Charity Workshop Information

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Tutors:     Di Wells (Kantha) and Rosemary Rowe (Angels)

Venue:      Cowslip Workshops; Newhouse Farm, Launceston, Cornwall  PL15 8JX

Date and time: Tuesday 11th September 2018, 10 am-4 pm in the Big Barn

Cost: £35.  The two charities we are supporting this year are: The Albanian Sewing Project and Cornwall Air Ambulance

We are immensely grateful to Jo, at Cowslip workshops,  http://www.cowslipworkshops.co.uk  who has very kindly allowed us to use her Big Barn for another charity workshop day this year. Above and below, are photographs of the workshops we are offering. They are both hand sewing on the day. Please choose carefully from the information given before making your choice, because if your choice is Kantha, it will be necessary to do some preparation, before the day.

You are at liberty to do either one workshop all day, or both, as a half day each.

The kantha workshop involves some preparation of the background, before the workshop day, so that your workshop time can be spent in developing the kantha and embroidery.   A lino printed house will be included for everyone who is doing the “kantha with a house”….and there will be one available, on the day, for those who are doing one of the other options, if you would like one. Please note that you won’t finish your kantha project in the day, but will have hopefully become “hooked”. I am now totally addicted!

I feel that complete beginners and more experienced stitchers would enjoy either of our two workshops.  On both projects you could add your own spin!

Mine is Kantha. 
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The finished measurements of the little panel with the red house measures 3.5″ wide x 4.25″ long, and the panel with the pale lilac house is 4.5″ wide x 3.5″ long.

The third piece, shown below, has a finished size of 5″ square

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N.B. Measurements have only been given as a guide as it is impossible to estimate size from  photographs. You are, of course, free to work on whatever size of panel you wish, but I would advise against working on a big scale if this is your first foray into Kantha. It is a closely worked technique, and you do want to see some results by the end of your day/half day. Placement of strips and oblongs/ squares is purely up to personal choice.

Another kantha choice is this fish panel which is worked on a plain background. I chose a piece of linen which I had hand dyed. The final size of this piece is 6″ square.

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Details of all pre preparation for any of the Kantha choices will be given on the requirements sheet. I will email the details for the panel you have chosen.

You can of course plan your own piece of work, to whatever size you wish before you come to the workshop. The subject matter can be entirely your choice, but if this technique is new to you, I do suggest that you work on a small scale to start with. It is an intensively worked technique, and as such is not quick!! However, it is actually a very therapeutic, soothing, slow stitch method once you get into it.  Please Note that you will not finish the kantha during the workshop, but you will understand exactly how to finish it by the end of your session.

Rosemary will be teaching a contemporary Angel for the second workshop on offer. Below are some variations on one basic structure….and then the world is your oyster! They become individual little characters according to the materials and embellishments you choose!  These young ladies just make me smile with their “Doc Marten boots”; piercings(!) and jewellery!

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All bookings should be made through me, please, by emailing me at, diwells49@gmail.com giving the following details:

  • Your name, and  email address if it is different to the one you are emailing me with.
  • Your chosen workshop(s); Angel, fish kantha or House kantha
  • Payment: £35 for the day. Please make cheques out to; Mrs H Wells, and send to: Cedar Lodge, Trevarth, Mevagissey, Cornwall, PL26 6RX. If you would prefer to pay by Bank Transfer, let me know, so that I can email you the details

On receipt of payment, requirement sheets will be emailed to you.

If you are booking the Kantha workshop, some initial preparation at home, prior to the workshop day is required. The reason I ask you to do this is because it would make such a difference to the time available to really make progress with the Kantha stitching, on the day. You would be able to do this preparation by hand or machine, your choice.

** If you are choosing a kantha panel with a lino printed house, please also include an SAE when you send me your cheque, so that I can send you a house. If you are coming with friends, then it would be sensible to send one sae on behalf of any friends choosing the same workshop too (unless they do not live close to you)! The colours available are: green,  turquoise, red, pink/red, blue, terracotta,  lilac and grey. Please give at least a couple of colour options, because I clearly do not have an unlimited supply! **

If you choose one of the other workshops; i.e. the fish Kantha or Angel,  and would like a house, maybe to work with at a later stage, you are welcome to have one on the day. I will bring some extras!

The angels are achievable in half a day. You can see that these “contemporary” angels allow for personal embellishment, beads, buttons, bows and embroidery etc….whatever takes your fancy.

On the day we shall have a raffle table, and any contributions to this would be gratefully received. We shall also have a sales table, all made and prepared by the two of us.

An “inspiration” table will also hopefully enthuse you, and show what you might aspire to. These items won’t be for sale, but are more a “show and tell”!

You are very welcome to bring a light lunch with you, and there will also be a good selection of luches available from the cafe. I am sure that we shall be able to order before lunch time, so that when we do have our break our orders will be ready for us. Drinks will be available during the day, and home made biscuits/tray bakes etc, which Rosemary and I shall make, will accompany liquid refreshment! After all, that is part and parcel of any quilting day, is it not?

We are very dependent on the weather, and hopefully September will have warm sunny days, however, please be aware that you may need extra layers, if it is a cool day, so please come suitably attired.

Happy stitching!

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Stitching News January 2018

Welcome to any new visitors to the Stitching News blog. I hope you find something of interest and some encouragement to fire your imagination, and inspire you this month! Happy New Year to you all. Goodness didn’t the month get off to a very chilly, stormy start? The seas have been very rough, especially those accompanying the highest tides, and the full moon. They were spectacular. We didn’t get any snowfall down here; but it seemed as though we did get everything else…and it hasn’t given up yet; terrific hail storms and winds this evening as I get ready to publish this blog.

In this month’s stitching blog I am going to write about;

  • The changes I have made in my lovely sewing room, and what I found in the process!
  • My sewing projects for this month.
  • A mini, simple little in-house tutorial I have prepared for one of the two  quilting groups I belong to.
  • Progress on the charity workshop  information

Not necessarily in that order!

Over the years, I have been asked how I can find the time to put together a comprehensive blog, quickly! Well, put simply, it isn’t quick! I write little and often, so that it grows in a logical order and I have time to make adjustments as I go along! It is a time consuming activity and needs constant reviewing to ensure it makes sense!

I have had some lovely walks this month, albeit in the wind and showers; definitely in the mud and one memorable day in gorgeous sunshine, joy of joys. Sunny days have been few and far between but it has been a delight walking around Mevagissey harbour,  and in the lanes up to Heligan, and seeing many signs of the spring plants raising their heads to battle with the elements.. 20180111_103601

The little turnstones, returned in December, and their constant busy scurrying activities bring a real smile to my face. It is so good to see them back. The boats have spent many days sheltering in the inner harbour. The tides have been high and the results very evident. The waves crashing over the wall onto the foot path around the outer harbour. In Portmellon, sea weed splashed on the houses opposite the bay, right up onto the roofs ….and sea weed behind the houses! The swell, deceptive! Great care is needed.

My Fitbit is back in use after a few months rest! I find it really works for me as a great incentive to get out walking. When it is in constant sight, it is urging me to get out there! Although it has many functions, I am just interested in monitoring my steps…aiming for the 10,000 per day.  We are so lucky to live by the coast because it is always interesting, and often inspirational, and a pleasure to walk. The harbour is a working harbour, albeit it very small, so there is constant activity. Heligan Gardens are only a 35 minute walk away along lovely lanes, so there are always lovely choice straight from the front door.

I treated myself to a Sue Lewington book for Christmas.P1040790 (2)

P1040789 (2)It is absolutely delightful, and is series of sketches; a personal record of 12 days on the Isles of Scilly during Easter 2013. I have bought several of her books over the years, but I think it was A6 format of this book, that caught my eye, and of course the sketches on the covers, as well as inside!

She uses a variety of media including pencils, pen, charcoal and water colours. The sketches are just that…quite like scribbles at times, which is so encouraging! It is a great read, with the odd accompaniment of text. The majority of sketches have no words. They simply aren’t needed, but the narrative, when it is there, does add flavour, and interest which helps to inform the imagination! It inspires me every time I look at it. and really makes me “want to do”.

Then… within a few days of delving into that, it was meant to be that I read the InStitches blog; www.institchestextilecourses.co.uk/blog/the-10-minute-drawing-project

About the drawing project, the author says, and I quote: “The received wisdom is that practice makes perfect.  By doing something repeatedly you should get better, so 2018 is my year to see if I can actually become better at…drawing.  By allotting 10 minutes each day and limiting the media and subject I want to see if I can improve – I don’t think I’ll become a fine art master, that’s not my plan, what I hope to achieve is becoming more skilled at looking and recording.

So, my plan is to have a go, as many days as I can.  I shan’t be precious about it, because I know there will be days that I can’t do it but I am making a start and have taken my camera out walking, with me. It doesn’t matter what your source is, it is the “doing” that matters! My personal tool kit, for want of another phrase will include water colours and paint brush; charcoal pencil, fine drawing pens, watercolour pencils, Ten minutes a day should be achievable for those of us who are “retired”!! I wonder if I have the discipline to keep going! Sketching is an integral part of design, so we can never have too much practice.

We have recently been helping a longstanding dear friend, who was very sadly bereaved last year, to pack up his huge house as he is downsizing and moving to a tiny lovely cottage by the sea. One piece of furniture that he was unable to take with him, has been welcomed into my own sewing room now. I am thrilled to bits, because it really adds character and interest.

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It is a lovely old pine washstand, with a tiled back, and a replacement marble top. Originally it would probably have had a hole in the marble to set in a wash bowl. It has a  cupboard underneath the marble and plenty of storage underneath the whole unit. It is just gorgeous, and I love it.

The inclusion of this into my sewing room necessitated a big sort out, and tidy up of what I can only describe as a “tip”. I am sure many of you know exactly what I mean! I get so involved in different ongoing projects, that it doesn’t take more than ten minutes to produce chaos! The trouble is with me, that one idea very quickly suggests another, and so on, and before I know it, I am off track and onto additional things, which creates more fabrics, and equipment etc. I was so grateful when an artist friend who asked if he could see what I was working on, once said to me, in response to my “Its in quite a mess…!” “Di, you cannot be creative in a tidy space!” It was music to my ears!

The tidying was actually fun to do, as essentially I do like to be tidy in all other respects, and indeed when I am sewing, …but it just doesn’t last. The fact that no-one else who visits us can see the mess, unless I invite them to, is a blessing in so many ways.

On this occasion I found some of my old screen prints, which I had printed onto fabric, but in the main, had got no further!

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The seed case prints, had got as far as already being attached to a cotton canvas backing, with some machine stitched detail and even some button flowers on one of them. These were intended for book covers, and I shall take them on into fruition! The square and circle prints had been printed onto a white background; not inspiring, and probably the reason I had not gone further with them! I have now overdyed them, and am itching to embellish and work with them….I will show you the results all in good time.

Over many months, I have become more and more aware of just how much time I am spening on the Internet.  Far too much time is wasted on social media sites, and this year I am determined to be much stricter with my time. Being more thoughtful about this, I know will free up a lot of time which I can use in more positive ways. It will be interesting to reflect, at the close of the year, on how well I have done!

Rosemary and I are also busy making items for the sales table…we would like some surprises so I will not be showing you everything in the blogs, (but will perhpas be tempting you!)  In addition, this month,I have also been asked if I would prepare a little teabag wallet for a handbag, to give as an  in-house tutorial to one of the quilting groups I belong to.  I started planning this little item by measuring the teabag packets, and sketching different options of how they might be contained. I wanted it to be simple, and neat. I worked out measurements and made a start in calico so that I wouldn’t be wasting good fabrics in the trial run! I am pleased with the end result (shown below), and know I  shall be making a few more of these, as well! Many people like to keep a favourite herb or fruit tea with them, for when they are visiting friends, and these little wallets do just the job! They hold four teabags, which are kept secure with a ribbon and button closure.

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A great little gift, anytime!                                                                                                September, when we have the Charity day workshop, will be a very good time of year to be thinking about presents, and we shall have an interesting selection of lovely items to tempt you!

I am writing a completely separate blog about the Charity workshop. It is almost ready! There are lots of photographs to show you what is on offer and, additional information about the day. It seems to me that it is easier to to present all of this in its own blog, which I will be posting in the next couple of weeks.

Last, but not least, I have now made changes to the third and fourth quarters of the original pieced cushion top which, originally, just did not inspire me at all. If you remember I cut the original pieced top into four quarters, deciding to alter them so that I felt inspired to make them into something attractive! I discussed the changes I made to the first two quarters in the November and December blogs. This month I have made a start on the last two. I soaked them both in a soda solution, then dyed them both with wine-red procion dye.  They are the bottom two blocks in the photograph below.

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I rolled the bottom right one, from opposite diagonal corners, towards the centre then twisted it and knotted it loosely before dunking it briefly in the wine-red dye. Then I dipped it in a turqoise dye, immediately afterwards, resulting in a mottled pale purple. Both blocks were left for 14 hours before rinsing.  I cut the pink one into four equal strips, altered the strip positions, turning at least one strip upside down, before sewing them back together. I have started to quilt it, but have more detail to add yet. The second one was cut into four equal squares which were also rearranged before being sewn back into a new block. I have quite a bit more work to on this one too, before quilting it. Now I shall have fun using each of the blocks in different items! I will show you how each one has been used in future blogs.

How many of you use overdyeing as a method of changing something that you don’t like? If you never have, would it be something you might now consider? Perhaps you might think about cutting something up, and pieceing it again, differently….It would be good to hear from you via comments at the end of this blog.

Happy stitching, until next time.   Di