Def: patchwork; n

1. Needlework consisting of varicoloured patches of material sewn together.

2. A thing composed of many different elements so as to appear variegated.


I adore the beautiful diversity of arts and culture we now enjoy in Northern Ireland and I also love reading or watching anything that teaches or inspires me to make things and be creative.

I wanted somewhere I’d find all of my favourite things in one place – there wasn’t one, so I made it. Some of the patches are cultural, some are crafty, and they’re all sewn together with a sparkly thread of creativity.


As well as a regularly-updated events calendar and a weekly ‘What’s On’ guide, I bring you coverage of festivals, exhibitions, shows and fairs, plus views, previews and reviews of magazines, books and blogs.


As well as my own adventures in making and mending (mostly sewing at the minute, but so much more I want to explore!), there will be guest posts from amateur and professional craftspeople, and I share any tips, tricks and resources I find along the way.


Profiles of artists, writers, creative businesses, projects and organisations and glimpses into their lives, work, motivations and creative processes. I’m also interested in green living and finding new uses for old things, so sustainability and thriftiness are a running theme – taking the creative approach to living well, if you will.


My name’s Heather McGarrigle; I’m a qualified journalist and self-employed copywriter – I trade as Quill Inc NI

I live and work in Lisburn, Northern Ireland. That’s me there with the multi-coloured face. There’s a story behind the picture – read it here.

I have, for a long time, been fascinated by the world of the handmade. Childhood face-painting and friendship bracelets led to knitting with my grandmother and on to customising clothes in my teens. More recently, I’ve been teaching myself to use a sewing machine and exploring a wide range of other crafting interests. When I first decided I wanted to blog, I thought I might start a crafting or sewing blog. But crafting’s not my only passion.

Our country is bursting at the seams with creativity and soul-nourishment: festivals dedicated to music, film, art, photography and literature; shows, fairs and bazaars; pop-up shops, restaurants and exhibitions.

From street theatre to the Lyric Theatre, the place is buzzing. However, the arts today are under more pressure than ever before, with chronic underfunding and a lack of government or any kind of real leadership in Northern Ireland. Arts and the creative industries not only consistently return far more to the economy than they receive, but they are needed now more than ever. In this bleak and increasingly polarised time we find ourselves in, it is in the arts we find solace, entertainment, connection, companionship, cheer and a bit of sense in the madness.

The creativity swirling round Northern Ireland, the crackling excitement of cultural regeneration against the odds, the importance of protecting as well as celebrating the arts, plus my crafting curiosities and cravings have all led me to pick up The Patchwork Quill.


Heather  x



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