Volunteering at Mount Stewart with Jayne

This beautiful blog posting from Jayne McClenaghan, NIPG member just had to be shared.  A huge thank you to Jayne and all the other volunteers for the work you do to maintain this rich heritage and thank you for this glimpse into life with Smudge.

[Mount Stewart is a National Trust property in Northern Ireland, which, according to their website is:  “one of the most inspiring and unusual gardens in the National Trust’s ownership”.
The garden reflects a rich tapestry of design and great planting artistry that was the hallmark of Edith, Lady Londonderry. The mild climate of Strangford Lough allows astonishing levels of planting experimentation. The formal areas exude a strong Mediterranean feel and resemble an Italian villa landscape; the wooded areas support a range of plants from all corners of the world, ensuring something to see whatever the season.
Mount Stewart House
The house has now re-opened after our 3 year long restoration project.We’ve brought back the elegance and charm of the house when it was home of the 7th Marchioness Edith, Lady Londonderry and her family in the early 20th century and we look forward to welcoming you to enjoy in all its splendour]

Despite the fact I had made an agreement with myself that I would volunteer a few hours once a fortnight which has become three days a week, I am still managing to have my regular visits with Smudge. Can’t have her getting withdrawal symptoms. The weather has allowed a few picnic days so we can…

via Mountstewart- Visiting and Volunteering — one day at a time

Words from Brenda… on Create a Thon; Friday Workshop; Next Meeting on Sat 1st April and Crafting Live Exhibition Form

“Hello Members and Friends

Spring has really started over the last few days of lovely weather, lets hope it continues.

The April meeting is on the 1st April, All Fools Day, though we will not be celebrating the fools bit!

We meet as usual in the Parochial Hall at the Folk Museum, doors open 10.00 a.m. and meeting starts at 10.45 a.m.” 

Speaker at next meeting.

Our speaker, Gabrielle Grant whom we are very much looking forward to is from the Fennell Shed, Buncrana.

Gabrielle 1

Not only is she going to be with us on Saturday, but all day Sunday 2nd when she will be taking an all day workshop  on  Magic Tricks which sounds interesting. 

Gabrielle 2

Not sure what the ‘Magic Tricks’ will consist of, but I know that this is one of Gabrielle’s latest quilts. 

There may still be a couple of spaces, members contact Paula Ellis for information.


Create a Thon Organised by the BBC & Voluntary Arts

This takes place on Saturday 8 April in the Ulster Museum Stranmills Road from 11.00a.m to 4.00p.m. It  is a National event organised by the BBC and the Voluntary Arts celebrating Get Creative Weekend.  Should be a great day with lots of organisations taking part. There will be a Mad Hatters Drawing Party, music, poetry, The Big Sock, Kate Smeltzer with 10,000 origami doves, pottery, a chance to colour Butterflies and of course N. Ireland Patchwork Guild and much more

Eastside Arts in Belfast are holding taster music sessions and showcasing music and dance.

Big Telly Theatre Company will be hitting the streets of Coleraine, Portrush and Portstewart and asking the general public to get creative and tell their stories as part of their Trade Secrets project.

The next Friday Workshop  will be on  12 May 2017.

This will be held in Orangefield Presbyterian Church, Castlereagh Road.

The tutor is our own Valerie McKeown and she will show us how to make a Dragonfly cushion. 

Valerie's Cushion

This workshop is for those who already have basic machine quilting experience and who want to expand their skills to create colour and texture with thread. Using a line drawing of a dragonfly, you learn to create fusible pieces for the body, stabilise the fabric surface and choose the right threads for thread stitching. 

See Paula Ellis for more information and to book a place.

Crafting Live 

Titanic 1Many moons ago, we informed our members  about being offered a stall at the forthcoming  Crafting Live exhibition in the Titanic Exhibition Centre. That is now just around the corner.

The show itself is open from Thursday 27 April until Saturday 29 April, and is open 10am-5pm on Thursday and Friday, and 10am-4pm on Saturday. Your entrance ticket gets you in all 3 days of the show if you feel like making a weekend of it.

Over the duration of the show you can visit a vast range of exhibitors stocking stamps, dies, decoupage, fabric, ribbon and much more. You can stock up on all of your craft essentials, as well as finding inspiration from brand new products, whilst meeting your favourite TV crafters. There are also refreshment options and areas to have a much needed sit down after all that shopping!

We  want to decorate our stall with pieces made by our members,  to give visitors an idea of what the  Northern Ireland Patchwork Guild  is all about.

No theme, but obviously with our stall being  relatively small, ( 2 metres x 1 metre, and about 2 metres high, the item you submit should also be fairly small. Cushions, bags, small wall-hangings, quilts, bags, cushions, etc. it doesn’t have to be new, and may indeed have been exhibited before.


Please bring your chosen item  to the April Meeting, with the completed form, which you will find below.

For  information only, we’ve been allocated E20.

Titanic 2


Crafting Live Application

Colors Unfurled

This brightly coloured quilt can hardly fail to provoke a reaction. Attractive. Very bright. Fussy? Busy? Love it? Too much, perhaps?

Whatever your reaction,  it might change when you  read Maria Shell’s description of the quilt’s journey.  The thoughtfulness  involved in the construction.

Once you know exactly what it represents, it’s difficult not to see. When you learn about the meanings behind it, will you view it differently?



Maria Shell

While I am alone during the day in my studio, I almost always listen to National Public Radio. In the fall of 2009,  I was stitching on my long arm quilting machine and listening to the Democratic Party select Barrack Obama to be their candidate for the President of the United States of America, and my heart filled with joy.

I–like so many others–wanted to in some way celebrate this moment. I had just done a bang up job on cleaning my studio. I had abandoned many old projects that were never going to become quilts on their own. These half finished quilts were now officially what I call “bits”–potential filler for community quilts or kitchen sink quits.

I had an idea. What if I take all the star blocks I’d made over the years and used them to make a new version of the American flag? A version of…

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Brenda’s letter about Cultra and things

Members and Friends, 
I am afraid I am rather late with the follow up of last weeks meeting.
If you missed the meeting you missed a treat. Valerie Wilson gave a talk about the Museums textile collection accompanied by pictures. She them showed us a quilters dozen of the most extraordinary quilts from the Museum’s collection.
There was one made from shirt fabric and ties by some of the workers from the shirt factories in Londonderry and one made from pyjama material. There were contemporary designs, a beautiful wall hanging that had been made specially for the museum, a fabulous very old plain one coloured quilt that was hand quilted and corded.
The last quilt she showed us was a large quilt that had been hand appliqued with flowers that were stitched on with tiny blanket stitches and must have taken a very long time to make.
Lastly she showed a small suitcase that had been donated which contained hexagons that had been hand sewn into larger hexagons, you could still read some of the printing on the papers.
Hopefully you will have seen the pictures posted on facebook, including this one – sampler made by a former NIPG member.
I am sure you are all aware that Roma had a fall at the guild and had to go to hospital. Well she has a fractured pelvis and is on crutches. I spoke to her during the week and she sounded cheerful although she is in a lot of pain. I have sent her the guilds best wishes and hope we will see her at the April meeting.
There will be another Friday Workshop on the 12 May 2017 in Orangefield Presbyterian Church. The tutor this time will be Valerie McKeown who will show us how to make an appliqued dragonfly with free machined wings. (Photo shows Valerie delighted to win at the Clogher Valley show in 2014. Paula will have a picture and the requirements list at the April meeting.
My thanks to everyone who has made cuddlies for the Neo Natal unit at the Royal hospital.  To date we have 177 hopefully we could reach 200 by June when we will hand them over.
See you all in April

Brenda’s March Letter


 Members and Friends,

Another month of grey skies, rain and storm Doris is nearly over, so great sewing weather.
Although it has been mild my garden is springing into life with daffodils and camillia’s.
The March meeting is next Saturday in the Folk Museum, doors open 10.00 a.m. with the meeting starting at 10.45 a.m. The speaker is Valerie Wilson who is the Museum’s Textile Curator, she will talk about the museum’s quilt collection and show us some of the quilts.
Sunday’s workshop is Mad March Hare with Paula Ellis. I am not sure if there are any places left but if you are interested you could give her a ring. Her number is on the back of your membership card.

Hands Across the Border [Click for more information.]

Quilts are to be handed in on Saturday. Please make sure that your quilt has a hanging sleeve and pole with eyelets. Mary McCormick will be taking them in and has asked me to remind you to have your form fully completed and you name, address, telephone no and NIPG on your carrying bag.
Alex will be there with Blue Bird Fabrics. She has asked me to let you know that all Fat Quarters are £2, Remnants £3 and yardage will be 1/2 price.

Anne James is still looking for articles for the magazine.

Are you interested in dressmaking; Several of us  go to a class in Orangefield Presbyterian church – it’s not that we can’t sew but we need help with fitting. The teacher Pat Hughes is hoping to start a new class on a Wednesday night from September and if you are interested please speak to me on Saturday. I will give you her telephone no. so that you can find out more.
Looking forward to seeing you all.



Glenada 2017

“What goes on in Glenada stays in Glenada”


But, but, but girls we really do want to know about the projects you started, finished, or moved on to another level.

Hints have come our way, looks and sounds as if you were all industrious, with reports of great fun too.

Well, we understand that we’ll probably never hear about what you got up to outside of working hard on quilts and bags and other projects. That doesn’t stop us really, really, really wanting to get some photos of your achievements, however small or large.

A huge thank you to Adrienne for organising this great outing this year and every year.

Ruth’s machine almost has steam coming out of it. No time to look out the window.
Jayne’s bag just makes you feel happy. Very practical too.
Linda Hamilton says: “Wonderful weekend at Glenada, meeting new friends, getting lots of tips and help from the lovely Guild ladies. Thank you. See you soon!”



Quilt by Mary McCormick. 
Sparks flying from Anne’s machine, while Esme uses a beautiful quilt as an ironing board cover!

Wondering about Glenada – set in Newcastle, County Down at the foothills of the Mournes. A great retreat and conference centre.




Brenda’s letter about the February and March Workshops.

Dear Members and Friends

The January meeting was so successful and busy that we did not have time to mention workshops!  Here are details of the next 2 workshops. If you are interested or want to know more, please contact us.  Visitors welcome!

February Turning Japanese

Turning Japanese with Yvonne McAtamney of Village Fabrics


The design shown here is called

‘Autumn Blossom’. 

Techniques used in the workshop are- machine piecing

  • 3D prairie points
  • needle turn
  • machine stitched appliqué
  • sashiko stitching.


  • Two contrasting fabrics for background 6½” x 22″and they really do need to contrast
  • Another contrasting fabric for the circle. The fabric for the circle needs to be 10″ square and also contrast with background fabric.
  • The appliqué uses three co- ordinating fabrics -10″squares enough 5″ width of fabric for binding Backing 12″ x 22″
  • Wadding 12″ x 22″
  • Bondaweb
  • Sewing machine and bobbins
  • Threads to match fabrics
  • Also embroidery threads
  • Usual sewing kit pins, hand sewing needles, small sharp scissors
  • Cutting mat, 6½” x 24½” ruler
  • Don’t forget your glasses!

March – Mad March Hare with our own Paula Ellis

The photographs show the project in two different colourways.



The techniques used in this project are:

  • machine appliqué
  • machine satin stitch
  • the use of light boxes.





A variety of coloured tweed combinations can work for this project



Greetings to NIPG from Brenda in California

imageHappy New Year to you all!

Dear Members and Friends,

I am writing this in Long Beach, California in 80F heat so I don’t know what the weather is like in Northern Ireland!

I hope you all had an enjoyable Christmas and are looking forward to a new quilting year.
The next meeting is on the 7th January in the Parochial Hall. We will have four
demonstrations by members and two get-to-know-you tables.

There will also be a charity table in aid of the Chairman’s charity ‘Reconnect’. There will be lots of books, some fabric and ribbons etc. Please bring any fabric etc you no longer want. It helps whoever is managing the table if you price your articles for sale.

A Big Reminder –

Hands Across the Border

We are hoping for lots of new Quilts for this exhibition which will be on show in Northern Ireland in June 2017 in the Island Centre, Lisburn. The theme this year is Aurora. The quilts should be no larger than one metre square. Quilts need to be ready for the March meeting. We will post the information and form on the web site.

Best wishes,


December Letter from our Chair, Brenda Richardson

Dear Friends


Happy Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all!


Thanks to all who attended our Christmas meeting in Ballygilbert.

We had a great time and everyone enjoyed the games, Stand Up Bingo and the

handbag game.

Many thanks to Jean Openshaw and Joanna Warwick and their volunteer helpers

for the lovely mince pies, shortbread and mulled punch.

There was a good entry for the Christmas challenge, lots of ballot prises and the Secret Santa.


The show and tell was brilliant with so many new items. There were several items from Jennie Raymond’s workshops, several new quilts that are being made for family members and celebrations

and lots of other beautiful items. Well done ladies you never fail to show your skills and delight our members.


The entries for the Christmas challenge showed a great variety of interpretations on the theme ‘Winters Tale.’

First prize went to Gillian Barr  gillians-piece


and the second to Valerie McKeown. Well done.



Our next meeting is on Saturday the 7th January in our usual venue at the folk Museum. There will be 4 demonstrations and conversation. We always enjoy the demos and craic as well as benefitting from sharing techniques and sparking ideas and inspiration! Hope to see you all there.


Don’t forget that the programme for the meetings and the workshops for the year are listed in your membership cards.


Best wishes to you all.




Christmas Letter from Brenda Richardson & Post from La Ruche des Quilteuses on Une Lune grosse, ronde et brillante.

Letter from our Chair, Brenda. Sunday 27th November 2016.

Members and Friends

December is nearly upon us and that means that Christmas is just around the corner. How the year has flown.

I am sure you are all getting ready for Christmas, I am getting ready for another trip to America and sunny California. So why not have a break from the shopping and come to the December meeting.

The December Meeting is in Ballygilbert Presbyterian Church on Saturday the 3rd December.

We will have non-alcoholic mulled wine, mince pies and shortbread. Please bring your own cup. There will be the usual show and tell when we hope to see lots of new work especially things from the workshops. Also bring your PHD’s and UFO’s.

There will be the usual Secret Santa. Please bring a wrapped sewing-related present to the value of £7.

Don’t forget your Christmas challenge. You still have time to make something if you haven’t already done so. The challenge is any article depicting ‘Winters Tale’. Prizes for 1st and 2nd.

There will be the usual ballot, however as I told you in last month’s notice, Denman will not be providing a hamper so are appealing for items for our hamper. Please let me have any contributions as soon as you arrive.

Directions to Ballygilbert Presbyterian Church. The church is on the main A2  Bangor Road between Ballyrobert and Clandeboye  going in the direction of Bangor. It is on the left hand side shortly after entering the dual carriageway and has a large carpark.

Hope to see you all at the Christmas meeting.


Here’s the link to La Ruche des Quilteuses site…

Une Lune grosse, ronde et brillante — La Ruche des Quilteuses

“A big moon, round and shiny”.

Great ideas on how to portray that exceptional moon that we witnessed recently.

[Written in French, if viewing from our Post, use the right click of the mouse to access Translate. Or go straight to their website and click on Translate in the menu on the righthand side.]


Si vous avez la chance de ne pas avoir de nuage ce soir, où que vous soyez dans le monde, regardez par le ciel : la Lune sera pleine et extraordinairement grosse et brillante ! Des explications sur Sciences & Avenir. Les plus belles beautés sont dans la Nature, nous l’oublions trop souvent ! Je […]

via Une Lune grosse, ronde et brillante — La Ruche des Quilteuses