I love the month of October; the misty mornings; the leaves changing into glorious autumn colours; berries, hips and haws abound in the hedgerows and the birds are eating voraciously from the feeders, giving us endless entertainment! Early in the mornings there are spider’s webs everywhere in the garden and when I saw this one it made me reflect on how hard the spider had to work to catch her early breakfast! This then led me to look up whether it is male or female spiders that make the web, and the complicated processes involved. What a story! It is a fascinating read….
My lovely sewing room has become more and more disorganised, just because I have so much on the go all the time!! My projects seem to be grouping together, on tables or the floor while I am “auditioning” fabrics for each of them! I suspect that many of us, do this before launching into making piece of work. I often want to pin work up for a while, or even put it away for a few days/ weeks, until I have a more concentrated period of time to concentrate on it. That doesn’t mean to say that I am not turning it all over in my mind, constantly.
One very good friend said to me one day, as I was apologising about the state of my room; ” Di, you cannot be creative and tidy! Don’t worry about it”! I don’t, I can assure you, but I do like to have a good tidy up occasionally, as it helps to clear my mind! Anyway, I decided to make some calico tote bags, so that it is easier to separate the different projects, and store them. This would help to tidy up my room, as well as other areas in the house! First, I stored them in various cloth bags, and hung them from some butchers hooks just to get the feel of what I wanted! As I already use these bags on a regular basis, they couldn’t be in permanent use! But, immediately it was tidier than it had been for many weeks. That was the just the incentive to get on and make them!
They had to be quick to make, but I equally wanted them to look smart. I used a heavy weight calico…no adornments other than a tiny additional loose “pocket” pinned with an outsize safety pin around one of the handles. I have slotted a card into this with the project name easy to read! Job done. Will be making another couple very soon!
I finished the quilting on the lino printed panel that I showed in the last blog. It has been an easy project to get on with as it is relatively small. I really love having hand sewing on the go as it is so easy to transport, and to sew in the evenings, or with friends when chatting! I cut out some more denim to border the panel, which also made it up to the correct size for the front of the bag. I also sourced a denim pocket for the back of the bag; such a useful addition to have. I chose a fabric for the bag lining and cut this to size, before stitching a padded pocket in place on it. In the final construction I sewed the lining and the zip in together and created boxed corners at the base of the bag to give a pleasing shape, and a roomy interior. I have made this bag specifically as a gift; designing the lino print, choosing colour, size etc.
During the first three years after we moved to Mevagissey, I taught eleven residential courses up at Bodrugan Barton, a farm on the edge of Mevagissey, whose wonderful owners, Sally and Tim could not have been more hospitable. The courses were great fun, and when I “retired” the ladies started to book retreats there for themselves and friends.
They frequently invite me up to the farm when they are staying there. It is a wonderful way for me to keep in touch with everyone. I get to see what they are all working on, and they get to see what I have been up to too! We chat, laugh, share a mix of ideas…and of course cake and coffee come into it as well!! This last month I have three invitations up to see old friends. They are very special times.
I also taught 15 wonderful ladies from Brockhampton Quilters, Gloucestershire, a week ago, for a long weekend. This is the sixth annual “workshop weekend” that I have taught for them in Mevagissey, and hopefully there may be more! They have already booked again for next year! It was a very happy weekend, with much chatter and laughter; a lot of very productive stitching going on in between the coffee and cakes and other delicious food and everyone supporting each other fantastically.
The Saturday “whole day workshop” was a mini landscape day. They had all brought their own source material to work with and a fabric palette, threads and hand and machine sewing equipment. I had dyed some scrim in different colours, as well as extra threads for anyone to dip into…and I also had a selection of painted mixed media to hand for their use, as well. It was very much a learning experience for some, while others were more comfortable with the process….but I was SO impressed with the fantastic progress they all made. One of the ladies had brought a quilt which was under construction, so she was making the most of the time to get on with that.
There was a terrific range of styles and embellishment, and they should all be very proud with their end results.
The previous weekend, I had prepared a mini landscape. I took a photo of the garden from our sitting room. and then worked out an order of work, which gave a basis for the handout and a suggested start for the workshop. The result is shown here on the right. I need to do a bit more at the bottom of the panel, but it was sufficient for teaching purposes.
I used a wide range of mixed media as well as my dyed fabrics and threads, and really enjoyed the process. The size unfinished is 4″ by 10.5″.
I did an Eco dyeing demonstration for the group on Friday evening, which worked well. I had also made a little book with some samples in, and talked them through the book making process too. While the leaves were steaming, they began the preparation for their landscapes, so it was a very full 3 hour class, starting late afternoon!
The two photos above show one of the the page spreads and the outside cover of the book.
On Sunday morning we had another small project; a flat, narrow pencil case which involved the insertion of a zip. I use my 1/4″ foot for zips, rather than my zipper foot, so I was able to show them how I do this, and for those who had never tackled a zip before, they were really excited about the finish. The secret, of course, is to have a zip which is a good 2″ (or more) longer than is required. It is then trimmed to size after insertion. We made small flat pencil cases which are an ideal size for putting in a hand bag.
I hope you have enjoyed this newsletter and look forward to being back in touch next month. Happy Sewing!