Friday, June 6, 2008

Quilts UK at Malvern Roundup

Things were so busy after the Malvern Show that I never found the time to post some of the pictures from the show. As usual it was a great opportunity to meet with our customers - being fairly local to the show its always nice to see some familiar faces and of course for our mail order customers to finally put a face to a name!

Talking about putting a face to a name...I was delighted to meet Lee Cleland at the show. She was buying some items on the stand and with a distinctive Australian accent it was clear that she wasn't originally from the West Midlands or anywhere near it. I actually remember where I was when I first opened the book "Quilting Makes The Quilt" which Lee wrote in 1994. I was totally amazed by the effect of different quilting designs on the same patchwork design. It was really inspiring. Lee told me she'd made all the quilts in the book (which quite frankly must have been a huge amount of work) and that the book is still in print 14 years later. I did feel a bit like a groupie when I took a picture of Lee and Barbara Chainey (they are great friends and Lee has been staying with Barbara on her trips to the UK) on Barbara's stand. Although Barbara is very much a hand quilter and Lee is totally into machine quilting they share a lot in common (including a great sense of humour!)

Jane Hopkins, winner of the Large Wallhanging category, received the Cotton Patch Cup - here she is with Geoff Sewell from The Cotton Patch in front of the Cotton Patch stand.

For the past few years we've had the same crew of people working at the show and with a few additional members of staff we'll also be at the Festival of Quilts in August. For those of you who don't know us we are (from left to right). Nik, Liz, Pam, Angela, Denise and Diana.

We brought more items than ever before to the Malvern Show (although there are always some things we wished we brought!) - a very full Omnigrid and Clover stands show just some of the miscellaneous products we had on offer.

Like all shows the setup day (usually a Wednesday) is the culmination of many days of planning and packing - so to go from this to...

.. this in the space of seven hours usually involves quite a lot of hard work. Thanks have to go to all the other staff who help us on setup day - Alan, Adam and David for example (very useful for the heavier items and for driving the vans).

Thanks must also go to staff back at base - we top up stock every day and throughout the day call up with a long list of what we need. And of course the mail order has to continue even when we're at the show!

At the end of the day we appreciate every single customer who stops by - it makes it all worth while. Plus for Adam, Denise and Alan the lunchbreak on setup day had the bonus of a fabulous view!

We look forward to seeing you next year.

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Thursday, May 22, 2008

Malvern Quilts UK - Large Wallhanging

We were delighted to meet the winner of the Cotton Patch Trophy for Large Wallhanging at the Malvern Quilts UK Show last Sunday. Jane Hopkins' quilt entitled "Summer Fairies" is based on Cicely Mary Barker's Flower Fairies. Jane, a patchwork and quilting teacher based in Paignton, Devon, has been hand-dying her own fabrics for a number of years using both hot water and transfer dyes from Omega Dyes. One of the aspects that made this quilt so unique was the use of those fabrics with a subtlety of shading that were reminiscent of watercolours.

Malvern Quilt UK - Cotton Patch Trophy Winner for Large Wallhanging, Jane Hopkins

Jane particularly enjoys doing machine applique and this was beautifully executed. A delightful quilt and well-deserved winner in this category.

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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...!