Threads and Patches Charity Block Swap

Join Threads and Patches Charity Block Swap. Make as many blocks as you wish and bring them in to the shop during  June and July 2017.


How does this work?

Make a quilt block using any design of your choosing – it can be very simple or very complex, it can be pieced or applique.

We are raising money for Macmillan Cancer relief, so ask that you make a £2 donation in order to join the Block Swap when you bring your first blocks in. You can bring all your blocks in one go, or as you make them, it is up to you.


  1. Your blocks should be a 12″ square block (so 12.5″ raw edge to raw edge)
  2. Your block should be in Blue and/or Cream. If some of your blue fabrics have other colours in that is OK so long as blue is the dominant colour. Please try and avoid white as this will shout against any cream in the blocks.
  3. Your block/s must be brought to the shop (please do not post- this is a walk in block swap) any time during June or July 2017.
  4. Each block should be labelled with your name , or if you prefer to be anonymous a code number.
  5. You will be given a receipt for your blocks.
  6. During the first week of August we shall share out the blocks. You will get the same number back that you handed in, but they will be from different people.
  7. Mid August onward come in and collect your blocks
  8. We would encourage you to make something with your blocks if you only have a few it could be cushions or a bag. If it is several (we suggest 6 is a good number) you could make a quilt!
  9. Bring your completed project to Threads and Patches during October and we shall hold a charity coffee morning (day) when the projects will be on display  on Saturday 28th October at the shop.

Ideas for Blocks

Each week Sally will post some simple (and a few more complex) ideas for quilt blocks plus the instructions how to make. So make sure you follow this blog to keep in touch with what is happening.

Happy stitching and we look forward to seeing you soon!


Row by Row

Threads and Patches row 2016 'Pigeon's Perch' Home Sweet Home
Threads and Patches row 2016 ‘Pigeon’s Perch’ Home Sweet Home

Our Row is ready!

It shows a lovely London Pigeon in her ‘Home Sweet Home’ Nest on Nelsons column at the feet of the great mans statue. She can see across the skyline of London, with St Pauls Cathedral, The Gerkin , Tower Bridge and the London Eye silouetted against a painted sky. Is it dawn or dusk? You decide, the time on big ben shows 5.30 so it could be either! There is a n embroidered sampler attached to her nest saying – what else? ‘Bless this Nest’. The union flag flies over London and the scene is one of peace above a bustling city.

The Row is part pieced – the column and Nelsons legs. The skyline and pigeon are applique. There is a little embroidery – the sampler and the Cross of Saint Pauls Cathedral. There is some fabric pen drawing – the lettering on Nelsons Column and the clock face of Big Ben.

This is a fun row to do. The pattern will be available free from the shop from the 21st June – 6th September limit of one per customer.
Kits will be available on the same date from the shop priced at £14.99 and includes the pattern and all the fabric and instructions to make the quilt top.

We are really excited to be a part of this truly international event.

See who else is taking part here


We also have Row by Row License Plates for sale


Join in the fun – come and see us soon!

Sunbonnet Sue Finished!


Seasons Sunbonnet Sue
Sunbonnet Sue Quilt

This little quilt has been neglected for too long, so I finally got around to quilting and binding it. It was made using patterns from The Ultimate Sunbonnet Sue Collection

Below is a quilt made by one of our customers – another Sally, it is truly beautiful and uses lots of the patterns from the book


I do have another two Sunbonnet Sue Quilts under construction, one is embroidered redwork and is a kit


You can see this Kit Here

I am also gradually making Sunbonnet Sue International – I am making one block for each country I have visited and obviously adding new ones as I go on my travels. I started this one last year, and have got a lot of catching up to do to get up to date. But it is really fun.



There are few feelings that compare with finishing a quilt, it is both joyous and sad that it is over, But I loved making this one.However I am terrible for starting quilts and not getting them finished, so I am on a mission to clear my Wall of Shame.

What is a Wall of Shame? I hear you cry. It is an area of wall with a post it note for each unfinished project. When the project is finished (in the case of a quilt, it is quilted and bound) I can move the Post It note to ‘The Wall of Success’

Sadly I have far too many projects languishing on the Wall of Shame and too few on my Wall of Success. I shall keep you updates with how the Walls are progressing – happy stitching!



Why I Love My Janome Memorycraft 15000!

By Louise Harrison –

Many of you will have noticed the Janome sewing/embroidery machines we had on display by the shop entrance over the last couple of months.  They have certainly made people take notice, and even caught the eye of one or two husbands who have asked if they also make tea!

Joking aside, I never thought of buying an embroidery machine until Jane from Janome came to demonstrate them to all the staff at T&P.  I am not a girly girl, I’m not into highly decorated décor or clothes, in fact I have quite simple tastes (apart from a minor obsession with metallic fabric!).  When it comes to quilting I like geometric designs in the main.  I also already had a 5900QC.  So why did I buy a Janome Memory Craft 15000?


My first project – the Palazzo Quilt, made with Stonehenge Medici fabric.  This was quilted with the Acufil hoop and Horizon Link, the software provided with the machine for PC.  The all-over stipple design is calculated using the software, which also provides the templates to easily transfer placement to the quilt top.


A brilliant gadget – the quilt binding set folds and sews your binding in one pass, you can even mitre the corners!


Close up of the stipple quilting design.  Each ‘block’ fits a bit like a jigsaw with its neighbours.  Each block took 4 minutes to stitch out, with 90 hoopings it took two afternoons to stipple the whole quilt!

Quite simply, I was so impressed with what it was capable of.  It has immediately obvious wow factors; the automatic motorised needle threader, the fold up arm for embroidery, large hoop and harp area, WiFi, PC connectivity, and the huge range of inbuilt designs.  But it was also the sheer versatility of what it could do.  Little did I know that this was the start of a whole new chapter in my sewing life!

Simplicity_Bag_2 Simplicity_Bag_1

Embroidered bag using Simplicity pattern 1597.  Designs from Embroidery Library.

It was so easy to use, right from the off we were editing and producing embroidery using this fantastic machine.  Coupled with it being a fantastic sewing machine with all the features of the flagship long arm machines and more, I was already hooked.  It made everything so easy, and was simple to operate.  The results were impressive.  You could even just choose what sewing job you wanted to do and the machine would automatically set itself up to do it!  It had something for everyone; quilters, crafters & dressmakers alike.


Flowerpot table runner made with ‘Scallop Magic’ fabric from Riley Blake.  The flower quilting motifs were done 3 at a time in the hoop, and it was bound using the Janome quilt binder set

Even so, I didn’t decide then I was going to buy one, although I thought it was wonderful.  Back then I was of the opinion that it was a lot of money.  Well, that’s certainly true, and that’s something I hear a lot from customers in the shop.  But then I got to thinking about the use I could get from it and the fantastic things I could do with it.  The Acufil quilting system was something I was really interested in, and actually when I finally took the plunge and bought one my first project would be quilted this way.


Mulberry_Stars    Mulberry_Stars_2

King size quilt from pattern ‘Mulberry Stars’. Ditch quilted with borders and cornerstones quilted in the Acufil hoop. I enlarged the standard stippling pattern for the outer border.

In actual fact it’s been the best decision.  OK, half the kitchen has been lost to my ‘sewing space’ (I am waiting on the offspring moving out so I can have a sewing room…don’t think that’s happening any time soon!).  But I can do everything on the one machine, and I use it most days.  The super large harp space meant that quilting a 104” square quilt with the Acufeed walking foot was easy.  Quilts can be quilted in the special Acufil hoop, which makes it simple to cope with those thick layers.  I’ve even produced my own border designs using MBX software, meaning my designs are perfectly matched and sized to my project.  And friends and family are getting some pretty special presents for Christmas and birthdays!



 I digitised this poppy design to use in a wall hanging (to go with the poppy fabric.  Left: the free motion feet (there are three) float over the surface of the quilt rather than bouncing, which makes them a breeze to use.  I’ve finally got a result I’m proud of!


It’s opened up a whole new world of creativity for someone who, let’s face it, finds it hard to be inspired and original with a design.  This machine helps me really make it my own and has given me a whole new perspective on my sewing!  And it was worth every penny.

Louise (staff member @ Threads and Patches)


Shoo Fly Block Tutorial

The first block of this sampler is a simple 9″ Shoo Fly Block


You will need 2 fabrics to make this block, it is best if they are tonally different – so one is darker than the other, if you put two fabrics together that have similar value then the design created by the patchwork may get lost and not be so visible.

Fabric you will need  for this block 

  1. 1 strip 4″ x 26″
  2. 1 strip 4″ x 13″

About This Block

This is a ‘Nine Patch’ Block, meaning it is made up of 5 segments. In this case there are 5 segments that are cut as squares (4 of fabric 1 and 1 of fabric 2)

and there are 4 segments that are Half Square Triangles ( a Square of 2 half triangles, Fabrics 1 and 2

You construct the half Square triangles first.


  1. Cut 2 squares 3 7/8″ – fabric 1
  2. Cut 2 Squares 3 7/8″ from fabric 2
  3. Place the different fabrics Right Sides Together so light on dark (do this so the wrong side of the light fabric is uppermost
  4. Draw a diagonal line across the wrong side of the light fabrics with either a removable fabric marker or very light pencil.
  5. Draw two lines either side of this central line 1/4″ away. Make sure you check that the line marked accurately, if it is too close to the line your squares will be too big (this can be fixed!) , if it is too far away your squares will be too small (difficult to fix!)
  6. Using a flat foot on your machine (I like the open zig zag or satin stitch foot on my Janome) and with a stitch length of 2.2 – 2.5 stitch the two outermost lines. I prefer to chain stitch (feed one in after another without cutting the thread).
  7. When both the outer lines are sewn, cut down the centre line with your scissors or with a rotary cutter
  8. Press the Half Square Triangles from the front pushing the seam towards the darker fabric. Trim off the ‘ears’.  Re measure this square, it should measure 3 1/2″
  9. Lay out the block now, in 3 rows of 3 squares. Use the diagram above to help you with the layout
  10. Join the squares together with an accurate 1/4″ seam, press the seams towards the central plain squares on the top and bottom row, press the seams outwards on the middle row.
  11. Join the rows together lining up the seams and letting them ‘nest’ against each other. Stitch the rows together with a 1/4″ seam. Press these seams open.
  12. Re measure your block, when pressed it should measure 9 1/2″

Well done you have finished the first block of the sampler!



If you are interested in the history of this block there is information on this here


Free Quilt Blocks from Threads and Patches

Customer_sampler_1           Customer_Sampler_2014_SB

Over the last few years Sally has run a ‘Saturday Sampler’ Quilt course, these were usually her own designs and were made block by block into quilts over the year. As many of these designs have been very successful Threads and Patches has decided to share them here, so starting in the next week you will be able to access and download the patterns for the blocks for Sallys’ 2014 Saturday Sampler . this was originally constructed in burgundy and grey fabrics but would work well in any complimentary colours, or even as a scrappy quilt.



Customer_Sampler_2014_PB       Customer_Sampler_2014_AP

You can see from the examples of quilts made by our customers with the same fabrics how diverse they can look

Over the next few weeks I shall be adding the instructions for these blocks  to this blog, you will be able to download them  and follow them at your own pace.

I used 6 different burgundy fabrics and 5 or 6 different pale grey fabrics, plus I needed burgundy embroidery thread and grey embroidery thread.  Many of our customers embellished their quilts with beads and buttons . There is some embroidery on some of the designs but many of the participants enjoyed adding extra embroidery throughout the quilt.

I would love to see what you make so please email me your work at and I shall incorporate as many as I can in to the blog posts.

Follow our blog to make sure you don’t miss any of the blocks. I look forward to creating a fun quilt along side you.




Weekly Special Deals Plus Click and Collect!


At Threads and Patches we like to offer great value. So we have recently started a new program of weekly special offers. To be notified of these offers customers sign up to our email list, they then receive an email when the offers become available on our website. There are some great deals to be had, so if you want to keep ahead of the game, sign up to our emailing list today

You can even ‘Click and Collect’ by placing an order and selecting the collection option we shall prepare your goods for you, email you when they are ready for collection and of course you have no waiting at the till or postal charges.

Try out the new system and see if you like it!

Make a Bag For Macmillan

It was a couple of weeks ago now, but I wanted to tell you all about the recent bag-making day we held here at Threads and Patches! We invited you all to come by the shop and make a fabric carrier bag (to replace those pesky plastic ones!) for free, in exchange for a donation to Macmillan.

We worked the day by having one of us stay in each workroom all day – I helped the bag-makers in the downstairs workroom, and Helen helped those who went upstairs. Helen and I both had such a fun time showing everyone how to make their bags – the mood was great, and everyone seemed to have a good laugh popping in for a quick project fix and chatting to their fellow bag-making-mates. We had a few kids and some total beginners, and everyone did a great job. I was especially impressed by the children – they were so eager and excited to learn how to put their bags together!

We really had a fun day and can you believe it? You all raised £324 for Macmillan with just your donations on the day! Thanks so much to everyone who came by and helped us have such a great time – I really hope we’ll do another charity project-making day again one day, it was a huge success!

But if you weren’t able to join us, we do have some extra kits at the shop – you’re welcome to take one in exchange for a donation next time you stop by, get ‘em while they last!  – Julie


Wonderful Wonder Clips!

Each of our team have favourite products and fabrics. Julie wanted to share her love of these little gadgets with you –

Do you have a tool in your sewing box that you couldn’t possibly live without? I’m sure everyone does, and I bet they’re all different. Mine are Clover Wonder Clips  – I’ll recommend them to anyone who will listen!

If you’re a quilter, you can use Wonder Clips for what is, I suppose, their original purpose – keeping binding in place while you hand-stitch. That’s why I bought them in the first place – and I seem to have accumulated quite a few over the last few years! I keep a handful in every sewing bag or box.

Now I use Wonder Clips for everything and anything – I find them especially useful for English Paper Piecing : when hand basting, I Wonder Clip one seam around my paper and start basting from the opposite side. It just keeps the paper and fabric secure until I get a couple of stitches in, without needing a pin. Even if I am glue basting , I’ll still use a Wonder Clip to hold my English Paper Pieces together while sewing up seams. They’re just the perfect tool for anything you don’t want to use a pin in – like oilcloth, vinyls, leather, even paper – or anything you can’t easily get a pin into – like thick felt, fun fur, fleece, or even a project like bag-making , which might involve holding several thickly interfaced layers together. I’ve even been known to clip cut fabric pieces to their corresponding pattern pieces, so I don’t lose track of which piece is which in a complicated project!
Can you tell I really think Wonder Clips are the best tool ever?! What tool in your sewing box would you be totally lost without? Send us your thoughts!

Stitcher’s Weekend Retreat – November 2015 Fri 13th – Sun 15th

I am so looking forward to our weekend retreat this year.
We have been going to The Holiday Inn in Milton Keynes  for several years now and they have always looked after us well.One of the great things about this holiday is that there is no single supplement. Everyone gets their own room!
I have lots of plans for this weekend, not least the two quilts – one an applique Baltimore style

and the other a pieced snails trail and stars

Both of these quilts are suitable for beginner patchworkers and the more experienced.
During the weekend I shall also be offering a couple of ‘quick makes’ these are usually7 done as ‘early risers’ ie, those who wish to get up and stitch at 7 am may join me to make something fun – honestly at the moment I have so many ideas for these I cannot decide what to go for, one will probably be a small bag of some sort, just not sure what the other one will be. I have found in the pst that the easiets thing to do for this ios to provide kits, that way i know everyone has everything, they are usually priced at around £4-£5
If you are interested in joining us for this weekend please call the shop on 01908 649687