Wednesday, June 27, 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, June 26, 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, June 15, 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, June 11, 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...!


Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Chris Porter and Cotty Threads

We were delighted to see Chris Porter at the Quilts UK show in May. Chris Porter is an internationally known quilter, author, teacher and quilt judge and used Cotty thread from The Cotton Patch to create this beautifully quilted wall-hanging. Chris teaches around the UK and abroad and will be demonstrating at the Viking Husqvarna stand at the Festival of Quilts in August, using Cotty threads. Chris also organises Cabot Conferences, bringing top teachers in from around the world to her twice-yearly conferences. If you are interested in finding out more Chris has a website at

Chris's verdict on using Cotty threads was quite simply "Quilts like a dream through my machine!"

We worked with Chris in developing the colour range for the newly expanded palette and her experience of quilting and colours meant that the extended range of 96 threads now has greater tonal variation and depth. We hope you find that the size of the spools (approximately 600m), range of variegated and plain threads, weight (30/2), subtle, random colour changes in the variegated range and quality of the long staple 100% Egyptian cotton makes your quilting a pleasure.

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Friday, June 1, 2007

Quilts UK Malvern 2007

Quilts UK at the Malvern Three Counties Showground is one of our favourite shows and with good reason. Like many of our customers we love the combination of the country location, excellent views of the Malvern Hills and most importantly a great collection of quilts and suppliers. We even had good weather (unlike the torrential rain at the Flower Show the week before) - windy but sunny. If you've never been to the show make a date in your diary for the middle of May next year - we're sure it will be worth it.