Sunday, 20 September 2015

September at PlainStitch

...gosh this month is rocketing by and I have been so neglectful of this blog space so I do apologise to my regular readers. I find that as technology changes we seem to change with it and I find that I post on our instagram feed (@plainstitchdeb or search our hashtag #theplainstitchworkroom to see the deluge of lovely content on there) as its so much quicker and easier to upload from my mobile phone.

Our shop Facebook page also gets an almost daily update so if you are missing out on the pictures and updates from the workroom do pop over to one of these platforms ( we are also on Twitter but I  love the instant picture element of Instagram much more). I know that many people still don't love Facebook so much, but Instagram is such a fun place so do consider visiting us there - you can follow us without having to commit any personal information of your own, like with Facebook, so many people prefer that option and we update everyday, often more frequently!

Anyway...admin over!

Here are a zillion pictures of what's been happening at The Workroom this month! Get a cup of tea, really - its like a sewing lifetime in one month at the moment we have so much exciting stuff happening! I literally sit down on a Friday night and I think that things that happened two days previously were last week as so much in crammed into the week!

We have new classes starting all over the place and the energy at the shop at the moment is electric. People leaving with piles of lovely fabrics in just the perfect selection for new projects. We have welcomed a whole new term of Simple Samplers and they are off labouring over that first 9 patch - I bet you all remember your first 9 patch, no? We'll be cheering them on as they make their first steps into being a quilter!

We have also taught two full classes of Get To Know Your Sewing Machine newbies all skipping off with shiny well oiled machines ready to start to sew - I just love that feeling of seeing new people all enthused by what they can go and create - it's the best thing about the start of term.

We've lots of big new classes starting too. On Friday we literally squeezed into The Workroom to take Victoria's Autumn Embroidery Sampler - wow they are going to be good - so much lovely new thread too! It's too hard to resist!

There was no room for me sadly ( sob) but I plan to sew-along! That's my fabric/threads pick above!Yumm!

Claire's Wholecloth quilt class was just amazing - wow, wow, this space for the sewing that will be produced in that class - you'll kick yourself if you missed this class it's going to be such a creative furnace I know.

Due to an unusual staggered start due to holidays its not too late to join the first class when its repeated on Fri 25th Sept if you want to join in by he way.

We also had a beginners Crochet class and welcomed our lovely new tutor Jo Navin who gently coaxed her new class as wool turned into crochet and we were away!

Watch out for Jo's next classes - there is the follow on from her Novice Crochet class called Granny Squares 10 Ways which starts in Oct and will take Nearly New Crocheters and offer up new granny square patterns, new techniques and lots of help and guidance on joining techniques and edging..I can't wait for that one! There is a repeat brand new Novice Crochet Class starting in Nov too if you missed the first class in Sept. I really recommend you take it as I've seen the fabulous projects that she has planned for us next year so we need to all get hooking now so that we can join in! Shawls and scarves? Crochet bags and rabbits? I'm so in!

We are completely buried under new fabric at the moment too! What a way to go! It's cut throat in the shop mind you at this time of year - if you see some fabric you like I recommend you buy it and quick - we have seen brand new bolts disappear in a morning! There is so much inspiration and with some exciting new classes still to begin this year such as The Arendelle Quilt and Christmas Baubles Quilt, Machine Sewn Lap Quilts in 3 evenings and lots of others the shop has been jam packed with such lovely selections of fabric being bought that Claire and Julia and I need a lie down some days after we close up its so frenetic!

We still have odd spaces left here and there for classes starting in Oct if you haven't already planned your Autumn sewing yet so sit tight and i'll do you a little run through of where we have spaces.Lots of popular classes sold out in the summer so we have been working through our timetable trying to add extra runs of some classes so there may be a space when you might have thought it was full so, anyway, here we go;

Jeanne's Dressmaking Masterclass has 1 space starting on the 29th Sept 10am - 1pm and then 5 other classes through until Dec. This class is for aspiring dressmakers who have made some garments but want to hone their skills to make professional quality garments. Taking in fit adjustments, tailoring techniques for seam finishing, fabric shaping, buttons and zips, necklines and sleeve adjustments and so much more it really is a masterclass - the pupils who took this class last term gave it rave reviews so if you'd like to make better fitting, better made clothes then take this class!

We've added a Fabric Lampshades class due to popular demand this term - we have a space if anyone would like to join us on Wed 30th Sept 10am - 12.30pm. This is such a fun class and you will want to remake every lampshade in your house after you've learnt how! Also a great Ta Dah Christmas present!

Claire's Cathedral Windows class is back on the 30th Sept and has a space. I am addicted to this technique and have been making a Christmas Cushion with the new fabrics that we have in the shop at the moment! I love it - it's perfect for Christmas so if you fancy a relaxed 3 session hand sewing class it's on Wed 10am - 12pm.

Vintage Baubles Christmas Quilt starts on Fri 2nd Oct. This quilt is just a super quick joy to make - cut all 2.5 inch strips and then sew sew sew and its a quilt! It's fun, fast and fabric hungry so if you've been hording Christmas fabrics with no plan of what to make you should take this class. It's just 3 sessions and we'll get loads of sewing done in the 3 hour sessions so you'll be Christmas ready by the end of Oct! This class would really suit any Simple Sampler graduates who want to get more confident machine piecing as it's a great construction method and you'll learn a lot.

Christmas Cross Stitch with Vic now starts on Fri 2nd Oct and is 4 classes running up to Christmas to make this lovely modern Christmas Tree cross stitch. Its such a relaxing class that you could gift yourself this as pre Christmas therapy to get through the run up with sanity intact! 10.30am - 12.30pm.

If you're completely new to quilting, or want to get your machine piecing skills honed a bit after taking Simple Sampler then take Claire's Introduction To Machine Piecing Class - its just 3 evenings to make a lap or baby sized quilt and Claire is so kind and patient that you'll leave as a fully fledged  quilter with a finished item. If there's a new baby on the way and you're time limited then this is the class for you, or if you fancy just taking a 'tester' class to see if quilting is for you then this is the class to consider.

Now this next class comes with a health warning as students who took it last term have been reporting dangerously high levels of obsessional sewing on this project - Pouch Class! You won't be able to just make one! This class return by popular demand on 9th Oct 10am - 1pm. You're welcome! You'll love it! ( I'm also teaching Vinyl Pouches on the 13th Oct).

Vic's Embroidered Needlebooks class runs again on Fri 23rd Oct and her latest class sample has reduced grown women to tears of joy with its elegant cuteness! We may all have to take the class again to make a new one! This is a one session class making a simple needlebook but learning some embroidery basics. I can't really do justice to just how enjoyable this class is and how pleased you'll be with your needlebook afterwards - taking this class is a gift to yourself - really it is. If you've had a busy week and you need a treat - just go book it now and you'll thank yourself !

Phew - lastly our Retreat Day runs again on Sat 24thOct and there are just a handful of spaces left so if you'd like to join us for a full day of relaxing sewing at Buckland Hall with a fully catered lunch, elevenses and snacks it's just the tonic as the nights draw in and the crazy Christmas season is on the
horizon. Treat yourself to a day of creative sewing and great company - it's always the best fun x

Speaking of which ...we have oodles of lovely Christmas and Halloween fabric in the workroom which is literally flying out of the workroom on broomsticks and by sleigh so don't hang about if you have seasonal sewing plans!

Our Heather Ross Tiger Lily Bunting Quilt kit was so popular we've had lots of requests for the same kit with a 'pick your own FQ option' for those making for boys etc and so we now have a limited number of those kits available - just pop in and choose your 15 FQ's and you are good to go with a quilt plan, instructions, ruler and fabric in one bag. Efficient quilting - we love it!

Miss Stitch is back with so many lovely new projects last week they made personalised Back To School Bag Tags, October will be Halloween Trick or Treat Bags, then Needlecases in Nov and the most adorable mitten garland in Dec - there are limited spaces, am and pm so book early to avoid disappointment. We also have Patchwork Pillows class running for our Senior Miss Stitchers at half term.

Lastly, and very proudly I dropped off our Wendover Remembers Quilt project to the long arm quilters this week and can't wait to get it back! We have almost finished this amazing and emotional project and I couldn't be prouder of it! So many kind people gave time, fabric and skills and its a true community quilt made by the whole community from 5 year olds to great granny's. It's exactly what a quilt should be.

For anyone who attend our Wendover Sewing Bee, just a heads up that our venue will change from November this year. We are moving just around the corner to Chiltern Road in Wendover to the British Legion Club where comfy sofas await our hand stitchers...such luxury! We will still be at St Anne's in October and then from Nov at the British Legion. We will continue to meet on the first Tuesday of each month 9.30am - 12pm £4.00 on the door and all comers welcome!

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

August at PlainStitch

Well its the eve of the return to school after the summer holidays so I thought it was high time i wrote a blog post! It's not secret that i just love being home for the summer holidays with my kids. I'm a home bod at heart and the lovely lazy summer days of kids and pets, baking and dog walking, sewing and chatting is my favourite time of all.

My lovely customers are so patient and kind and don't complain that we reduce the shop opening hours down to just one morning a week ( although this summer that weekly morning was sooo mad that we may have to extend the opening hours a little next year for health and safety reasons! ha ha). I have 3 kiddies and all of my tutors and staff are mums too and I really think 'be the change'. It's hard to raise a family and work, even in this day and age and I think we have a responsibility to our daughters to make a world where you can balance both priorities as well as is ever possible! Lets be honest - it's not easy!

This summer was full of the brim of lovely family time and lovely fabric!! The much anticipated Heather Ross Tiger Lily arrived and was even more lovely than we have expected! We set to work cutting and compiling our PlainStitch Bunting Quilt Kit in this line which sold out on teh firstday of the shop being open. We've made a couple of extra ones now so when we re open on Thursday if you're quick you might catch one. This quilt is fun and fast to make and the kid includes full instructions and a special ruler to make your 'bunting' pennants lovely and crisp with nice pointy angles!

Obviously I couldn't resist running up a mini example to hang in the shop! Its delicious fabric!

My original 'Bunting' quilt is now in use on my daughters bed. The 'vintage' weight wadding has just been perfect this summer.

The kits were a lot of fun to put together...obviously my girls had a and in the bright pink ribbons!

We've had soooo much new fabric arriving this summer ahead of the busy autumn class schedule. We've had such a big move around at the shop to squeeze it all in! If you are planning to pop in to the shop with an autumn project in mind my advice is allow plenty of time for your visit! 

I've been working on lots of projects at home. These little hexagons of fussy cut HeatherRoss and lots of scraps are destined to be my 'shop'project for sewing at the shop when i get a moment this autumn! I've been wanting to make something with the teeniest pre cut freezer paper hexes we sell for ages.

I've also be working on some very exciting projects for new classes after Christmas ....shhh

My machine has been running hot on the rainy days we've had recently!

The workroom is spic and span and awaiting the rush back for our busy busy workshop schedule!

M little Miss Stictchers have been busy busy this summer. I love how creative they get in the summer when they have time to potter. Its truely a sadness that today's obsession with endless draconian homework for kids means that that precious time after school when as a kid i just pottered is taken up with hours of homework every day. It's at the expense of their imaginations and i wholely expect that future generations will look back on this time with horror as we schedule young minds into straitjackets of academic success rather than celebrating the rather more ethereal and impossible to teach art of having a creative mind.

This lovely cushion started life as a Boden top, sadly too small. The quote comes from Harry Potter, and the embroidery done by Miss is a lovely herringbone style stitch that she made up herself. Its quilted on a wadding background, lined and zippered. If that's not a skill to applaud at 12 years old i don't know what is! 

My summers reading and viewing has been weirdly attuned, in that serendipitous way that often occurs. On holiday I read the memoir of Alex Monroe the jeweler. It is a great read and a testament to letting kids run a little wild and dream. I loved it, highly recommended, but it will make you want jewelry! Beware!

I've been watching Life in Squares which is a BBC drama about the Bloomsbury set, concentrating on the stories of Virginia Woolf and her sister Vanessa Bell. I really enjoyed it, and the character of Ness as a pioneering feminist woman who loved her home and children and used her creative voice to make art, but also to make a wonderful home for the life she led outside of the norms of the day. Loved it.

A little less Bohemianly I've been making lampshades! This is another of the Heather Ross prints that i am a little bit obsessed with! I have cushions in the works too..need to restock zips after a flurry of back to school pencil case making.

In today's slightly autumnal sunshine, memories of high summer sun and perfect Greek blue and white views seems a long way away. Pictures like these will sustain the summer feel for as long as possible while little brown leaves start to fall from the beach trees in our lawn, boo hoo.

Last but not least I've literally sewn my fingers to the bone putting together the Wendover Remembers Quilt last week. Luckily my mum helped out and my trusty big girl, so between us we planned, sewed and logged names of all of the lovely poppies as we put this jaw dropping quilt together. This is a commission from our village Parish Council that our Sewing Bee have been making as a charitable project. The centre blocks are designed and sewn by our members and the poppies sewn by local school children and the residents of our village older peoples  residential home. It's been a humbling project to be involved in and I hope that the finished quilt top is everything that the originators hoped! It is going too to be long arm quilted in Sept ahead of its first outing in November on the 11th at the armistice parade on the Manor Waste. There will be lots of opportunities to see the quilt over the next few tears and i'll do a post on that after November. If you had a hand in making any of this there will also be a hand out which tells all of the village stories that inspired the centre blocks and listing everyone's name with a key so that you can find your ( or your child's) poppy

Phew..and that was just the tip of the summer iceberg..we got guinea pigs, we raised baby chickens, we made so many cakes, we laughed, watched films, played scrabble, turned out cupboards, spent long afternoons in the barn and in front of the fire as the rain pounded down.Not all of summer is idyllic but I wouldn't swap these precious weeks with my tribe for the world.

The weather is turning, there's an autumn nip in the air and i'm excited to be back at the shop this Thursday. I have soo many autumn/winter sewing plans this year, do you? Do come and see us and lets swap plans!

The shop is open this Thursday 9.30am - 1pm for Therapy Thursday

The Sewing Bee is at St Anne's Aylesbury Road, Wendover 9.30am - 12pm on Tuesday 8th and the shop opens again on Wed 9th for usual hours T,W,T,F 9.30am - 1pm Sat 10am- 1pm