Saturday, July 26, 2014

Quilts for Festival of Quilts 2014

Each year we do Festival of Quilts we try to do things we haven't done before - new quilt designs, new fabrics, new products. That's what makes Festival so exciting!

Having the Sizzix Die Cutting system has speeded up our quilt-making so last year we started using the Sizzix dies to design new quilts that would be really accessible for all levels of quilters. Nik has a background in design and as our fabric buyer really knows our fabric line well. Plus he really loves doing it! Let's face it how many quilters would kill to get paid to design quilts!


Add that to the fact that we have our Handi Quilter HQ18 Avante with Pro Stitcher. This makes quilting the quilts really quick. Luckily there are some lovely people out there who piece Nik's designs together and then I (Liz) get to quilt them!  

Double yay!

So, here are photos of a couple that we will be show-casing at The Festival of Quilts 2014 - come and see them on our stand B24 for yourself! Kits are available and they will also be online after Festival.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Debby Brown at The Cotton Patch Studio

We have had the pleasure of having Debby Brown teach at The Cotton Patch Studio for the past four days and it has been a wonderful experience. If you have the opportunity to learn from Debby I really recommend you take her class. Her easy and clear teaching style and knowledge of quilting is exceptional. Everyone has thoroughly enjoyed her very accessible classes that enable you to quilt - Like You!

She can do depth if you want to but doesn't overwhelm when teaching and matches the pace well to the students. These are my observations and I've seen quite a few American teachers having worked on Cabot Conferences with Christine Porter over a number of years and visited Quilt market in the States on more occasions than I want to be reminded of right now.

So, here are a few photos from Day 4 - Mark My Words using the Handi Quilter Sweet Sixteen but many of her classes can be taken by people who are using regular domestic sewing machines. The techniques, methods and ideas are going to be the same on the whole.

So we took some Golden Threads paper and traced our words or phrase onto the paper. We had a few choice ones but we picked the printable ones...all except Roxy but hers is code so you have to know what it means. 

Mine was "gone sailing" as I've just been on a lovely sailing holiday and it will remind me of that.
So we put that on our fabric (one layer of fabric and wadding).


Yes, you read that right. Here I am demonstrating the knot that is taking the third thread on the horizontal spool pin. We used a Size 20 needle with 50/3 Wonderfil Thread.  Lovely, Egyptian Long Staple 100% Cotton.

Then we sewed around the outside of our words. 

One down, one to go... 

Then we removed the Golden Threads paper - TIP - keep your Machingers gloves on - they rubberised tips help to remove the paper.

Tra - La

The outline of the words.

Then we filled in the words with free motion embroidery, layering it up. The thread had to be adjusted for the three threads initially and slow down when sewing but otherwise it performed really well.

Then added some lines to my "picture" which is hopefully fairly obvious. I decided to do some Clarice Cliff Sunburst style design using the Line Tamer. It makes it much easier to do Stitch in the Ditch because you can't wobble off the line - the 1/2" foot sits within the groove. Markings make it easy to follow and create sunburst effects. 

We put a layer of wadding behind the first layer of wadding and then backing fabric. So, basically an extra layer of wadding than normal so that we cover over some of the stiches of the very thick three thread work.

Then we filled in the sunburst sections using micro stitching. DEFINITION OF MICRO STITCHING - stitching which is smaller than you are comfortable with. Quote - Debby Brown.

Don't forget that all that thread going through one needle creates LOTS of lint so clean out the bobbin case area. Here is a small furry creature with a blue coat masquerading as fluff. 

Debby made us stop sewing because it was time to go home but... I might sneak back and do some more later this evening. No one will know.

Had a fun fun day with Debby and the rest of the gang. Here are the other pieces -
Olenda has come on leaps and bounds from Jamie's classes to this and is justifiably proud of what she sewed today. Brilliant! 
Only Roxy knows what this means!

Joy did the spires of Oxford and Morse Code with dots and dashes within her quilting. Love the creative way you can play with thread and words in this class.

Tony proving it is indeed never too late.  Some lovely thread painting and he's all set up for the rest of the quilt. 

Time to go home....

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Great British Sewing Bee Christmas Special

It was lovely to see the familiar faces of Ann, Stuart, Lauren and Sandra with May Martin and Patrick Grant. The idea of a Sewing Bee is a wonderful way to get together and sew so we hope that many of you were inspired by the concept and the ideas that the sewers had. 

Wasn't it great to see some patchwork!

Image for Christmas Special

It also demonstrated that you can use patterns and ideas that are all around us - Ann using the top of her pin box for a Christmas Tree decoration for example.

Stuart's idea for using Clamshell Cases as Christmas Tree Decorations was inspired - who knows what treats you might find on the Christmas tree!  You could use acetate as Stuart did which would be fine if you're doing it for next year (!) but if you want to make it really quickly Clover do pre-cut acetate pieces all ready for you to cut out fabric and sew. They come in three sizes. Brilliant!

We've given you some more details on our previous Blog Post 

Clover Clam Shell Accessories Cases - 6th November 2013

If you would like to make these Clover make it really easy - Clover Clam Shell Cases otherwise known as Kai No Kuchi.  Click this link to find them on our website - Clover Clam Shell Templates.  They come in three sizes so you could put lots of sweets in it or just a few!

Clover Clam Shell Accessory Case Large Forms

We'll be seeing a lot more of Stuart in the future - he's going to be a Handi Quilter Ambassador. His Handi Quilter HQ18 Avante with Pro Stitcher is being installed in January 2014 and we can't wait to see what he quilts on it.

Stuart helping out at our Project Linus Day

Ann lives locally to the Cotton Patch and it has been wonderful to see her on a regular basis at classes and also helping out with the Project Linus Day and our Open Day. 

Ann helping Lynda Jackson quilt some of the Project Linus Quilts using the HQ18 Avante

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Clover Clam Shell Makers Christmas Gift and Ornaments

Clover Clam Shell Accessory Cases are a new product on our website and are slightly different to the other Clover embellishment craft tools such as yo yos or pom pom makers.  Below you can see a finished Clam Shell as well as some of the stages to make one.
Clover Clam Shell Box
Clover Clam Shell Box with little thimble gift inside. 

The Clamshell cases actually contain six flexible clear plastic forms that are the semi-rigid inner of the three sided box.There are three slightly firmer ones for the outside lozenge shapes and three flimsier ones for the inside shapes.
Clam Shell Accessory Case Medium Size. It comes with a full instruction sheet and the six forms that you can see on the red fabric.

The pack contains very detailed instructions on how to make the ClamShell Box so make sure you read right through to the end before you start. We are making a little Christmas Gift Box, so we have selected two fabrics from Riley Blake one with Stars and a nice deep Christmas Red for the inner of the box.

Using the forms as guides we trace round and then cut out six shapes of fabric and we have marked on our seam allowance. We have also used Vilene Fusible Fleece Low Loft H630 to add a little bit of padding.

You then assemble the outer and inner forms with their fabric and then attach the outer and inners together to create the three sides of the box. The bottom of the box has the inner located in the centre whilst the two sides have the inner located slightly to one side. This helps to align the box correctly when fitted together.

Finally stitch the three sides together leaving one side open but with reinforcing stiching at either end. The box is now finished and ready for treasure. There are three different sizes of Clam Shell so you can make Small, Medium or Large fabric boxes. The finished size of the large clam shell is 3 1/2" x 5" x 3 1/2" or 90mm x 125mm or 90mm, the medium 2 1/2" x 4" x 2 1/2" or 65mm x 100mm or 65mm and the small 2" x 3" x 2" or 50mm x 75mm or 50mm. Happy stitching.
Finished Clam Shell Accessory Case, Medium Size

Friday, October 25, 2013

Project Linus Quilting Day at The Cotton Patch

A big thank you to all who took part

It was a hive of activity at The Cotton Patch in Hall Green on Tuesday as customers and staff took part in the Project Linus UK Quilting Day.  The day was organised by Joy Edgington the Cotton Patch's resident tutor and also the area co-ordinator for Project Linus UK. 
Joy has now sent us the following letter which we would like to share with you.

Following the success of the Project Linus Sewing day I’d like to say a big thank you to Geoff, Jean and all the team at The Cotton Patch for allowing the use of the studio facilities for this event as well as providing support through staff time and donations of biscuits, fabric, wadding and raffle prizes.
I thank all those who took part and donated their time, skill and enthusiasm on the day including Ann Rowley and Stuart Hillard who came along to show their support.  Many of whom took way more fabric or orphan blocks to carry on making quilts at home.  Also Clare Nevin from Mencap and Cheryl Curson from the Birmingham Women’s hospital Neonatal unit and Bliss who came along to talk to the volunteers before being presented with a total of 52 quilts for their respective organisations to pass on to children needing a hug.  
A special thank you is due to Lynda Jackson who travelled from Sheffield to run one of the Handi Quilter long arm machines alongside Nikki Southall from the Cotton Patch which meant that 30 tops were able to be quilted during the day.  In all an amazing eleven quilts were completed on the day with a further 19 quilts and 7 play mats awaiting binding. 
A special thank you is also due to Jacqui Oldham who not only spent all day helping volunteers with pressing and making fabric choices etc but also spent the whole of the following day sewing the bindings onto the remaining 19 quilt tops and 7 play mats.
All of the quilts made stay within the local area and some other local organisations that have received quilts are Acorns Hospice, Barnados, Royal Orthopaedic Hospital, National Deaf Children’s Society and Edwards Trust.  In all 3,843 Quilts have now been delivered by me in the Birmingham South and surrounding areas since 2004 but I am always looking for more opportunities in the the local community, so if anyone knows of a local child or children’s organisation that would benefit by receiving quilts they can contact me by e-mail at  Contact details for co-ordinators in other areas can be found via
Once again, a HUGE thank you to everyone who supported this day
Everyone gets busy.

Selecting the fabric

Putting the pieces together

Lynda and Ann quilting

Quilts on the production line

Stuart Hillard quilting with the Handi Quilter Avante
Stuart Hillard quilting with the Handi Quilter Avante

The finished quilts
Joy and some tired quilters