Hands Across the Border Exhibition, “Aurora” 2017, comes to the North of Ireland

Island Arts Centre

Yes, we are getting very excited about the Hands Across the Border exhibition coming to the beautiful setting of the Island Arts Centre, Lisburn.




It had a successful showing in Dublin, where it was exhibited in the Custom House Quay, IFSC, Dublin Northside, hosted by  the Eastern Branch of the Irish Patchwork Society.

Eastern Branch have kindly posted 58 photos of the Opening Night, at which  Leo Enright, the well-known RTÉ broadcaster, news reporter, and scientist,  officiated. The photos may be found on their Facebook Page  and give a glimpse of what you can expect to find in the exhibition.

Now all 63 quilts will be at the Island Arts Centre,  where you will be able to view them from  the 1st June until 1st July.

 Opening times of the Island Arts Centre, Lisburn  are:
Monday – Friday: 9.30 am – 10 pm
Saturday: 9.30 am – 5 pm
Sunday: closed


Enchanted Aurora Anne Frenc

Enchanted Aurora by Anne French
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Link to Jayne Mcclenaghan’s Blog: “Busy times for the NI Patchwork Guild”

Jayne has posted a great summary of what’s been happening with NIPG, so here’s a link to her blog. You might want to see what she’s up to in Mount Stewart. Would love to know how she finds the time  to do all that she does?

The Guild had a demonstration and display at the Create a thon in the Ulster Museum in April. Yet again we discovered how many ladies can’t/ won’t sew, majority being under 40 years old.The display demonstrated the variations in patchwork as well as the process. Examples from the past up to modern day. There were many…

via Busy time for Northern Ireland Patchwork Guild — one day at a time

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Important words from Brenda. May Meeting is at St Dorothea’s.

Members and friends

Brenda Richardson at the Creative Crafting Exhibition in Titanic Quarter

Spring is well and truly here with lots of blossom and buds on the trees.
The May meeting is on Saturday 6 May in St Dorotheas, Gortland Park Belfast 
[Postcode is BT5 7NQ, for your SatNav
Situated at the junction of the Gilnahirk Road and the Lower Braniel Road.]
As usual doors open at 10.00 a.m. with tea & coffee.
The speaker is Pauline Openneer from Donegal whose talk is entitled “Tweeds and More”.

Caroline Bag

Sundays workshop is in the Museum as usual, where we shall be making a Caroline Bag. You can make the bag in any fabric you like.
The last workshop of this quilting year is on Friday 12 May in Orangefield  Presbyterian Church, Castlereagh Road from 10.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m.

Valerie McKeown

The tutor is our own Valerie McKeown, and she will be teaching us to make a Dragonfly Cushion. I think there are still a couple of places left.
The June meeting is our AGM and I am hoping that we will get some names for committee as there are 4 vacancies.
If you are willing to serve please speak to me or a committee member at next Saturdays meeting.


Well done everyone.
We have to date 154 Cuddlies, well over the target of 100 for the Neonatal Unit at the Royal Maternity Hospital.
If any one has any more please bring them on Saturday as I would like to hand them over at the A.G.M.
Hope to see you all on Saturday.
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Visit us [Stand E20] at Crafting Live, Titanic Quarter, Belfast. Also, read the wee note from our Chair, Brenda.

17991730_1322907917774323_3698040205928583345_oQuilters can cope with weather warnings of snow and ice, we’d just stay home and quilt. Sun is still shining at the moment and happy days – only one day to go for the Crafting Live exhibition at the Titanic Quarter, Belfast.  STAND E20
NIPG will be there, Stand E20,  so proud and thankful to our members  who have worked Titanic 1really hard behind the scenes, liaising with the exhibition and  a hundred and one things required to participate in an exhibition like this.  Best bit is that they have quilts to decorate the stand, Stand E20. Visit to see what they have found, or keep an eye on the Facebook postings. 

Anne James posted in today’s FB:   Exciting times for us! We’re gearing up for this, and hope to see you all there. We’re on Stand E20 and will be delighted to chat to you all about all things patchwork. Do come and see us!  Stand E20

NIPG Stall

Brenda’s letter to us:

Hi Members                          24 April 2017 22:09

There are 2 workshops left for this quilting year, the usual Sunday workshop on 7 May and one on Friday 12 May. As the meetings are always so busy I thought you might like to see more details.
Sunday 7 May Folk Museum.
This is a bag workshop with Pauline Openneer from Donegal. Pauline is Dutch, who came to live in Ireland some time ago and used had a shop in Dunfanaghy for some years.
She will be making a large bag, photo below. The photo shows the bag in tweed however Pauline has told us that you can make the bag in what ever material you like cotton, linen or tweed.
If you are interested in either of these workshops please get in touch with Paula.
Do not wait until the next meeting email her  through the NIPG email patchworkguild@yahoo.com
She will be able to give you all the details and requirements list.

Friday 12 May Orangefield Presbyterian Church

This workshop is being given by our own Valerie McKeown and is a Dragonfly Cushion.
The workshop is suitable for people with a basic knowledge of machine quilting and want to expand their skills to create colour and texture with thread.
 Using a line drawing of a Dragonfly students will learn how to create fusible pieces for the body, stabilise the fabric surface, and choose the right threads for thread sketching.
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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

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Michele Hill’s Beatrix Potter quilt is now on display in Hill Top, Cumbria. 

This blog  posting comes from C&T Publishing who published, Michele Hill's beautiful book entitled:  'Stitching with Beatrix Potter'.  Posted by Deirdre Quirk on March 23, 2017.

Deirdre Quirk writes:

Planning a visit to Hill Top, Beatrix Potter’s farmhouse, today a historic home and museum in Cumbria? Well, now when you tour the lovingly preserved home, you’ll get to see a beautiful quilt created by none other than Michele Hill, author of Stitching with Beatrix Potter! Michele tells us the whole story below:

Because of my love of the designs of William Morris, and then my William Morris in Appliqué books, in 2012 I was invited by Helen Bertram of Whitecroft Tours in the UK to accompany tours in Britain. Helen and I escorted six sold-out William Morris tours from 2012 to 2016, and it was through this association that I discovered that Helen had been a Chairman of the Beatrix Potter Society. Our mutual love of Beatrix Potter resulted in many conversations, and Helen finally persuaded me to write the book Stitching with Beatrix Potter. While I was doing my research, Helen suggested (well she actually told me I had to!!) do a version of the quilt on Beatrix Potter’s bed at Hill Top. So I emailed the National Trust to get photos and permission, but I did not hear back for quite some time. I started to worry about time and my book schedule, so after a bit of my own online research I found a photo of a simple green and pink patchwork quilt on the bed at Hill Top.

Above: 1863 wedding quilt from Hill Top.

Imagine my surprise when I finally heard back from the National Trust and the photos were of an entirely different quilt … the 1863 wedding quilt. So my task was a lot more daunting—and I only had a photo and no measurements! Not much is known about the quilt except that it belonged to Beatrix Potter’s parents, Helen Leech and Rupert Potter. It is thought that Beatrix’s mother, Helen, might have stitched this very special quilt with friends for the occasion of her marriage to Rupert in 1863. The original quilt is very fragile and is rarely seen, so I felt very blessed to have been given permission from the National Trust to reproduce it. I didn’t actually see the quilt in person until after I had completed mine, so it was a very special moment when I finally did. The quilt is made from velvets, silks, and cottons and is hand appliquéd, hand pieced, and hand embroidered.

The above photo is of me finally seeing the original last year in September. Helen put on a special Beatrix Potter tour in the UK to launch the book and that story is on my blog here.

After I finished the book, my version of the quilt was left simply sitting on a shelf. It was not something I felt I would use in my own home, and it seemed such a waste to have it stored in my wardrobe, so one evening in November 2016 I emailed Liz Hunter MacFarlane, the House & Collections Manager of the National Trust South Lakes, which manages Hill Top. The response I received from Liz was overwhelming—I did not really think they would be interested, let alone want to put it on display! Liz’s response to my email was as follows: “How can we possibly thank you for such a wonderful gift—you are so, so talented, and we are so fortunate to have the opportunity to share your work with our visitors.

“The National Trust’s strategy requires us to create experiences that ‘move, teach and inspire.’ Having this wonderful quilt will quite literally move our visitors in a way that photographs and books cannot. It can teach them that we should preserve and celebrate traditional crafts and craftspeople, and it will inspire them to help us preserve more of our heritage for future generations to enjoy.”

You can imagine how my heart burst reading that!

Although I sent the email in November, the quilt wasn’t posted to the UK until February 2017. When I made my reproduction version of the quilt I did not include the appliquéd 1863 wedding date and initials of Helen Leech and Rupert Potter as I felt this wasn’t appropriate for a wider audience. So before I sent the quilt to the UK I decided to hand appliqué the letters and date to replicate the original quilt.

I have not yet been back to the UK to see the quilt, but I am hoping to receive photos soon! I feel incredibly honored to have a piece of my work displayed at Hill Top, where it will be seen for many generations to come. I made sure I stitched a label on the back of the quilt explaining how it came about too!

(I forgot to photograph my label but the photo above is of the label that is on the bag that I made for the quilt!)

About Michele Hill

Michele Hill ImageI was introduced to the wonderful world of quilting in the late 1980’s when I was looking for a diversion from my role of motherhood and part-time nursing – the rest as they say is history! This hobby has led me to amazing opportunities that I never expected and it is through my love of applique and William Morris that most of this has come about.

A raffle prize of airfares to Europe in 1997 resulted in a life-changing event. This is where I had my first William Morris ‘experience’ at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. When I came home to Adelaide I discovered that our Art Gallery of South Australia has one of the biggest collections of Morris furnishings outside of the UK – so I can see it whenever I like! In 2009 I retired from 35 years of nursing and took up a ‘new career’ – to keep the “genius of Morris alive”.

Opportunities to share my passion have resulted in two books, four ranges of fabrics and more recently sold out William Morris tours in the UK….who would have thought?!! I have been a proud member of the Quilters’ Guild of South Australia for over 20 years and have had the honour and thrill of winning awards at our shows, including Best of Show four times. In 2014 I received the highest accolade an Australian quilter can receive – The Rajah Award in recognition of services to Australia through quilting.


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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

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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…

View original post 676 more words

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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
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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.



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