Friday, 26 June 2015

This Week at PlainStitch

As the school term winds down, and summer starts to heat up, things in the Workroom are still at full throttle with so many lovely things being made.....

We had such fun at our new class to make these Lanyard Keyrings. Its a fun, fast class and you make 3 keyring chains to take away. I'm planning to run a second little class-ette alongside Therapy Thursday next week so if you want to join in, drop us an e mail and we'll book you a spot - they make such a great teacher present too! We are also selling these as kits to make more at home.

We've been making so many colourful pouches...choosing zips and fabric is just the best fun! We have another class on July 8th 7pm if you'd like to join in the summer pouch craze at PlainStitch.

Our Farmers Wife evening class are making amazing progress...they're over half way and their blocks look so lovely.

I've been sewing binding in the sunshine Heather Ross Bunting Quilt is all finished and in The Workroom. We're making a kit for this quilt with a pattern sheet when the new Heather Ross Tiger Lily fabric comes out....we're expecting it in August.

My Simple Sampler classes are nearing their final classes and their quilt blocks are fantastic..some great colour choices.

Oh, by the way...we now have all this lovely colourful bias binding in stock at The Workroom.

My English Paper Piecing class are drafting their own patterns, their fabrics are chosen and their quilt tops are taking much amazing colour!

We made great vintage purses..this is such a great project...join us for a class in the autumn.

Claire's Patchwork Sewing Machine Class was fantastic! Its the first time that this class has run and it was a blast! Everyone made a fabulous machine cover - I'll do another post with the finished pics...I missed the end of the class, but i've been seeing them bought into the Workroom all week! Squealtastic! Mine is half made...cant wait to get it finished !

Jeanne's Dressmaking How To Do Everything Properly Class also wound up today to some of the most fabulous reviews from this terms students. This class is for anyone who really wants to polish their dressmaking skills. Learn how to alter patterns to fit and finish like a bespoke professional. Jeanne has been sewing the most perfectly finished tailored garments all of her life and has so many tips and hints...this really is a masterclass. It'll run again in the autumn so don't miss this class.

Look at these fantastic mid century vintage knitting needles that one of our lovely students bought in from their mum. Aren't they wonderful?

A wonderful group of The Wendover Sewing Bee ladies volunteered their time and good cheer to come into school and sew poppies for our Wendover Remembers Quilt with kids in year 3 to 6 at The Wendover C of E Junior School. Last week we also sewed with little Year 2 kids at The John Hampden School in Wendover and next week we will be sewing with some lovely residents at Cherry Tree's Residential Home in Wendover. This is for our community wall hanging commissioned by our village Parish Council. It's such a wonderful project and i'll be sharing lots more work in progress shots over the next few weeks as it all comes together.

We had such fun sewing with these great kids..didn't they do well?

More binding sewing for me this week as i finished off my Vintage Christmas Baubles Quilt ahead of the class in Oct. This will be a 3 class project where we will rotary cut, machine piece and whip up this fast fun Christmas quilt in plenty of time before xmas. Feel both warm and smug this Christmas!

Lots of work inprogress shots for the autumn classes...Victorias Autumn Embroidery Sampler Class is looking soooo beautiful! I'm signed up for that one already!

There was more wonderful embroidery with Vic today as her Embroidered Needlebooks class was back....such a nice feel good class this one! For complete beginners to embroidery ...become a convert to the joys of hand sewing in these wonderful vibrant coloured threads. Again this class runs again in the autumn.

Modern Appliqué class is one of my total favourites and this year has been such an amazing class. Look what they made!!! And this is just some of them, i'll get more pics of the others  asap too ( lots of people on hols at the moment)..but as you can see this is a seriously high achieving lot! Breathtaking!

Phew....we'll do it all again next week! Don't miss out on our Farm Girl Vintage Hoe Down Day on Wed 8th July. If you haven't got a book yet, do let me know and i'll save you one - the last delivery sold out in an's just one of the most fab patchwork books in years and its a global phenomenon...just google Farm Girl Vintage to find out more. I have my blocks cut out and ready to sew and I am the proud owner of a glittery stars and stripes Stetson ready for the day! We'll sew from 9.30am- 3pm, it's £15 and bring a Farm Girl picnic lunch, yeeh ha!

See you next week at PlainStitch!

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Win a 'PlainStitch In Time, Saves Nine' Card!

We were so delighted when the lovely Emma of ElliePress bought us in our own bespoke vintage letter press cards that we wanted to share the loveliness! We have 9 cards ( had to snaffle one for the Workroom wall!) up for grabs and 9 little gift tags with the same lovely print on.

To win one, all you need to do is this;

1. Leave a comment on this blog post
2. Like the PlainStitch Page on Facebook
3. Follow us on Instagram 
4. Like the ElliePress Page on Facebook
5. Follow Elliepress on Instagram

You get an entry for each one of these you complete, so them all for 5 chances to win - let us know you have in your comment below! We'll be announcing the winners on the 1st July, you can still have a go if you aren't local as we'll happily post your prize anywhere in the world!

Emma runs ElliePress from her spare room at home in the next village to us here in the Chiltern Hills in Bucks. She has a vintage letterpress and a jaw dropping selection of vintage letter types stored in trays. It's literally a 'rub your hands in glee' kind of experience seeing it at work. Em designs and then painstakingly sets up her letter press to print bespoke stationery - everything from greetings cards to wedding or special occasion stationery, as well as personalised art for baby birthdays, special anniversaries and wedding gifts. You can order her lovely work from her folksy shop or drop her an e mail ( with a bespoke request. We love home grown creativity and especially love it when we find such a rich creative hub on our doorsteps...encourage this new business on with a little cheer and a kind word on social makes you feel all nice inside to bestow a kindly 'well done, and good for you'  after all doesn't it? xx

Monday, 15 June 2015

Julia's Notion of the Month: Why we all Love Aurifloss!

I just love using Aurifil 50wt thread for piecing patchwork and sewing on binding and Aurifil 40wt for machine quilting as Debs stocks a beautiful range of colours. 

But this month the Notion Award goes to Aurifloss the gorgeous cotton embroidery thread which comes on a handy wooden spoil in a beautiful array of colours - I first used it in Victoria's beautiful needlebook class and have just started a little Aneela Hoey *washing line*
project using it at home - and I'm loving this floss !

 There are lots of new embroidery classes at the moment at PlainStitch. The Embroidered Needlebooks class that I loved so much in April is back on Fri 26th June with 2 spaces free.

 The range of Aurifloss is growing all the time. Too tempting!

I couldn't resist the beautifully made solid embroidery hoop in Beechwood by Hardwicke Manor from PlainStitch and a pair of the most lovely solid and sharp scissors I've ever used- made by Bohin - they are perfect. I've bought many different brands of needle over the years but these Bohin embroidery needles are the best I've used they really make stitching embroidery a joy.

Dab and I are also taking Victoria's 'You Are My Sunshine' Embroidery Class and we love it!

I'm so glad Debs is fussy about selling only quality notions :) Ohh look at the lovely Perle cottons range in stock now too if you want to get in on the summer hand stitching trend while you quilt!

Saturday, 13 June 2015

A Creative Hub

 This week has been so special at The PlainStitch Workroom. We opened our doors for the first time to the visiting public as a part of Bucks Open Studios. This is a county wide initiative where artists and makers open their studios and display their work for the interested public. We were a little bit nervous about this, did we have enough to show? Was our work interesting enough? What were our visitors expectations?

We needn't have worried, we had such a wonderful week. So, so many visitors......we talked and talked and talked! Each day a wonderful blur of snatched conversations and fascinating creative insights.  The people who visit are so lovely, so interested in our creative process. We learnt as much about them as they did about many interesting talented people to talk to...we had artists, embroiderers, beaders, lots and lots and lots of quilters, lots of people who would like to make a quilt and we just had the best time meeting them all!We are open today (Sat) til 3pm so quick..pop in if you have a chance..or if you missed BOS just call by the shop one morning Tues - Sat 10am - 1pm and we'd still be happy to welcome you in and show you our work.

In between the visitors I have been hand quilting this triangles quilt made up of my long hoarded Heather Ross prints.  It's ready to be bound ( its amazing how quickly you can hand quilt a quilt when you piece together all the little bits of sewing in a day) and it'll be on show at The Workroom next week along with these gorgeous sample sheets for the much anticipated Heather Ross Tiger Lily range that we have ordered oodles of bolts of, for delivery in August. We'll be making up a kit for this quilt with a pattern sheet too along with the FQ needed to complete it. Can't wait to make it again in the new fabrics!

Claire has also been trying to get some hand quilting done on these amazing WIP's. I'm sure you'll all agree that Claire is super modest about her considerable creative talents...just looking at these two WIP's laid out at the workroom this week had me in raptures! Isn't she amazing with colour!?

I've had my lovely mum staying this week to hold the fort on the home front while we opened extended hours for BOS. Mums been working on a fab HST project using our Dashwood Suffolk Gardens range ( last bits in the sale this week - quick or you'll miss it - mum loved it so much she's stocked back up this week on some big quilt back pieces of fabric!)

We had loads of fun choosing this perfect aqua as the sashing for this quilt - it looks so classic-with-a-modern-twist - i just love it ( wish i'd made it myself!)

Mum has also been leaving me far behind on her Farm Girl Vintage blocks...she and my biggest girl are cheering each other on with this project. It's such a feel-good sew and we have a new delivery of books coming in next week hopefully - lots are reserved already so if you want one - do let me know quick - the last two deliveries sold out in days!

We're also newly stocking Sewable Vinyl....great for making see through pouches, lining make up bags and lots more. We sell it in 1/2m increments and you can sew it using a normal foot ( or a teflon one if you have it). I've been experimenting making pouches for my Aufifloss and it feeds really nicely through the machine with only a minimal 'stickiness' - much smoother than sewing with many oilcloths - so have a go!

We've been ordering so much lovely new fabric for the Autumn Term. This Cotton+Steel print is a favourite and I already have a project in progress for it!

Our much loved Cotton+Steel previous season bolts are looking super skinny so we're selling off our last bits at £10/m and we've made these Cotton+Steel bundles our PlainStitch Pick this week £12 for 5 FQ and you can pick and mix your own Cotton+Steel bundle.

In amongst the BOS visitors we had a couple of ongoing classes this week - Friday was Vic's You Are My Sunshine Embroidery class which I have been sewing along with. It's such a fun class, such a lovely group - we're having a ball - and sewing beautiful pieces at the same time!

This week we had some very exciting things to enjoy too. Vic had bought in this truly amazing dolls house accessory that she had bought as a special gift for Sue our lovely shop and Miss Stitch helper as a thank you for being, well, Sue! Obviously we all want one! 

Then we were joined by Em from ElliePress, a neighbour and friend of PlainStitch who has a vintage letterpress in her spare room ( we meet all the best and most interesting peeps, really we do - it's wonderful!). She had made us these truly special cards and gift tags to match. I really did shed  a tear at their pure perfection! You can almost make out on the pic the amazingly 3D tactile nature of a hand pressed card - the little indentations from the vintage letter dies, the font, brown paper's all to die for! I was overwhelmed! I am cooking up a little competition to win a this space..they'll be in brisk demand! I plan to frame mine!

I snapped these pics of my work area while I sewed in the Embroidery Class today. They kind of sum up all that makes sewing in the Workroom such a fab experience for me. 

1. The most wonderful vibrant inspiring colour palette ( I LOVE just playing with my AufiFloss!)
2. The best quality materials. I really believe that you should sew with the nicest materials you can - it makes the whole experience so much lovelier. Bohin Scissors, so sharp, weighty in the hand, a pleasure to use, Aurifloss, super practical with the most luminous colour selections, Bohin needles, super sharp, smooth and accurate.
3. Storage - must be beautiful and practical. You've probably guessed by how many 'storage based' sewing projects that we teach in classes that I am a leetle bit obsessed with craft order! I love making the perfect bespoke storage for my projects. I like it all just-sew!

It was a perfect day...friends, flowers, gifts, sewing, lots of visitors, busy busy in the Workroom all day.. having said all that I did end the day in A&E with my son getting stitches in his shin - but that's full blogging disclosure for you - it's not all flowers and embroidery!! I do get to 'keep him company' on the sofa today though so it's not all bad!

Can't sit still too long though - today we swap from Bucks Open Studios over into our Summer Sale....

We have pulled all of our skinny bolts of fabric ( ie not much left on the bolt) and bundled up these last bits and marked them all down by up to 30%. Come and have a rummage if you want to stash some bigger favourite bits for quilt backs ( 2.5m pieces are my favourite stash item! Always just right for a quilt back+ a few pieced bits and bobs to make up a full double quilt backing). We also have some voiles, rayons and dressmaking weight fabrics for the dressmakers looking for 2.5m - 3m pieces just right for lots of dress or tunic patterns, PJ trousers etc.

There is usually only one piece of each fabric and when they are gone they are gone, so don't hang about - we're open Sat 13th, then Tues 16th - Sat 20th next week.

Don't forget that for the sale week we have chosen Cotton+Steel FQ's for our #PlainStitchPick bundle, pop in and pick your own!

With lots of lucky peeps heading off on hols over the next few weeks we have a few spaces on classes if anyone left behind fancies it?!

Vic is teaching her Knitting Needle or Crochet Hook Rolls next Fri 10am - 1pm. You can also make this roll for make up brushes, artists brushes, as a travel roll for kids pens or pencils versatile. Drop me an e mail if you'd like to join this class.

I'm teaching a quick and easy class to make 3 keyring lanyard fobs on Tuesday 16th 10am - 12pm. This would make a fab Dads Day pressie - label up that garage key, sit on lawn mower or car keys and help your Dad or Grandad out!

You can combine this class with free motion personalisation if you are au fait with that technique, or hand sew, embellish, piece or applique.......there is surely no greater gift than the ability to find your keys easily..It's not just me is it?!?!

Lastly Claire is teaching her super popular Cathedral windows class this Thursday 18th 10am - 12pm - its the perfect summer hand sewing class and I'm sooo tempted to sneak in at the back and take it again - I loved it sooo much last time! There are 2 spaces on this class so round up a pal and come and chat and sew and make a cushion that makes people gasp in wonder and try and figure out how on earth its made! Plus its a scrap buster! Such fun!

Sometimes looking back over a week can feel like we've lived several creative jampacked weeks in one! I am constantly surprised and amazed and pretty humbled by how wonderful our customers and visitors are. If you could bottle all the warm friendships, the confidences, the shared life experiences, the creative wobbles and reassurances, the laughs and tears, the fabric and thread and rhythmic, relaxed stitches that all goes into binding together this wonderful patchwork quilt that is the PlainStitch Community, well you'd get pretty close to describing a recipe for life. It's so much more than sewing, people. So much more.  *hugs*.