Joy Edgington is the Resident Tutor at The Cotton Patch, teaching a variety of patchwork and quilting and sewing classes from Introduction to Patchwork and Quilting to Grace Frame Classes and everything else in between. We thought it only right that Joy gives some background to how she got into Patchwork and Quilting and about some of the other things that she gets up to!
|Joy Preparing a Quilt for London Quilt on the Handi Quilter HQ18 Avante|
Over to Joy...
"I have to confess to being a blogger virgin but as the Cotton Patch resident tutor I thought I’d better introduce myself and Liz promised me it would be painless so here goes!
I have been delivering classes and courses at The Cotton Patch studio since 2011 but before then I worked for the Civil Service for 30 years. Having gained a Masters degree and qualified as an adult education trainer I spent much of that time providing training courses on a range of topics from computerised benefit payment systems to management training programmes. I finally escaped by taking an early ‘retirement package’ in 2011.
Sitting alongside this career though was my love of handicrafts and I would knit, crochet, cross stitch and sew in whatever time I had left over from keeping house and bringing up a family. My interest in sewing began as a small child and I still have my first appliqué pictures made when I was around 9 years old. Like most people of a ‘certain age’ I started making a hexagon quilt, hand stitched over papers, when I was in my teens but didn’t get it finished for another 30 years or so!!
I was finally and irrevocably hooked by the patchwork and quilting bug 23 years ago when I was asked by a friend to buy a present for his wife from a newly opened shop called The Cotton Patch. It will come as no surprise to anyone who has ever been to the shop to hear that when I emerged I had two bags of goodies - one for my friend’s wife and another for me. In my wisdom I had decided to make two matching quilts for the recently vacated bedroom now re-labelled as the ‘guest room’.
Having found a pattern in a Busy Needles magazine for an American king size quilt I was certain that it couldn’t be too difficult to cut it down to single bed sizes. The innocence of those days! The first hurdle came when I found that fabric was sold in metres and centimetres and the pattern was in feet and inches. The second was when the pattern said I had to match pieces accurately with a ¼” seam (what’s that I wondered) and produce sharp points at joins. Still, never one to quit, I ploughed on and eventually produced two articles that somewhat approached single bed quilts. At least the colours matched the room thanks to Jean Sewell, who started The Cotton Patch in 1990, who helped me make the right choices based on a scrap of wallpaper.
This led to my decision to learn how to do it ‘properly’ so I found the time to enrol on a part time City and Guilds course and over the space of two years I learned more than I could ever have imagined. I also spent more time (and money) at The Cotton Patch than I knew was possible!!
|Joy on her knees! Measuring one of the Quilts for London quilts|
In 2002 I stumbled across a voluntary organisation called Project LinusUK whose aim was to make and give quilts to children in need of a big hug. These children often have serious illnesses or have been traumatised in some way. I immediately made 6 quilts and within two years had agreed to be the South Birmingham regional co-ordinator - a position I still hold today. I also led a local quilt group for 9 years encouraging them to support this work.
I now have my dream job and I work closely with The Cotton Patch team to ensure that we provide a good range of patchwork and quilting and sewing day classes, courses and block of the month programmes.
We especially want to ensure that beginners are able to learn at their own pace in a supportive environment. To achieve this I have developed a step by step approach where people are able to build on their skills and make items that demonstrate the skills they have learnt. I also keep classes small (maximum of 8) to ensure that there is plenty of personal attention for everyone. Testimony to the effectiveness of this approach is the number of ‘serial attenders’ that we have!
Why not check out our class programme to see if there’s something for you? I’d love to see you at my next class."
Finally, here's Joy with one of her Introduction to Patchwork and Quilting Classes - learning is always so much easier when you're having fun at the same time!
Check out our latest Patchwork and Quilting Classes Schedule at the Classes Link here.