Tuesday morning Pitch and Stitch - 10.00am to 1.00pm

Tuesday morning Pitch and Stitch - 10.00am to 1.00pm
This hanging from Annie Downs' Hatched and Patched book should be in every caravan as a cushion or decoration!

Monday, 21 November 2011

A short history of dressmaking

About 37 years ago, on the first day back at school in september, I looked excitedly at my new timetable and was thrilled to see an hour a week of sewing.  Now I was a second year - no longer a kid, and armed with a length of purple corduroy, thread and zip, I could barely contain my excitement - I was going to make a 'straight skirt'!  It was going to be beautiful, and I was going to look very grown up in it, and I was sure it was the start of a lifetime of dressmaking.
By the end of the year, after hours wrestling with taylor's chalk, unpicking seam after seam of tacking (too big according to the teacher) with a 'quick unpick' which wasn't and and finally trying to figure out how to thread the machine, which didn't look anything like my mother's, I went home with some tattered pieces of fabric and the zip still in it's packet.
Eight years ago, I wondered just how difficult it could be to 'run up' a sun dress (people who sew always talk about 'running things up') and, armed with some pale blue fabric and matching thread, enthusiastically went for it.  The dress was so awful that it went straight in the bin - both my mother and daughter said it looked like a mishapen nurse's shift.
Four days ago, I thought, I really have to crack this.
I have FINALLY made a simple, purple corduroy skirt with a zip!  It took a bit more than the two hours the pattern promised - but I've done it!!
If at first you don't succeed.......

Meanwhile, I heard from Cath who has finished the 'Trip around the World' quilt she started at our workshop earlier this Autumn - the person she made it for wanted lots of pink!_
Beautiful -well done Cath!
She's also made an appliqued quilt for her granddaughter

How lovely is that?

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Old Bag

Very successful workshop today.  Sandra, the lady in the title, taught us how to make two bags.  We started with the first, and slightly more difficult (-the workshop was aimed at beginner's so they were actually both very easy, it's just that this one is lined) - which was described as 'tweedy'.  Last summer a really friendly couple from Australia, visiting family in England, stayed on the CL, and the Sheila joined us at Pitch and Stitch.  She called in another time (for the life of me I can't remember her name which isn't very nice but she was great fun) with a pile of Harris Tweed samples she had been given but couldn't take back to Australia and gave them to Sandra and me.  I decided to sew a few of them together to make my bag:

I am really pleased with it.  Anne and Sandra also made a 'shopper' but I was determined to end the day with a completely finished article, so I kept on with this.  I am going to make a shopper too - not out of tweed - now I know how, but not today!

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Caravanner's news

I received a very nice letter from Linda in Bristol, enclosing a photo of her version of the Anni Downs' Caravan picture from her book 'The World as it Should Be'.  Linda made it for her friends to hang in their caravan and now she's going to make one for herself.

Below is a picture of the quilt Sheila made - also from an Annie Downs' book, but very much adapted to portray her family.  She added pictures of her church, family tree, a lighthouse and changed the faces of the characters and added figures so the Christmas dinner shows members of her family.  Sheila started it when she stayed on our CL and came up for the Hatched and Patched day.  While she sat sewing with us, her husband painted a lovely picture of our house, as seen from the CL, which is now hanging in our sitting room!

All the people who stay on our CL are always so friendly and lead such interesting lives, we miss them when we are closed but look forward to opening again in March.

I finished my poppy but it wasn't quite the success I'd hoped it would be - in fact, the response when I showed it at P and S was gales of laughter (not very kind).  I'm not sure I can wear it with pride:

Lastly, Sandra brought over the bags she's made for the Bag-making for beginner's course on wednesday.  We'll make the shopper in the morning (dead easy), then the lined, tweedy handbag in the afternoon.  The shopper can be made out of any material you like, and would be a great stocking-filler:

There are still places if anyone wants to book!!

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Janet's quilt

Just got back from doing a talk on Quilts, with Sandra, to the Kennet Weaving and Spinner's Guild.  They were very welcoming and I think Sandra and I were both surprised at quite how many quilts we had to show - amazing how they mount up over time!!
Anyway, one of the ladies there said she had a bag full of hexagons and it would be nice if we could sew them up - Sandra said it would be nicer if she came out to the workshop and we could watch her sew it up, and we talked about Janet, who has been making a hexagon quilt on our Tuesday morning Pitch and Stitch sessions.  Would you believe it, I came to check on my e mails and look what Janet sent me:

All finished!!!  Isn't it lovely - and so much work, all hand stitched.  Janet sent this email at 3.06, and our talk started at about 2.30. 
Janet hasn't been to P and S recently, and we'd assumed it was because she'd had her hip done - but she hasn't, she's just in too much pain to drive.  So best wishes to Janet and we hope she gets the op sooner rather than later.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Useful chat!

Last week the owner of Sewmaster sewing machine shop in Reading (http://www.sewmaster.co.uk/) came to give a talk on 'looking after our sewing machines' at the Market Square Quilters and show us some of the sewing machines they sell.  Well, as everyone knows who comes up to the farm, I use a £100 Toyota I bought off Price Drop TV (- we'd just got a digi box and I'd never seen shopping channels before so, when a sewing machine came up.........) and, frankly, after 4 years it's driving me mad: jamming, stalling, snapping the thread etc.  So, I decided the £529 Pfaff was the machine for me.  I came home and told Jonathan I wanted it, adding that I have never asked him to buy me anything expensive before.  He answered that just last month he'd bought me a new washing machine and dishwasher.  Lucky girl, me.
Anyway, a few days later I went out to the workshop and thought about what Mr Sewmaster had said - clean your sewing machines abut once a month.  Alien concept but since I can't sew with either of my washing machines, I thought I'd give it a go.  What a surprise!  It would seem that 4 years of lint piling up under the feed dogs can make your machine jam, stall and snap!  My Toyota is running like a dream so the hope of a Pfaff has gone up in (a puff) of smoke!!!

Meanwhile, Delia from Craven Arms joined us at Pitch and Stitch this week and brought her lovely, personalised Hatched and Patched quilts to show us:
Rotten picture I've taken but here's a detail:

Delia made the valid point that since we all buy so much fabric now, it's lovely to be able to make personalised quilts by taking the inspiring patterns in the Anni Downs' Hatched and Patched books or the Art to Heart books, and substitute some (or all) of the stitcheries with more personal pictures.  The above quilt is for Delia's sister and the one below for her son's girlfriend:
 Meanwhile, for the 'Mini Masterpieces workshop on Wednesday, I made an applique hanging of a picture Victoria drew for me when she was about 8 of Jonathan driving through the 'contry':
Which turned out like this -

and if you're wondering where Jonathan is - she only had room for his hat!!