Friday, 21 June 2013

Joy Edgington - A Profile of our Resident Tutor

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.

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Friday, 7 June 2013

Website Hijack! Lots of Classes!

David, our Webmaster, has gone off to Cyprus on an Archaeological Dig leaving the class webpage unattended.  Now you’ve all heard of the saying “While the cats away the mice will play”.  Well Joy and Liz decided to take advantage of David’s absence to seize control and tell you about some of the exciting new classes and events taking place over the next few weeks.

First off is the Open Day on Friday 28th June where we will be showcasing the Sizzix Big Shot Die Cutting Machine, some very exciting new Pfaff Sewing Machines, Handi Quilter and Grace quilting frames and much more.  Why not come along and see what’s new for yourself – and bring a friend too?  Special Offers on Ex Demonstration Sewing Machines. There is no charge and we will have door prizes!

Anne Rowley, Winner of the Great British Sewing Bee will be popping in to chat to fellow sewers and quilters during the morning sessions so if you would like to meet Anne make it a date in your diary!

Call 0121 702 2840 to book on one of the three sessions. Spaces are limited per session so please quote the Reference Number shown below:
L229-A - 10am to 12 noon
L229-B  - 12 noon to 2pm
L220-C - 2pm to 4pm

Open Day at The Cotton Patch Studio

This will be followed up on July 26th and 27th by half day workshops where you will be able to use the Sizzix Big Shot Die Cutter to make a small project.  The first day will show you how you can use the Sizzix to enhance your applique, whilst the second day will focus on using the Sizzix to make pieced blocks.  A real help for those of you who struggle with rotary cutting or need to cut large numbers of the same shape – it’s difficult to choose between them.  £25 per session which includes fabric to play with and the use of our dies and Big Shots!

Applique Half Day Workshop
Quote Ref No:  L238-AM (9:30-12:30 July 26th) or L232-PM (1:30-4:30 July 27th)

Block Party Half Day Workshop
L238-PM (1:30-4:30 July 26th) or L232-AM (9:30-12:30 July 27th)

You can book all of courses online here

Angela Southey from Sizzix

For beginners there is our new monthly Saturday Beginners course starting on 7th September.  Taking you on a journey from your first rotary cut to your first quilt this will give you a good grounding in a variety of basic Patchwork and Quilting techniques.  Class spaces are limited to 8 to ensure everyone gets good personal attention so book in now if you’d like to join us.  
Quote Ref No: L233-2013 £125 for the 8-week course. 
Dates: 20th July 2013, 17th Aug, 7th Sept, 12th Oct, 2nd Nov, 7th Dec, 11th Jan 2014, 8th Feb, 8th March

Introduction to Patchwork and Quilting Class

For those of you who need to get a project started or finished and would like help doing so we have added three Bring Your Own class dates in July, September and October.  These half day sessions are the perfect opportunity for you to use the facilities at our Studio and get individual help from Joy as you complete a project of your own choosing.  Book for one, two or all three – the choice is yours.  Quote Ref No: L234-2013, L235-2013 or L236-2013.  £25 per Class

Hot off the press is our new Block of the Month programme Provence and Beyond starting on Monday 14th October featuring an exclusive ‘strip-it’ fabric for easy piecing.  This half day class includes all the class, pattern and fabrics, except backing fabric, needed to complete your quilt.  Usually a 6 month course we have decided to run this over 9 months so that you can get additional help with layering and quilting your top as well. 
Dates: 14/10/13, 11/11/13, 09/12/13, 06/01/14, 10/02/14, 17/03/14, 14/04/14, 12/05/14, 16/06/14
Course Cost is £50 On Booking and £38.50 per month for class and materials
Quote Ref No: L227-2013 

Provence and Beyond Quilt

Our Farmer’s Wife Sampler quilt classes have proved to be very popular and the next monthly programme begins on Monday 14th October 2013.  Using Marti Michell templates with rotary cutting techniques makes this an ideal alternative to traditional sampler quilts.  But hurry - there are only two spaces left!! Includes the Farmer's Wife Book, conversion charts and two Marti Michell template sets. 
Quote Ref No: L182-2013
Half a day for 12 Months - £30 joining fee followed by £25 a month for 12 Months

Farmer's Wife Quilt
Christmas Stocking Class
Christmas Stocking Class
There is still of course our range of day classes to choose from and although it’s only June it’s time to think about Christmas!!  Check out our two new Christmas day classes.  On 25th November 2013 you can come and make a Christmas Stocking to hang up ready for Santa to bring you some nice presents – Oh okay for the children to hang up for Santa!!  

Then on 2nd December 2013 its time for some seasonal Bias Applique work where you can make a festive wall hanging or cushion cover.  
Quote Ref No: L177-2013 or L178-2013
Course Cost: £45

Call us on 0121 702 2840 to book any of these classes quoting the Class References shown here.

Hope this has inspired you to join us and remember - Don’t tell David!!  
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