Friday, 23 June 2017

The birth of The Patchsmith's Sampler Quilt Book

What started as an ordinary thought (“I fancy fruit for breakfast”) led to a new block design:

From this one little watermelon block springs a big idea!

This fun watermelon block then led to the idea to create a Patchsmith Sampler Quilt Book and sew-along.   

At present it is just a thought but that is how my other five books got started.  (All are available in paperback via Amazon or click on a book below to go through to the PDF version available for immediate download via Craftsy)

It might take a month or two of some seriously hard work but I'm talking serious fabric playtime - surely that's gotta be worth it!  

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

English Rose Mug Rug

June is the month for roses here in England .......
English Rose Mug Rug

They come in all shapes and sizes.   Some large and colourful, others delicate and fragrant (the roses framing Jane Austen's cottage fill the little house with a beautiful scent).
June at Jane Austen's cottage at Chawton

My English Rose is based on the Tudor Rose associated with the Royal houses of York and Lancaster. The House of York favours a white rose whilst the House of Lancaster prefers red.
The English Rose makes a beautiful 6" quilt block

You will find this rose on road signs and maps throughout England - guiding the way to a place of historical interest.  And now you can have it on your table all year round - in any colour you like.
Mug rugs aren't just for mugs - they are great for vases too!

The English Rose mug rug pattern is available for immediate download for the royal price of just $1.99.  

So join with me and add a little touch of Englishness to your table today.  

Friday, 9 June 2017

Photographing your quilt items

Photography Mug Rug from my Hobby & Fun Pattern Book

People often ask about my photo taking skills.  I’ve got to say it has been one of the hardest things to master.  I've learnt by trial-and-error and I thought I'd share some of my top tips for taking good photographs:

1.         Use natural light –not direct sunlight just good daylight.
Farmer's Wife 1930s block no. 82 - Pharlemia

2.         Use a good camera.  Many phones now have excellent cameras but I prefer to use a simple point-and-shoot camera.  You don't need anything fancy - in fact the less gadgets and gizmos then the less there is to go wrong. (I am currently using a Nikon Coolpix camera which is three years old.)

3.         For small items use a soft white backdrop so that it doesn’t distract from the item.  I have a piece of board (3’ x 3’) which I painted white but any whiteboard will do.  The good thing about using a board is you can move it around depending on where the best light is.
Heart Banner Mug Rug Pattern

4.  For bigger quilts and runners you may need to go outside if you want to photo the whole quilt.  Pick a nice day - not a sunny day and take lots of photos so you can pick the best. If you need to take the photo inside try folding the quilt and taking a photo of a section of it.  
Farm Girl Vintage quilt laid on the grass.

4.       Try to keep your presentation the same or very similar.  Use the same background for blocks and small items and present the items in a similar manner.  People will then be able to recognise your photos before they read your blurb.  I normally take a picture at an angle with a little something to add interest in the top left-hand corner.
Courthouse Steps Block from One Block Mug Rugs Pattern Book

5.     My final point is about connection and learning.  Share your photos on-line.  It can seem scary at first but it is a great way of making friends around the world and also of learning photography skills and tips but seeing how others do it.  And you never know where it might lead - for me it led to the creation of The Patchsmith.
Bee Lori's Love Instagram Block

I started taking photos in artificial light on a wooden table - the wooden table soaked up any good light there was and it was often night-time as I was working in the day. Sometimes you have to work with what you've got!   
Coffee and Cake Mug Rug Pattern
If you want to see some more of my photos just head on over to my Instagram feed or visit my Pinterest boards.  

Until next time.......