Sunday, 21 December 2014

Midwinter Colour

Perle Cotton #8 - perfect for hand quilting and sewing embellishment.

The sun came out, weak midwinter rays, but our Workroom is full south facing and above the rooftops and we always get the sunniest outlook.

Aurifil 40 weight - perfect for machine quilting or decorative machine stitching.

A flash of light lit up the colour and texture in The Workroom. A rainbow riot of creative dynamite.

Waxed Hand Quilting Thread - perfect for hand quilting, of course.

Today I had a satisfying tidy up and move around at The Workroom. It's been such an exciting busy term. The Workroom is choc a bloc everyday with full buzzing classes, people popping in for inspiration or a restock. We literally struggle to find a quiet moment to run the hoover around!

We've had loads of lovely new fabric arriving after the empty shelves of ShopHop! We've been so busy that I've not had time to really, well, enjoy all the new fabric!

I used to consider a session of stash arranging amongst life's finest pleasures - these days I get to do it on a massive scale, moving around 200 bolts of fabric. I love playing with colour. Arranging these shelves is never a chore!

I can see so many amazing fabric combinations on these shelves....2015 is going to be a colourful creative year

I can't wit to see what you all make with January alone we have 12 different classes all kicking off, from Simple Sampler Quilting to Beginners Dressmaking, Free Motion Embroidery, Sewing for Babies, Log Cabin Quilting. We have classes for little girls, teens and adults. We want everyone to learn to sew!

New Priory Square Fabric new in

A huge thank you to everyone who has taken a class and shopped with us this year. Wishing you all a lovely Christmas and New Year.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Priory Square Arrives Thurs 18th Dec

Tomorrow we expect our final delivery of the year. Priory Square by Art Gallery. I have been so looking forward to this line of fabric. It's great to get a line of fabric that celebrates Englishness. I really love the vintage OS map fabric. I plan to use it as an appliqué background..can't wait to get started on that! Give how fast the text print we had in last week went out of the door I expect quite a few of you are having similar thoughts about this versatile 

Lastly..for the missing Farmers Wife Class members this month are this months blocks FYI... x

Christmas Sewing

Now I am a Christmas lover. I love decorations and lights and anticipation and that Pagan feeling that mid winter approaches. Having said that I have to confess that some years I find this early Dec run up to Christmas a bit of an endurance race. Two of my 3 children have their birthdays in December and so that Christmas anticipation gets a bit muddled in the multiple celebratory jumble!

I finally get a bit 'Bing Crosby' about now.  Birthdays safely delivered successfully for another precious year, little people getting steadily bigger (gulp), must try and cherish it all in amongst the jumble. I embroidered a little decoration while I was ill last week, I like to make at least one or two new bits each year to mark the years, my boy made one with me...we had a lovely sick week together in amongst the illness. Check out this post from last year to see more of our makes over the years.

Now it's time to really start to look forward to the holidays, and embrace this temporary lull before the busyness.

School is drawing to a close, I can't wait to have my people home, my family around me, warm, fires and chilly dog walks, bowls of soup and baking in the kitchen all afternoon, Christmas tree lights twinkling all day, a little bit of sneaky sewing here and there. Life as a warm hug.

I think I like the neatness of Christmas coinciding with the end of the year. I like neat endings and closure. I like to take stock of a year, end on a high, look forward to what is to come.

With this in mind I am on a mission to get some sewing loose ends tied up. I have taken a few long unfinished quilts to the longarm quilters with the joyous feeling that this is totally justified as they can't sit in that trunk for ANOTHER year! I'm looking forward to having them in use at last. These are some of the last quilts I made before PlainStitch and my sewing time got just a little bit more precious and hard to squeeze in. Since then I've been very much more efficient and everything I start i finish. Can't get behind!

Plus a confession...I finally bound and finished my first 'proper' quilt, where I originally taught myself to quilt from a book. I made this sampler quilt from the book Quilts!Quilts!!Quilts!!! which is now on its umteenth reprint and definitely a classic. I don't know why this quilt has taken 12 years to finish. It had a horrible overpowering dark green border which I just chopped off last week in a fit of finish-itis. When that border was gone I loved it again ( many things i'd do differently now!!)

My PlainStitch students have also been pushing for some fabulous finishes. I'll do my next post in some of the amazing makes I have been filling my camera with over the last few weeks. It's astounding just how productive that little Workroom is - you're doing me proud ladies! May your Christmas be stitchy and bright xx

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Julia's Notion Of The Month: Heat Press Batting Tape

Hello, it's Julia here again with my Notion of the Month - it's a tough job but I just LOVE it!

Well, this month this new notion couldn't have arrived in the PlainStitch ShopRoom at a better time! I had just been battling to zigzag stitch some cotton wadding pieces together for my EPP quilt.  I had so many bits in the cupboard it seemed a real waste to chuck them out and I really didn't want to have to buy another big piece of wadding in the run up to Xmas!

The zigzag method on my machine had been tricky and not at all satisfactory as a slight pull on the wadding caused the seam to pucker or gape and when finished I didn't feel the seam was particularly strong or flat, and worried that it would be noticeable when I came to quilt it up which would be a disaster after all that EPP work!

 The Heat Press Batting Tape is £7 for a really good size roll and it took me less than a minute to achieve a much better result. I was piecing cotton batting so followed the instructions and set my iron to Wool setting , lined up two pieces of wadding to be joined on my ironing board , cut a piece of tape and laid it over the join and a quick press of the iron and job done!! Amazing. I repeated this method on the back and the result was very satisfying, a super strong flat seam, no bumps no gaps or ridges and soo quick to do. I'm confident you'll have an invisible join when your quilt is layered up too.

VERY PLEASED indeed, I highly recommend having a go. You'll be amazed how those bits of wadding add up to a decent quilt size :).....every little helps this time of year! love Julia x

Friday, 5 December 2014

Rainbow Aurifil 40 weight Machine Quilting Threads and Little Girls Dress Making Class

Ohh look - we just unpacked this lovely range of  our favourite Aurifil threads. We've been lifetime devotees of the 50 weight for machine patchwork piecing in our favourite geiege colour. However this new selection is an altogether more colourful rainbow. These are 40 weight ( green spool instead of orange spool for easy identification) which is a little thicker ( smaller number means thicker thread) and is ideal for piecing ( if your machine finds the 50 weight too fine, some do) but especially machine quilting. This is such a lovely lustrous thread, I love their colour range. We've hand picked these colours based on our fabric palettes at The Workroom so we hope we've covered most quilting bases, but do let us know if there are colours we don't have represented that you need.

We also now have a large range of Perle Cotton for chunky hand quilting.

Today I had a little venture back to the Workroom, after my poorly sabbatical this week, to look in on the final Girls Dressmaking Class. Squeel - look! 

They were still work in progress at this stage with final pressing, covered buttons and other bits and bobs still to do, and I didn't get a pic of everyone's dress, but wow! I know that are all really chuffed with their dresses and they have learnt sooo much - Jeanne's classes are really a dressmaking gold standard - you just can't short cut a lifetime of sewing experience, can you?

We're just finalising the class lists for January at The Workroom and sending out pre - reads. We've got such a lot on offer but our January classes are choc a bloc however a few move rounds and rejigs have opened up a couple of spaces here and there on previously sold out classes starting in Jan;

Free Motion Embroidery: Thurs 15th and 29th Jan 7.30pm - 9.30pm  2 spaces
Little Girls DressMaking Starts Fri 16th Jan for 7 classes 10am - 12pm 2 spaces
Get To Know Your Sewing Machine: Wed 21st Jan and 4th Feb 7.30pm - 9.30pm 2 spaces
Farmers Wife Quilt Class: Starts Tues 27th Jan for 9 classes. 7.30pm - 9.30pm 2 spaces
Sewing For a New Baby: Bibs and Bandanas Thurs 29th Jan 10am - 1pm spaces

Don't hang about if you'd like the space, and remember we also offer vouchers for fabric or classes so add us to your Santa list and get a gift you really want this Christmas!!

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Be Thankful, Enjoy Some Lovely Fabric!

Be Thankful. 
Work hard.
You can't use up creativity, the more you use the more you have.
Life is better when you're laughing.
Enjoy the little things.

 I'm loving this fantastic upbeat text fabric that came in this week along with lots of cheery uplifting fabric which has inspired and cheered me up no end today.

Modern bright floral prints.

This great kids print arrived this week too - this is a lovely soft aqua background, perfect for a boy or a girl, paired with a really popular warm tangerine. Plainstitchers love a fox or squirrel, pair them with the cutest mushroom i've seen in a while and I guarantee that this fabric will fly out of the shop. Love those squirrels!

Lastly a zingy fresh green funky flower print, paired with a great basic brown ( always a good stash in my book), a punchy red flower on a crisp white background, along with the fab text print which I'm planning to use as an appliqué background ( rubs hands with glee)!

 This week I've been battling a nasty bout of tonsillitis, which has left me too pathetic to even contemplate wrestling a quilt to hand sew. I've been reduced to a bit of light Christmas embroidery, hanging out with my similarly afflicted boy, slowly sewing this years baubles. We're on the up now ( yay for the miracle powers of antibiotics) and cutting and folding this lovely selection of sunny fabric has been a lovely distraction.

All this fabric will be in the shop from tomorrow and we are open Thursday 10am - 1pm in the Shop and Claire's Cathedral Windows class will be running in the Workroom, on Friday Jeanne will be teaching Little Girls Dresses, but the shop will be closed, but we will be open again on Saturday 10am- 1pm and will be making Christmas Tablerunners. Do pop in and perhaps treat yourself a little FQ pressie in amongst the shopping for everyone else this time of year!

Monday, 1 December 2014

Wendover Sewing Bee Tomorrow

Just a little reminder that our Sewing Bee is tomorrow at St Anne's Hall from 9.30am . Unfortunately I've been pretty poorly with a bout of Tonsillitis so I won't be there tomorrow but Helen and Claire will be, and would love to see you then. I'll be hand quilting at home :(

I also take this opportunity to let you know that the shop won't be open on Friday this week as it is a school holiday and my children will be at home. Jeanne's Little Girls Dressmaking Class will still be running at The Workroom from 10am but the shop won't be open. This week we are open on Wed, Thurs and Saturday 10am -1pm