Saturday, 24 January 2015

A Whirl of a Week at PlainStitch

Wow, it's been the kind of week where you can't catch your breath. Everyday has either been an exciting kicking off of a new 2015 class or catching up with classes ongoing from 2014 and so many amazing things being made at PlainStitch at the moment. It really is a hive of creativity. I'm so proud of all of my students.

The shelves are bursting with colour and we're getting new fabric deliveries almost every week for  the foreseeable future it seems like! 

Just as well, as this fabric is rushing out of the door in little brown bags of anticipation, fulfilling so many burning creative ideas! It's all so exciting. New year - new projects! Our latest new fabric line Suffolk Garden has been well and truly pruned on Saturday, I wouldn't hang about if you fancy a bit!

 We are also expecting our new Cotton+Steel delivery soon.

Can't wait!

I rewrote our 'classes with spaces' board on Tuesday and already its out of date as another 4 of the classes listed are now already full. We've tried really hard to increase the availability of our classes to meet demand this spring, adding new extra evening classes and more repeats, but we are already choc a block so if you are keen to take a specific class please don't hesitate, we hate disappointing people when classes are already full. 

Our Farmers Wife class met again on Tuesday and there has been so much progress, amazing colourful blocks coming together here from Deirdre and Charlotte. Sorry everyone else I put my camera down somewhere then forgot where! A proper photo report next time!

On Wednesday our English Paper Piecing class was back from a winter break with fabulous work in progress, including Mary's super neat EPP tupperware prep box - if that's not a box of sewing possibilities waiting to bust out I don't know what is! 

I was also loving Mary's Baby Fabric Basket - perfect for sewing supplies!

Trudy is amazing! Her Dutch quilt is a mash up of EPP, Appliqué, fabric printing and so much more. This will be an opus magnum when it's finished! Fabulous!

Caroline showed off a double-finish! Re-purposed Laura Ashley EPP hexagons from the 1980's from her mum, mixed in with some modern cool greys and lilac purples to make a modern super sentimental lap quilt and cushion that she gifted back to her mum as a surprise this Christmas........just what patchwork is all about. Love and memory in every stitch. Well done Caroline it's gorgeous!

On Friday we kicked off a new year of our Experimental Log Cabin Workshop. Exciting projects are taking shape, fabrics being picked, design ideas tried out. I'm excited about what these ladies are going to make this space........

We also taught two full classes of really lovely enthusiastic new-to-sewing -peeps in our popular Get To Know Your Sewing Machine Class this week too - talking about the importance of a little bit of tlc for your machine. We're encouraging you all to show your sewing machine some January love this month. A little spritz of oil, a tickle with a nice new brush to get your machine lint free and you'll really notice the difference and your machine will love you just that little bit more back! Oh and Bobbin match mates? Attach your bobbin to the top of the matching thread spool. Believe me you'll never look back after you try these. It's how Jeanne organises her bobbins....eah? You know it makes sense!

Look at Netty's amazing EPP from our summer EPP class that came in for wadding fitting today. This quilt is a work of art. I love it. All hand sewn, it's divine!

Julia's 'It's Never Dull in Hull' Liberty EPP is also taking shape. Wow. It's stunning! Love that map print as a neutral against all of the Liberty prints and colour. Quilty wanties! I need new EPP!

Saturday was a fabulous blazingly sunny blur of a day at The Workroom. The door bell just didn't stop all day. Sue valiantly kept all the balls spinning cheerfully and we just laughed and 'wowed' and chatted for 5 hours solid in the winter sunshine without a breath it seemed. It really is the best job in the world, so many lovely people popping by and sharing their making with us. 

Some days I wonder if it's possible to squeeze even more making delights into our Workroom, then days like Saturday come along and blow the doors off. Alongside the crush that was The ShopRoom - in the ClassRoom we had a full class making Infinity Scarves - look at their work. Most of the class were new to sewing machine sewing, but they whizzed away happily. We learnt rotary cutting, dealt with seam finishing, and top notch hand finishing. These scarves were couture finished - and don't they look it? Well done ladies and keep toasty this week!

Pop in next week and see what unfolds in another 'Week at PlainStitch'!

p.s remember that if you'd like us to order you a ticket for The Quilters Guild Spring Day at The Memorial Hall, Wendover on 9th May drop me an e mail and i'll send you more'll be such fun (although there is some concern that we may suffocate on the volume of quilts that are being planned to bring along! We may still be showing and telling in Nov!)

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Reasons to be Cheerful in January.........

It's been a grey cold week hasn't it? Typical end of January. We're flighting back at The Workroom with reasons to be cheerful in January! I do love a HAPPY THOUGHT.

1. Yay - New fabric! This range is called Suffolk Garden by Brie Harrison. It's one of our most anticipated 2015 fabric ranges. I just adore this soft mixture of taupe and coral, hot pink and grapey purple! It's a colour scheme lots of you are using too, we've picked out so many inspiring fabric combinations this week for so many new classes all gearing up at the moment. It's the best part of our job. Yes, it's fabric.....but do you know what? It's so much more than that. Its a new project. A new start. A challenge. A sewing solace when life is hard or sad. A little bit of sewing peace and quiet in a busy life. A reason to feel cheerful when it's grey and cold. A reason to be home in the warm, sewing.

Ohh - and we filled up the 1/8ths box again - if you're looking for a little end of January style treat that wont break the bank come and have a rummage...

2. Ta Dah! PlainStitch Home Improvements! We painted up a new peg board. You know we LOVE pegboard. It's been an integral part of PlainStitch since the start and our range of notions had well outgrown the original space! We decided to bust out a new favourite colour - we've been loving all the grapey fabric in the Workroom recently so this purple was an obvious choice ( my bathtub is the same colour) We're getting a LOT of OCD style satisfaction from arranging and rearranging our new supplies too. When life gives you freezing cold grey days, arrange notions! Yes, those are multicoloured Wonderclips....think how happy they'll make you feel every time you use them!

3. Sewing Spring Cleaning. Show your machine some love in January and it'll see you right for the rest of the year and you'll feel saintly. Now in stock, Oil, Service kit and Bobbin Mates ( you will thank me, and you're welcome!)

4. New Shoes. An obvious mood enhancer. Obviously Patchwork ones..........

5. Anticipating Retreat Day. The most commonly heard phrase this week at The Workroom was ...'so i've started planning my project for Retreat Day'. Plus I'm getting even more anticipatory fun as I have the menu lists to choose this week! yummy yum x The thought of Retreat Day is such a tonic!

6. Heart Shaped Valentine Pompoms.The ultimate lovely colourful sticking plaster for many of lifes ills x

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

I Do So Love To Sew - My (Nearly) New Bernina Aurora 440

Well it's cold and wet and blowy and generally just not weather to be out in at the moment. That's fine, we are warm and busy at The Workroom. So much going on this week, new classes kicking off for another term, this week we have run Get To Know Your Sewing Machine Classes, Bee in Your Bonnet machine sewn patchwork class, a brand new, super keen Simple Sampler class which has been sold out since Oct so lots of people chomping at the bit to start their quilting journey ( we have another class starting later in the spring with a couple of spaces still open if you want to join us)...and phew it's only Wednesday! Tomorrow we'll all squeeze in ( lots of January sewing momentum for everyone at the mo!) and hunker down for a productive Therapy Thursday day...always a real tonic and I have my appliqué all prepped and ready to go (above). In the eving we have a choc a block Free Moton Machine Embroidery class and Friday we start Little Girls Dresses ( we had 2 spaces open up on that class at the last minute this week so if you checked out the summer Boden book/Next Directorary etc this week and thought - pah, I can make my own nicer/cheaper summer kiddy clothes do drp me a note)

I really enjoyed seeing our recent Simple Sampler Reunion reviewed in The Quilers Guild Spring Newsletter - look at all those lovely quilts!

Today we kicked off Simple Sampler again, it's such a favourite of mine, especially this first class - such exciting little piles of fabric ready to make special quilts for their makers. Simple Sampler is such a precious first quilt to make - all those hopes, some trepidation, then such pride when these bundles of fabrics become full blown quilts in a month or so - it's a magical metamorphosis - the only additional ingredient is the hard work of their makers - wonderful isn't it?!

Here are some work-in-progress-piles-of-fabric being put together today. I'm really looking forward to seeing them blossom.

I've been spring cleaning my Work In Progress piles.Pulling out some quilt tops that haven't made it to the finish line yet and pushing on with them. This quilt top has been languishing for a while. It's kind of Not-So-Simple-Sampler! Itried out a whole range of blocks that I had always wanted to make in a Sampler format. This quilt never made it to borders, batting and backing so borders now done I need to get backing and basting and get this one done. As is always the way, I fall back in love with some projects after a little hiatus.

Part of my motivation ( as if I need any!) has been enjoying sewing with my new machine. I have been a Bernina girl for a while now, sewing on a little Bernina 330 for a year or so, but I had been hankering after a Bernina 550 for a while. The 550 is a big, whistles and bells machine, ( read expensive, yikes!) that replaced the 440. However the reviews for the now discontinued 440 have always been amazing! I have searched for a second hand trade in one in vain for a few months and this year on Christmas eve idly looking at the website of Home Counties Sewing Machines in High Wycombe up popped a second hand 440 for sale. I literally dropped my mince pie, pushed past my bewildered extended family and jumped in the car!  She's called Aurora - which my little space scientist girl just LOVES, although sadly she does everything but emit a multihued defracted lightshow above where I sew during midwinter. Miss Space Scientist was a little bit sad about that :( I however love everything about this machine. I'll write a proper review soon.

Obviously a new sewing machine  merits new sewing storage and a new set of pouches was in order to hold my bobbin box and feet. This kind of sparked a pouch avalanche as most of my family realised that they actually NEEDED a pouch for various Christmas present related issues and i just sewed variations on these pencil case and zippy mouthed pouches in every size for 3 days between Christmas and New Year! Such hardship. 

If your extended family could do with some pouch-based organisation ( who couldn't?)  check out our Spring 2015 Class List for our new Pop Up Pouch Classes.
We've also just added more evening classes ( English Paper Piecing and Cathedral Windows), Pop Up Summer Bunting, Embroidered Needlebooks, Patchwork Sewing Machine Covers...... so much happening!
The wind is howling down the chimney of my wood burner and my new project hexagons are
Warm dog, blazing fire. Hexagon EPP. January isn't so bad when you are a quilter! Happy Sewing x

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Back To (Sewing) School

It's lovely to be back! I know that it's widely believed that the first week of Jan back to work is the low spot of the year, and let's be honest, it's been a tough week all over the world - but as an antidote we've had such a nice time back at The Workroom this week. 'It's So Nice To Be Back' was the most commonly heard phrase of the week!

We started on a high with The Wendover Sewing Bee. It seems its sooo many peoples New Years Resolution was to get back to sewing and carve out some time for themselves and our Bee was busy, busy, busy! As usual we had great fun playing Seven Degrees Of PlainStitch Separation - it's a small sewing world.

On Wednesday Claire and I rolled up our sleeves and cut and folded like machines all day long! Those Fat Quarter boxes were looking seriously empty after the busy pre Christmas weeks so we have now been through every bolt and made sure we have FQ and 1/2m cut which should speed us up when its manic in The Workroom! There is a very special satisfaction in having nice full FQ boxes! (ocd?)

We've been ordering fabric left right and centre - so much gorgeous fabric coming all through the spring and summer....................

Then Thursday our first Get To Know Your Sewing Machine Class of the year kicked off. As ever a mix of brand new machines and some vintage beauties all running so sweetly. Jeanne, twiddle knobs, oils, encourages and everyone goes home excited to get sewing with their confidence sky high. Jeanne is wonderful! If you want a sewing confidence boost come along, we have classes running all year.

On Friday, lovely Sue did her first morning in The Workroom (lots of you met her at the Bee too where her delicious fruitcake went home demolished!) and you all made her so welcome. We did have a lovely chat. PlainStitch just got even cosier! Sue will be at The Workroom on a Friday and Saturday, do pop in and say Hi.

Then Saturday we welcomed our first Teen class for Get To Know Your Sewing Machine. Those girls were great! Confident, really keen to learn, full of ideas! We were so impressed. My Big Miss Stitch is leading from the front on her little project to run up some Koala Mittens. The girls all took a set to sew at home to practise their sewing skills. Check out this link and go here for a pattern to see what they're up to or join in. Too cute.

We've successfully updated our booking procedures and thank you to everyone who confirmed their bookings for classes this week. Do please bear in mind that we will now only have confirmed spaces where payment has been received so don't leave it too late to book if you want to take a specific class as you'll see from the updated class page that we are very busy. We do have some spaces that have opened up on previously fully booked classes;

* Notably if you wanted to take Dress Making for Little Girls last term when it was sold out we have 2 spaces starting this Friday. Jeanne made a new sample dress - isn't it gorgeous?! Last term Jeanne trained up a whole class of perfect confident button hole sewers, the neatest seam finishers and perfect pattern cutters - it was a joy to behold! There is also a space for the Retreat Day...quick..they won't last long! We also have lots of new Pop Up Classes revealing on the site over the next few weeks so do check back as we add details and new dates. We are also adding evening classes as we fill in our schedules through the first part of the year. *

I've got soo much sewing on my mind - so many projects and ideas buzzing around. I couldn't resist the new Priory Square fabric that came in just before Christmas and have kicked off a big new project with this clamshell block. I'm so loving sewing with these colours in the bleak greyness of Jan!

If you need some colour in January, you know where we are. The PlainStitch Midwinter Colour Boost  Available Now! What colourful sewing do you have on the mind?