was lucky enough to attend a talk with a podcaster in my local town, who went through his process, and it clarified to me that I was on the right track. I then got myself a good microphone, found myself some incredible guests, armed myself with some insightful questions and off I went. It has been a steep learning curve, but such an enjoyable one, and it’s so empowering learning new skills and acquiring new knowledge. It’s something that I hope to be able to pass on in the future too.

What advice would you give to others who are thinking about starting a Podcast?
First of all, it’s not as difficult as you think; if I can do it, anyone can! There is so much support and guidance out there, you just need to take the time to educate yourself. You also need to think carefully about what format you want your podcast to take. Is it going to be a chat or interview? Serious or light hearted? Just you talking or a group of people speaking? And most importantly, who is your audience, can you identify them? Why should your audience listen to you?

Apart from technological barriers, one thing that people really don’t like is the sound of their own voice and so that stops them considering recording a podcast. I’m no different and cringe every time I hear my voice played back! But I try not to get hung up about it too much because the process has been such fun and I’m providing so much value to my audience. I also take the view that when I’m interviewing other people, they are doing far more talking than me anyway!

My other advice would be to get a good quality microphone, and just to play around at first, getting comfortable with the mic and recording software. I found a good fiction book and read a chapter from it as a way of practicing! You don’t need to spend a fortune on software either; I use Garage Band which comes with my laptop. If you want to play music though, you do need to ensure that it’s royalty free and there could be some associated costs with that.

Wow, those are great tips! I’m sure you’ve inspired others to delve into the world of podcasting!  Thank you so much for chatting with us Sarah, we’re so excited to tune in and listen! Can you tell us where we can find it?
Of course! It’s available on Itunes and Stitcher, just type in Great British Quilter Podcast in the search and it will come up. It’s also available on my website www.sarahashfordstudio.com/podcast. Also on my website is downloadable transcript of the podcast so that those who are hearing impaired can enjoy it too.

Episode 1 with Jo Avery launches today! Follow me on Instagram @sarahashfordstudio and subscribe to my newsletter via www.sarahashfordstudio.com to keep up to date with when the latest episodes go live!

Finally, I’d like to extend my heartfelt thanks to you and to Bernina UK for being my sponsors, as it’s made it possible for this podcast to happen. You guys are amazing!


Thanks so much to Sarah for sharing some of the podcast excitement with us. We’ve listened to the first episode and it’s fabulous. We’re super excited to see how it all progresses! ❤

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