Former Quilter’s Road to Rio 2016. Update.

Quick note to add to this post. Patrick’s Olympics didn’t end with a medal; only a few may win medals, but Patrick certainly won our hearts and we are tremendously proud of his achievements.

Summer’s nearly over and joyfully our 2016 -17 season will kick off on Saturday 3rd September.  Post will follow soon.


Time to update you on Joy McCormick’s Grandson, Patrick Huston, and his  Road to Rio. Map 2

Patrick,  a former award winning quilter, (albeit achieved when he was ten),  definitely has our support.  Wishing you every success in Rio, but most of all enjoy this experience for which you have worked so hard.

Belfast to Sambódromo 5,879 miles 

Sambodromo is the traditional venue for carnival samba school parades, but is opening its doors to archery and the marathon during Rio 2016.

First up for TeamGB will be Patrick and fellow archer Naomi Folkard.  Their ranking rounds are scheduled for 5 August, the day of the opening ceremony.

Aim of the game

Rio 2016 Archery Cat
Rio 2016 Archery Cat.

Archery has a simple but far from easy objective: to hit the bull’s eye on a target from a distance of 70m.

Why is it important ?

From Robin Hood to Legolas, there have been many iconic archers in literature and film: at the Olympic Games you can see all this skill and heroism in real life

Here’s  a new email from Joy, Patrick’s Granny:-

I don’t know if you get the Belfast Telegraph, but I’ve sent you a link to a long article on Patrick going to Rio.  
In it you may notice that the NIPG has been transmogrified into
” granny’s knitting group” !
Just wanted to say that is not what Patrick would have told them. He knows better! I suspect it is the work of some ignorant male sports reporter who probably thought it sounded more comic. Joy
An interesting and fact packed article,  containing the following sentence:
I’ve had messages of support from my granny’s knitting group

One little sentence,  sadly incorrect.  Calling us ‘granny’s knitting group’ creates an impression of a group composed of grandmothers, though some of us are.

  Love how Joy says, referring to Patrick ‘He knows better!’

Perhaps  ‘Patrick’s Granny’s Knitting Group’  would have scanned better and eradicted false impressions.  What do you think? Of course, it should have read ‘Patrick’s Granny’s Quilting Group’. 

In spite of our fabric souls being transmogrified into wool, it is wonderful to have main stream media taking note of Patrick and hard-won achievements.

NB   Images are courtesy of  Rio 2016 where you’ll find everything you would want to know about the Olympics 2016, including the Olympic torch journey.

From The Grounds of Stormont to the Olympic Games, Rio 2016

An exciting announcement was made at our AGM,  Joy McCormick’s grandson, Patrick Huston  had just been selected to represent Team GB in Archery at Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

NOTTINGHAM, ENGLAND - MAY 29: Patrick Huston of Britain shoots during the Men's Recurve Gold medal team match at the European Archery Championship on May 29, 2016 in Nottingham, England. (Photo by Nigel Roddis/Getty Images)
NOTTINGHAM, ENGLAND – MAY 29: Patrick Huston of Britain shoots during the Men’s Recurve Gold medal team match at the European Archery Championship on May 29, 2016 in Nottingham, England. (Photo by Nigel Roddis/Getty Images)

Patrick, born in Belfast, attended Campbell College and was a founding member of  the East Belfast Archery Club.  He  now lives in Shropshire where he coaches while training full time with the Olympic Squad at Lilleshall National Sports Centre. Patrick began archery in 2004 and made his international debut in 2012. [For those who know about these things, he is right handed and his arrows are 29.25″ long and his draw weight is 50 lbs.]

PatrickClick here for a BBC interview with Patrick made just after he had qualified for Rio, in which Patrick describes his achievement as ‘amazing’. He also admits to being a bit of a “show off”.

However, we think that he’s entitled to be that and more.


As if being  three time world champion archer at junior level wasn’t enough,  he’s a former Festival of Quilts prize winner, ca 2006. 

Here’s what his proud Granny says:

“In his younger days he enjoyed sewing – was quite good on the sewing machine. I am attaching two photos of a quilt he and I worked on together which was exhibited at the NIPG summer exhibition at the Folk Museum, in the days when they used to mount a craft exhibition.

Sewing with his Granny
Patrick aged 7 concentrating on his quilting.

One is of young Patrick hand- piecing the quilt. The other is of the quilt hanging at Cultra with him, his older brother and myself. I see by my PC they are dated 2003, so Patrick would have been 7.

File Name : DSCN2279.JPG File Size : 382.0KB (391202 Bytes) Date Taken : 0000/00/00 00:00:00 Image Size : 1600 x 1200 pixels Resolution : 300 x 300 dpi Bit Depth : 8 bits/channel Protection Attribute : Off Hide Attribute : Off Camera ID : N/A Camera : E775 Quality Mode : NORMAL Metering Mode : Matrix Exposure Mode : Programmed Auto Speed Light : Yes Focal Length : 8.6 mm Shutter Speed : 1/59.6 second Aperture : F3.3 Exposure Compensation : 0 EV White Balance : Auto Lens : Built-in Flash Sync Mode : Red Eye Reduction Exposure Difference : N/A Flexible Program : N/A Sensitivity : Auto Sharpening : Auto Image Type : Color Color Mode : N/A Hue Adjustment : N/A Saturation Control : N/A Tone Compensation : Normal Latitude(GPS) : N/A Longitude(GPS) : N/A Altitude(GPS) : N/A

I believe it was in 2006, when he turned 10 that he made a small wall-hanging which I put into the junior competition at the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham. The topic was “The Northwest Passage”. Patrick created his hanging out of re-cycled materials. It won second prize. 

2006 Patrick Huston (aged 10) 2nd Prize Festival of Quilts Birmingham. Made from recycled materials.
2006 Patrick Huston (aged 10) 2nd Prize, Festival of Quilts Birmingham. Made from recycled materials.

Patrick came home to see his parents just after our AGM, as he trains full-time in England. I told him I had mentioned his early career as a quilter at the Patchwork Guild. He was really amused  to hear his achievements had been mentioned at the NIPG meeting and  laughed.

In fact he was trying to bully me into making him an “Olympic” quilt to celebrate his getting an Olympic place.


When asked if Patrick would mind us writing about his quilting career and posting photos of him quilting, Joy said:

“I know Patrick won’t mind. He has had to put up with his mother putting on Facebook a photo of him aged about 4 trying his hand at archery at a fun day in Stormont grounds.”

In the Stella McCartney Outfit
Patrick wearing the Stella McCartney Olympic Uniform Tshirt. 29/06/2016

“Yesterday (Wednesday 29th June),  he was kitted out with his Stella McCartney designer gear to wear in Rio. Three suitcases full!  This photo is hot off the press”  Joy McCormick, June 2016.

Patrick, we’ll all be glued to the television, supporting you and willing you on. Most importantly, enjoy every second of the experience.

Here’s a wee bit about the sport of archery, taken from the official Rio spectator guide.


Considering that hunting is an activity strongly connected to the beginning of our civilisation, archery can be considered one of the oldest sports in history. The practice was made official in the 16th century with the organisation of tournaments in England. Its debut in the Olympic programme was in Paris 1900. In St. Louis 1904, the sport became one of the first to allow women to participate.

ABOUT THE COMPETITION The distance between the archer and the target (1.22m of diameter) is 70m. The target score varies from 1 to 10, according to the proximity to the inner circle. The archer has 40 seconds to shoot each of their six arrows. In the finals, the archer has 20 seconds to shoot each of their three arrows. In the air, the arrow can travel at more than 240km per hour. In the knockout system, any mistake can rule the athlete out of the competition. In individual events, archers with the best results after five series of three arrows go through to the next phase. The same rule applies to team events, but the best teams after four series of six arrows go through.


Memories Exhibition and AGM by Anne James

The ‘Memories’ exhibition at the Flax Gallery, Mossley Mill was wonderful!  Our members did us proud producing 38 beautiful quilts.  [Check out the Memories Quilt Page on our site] . The theme obviously sparked inspiration in so many directions – the variety of quilts and the diversity of techniques was phenomenal, and the quality of the work was tremendous.

The exhibition was very well received by the visitors, whose comments in the book were very complimentary indeed!  I visited the exhibition three times, with various friends, and I found it a very great pleasure on each occasion.  Well done to everyone who produced a quilt for the exhibition.  The quilt voted favourite by the visitors was Clare Taggart’s ‘Rathlin Island’.  Congratulations, Clare!

Brian McKennaAnd finally, a special thanks to Brian McKenna for photographing the quilts for us, you’ve done us proud!

On Saturday 4th June we will hold our Annual General meeting at the Folk Museum.  The Chairman and the Treasurer will present their reports for the year and the arrangements for next year’s committee will be finalised.  Then we will have the patchwork postcards, the apple pie and the chat!

We are asking members to bring along two fabric postcards – 6” by 4” – in any design they choose.  We will display the postcards, then members will receive two postcards from the collection.  Esmé suggests creating the postcard on wadding or wadded curtain lining, then sewing it on to a card backing.  Good luck and we’re looking forward to seeing all the cards!   Anne James.

Ideas for Postcards with links to interesting sites. 

Here’s a link to  Postmark’d Art a great site all about Fabric Postcards,

Fabric Postcard from Sue Reno
Sue Reno’s Postcard and link to her Blog

from a group inspired by an article in Quilting Arts about a group who were making 4″x6″ fabric postcards and mailing them to each other!

Fabric Postcard from Carol Logan Newbill
Fabric Postcard from Carol Logan Newbill



These little art treasures were being sent to complete strangers just for the thrill of sharing art.  There was an invite for  those who interested to “click here” to join a round of card trading. Enough people clicked that Postmark’d Art was born and a new group of people were “stalking the mailman!” Today the group consists of  close to 50 fiber arts junkies from Australia, New Zealand, Canada, The Netherlands, United States, Wales, England, Denmark, and Singapore, all happily experimenting with new techniques and products, sharing ideas, and their art.

Another site worth a visit is Art2Mail  which predates Postmark’d Art and was found through them.  It began on the  Quilt Art Mailing List  with  Kathy Loomis’s request to receive postcards from all 50 states sparked Jackie Moravcik’s idea of making the actual postcards – mini pieces of art where the messages and stamps were part of the art itself.  Thirty-eight people from 21 different states and 5 different countries were intrigued and eager to experiment with the idea.  Within a couple weeks, small works of art began arriving in mailboxes across the country. That was in 2004 and is still going strong.

Lastly, for anyone not sure how to start to creat your postcard. Here’s  one of many ‘how to’ sites you’ll find on the web by Marelize Ries from South Africa. 

Report from Jayne McClenaghan on Gail Lawther’s Workshop.

Click here to access Jayne McClenaghan’s Blog on Gail Lawther

Delighted to have Jayne’s permission to  link to her blog post on the NIPG Gail Lawther workshop.

Jayne is doing her City and Guilds Part 2, in which she has to study designers, so it was a happy coincidence that the Guild had invited Gail. Jayne is also an accomplished artist and is constantly adding to her range of craft skills. Her posts are really interesting and how could you not fall in love with Smudge?


Really appreciate this posting Jayne, but would be equally delighted with any other additions to the Gail Lawther workshop in the form of photographs or comments from those who attended the workshops/talk. If you have any, please send them to us.


Gail Lawther “Glimpses of New Zealand”

Here is seascape (1)the beautiful “Seascape”, the  colours reminiscent of the coastline of the Coromandel Peninsula on New Zealand’s North Island.

Many of you may have seen her exhibition of the quilts, at the Festival of Quilts.

They take their inspiration from the decorative motifs and history of “The Land of the Long White Cloud”.   t. Each of these quilts is a similar size, approx 40in long by 10in wide.

As Gail says herself, she is doing a good job for the New Zealand Tourist Board!

It may be that Gail’s passion for New Zealand will prompt you to plan a trip there.

If you’d like to know more about Gail and her work, visit her website, from which the following piece has been taken:-

“If we haven’t met before, my name’s Gail Lawther, and I’m a quilter and textile artist.

I began working full-time in fabric and thread about 20 years ago, and can’t imagine a better way to earn my living! I design and stitch quilts for books and patterns, and also create larger pieces on commission.

I travel all round the UK and further afield, giving talks about my quilts and teaching workshops, and several times each year I do residential workshops in different places.

You will find me, witOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAh my husband Chris, at quilt shows around the country; we try to do a different combination of shows each year, but are always at the Festival of Quilts at NEC in August.


small cross web


I also design and make church banners; many of these designs are available to buy as full-size patterns, so that you can create your own versions for your church. [See Gail’s website]

When we’re not working, we love walking by the sea near our South Coast home, and exploring Britain and further afield; nothing beats sitting in the sun, reading, with a cool glass of wine or Pimms and some snacks at hand …”


Hard to picture the hard working Gail with the time to sit and relax.

Lastly, here is a Youtube video, with Bonnie McCaffery interviewing her about “Glimpses of New Zealand” 

Continue reading Gail Lawther “Glimpses of New Zealand”

Spring Meeting with Rosemary Little

We are very excited to have Rosemary Little as  our speaker for the March meeting [Sat 5th in our usual venue],  on the topic of  ‘Indian inspiration’, sounds intriguing.

In the afternoon, after our monthly meeting, we have the opportunity to attend a  half-day workshop with Rose [that’s Sat afternoon 5th Mar –  from 2:00 in the Slemish Room.] The cost of the workshop will be £12.50.  There are places if you want to attend.

The topic will be Kantha Embroidery, though you may find  the term ‘Embroidery’ slightly misleading.   There are  similarities to Japanese quilting and kantha makes for a very decorative and interesting fabric. Originating in Bangladesh, it is a traditional technique of embroidered quilting, constructed with several layers of recycled white cotton fabric and simple embroidery stitches to create a graphic, richly textured surface.

More examples of Rosemary’s work can be found at
cream beige tropical kantha Kantha Rose 1

Happy New Year 2016

Message from Anne James, Chairperson

A happy and peaceful New Year to you all. I hope you all had a lovely Christmas and that Father Christmas filled your stockings with lots of goodies.

The first meeting of the new year is on Saturday 2nd, and I hope everyone will be fit and well for it. There will be a lull in the storms on Saturday, though it may be wet – a good opportunity to get out and about while staying dry!

Sharon Mount and Irene McKee are looking after the catering. The meeting will be demonstrations, as is now traditional for January. There will be four covering a wide range of techniques:-

Lindsey will guide us through a novel method of attaching a flanged binding;

Anna will shown us how to make a corsage;

Irene will demonstrate screen printing and the making of the screens; and

I will demonstrate how to make some 3-D rose-like fabric flowers.

Do come along, it will be good fun. If you have a name badge, please remember to wear it! Again, Happy New Year,


Fabric Creation and Manipulation with Irene MacWilliam

  • imageIrene MacWilliam – Quilter and embroiderer – freelance lecturer and teacher – talented artist and invaluable member of the Northern Ireland Patchwork Guild, which is only one of the many groups Irene belongs and contributes to.

****  Updating this post to highlight Irene’s ‘new’ website. ****

Her website showcases some of her work and talents. Irene created and ran our website for ten years, providing a forum for NIPG to share events and showcase some of the exceptional work produced by NIPG members.

Irene MacWilliam with Margaret McCrory

Irene MacWilliam with Margaret McCrory

The NIPG is indeed fortunate to have someone with her international reputation on our doorstep. Her work has been exhibited all over the world.

In addition to delivering a talk at the October Meeting, Irene delivered an afternoon workshop on ‘Making Your Own Fabric’.  This was great fun, as Irene’s classes invariably are –  lots to learn combined with a few laughs on the way. Irene is a great teacher, delivering clear instructions with infinite patience, making  difficult techniques seem straightforward.


All samples on this page have been made by Irene.

On Sunday there was a superb workshop on manipulated fabrics. This is such a fun technique, consisting of folded patchwork. The possibilities with this technique are endless and and could be a fun way of using up those pesky scraps which are much to lovely to throw out.

Here’s just a few samples of what is possible.

 Maybe those who attended and by all accounts thoroughly enjoyed the workshops, could send in some photos of finished objects. 



Open the box and out pops a sewing machine!

            NIPG 2015–16 Season Kicks off with …

Image from Quilting Treasures. (


Last year we opened our 2014-15 season with our very own members. Our Guild is packed with industrious and talented people  and we wanted an opportunity to highlight some of our members’ pieces. We left it entirely up to each speaker as to what they want to ‘share’  within a ten to fifteen minute slot.

‘Here come the girls’, this year’s theme…. intriguing!

Last year it was “Favourite Things”.  The four people who stepped up were Esme Edwards, Anne James, Paula Ellis and Helen Heron. It was absolutely fantastic, one of our  best meetings!

Esme Edward's Treasured Machine with Box
Esme Edward’s Treasured Machine with the Magical Box in the background.

Esme Edwards, began by placing  a funny wee black box on the table, puzzling us all at what it contained. What was her favourite thing? Having started her talk by revealing some of her history with sewing and in particular patchwork, we were wondering what could be in this little box. To our delight, she opened the box to reveal the most gorgeous sewing machine. One which she has until recently, used regularly.

How to follow Esme’s opening? Anne James, our present Chairperson, bravely stood forth and enchanted everyone with her manipulated fabric piece, which she had constructed for her City and Guilds.

Manipulated Fabric Piece by Anne James
Detail of Manipulated Fabric by Anne James

We were on a roll – how could our meeting get any better?

Paula Ellis Commissioned Piece
Paula Ellis’s Cushion, depicting Lucky, a special commission.

However, Paula Ellis captivated everyone before she even spoke with her gorgeous cushions.  The variety and skill which she used to create them, had everyone listening to every word and trying to take it all in to replicate at home. The cushion which had been commissioned by proud pet owners, was beautiful.

[After the meeting there were demands that Paula give us a workshop on creating these adorable cushions.

You asked, we answered!

Paula is taking an all day workshop on Sunday 8th November.

Launch of exhibition in Linen Hall
Helen Heron and Michael Longley at the Linen Hall Library for the launch of Helen’s exhibition.

Lastly, and by no means least, Helen Heron treated everyone to a riveting talk, on how she came to create her  piece which celebrating renowned poet, Michael Longley’s poem ‘The Leveret’ written for his grandson.

Helen Heron
Helen Heron’s piece based on Michael Longley’s ‘The Leveret’. With Brenda Powers, Anne James and Angela McCormick
Helen Heron
Helen Heron’s piece based on Michael Longley’s ‘The Leveret’. With Angela McCormick, Helen Heron and Adrienne
Helen Heron
Helen Heron’s piece based on Michael Longley’s ‘The Leveret’.
Hand pieced and hand quilted by Helen Heron

Helen Heron's handpieced appliqued cushion

Helen Heron’s handpieced appliqued cushion

That was a glimpse into last year….

This year is a mystery, so you’ve got to be there to experience it.