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.   

Although just a thought back in 2017 it is now a reality and available with my other seven books.  (All are available in paperback via Amazon)

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 $2.50.  

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!   
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.......

Monday 5 June 2017

Bigger Blocks

May's 'Dutchman's Puzzle' block

I have been joining in the “6 Designers – 12 Blocks sew-along” (6kopfe12blocke) this year.  

There are twelve blocks 12" traditional patchwork block - one a month.
February's Churn Dash Block

I have made four of the blocks to date as part of my 2017 BAD (block-a-day) project.
January's 'Rolling Stone' Block

I am going to put together a red, white and blue quilt using many of the blocks I make this year - hence my colour choices.
Just some of the Block-a-Day blocks I have made this year

Making larger blocks is not unknown to me and the tutorials are clear and straightforward (click on the photos to go through to the tutorial for that block).  But I decided it might be fun to paper-piece this month's 'Pineapple' block - such big pieces - such big fun!  

I shall of course be including my 12" Spinning Churn Dash block in the finished quilt ...
FREE 12" Spinning Churn Dash Pattern

This pattern is FREE - just click on the photos to download the PDF patterns.

Until next time ....

Friday 2 June 2017

Tea and Cake Mug Rug

It is five years since The Patchsmith was launched and to celebrate I have decided to revamp my very first pattern to bring it bang up-to-date.
The Patchsmith's first mug rug pattern

I've added a saucer and made the cupcake a little bit simpler.  I think you'll find it very tasty! 
Country Tea and Cake Mug Rug

And if you haven’t yet purchased this functional mini quilt just click on the link below and, for little more than the cost of a candy bar, you can have immediate access to the PDF pattern. 

It is a great stash buster – use whatever fabrics you have to hand.  Make one for yourself, one to gift to a friend and another to keep on hand for a last-minute hostess gift. 
Tea and Cake Mug Rug Pattern.

In the meantime I thought I might share some fun facts throughout this month about how The Patchsmith got started:

Fact no. 1 – the name of my blog came about because my daughter was combining my love of words (wordsmith) with my love of patching.  I am so grateful – having such a unique name means I am easy to find (just Google ‘patchsmith’). 

Until next time .......