Danni and Jo feature in Quilters Companion

When local patchworkers Danni Reynolds and Jo Dawes submitted work to patchworking magazine Quilters Companion little did they know they would appear in the same edition, let alone one being on the cover.

The May edition proudly features Danni’s medallion quilt on the cover, with more coverage inside, with Jo’s machine piece and applique quilt also on show.

“Neither of us knew the other was submitting work at the same time and to end up in the same edition of the magazine is incredible,” Danni said.

“And for mine to end up on the cover was a huge surprise. Certainly something I never expected or asked for. It just happened.

“You just submit a project and the people at the magazine say if they want it or not for their publication.

“If so, you then have to provide instructions on how to construct the quilt, so they can reproduce it. And then you send them the quilt and they photograph it.

“I was at a big quilting event in Melbourne and the magazine editor walked past me and showed me a copy of the cover with my quilt on it.

“It was crazy but felt pretty good.”

The quilt features a medallion in the centre which radiates out in rows from the centre.

“The quilt itself is not entirely made by me, I also had some help from local customers,” she said.

“It looked beautiful and I just thought I would submit it as a project, never thinking it could end up on the cover. I would have thought there would have been other quilts more worthy but it is nice.”

This year she also entered a quilt in the Sydney Quilt Show.

Danni and Jo work together at Danni’s South Nowra business, The Quilting Patch, with Jo one of the teachers.

“I’ve been quilting and patchworking for around 20 years and opened the store as Dannilyns Fabric Warehouse with a friend about 11 years ago,” Danni said.

“I enjoyed patchwork and had a very small stash of fabric. I was a single mum and found it to be an expensive hobby.

“We decided to start a shop with good quality fabrics at reasonable prices.

“My friend decided not to stick with the business, so I decided to go for it and we’re still here.

“I saw an opportunity to bring good quality, cheaper priced fabric to Nowra. A price more suitable for someone like myself on a tight budget.”

The business naturally morphed into classes, with Jo being a teacher with Danni for more than 10 years.

“Jo’s quilt is totally different to mine, it is a machine piece and applique,” Danni said.

“It is beautiful.”

At a time when all retail is “doing it tough” and particularly patchwork shops, with the number of shops and suppliers dwindling, Danni took the bold step a year ago to put herself outside the box, purchasing a laser machine to manufacture Eppiflex English paper piecing templates.

She now owns the patent and trademark in Australia.

“The machine can cut out any number of different templates quilters can use in their creations,” she said.

She has even taken the new product on the road, attending all the big trade shows, demonstrating the machine’s capabilities.

“It’s hard for small business and in today’s market, you have to look at ways to make your business different or innovative,” she said.

“And for us this has been it. With the number of patchwork shops diminishing we needed something to keep us viable and unique.

“This has saved our bacon.

“The internet is great and you can learn a lot, especially from YouTube, including patchwork, but you honestly can’t beat being taught by a person, someone who is there to answer your questions and help solve your problems.

“Customers have also got to decide if they want these sorts of shops and other small retailers to continue to trade. And they must vote with their feet and get in and try and support them.”