Thursday, 18 September 2008

Amy Butler Gum Drop Pillows Sewathon

At the Festival of Quilts in August in the true tradition of family businesses Nik's daughter Ellie (and her sister Anna) worked at the show on the Amy Butler stand. The style of fabrics with their contemporary twist really capitivated them and with having met Amy as well, they were all fired up to make something.


Ellie is off to her first year of University this weekend so with Gum Drop Pillows pattern and Amy's Nigella wider furnishing fabric in hand she came over to my house last night and we had a Sewathon.

Amy had said it was a good pattern to do because it is quick and she was right - from start to finish (but not stuffed) took us 2 1/2 hours.




This included showing Ellie how to use the sewing machine, rotary cutting out the pieces and pinning them together. Oh, and plus a bit of time unjamming the machine (fortunately I didn't ban Ellie at this point, unlike her experience at school when having created a birds nest in the bobbin case she was banned from using the sewing machines ever again - not a very positive experience!)


Ellie did really well, even without much experience of sewing - the pattern is pretty easy to follow, the tricky bit of aligning the intersection of eight pieces at the top of the pillow is covered by an octahedron which is top-stitched in place (hiding any unsightly joins, ahem). The sewing is mostly straight stitching. I just did the more tricky sewing the two halves together bits but she did most of the rest.








Ellie went home to stuff it - Amy recommended bulking out the stuffing with plastic bags and then using soft polyester filler around the edges - you do need quite a lot of filler otherwise - I thought this was a great use for old bags!
I would definitely recommend it as a good project to get someone into sewing - and you get to sit on it when you're done!




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Monday, 1 September 2008

Cotton Patch at The Cotton Patch

We were delighted to welcome Carolie and Tom Hensley from The Cotton Patch, Lafayette, California today. They stopped by The Cotton Patch shop whilst touring in the UK. It follows a very interesting trip to Switzerland which they had won as a Bernina prize as a result of a very successful year for Bernina sales - they had the opportunity of trying out the fantastic new Bernina long-arm machine that will be out in the UK next year.

Carolie founded The Cotton Patch in the US 30 years ago and has been a cornerstone of the patchwork and quilting community in the US, having also founded the successful book publisher C&T Publications, now run by her sons Todd and Tony. C&T Publications (Carole & Todd!) began in the book business when Roberta Horton was teaching at The Cotton Patch. She was looking to put a book together and Carolie had the idea of publishing it for her. Tom took a trip to the library to find all the books he could find on book publishing and the rest, as they say, is history!


We first met them at a Quilt Market in the States, more years ago than any of us could remember precisely. We were sitting at a large round table having lunch, looked across the table and saw the same name on their name badges as was on ours! We swopped stories of how our respective shops had begun.

Each year when we go to Quilt Market we see Todd, who married Jennifer Sampou. Jennifer has designed some wonderful fabrics, originally for P&B and then for Kaufman so quilting is very much still in the family.

If ever you're in the California area, we would recommend stopping by and saying hi to Carolie at The Cotton Patch.

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About Us

The Cotton Patch is a family run patchwork and quilting business which was started by Jean Sewell in 1990. The shop is situated in Hall Green, Birmingham and expanded in 1999 to include the shop next door. Originally offering Mail Order catalogues, The Cotton Patch established one of the first patchwork and quilting websites in the UK. The Cotton Patch continues to be a premier supplier of patchwork and quilting fabrics, tools and notions and supplies customers throughout the UK and the world.