Friday, 21 December 2007

More Tales of The Cotton Patch

A couple of people were missed off the previous post at the Christmas do..

Our webmaster David and me!

We have endeavoured to get important gifts to all our customers on time and we really hope we have succeeded this year. We know we can't bat 100 every time but we hope that the similarities to cricket don't go as far as the England Cricket team's performance in Sri Lanka at the moment!

So, our closing comments for 2007 are that we hope you are all as delighted as this customer...

Date: 21 Dec 2007 15:12:51 GMT
Subject: Delivery of Order.
Name:K D.M

Message:Would just like to express my thanks for the speedy delivery of my book order. In plenty of time for Christmas. May I wish you and your staff a Merry Christmas and a Happy and Prosperous 2008.
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Christmas Celebrations

Like many mailorder and retail companies the build up to Christmas has been a very busy one. There have been late shifts, extra days worked and more staff and still we were working till the last posting day before Christmas. We hope if you ordered from us that you received it in time and that the gift was well received too!

It only seems fitting that our Christmas celebrations of a lunch for all the Cotton Patch staff should be posted on the blog. Fortunately the injuries were only minor! A certain member of staff (who promises it was nothing to do with the Merlot) found the wooden floor too slippery and had to have ice and arnica for her rather sudden transition from vertical to horizontal.

Pictured here - Margaret and Jean, Geoff (Ho Ho Ho) and Val

The Magazine Angels Anna, Ellie and Nikki

Pam, Ann and Nadine (left)
Anne, Paula, Dawn, Denise, Jayne, Alan, Adam and Nadine (right)

Val, Pat, Cherrie and Ken
From all of The Cotton Patch team we wish you a very merry Christmas and a happy and peaceful New Year.
Don't forget....our internet sale starts on the 4th January 2008 with some fantastic bargains on fabrics, quilting products and daylight lights.
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Friday, 7 December 2007

A Stitch in Time..

Fine Cell Work celebrate their 10th Anniversary this year. Featured recently on Radio 4's Midweek programme, Fine Cell Work is described on their website as "a Registered Charity that teaches needlework to prison inmates and sells their products. The prisoners do the work when they are locked in their cells, and the earnings give them hope, skills and independence.Savings reduce the likelihood of offenders returning to crime. Prisoners often send the money they earn from Fine Cell Work to their children and families, or use it to pay debts or for accommodation upon release.

The inmates are all taught by volunteers from the Embroiderers Guild, the Royal School of Needlework and the world of professional design. Once trained, they can be responsible for difficult commissions done to deadlines, and support other inmates who are still learning."

The embroidery featured above was a special commission that hangs in Manchester and, quite appropriately, was sponsored by Deans Court Chambers, Manchester. The wall hanging entitled ‘Manchester all stitched up’ was unveiled in December.

After their move to new chambers over five years ago - a splendid Victorian building with an equally splendid reception atrium - the barristers wanted something special as the centrepiece of the reception area. Former Head of Chambers, Stephen Grime Q.C . suggested commissioning a wallhanging from Fine Cell Work.

‘It was a good chance to commission a truly original work and help prisoners at the same time,’ he explains. 'Barristers are normally involved with trial and sentencing. This seemed a good opportunity to do something to help with rehabilitation. Perhaps some of the inmates who took part had been our clients!'

One of the patrons of Fine Cell Work is Kaffe Fassett. From time to time we supply Fine Cell Work with fabrics and theads - it's good to see that the end results are so worthwhile - we thought it worth sharing this aspect of quilt-making that you may not have heard about. They also have a shop, so if you are looking for finished items for Christmas presents...

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Wednesday, 28 November 2007

7 Quilts in one Year...

After a period of not quilting for a while, one of our customers, Louise, completed 7 quilts in one year. This was quite a prolific feat and one that we were very impressed by (we won't say what the average number of UFO's is for most of us here but you can probably imagine how difficult it is when temptation is continutally being presented...).

Louise gave us some background to the quilt shown here.

"The fabrics were chosen by my daughter and myself from the 2007 range. I did the design in the style that Elizabeth wanted. She had the idea of the cascade of hearts in the outer 'round'.
The quilt was made quilt as you go in strips that formed the 4 sides, after the central 9 blocks which were quilted in one go. It is hand quilted and the whorls follow the basic design on the background and other fabrics.
Fortunately she loves it and so far has remembered to fold it back when sitting on her bed during the day ( she is a university student)"
Thank you to Louise for sending us the picture and sharing it with us.
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Tuesday, 27 November 2007

Better than Belgian Chocolates...!

We hope that customers have recently received their copy of our latest Newsletter in the post over the past few weeks. The phone hasn't stopped ringing since it started arriving and we have had lots of positive feedback about the newsletter including the email below.

X-OriginalArrivalTime: 22 Nov 2007 13:35:44.0525

Just received my latest newsletter and I had to email to say Wow! I enjoyed it more than a box of Belgian choccies. Well Done!!! to all concerned - now .... how to choose!!

...although some of us here would still rather have the Belgian chocolates to help us process all the orders!

A 62-page newsletter is quite a bit of work to put together (especially for Nik who does most of the writing, editing, scanning, assembling, graphics, creative stuff, plus plays a big part in choosing the fabrics...the list goes on) so we hope you all enjoy it as much as this particular customer.
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Friday, 23 November 2007

Compassionate Friends

Irene who featured on one of our previous posts as the organiser for a Compassionate Friends group kindly provided the following information about the Sunray Quilt that the group made and that was on a previous post. Many thanks for filling in the details and providing the link.

"The block is called Golden Glow and was first published during the Depression years. It combines piecing and applique. Golden Glow was the inspiration for our Quilt. It can be found as a Block of the Month on . The blocks were adapted and constructed in several ways to suit the ability of the individual. Some were appliqued, some backed and stuck with bondaweb. Handstitching, embroidery, machining and machine embroidery and embelishments were worked on the blocks. Hope this helps."
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Tuesday, 6 November 2007

Recycle your fabrics with Morsbags!

We came across this excellent idea when treking round a few blogs ...its a great way to use up fabric scraps/old duvet covers/old jeans/charity shop fabrics and make something very useful too plus its good for the environment. According to the News last night Marks and Spencer will soon be charging for their plastic bags so this idea is even more relevant! If you haven't got big enough pieces - just join a few pieces together (with good strong seams of course) and then use your patchwork as you would a "wholecloth" Morsbag.

The aim of the founder of Morsbags was to encourage the use of fabric bags so that we stop using plastic ones, encourage people to get into the habit of taking their own bags into supermarkets and to provide a pattern for people to make their own (visit the Morsbag website for instructions in pdf / word and a demo). For more about Morsbags click here. Once you've made a few for yourself why not start your own pod and do what the Living Coasts group led by Barbara did and give them away! There are pods all over the world so you can also join an existing pod (see their map)

This is Barbara's story...

"In May 2007 I saw it (Morsbags) on BBC Breakfast and was immediately taken by the idea! I joined the website and named my 'pod' Zappers (as in plasticzappers!). I battled on alone for a few months, making bags and giving them away in all sorts of places; and then I emailed the Paignton zoo. They were very taken with the idea and put me in touch with Living Coasts which is another aspect of the zoo, but in Torquay.

Living Coasts asked me to go to their Marine Mayhem Day in the summer which was to highlight the plight of the marine animals and the plastic problem. I made 150 bags for this occasion on my own, and gave them all away at LC.

I had talks with their volunteer co-ordinator and we arranged to have day workshops at the zoo and LC (for volunteers) on the last Wed and Fri in the month. We have had four of these so far which were very successful and we had a handout outside Tesco in Paignton on 13 Oct. and gave away 130 bags!

Our next handout is on Dec 1st and we are working hard to make anough bags for this and for the following plastic bag amnesty during Dec. at LC. when people can come to LC and bring their plastic bags and get a free morsbag (hopefully).

It is great fun to be a part of and also to be helping the environment and the marine animals."

Some of the photos are from the workshop in early October - looks like they had a great time and made lots of Morsbags (as well as fitting in a few coffee breaks to admire the view!).

Like many quilting groups Morsbags is about having fun while you're sewing, meeting with like-minded individuals and doing something creative and worthwhile!

Thanks to Barbara and the Living Coasts group for the photos - well done for giving away so many bags! We think its a brilliant idea!
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Monday, 5 November 2007

Perfect Spirals

If you’re wondering how to quilt your next quilt and perhaps don’t want to do grids or stippling the Perfect Spiral tool can provide perfect radiating spiral or spiral patterned lines.

The Perfect Spiral can mark blocks or backgrounds up to 24" across and the Mini version can mark blocks from 2" to 10". This was recommended to us by a quilter who had seen it used and the results are very effective.

To use it select a pivot point and rotate to mark lines at equidistant intervals. Full instructions on how to use it are included.

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Thursday, 1 November 2007

It must be on every quilter's wishlist....a trip to visit the Pennsylvania Amish in the States. A few people at The Cotton Patch have been lucky enough to go already making the rest of us very jealous indeed!

With the dollar reaching all time highs against the pound this could be just the right time to take that much needed vacation!

One of our customers has sent us details of the quilting holiday that she organises. We haven't been ourselves but it certainly looks like all the major attractions are covered such as Heritage Centre at Lancaster, Lancaster Market, Shopping Malls, visits to Intercourse and Bird in Hand, buggy ride and even...a tour of the QVC studio (!), trolley tour of Philladephia and lots more.

For more information please contact email sales at

The document below has more details including the itinerary. Or visit their
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Tuesday, 30 October 2007

Turntable Ironing Board

One of the really brilliant things about Blogs is how quickly good ideas get passed around. We just got an email about Ricky and Alex's Quilt Show which you might want to check out. On it they mentioned a really neat and easy-to-make tool that would also make an excellent gift. The idea came from a blog in Germany.

Basically, take a quick trip to Ikea (although we would debate whether a trip to Ikea is ever quick!) to purchase the base for the ironing board (in Ikea-speak SNUDDA 39 cm). Cut out some wadding (like Quilters Dream Select, Armofleece or Warm and Natural) to the size of SNUDDA, a fabric circle in your choice of fabric (or use a new tea towel) larger than the base and in a Yo-Yo style gather the fabric around the base and pull tight.

Before you know it you'll be able to use your Clover Mini Iron and be ironing with ease!
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Friday, 26 October 2007

Ho Ho Yo-Yo

Janet, our resident Yo-yo expert, has been making Christmas decorations using the Clover Yo-yo makers, one of the Christmas Bauble Fat Quarter Packs and some Gold Bias Tape.
They are very easy to make and take about 20 minutes. They are quick and easy and make a perfect little project whilst watching the TV. The joys of being able to multi-task! By putting two Yo-yos back to back and sewing a loop of ribbon in between she was able to create a nice hoop to allow them to be hung from a Christmas Tree.
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Thursday, 18 October 2007

Positive Feedback

It's not often that we post feedback from customers on our site but we've had some very nice emails recently so we thought we should!

It is also lovely to see people at shows and in the shop and to get that feedback in person - good or bad. We know that sometimes we could do better but we do try to put things right if they go wrong!

Our first email was sent from a customer who had ordered for the first time from us and wouldn't you know it, one of the items was damaged in transit. This is what she wrote...

Dear Cottonpatch

Thank you very much for your good service.

I made my first order with you recently and was very impressed by the speed and quality of service and the good packaging. Also, I had a problem with my order which you responded to immediately by replacing the damaged item. It is not often these days that one can receive such good service and so I think it should not pass without my remarking upon it.

Keep up the good work and I look forward to future purchases.

Yours sincerely


Today we received a lovely email

Date: 17 Oct 2007 18:06:10 GMT
Subject: loving the shop
Name:c h
Email Address:

Message: i would just like to say how much i love the look of all your products, your site is well laid out and the stuff looks amazing. i am extremely happy with the variety of stock you show and sell. i have not found a single site to match the high quality of this one. thank you very much.

We have passed the feedback onto our webmaster. Makes it all worthwhile!
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Tuesday, 16 October 2007

Sunray Quilt

Congratulations to the Compassionate Friends Group - their quilt is now complete and a picture of the end result is shown below. Thank you to Irene for sending the photo in and sharing it with us.
I love the way that each person has been able to use fabric to express the individuality of each child.
A beautiful result...

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2007/2008 Catalogue

We are delighted with the response to our latest Mail Order Catalogue which is being delivered at the moment.

We hope you find it a useful reference for your patchwork and quilting notions. Despite the effects of the postal strike, which delayed delivery of the catalogue, we have also been able to mail parcels and where items were urgent our courier option has proved popular.

We felt it was important to highlight the effects that a long-term strike could have on small businesses like ourselves. BBC 2's Working Lunch and the Today programme on Radio 4 took up that story and broadcast it to a wider audience, which resulted in a greater awareness of the problem and comments from the Goverment that a resolution was needed soon. The positive message now is that, providing agreement is reached with the Royal Mail and CWU, the postal system will get back to normal soon.

Web email newsletter subscribers will know that we have some excellent offers on the website at the moment - on frames, daylight lights and Cotty boxed sets.

These larger items are normally sent by courier (some restrictions apply). Please note that for courier deliveries a signature is required on delivery and we will need to contact you to arrange the delivery date so please indicate on your "invoice to " address the daytime number we can use to contact you. We will also need a phone number for the "delivery to" address.
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Friday, 5 October 2007

Cotton Patch on the BBC

As you may be aware the Royal Mail employees (members of the CWU) are staging two 48-hour strikes which began yesterday. It is having an impact on our ability to get parcels out to you, our customers. Our 2007/8 catalogue is printed but can't be mailed out. However, you can still go to our website and you can download a copy as well as placing an order online.

This kind of situation can have potentially devastating effects on a small business like ours. We had the opportunity of highlighting this on the BBC2 program Working Lunch yesterday.

Liz Sewell was interviewed by Simon Gompertz on how the alternative mail delivery providers are not a full substitute for Royal Mail as even if we sent out the catalogue using an alternative the final delivery is still done by Royal Mail. To see the program you can view it at the following link

We are offering the following to our customers whilst the strike is in progress:
1) If you are close enough to visit please come and see us! The first five customers every day will get an attractive notepad and pencil with magnet (no purchase necessary) for putting on your fridge - always handy to have! Please quote "early bird" when you visit.

2) If you place an order online and would like to pick it up from the shop customers will be offered a free gift from a large selection of patchwork and quilting related items when they pick their order up - you choose the one you would like - most are worth over £5 in value.

To do so:

On your checkout specify The Cotton Patch as your delivery to address, the date of your visit as the second line and complete our address and postcode (B28 9AJ). We will have your order ready for you - please allow at least a day for your order to be prepared (This is subject to stock being available).

3) For those customers who can't visit we can offer a flat-rate £8.50 next day courier delivery instead of our usual Priority Service. This is subject to some product and location restrictions but most products and destinations are covered. This will be up on the website as an option when you select your postal delivery method. We require a signature on delivery for this method so please specify a different delivery address (such as your work address) if you are normally out during the day.

Thank you for your patience - we hope that the dispute gets resolved quickly and that normal service will be resumed soon.
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Friday, 28 September 2007

Cows Quilt by Rachels of Greenfield

One of our customers, Sylvia Dickins, shared the results of her Cows quilt with us a few weeks ago and so we thought we should post it on the blog.

Sylvia commented "I ordered a Cows wallhanging kit from you in July and thought you might like to see the finished product hanging on my kitchen wall (the quilting was done while I was on holiday in Canada). I enjoyed making it, and am pleased with the way it has turned out."

Sylvia is not the first one to finish a small quilt like this on holiday - the good thing about the Rachel's kits is that they are very portable as everything you need is in the kit apart from needle and thread. They also make very nice gifts if you're wondering what to give your special quilting friend for Christmas!

The design is by Rachel Pellman of Rachel's of Greenfield. She and her husband Kenny have been involved in patchwork and quilting for most of their lives as they are both members of the Mennonite community which originated in Germany and is (as I understand it) a branch of the Amish community.

Rachel has authored and co-authored numerous books including Amish Wall Quilts, The World of Amish Quilts, A Treasury of Amish Quilts and Tips for Quilters. She has spent many hours in Amish homes learning the stories of Amish women, the histories of their quilts, and current trends in Amish quiltmaking.

Rachel grew up in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, the youngest in a family of ten children. She graduated from Eastern Mennonite University with a degree in Home Economics education. She and Kenny are the parents of two sons, live in Lancaster, Pennsylvania and are members of Rossmere Mennonite Church.

When we go to Quilt Market in the Fall we always make a point of saying hi to Kenny and Rachel to see what new kits have been developed - all the kits and patterns that we supply from Rachel are on our website.

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Tuesday, 28 August 2007

Compassionate Friends

The Festival of Quilts put us in touch with many different people and one of them that I was delighted to be able to spend some time talking to was Irene Baldock. Irene runs a creative use of grief group down in Medway. The group are all bereaved parents who have found sewing to be very therapeautic and helpful in their grief. They are known as the Sunray Group and have been working hard making a memory quilt.
Each sunray block in this quilt has been beautifully sewn by a parent or grandparent or sibling and they hope to have it finished in time to display at the National Gathering near Cambridge in October. Below is a photo of their work in progress of this quilt.

Some have gone on and made delightful butterfly wall hangings - see below - using wire hangers and other items purchased from Cotton Patch.

They are part of a national charity called The Compassionate Friends (TCF for short) which is based in Bristol and has links around the world.

The charity's address is The Compassionate Friends, 53 North Street Bristol BS3 1EN. The national website is The Helpline 08451 23 23 04 is operated by bereaved parents. The Compassionate Friends was founded in 1969 and is open to all parents whose son or daughter has died, at any age and from any cause. The death of a child brings many difficulties within the family. TCF know that there is no easy path through the pain, and do not offer simple solutions. What they do offer is continuing understanding, friendship and encouragement. They also offer support to grandparents and siblings.

Members of TCF, all of whom are bereaved, offer time to listen and share experiences and feelings. Everyone has different needs and circumstances and TCF has a wide range of support services to meet their needs.
For example:
A Helpline run by bereaved parents
A network of local TCF Contacts who may offer one-to-one visiting and hold group meetings
Support through letter and email with Contacts or other bereaved parents
A Website with information
A range of publications, written by TCF, offering both practical and emotional support
A quarterly journal
A postal library based in Chatham Kent containing over 2,000 titles for the bereaved and professionals
A programme of informal weekend Retreats and an annual weekend Gathering.

I thought it was important to share this with you as I am quite sure that there are many people who would find the creative outlet that patchwork gives very therapeutic when they have been bereaved. Irene was telling me how many people who didn't sew at all produced some beautiful pieces.
If you are interested in finding out more please visit the TCF website.
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Tuesday, 21 August 2007

Kaffe Fassett Quilt

To demonstrate the fact that Kaffe Fassett quilt designs can be used for other things - not just quilts, we've posted a photo from Catherine Corbishley Michel who visited our stand at the NEC last week. She kindly brought in a photo of her interpretation of the Hot Diamonds quilt using Kaffe Fassett and Martha Negley fabrics which is used as a curtain and definitely works in this format. Thank you for dropping the photo into the stand!

Catherine also had a quilt called Five a Day on show in the Large Quilts category.

I remember that last year Catherine raised money for Prostate Cancer research as she works in this field as a Doctor and we were glad to be able to assist by sending her machine needles to that she could stitch a quilt. The resulting sponsorship for her "quilt miles" and raffling the result in order to raise money for this worthwhile cause.

We would love to see more quilts that customers have made and the stories behind them so that we can post them on the blog. You can either send your quilts in (with a bit about how you made it, the fabrics, threads, etc) or post them directly here.
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Monday, 20 August 2007

Festival of Quilts - Post Show

The Show met and then exceeded all our expectations. It was buzzing with the energy created from the combination of many factors that make the Festival of Quilts a show that is in a class of its own. That combination came from the wonderfully varied and international audience, a fabulous selection of quilts from the competition entries, the galleries and the stands themselves with, as usual, the quilts being presented in a way that really does justice to the work and talent of its creator. The excellent venue and the ease with which local, national and international visitors can access the site plus the range and depth of the workshops on offer gives participants a greater knowledge and skill of the craft..brilliant!

So thanks to Andrew, Rhonda and the team at Twisted Thread for another excellent show.

The fabric packs of the quilts from Kaffe's new book Quilts in the Sun are now available.

We had the opportunity to meet old friends and make new ones ourselves and some of them will be featured over the next few weeks or so on this blog.

We were fortunate again to have Kaffe Fassett and Marti Michell on our stands and they were joined this year by Anneke den Broek who was demonstrating the needle puller which her husband designed.

We have been busy today unloading the vans and trying to get back to some semblance of normality. For those of you who managed to make it to the show we hope you enjoyed it as much as we did.

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Monday, 13 August 2007

Pom Pom's, Yo Yo's and Festival Finalising

Things are very busy here today again - but we still had time for a quilt show of the quilts from Kaffe's new book - "Quilts in the Sun" and before we knew it our office was full! Kaffe will be be doing book signings throughout Festival (timings for these will be on our stand D20).

Adam will be cutting the Rowan fabrics at the show and here he is with one of the quilts from Quilts in the Sun - a snowball design called "Gilded Snowball" by Kaffe Fassett.

We will also have the latest designs and sizes of Yo Yo makers (otherwise known as Suffolk Puff) and Pom Pom makers. Hearts and Flowers Yo Yos have now been added to the Circles (new extra small size is also available) which can be used to accessorise bags, scarves, quilts and more. Here is a selection of the Pom Poms that David (our web designer) and Janet put together this weekend when they had a few minutes spare.

All of the Pom Pom makers, Yo Yo makers and examples of them will be on our stands at D20 and E20 - we hope to see you later this week!

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Thursday, 9 August 2007

Festival of Quilts Preparation

Final preparations are underway for the Festival of Quilts at the NEC and it promises to be even bigger and better than last year! We really hope you can visit and look forward to seeing you there.

The FESTIVAL OF QUILTS runs from 16th to 19th August, 2007 at the NEC, BIRMINGHAM. Our stands at D20 and E20 will feature lots of offers and products including..

Fantastic offers on Cotty thread boxes - this is a closeup of the threads earlier today whenJayne, our latest Cotton Patch recruit who will be working at the NEC for the first time, was putting together our Cotty thread boxes.

Kaffe Fassett will be signing copies of his new book "Quilts in the Sun". We will have a huge selection of Rowan fabrics, kits of the quilts in the new book, charm packs and special collection packs.

Marti Michell is visiting from the US for the third year running to demonstrate her rulers, templates and books, including her latest book "Kaledioscope ABC's", which is hot off the press. For more information on her latest book and the Kaleido Rulers click here

We will have demonstrations of Daylight Lights, which make sewing a lot easier on the eyes for many crafts (and for reading). We will have some fantastic show offers on selected products including the Ultimate , Portable and the new Clip-on Battery Lamp.

Anneke ten Broek, from Holland, will be demonstrating her Needle Puller, which makes your quilting easier and less tiring on your hands. For more information on the Needle Puller please click here and scroll to the bottom of the page.

If you need to order items to pickup at the show for classes (or just to save on postage!) please let us know by Saturday 11th August so your order can be ready to pickup from the E20 stand. Please specify the day you require it. For web orders put the "Delivery to" address as the NEC,the second line as the date required and the postcode as NEC E20

We look forward to seeing many of you next week at the Festival!
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Paducah Best in Show

The latest copy of American Quilter has just landed and is in the process of being sent to subscribers. The award for Best in Show quilt went to "Flower of Life" by Sharon Schamber of Payson, Arizona. What a quilt! She hand-dyed the fabrics for it and even has manufactured a paper that is used for the applique which when it is removed (by washing) allows the fibres to puff up to give added dimension to the applique.

A blog at the following link tells you more about Sharon and her beautiful quilt. The article in the Fall 2007 American Quilter discusses the symbolism in the quilt and the techniques she used. More on the American Quilter's Society (AQS) can be found on their website at
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Monday, 6 August 2007

Trinity Quilters Visit

We were delighted to see Trinity Quilters in the shop recently. We had a few giveaways in the form of free patchwork magazines as we've been tidying up stock and making way for new items. As you can see below there was quite a bit of interest in them.

We hope Trinity enjoyed their visit and look forward to seeing you again soon.

The shop is closed on Wednesdays but we're happy for groups of 8 or more to visit by prior arrangement. Please contact us if you have a group visit you would like to arrange and we'll check the diary - we wouldn't want you to arrive on a day when we have one of our big deliveries (as you may find yourself getting in line to move the boxes inside!)
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Friday, 13 July 2007

Tips for patchwork and quilting from Geoff

We begin an irregular series of articles by Geoff on patchwork and quilting tips with two short tips for rotary cutting. We’ll gradually introduce you to members of The Cotton Patch team over the coming months.

Geoff’s Tips #1
If you have problems with your ruler moving when rotary cutting try this simple solution of putting your little finger over the edge of the ruler. This will act as a stop and resist the pressure from the rotary cutter. Only use your fingers and thumb to press on the rule not the flat of your hand.

Another solution is to use Invisigrip (Ref. 8526). Invisigrip is a clear non-slip material that is applied to the underside of rulers and templates. It is easy to apply and does not obscure the markings. When you want to apply pressure it prevents rulers from slipping but slides easily when no pressure is applied.

Geoff’s Tips #2
Before cutting always ensure that the blade is free to rotate. This will not only increase the life of your blade but also ensure that your rotary cutter is not acting like a knife and cutting into your rotary mat.

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Wednesday, 27 June 2007

Shibori at The Festival of Quilts

Following on from the last post on Shibori I was looking at the Festival of Quilts website (organised by Twisted Thread), which is at the NEC in August and noticed there is a workshop on Sunday 19th August by Yoshiko Wada. She is a Japanese Shibori textile artist and her workshop looks very interesting..

"..Students will experiment ways to enjoy fun and vibrant elements and unconventional piecing. We will explore how a variety of fabrics like wool, silk, rayon, and polyester react differently, achieving transparency, texture, depth, and thickness. Animated sculptural results may amuse you. Simple shibori dye techniques will be applied after sewing the final piece..."

The Festival of Quilts is a quilt show not to be missed. Each year more and more customers book for multiple days just to be able to see the quilts, exhibitions, attend workshops and lecture and supplies! It is a great opportunity to be inspired and learn new techniques.

For more information please visit the Twisted Thread website.
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Tuesday, 26 June 2007

Shibori - a Japanese Technique

We had an interesting customer visit the shop last Saturday to buy the Grace Z44. She was finding it difficult to get the tension on her quilts right for the particular technique that she uses. She has studied the Japanese technique called Shibori. An example of one of the results from her workshop is shown below.

Relief I - detail
(Image: Huw Jones)

For those of you not familar with this, it is a Japanese technique which involves tying, shrinking and working with fabric so that the fabric form retains the memory of the stitches which are removed. Michelle Griffiths has a wonderful website with example of her work. "Her work explores the natural rhythm of traditional shibori techniques in order to create contemporary three dimensional sculptures. Working predominantly in whites and creams Michelle records the actions found within shibori; stitching, binding, gathering, manipulating and folding - not through the expected dye process, but purely as texture and form." Her website is at

Currently on exhibition

- "Art of the Stitch & Scholar

"The Williamson Art Gallery, Birkenhead

(Image: Pinegate Photographics)

We were fascinated by the effects and results of this technique that is not that well known outside of Japan. If you are interested in finding out more you can visit

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Friday, 15 June 2007

Thimbleberries Quilt Club Vintage Stitches

We were delighted to see one of our Thimbleberries Club customers, Mrs Elisabeth Green from Worcester, in the shop today. She had brought with her a picture of her completed Thimbleberries Vintage Stitches quilt, which was the Club project in 2006.

Elisabeth has adjusted it slightly from the original to fit her bed perfectly, as the photo below shows. Embellishing was added to each of the panels at the centre of each block using gold thread. For those of you who have not yet completed your quilt we hope this inspires you.

Elisabeth made the quilt as a Christmas gift to her husband and managed to make the finishing touches to the quilt on Christmas Eve without him realising that she was making a present for him! He was absolutely delighted with the quilt.

Elisabeth used a "quilt as you go" method to quilt the quilt a block at a time, as she finds the bulk of the quilt too much to do as a whole. If you are interested in finding out more about the technique Carolyn Forster's new book "Quilting on the Go" provides excellent tips and instructions on this very useful and practical method of quilting (Ref 4481) .

We run a Thimbleberries Quilt Club each year so if you are interested in joining, look out for more information in Newsletter 46, due out in October/November.

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Monday, 11 June 2007

Why we're all here...

It was seventeen years ago that Jean and Geoff started The Cotton Patch and they are the main reason we're doing this blog now. It seemed like a such good idea, turning a hobby into a business and having a place to put the overflow from the sewing room. There must be something in the quilter's psyche that makes starting a shop seem like such a good idea - could it be some of those maxims like "You can never have too much fabric"?

Now there are over twenty full and part-time members of staff, the website has over 4,000 products and patchwork and quilting as a craft has gone from strength to strength. The diversity of the craft has increased tremendously and there is something for everyone from the traditional to the fabricators of art quilts. Some customer's quilts are exhibited in art galleries around the world. Things have changed quite a bit from 1990...

Jean and Geoff (above) at the 2007 Quilts UK show at Malvern and below, Geoff, demonstrating the Little Gracie II from The Grace Company.

Over time we aim to introduce the rest of The Cotton Patch team, give a flavour of what is happening at The Cotton Patch, insight into gadgets and gizmos and much more...!

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