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*.