Back to School and My Workshop!

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FOQ seems like weeks ago but this week Luana Rubin posted a super picture on Facebook that was taken of Kay Bell, Luana, Me and Sarah Caldwell outside the NEC. This was quite an international line-up – Kay is English but lives in Scotland, Luana is American, I’m 50/50 English/Scots and live in Scotland and Sarah is a New-Zealander who lives in Switzerland!

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Although I had not technically taken any time out of my workshop over the summer, when the kids went back to school I went back into “work” mode. I don’t really know what happened to our summer. The weather was not great yet despite not doing much, it seemed to fly past. Freya began her final year at school and Fenella joined her siblings at The Academy. It will be the last year that all 3 of my children will attend the same school. Nell had a great first week, apart from getting sore feet in brand new Doc Martens and she made lots of new friends. Freya said that she felt the holidays had never happened and Fergus just wished that it was not a legal requirement to attend school.

I continued working on my Tartan Tattoo pattern so it can be uploaded onto Easy for sale as a downloadable PDF pattern. There are so many step-by-step diagrams that it is now an epic 20 pages long. I decided against shrinking it because I have always struggled to follow sparse instructions. Besides, since it will be sold in an electronic form, it is not actually necessary to print any of the pages;)

Catherine brought me a very hairy baby quilt that had been in a mild wash. I could not believe that a quilt had suffered such severe “bearding”. I researched remedies online and tried re-washing with lots of fabric softener then drying it with anti-static sheets. If anything, it became worse. It took me a while to realise that I had used a leftover piece of the rogue wool wadding from Sew-Simple. I will offer to remake the quilt because I feel so badly about the outcome. I was tempted to dump the rest of the roll but I may keep it and use it solely in a leather project that will never get washed. I looked into buying a roll of better quality wool wadding and discovered that it is like hen’s teeth in the UK. Matilda’s Own from Australia is no longer available and the cheapest alternative by Hobbs would cost £312. It might be more sensible to buy packs of wool wadding if I happen to want to use it for a show quilt. From now on, I will not even offer the option of wool to customers.

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I enjoyed working on a small African themed quilt, using a mixture of fillers and geometric quilting in some of the colourful blocks. Stitch-in-the-ditch through the continent was a bit nerve-racking as the seams were so bulky. The maker has left me with another fun quilt made from many fabric that she purchased in Nigeria.

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The other customer job this week was to make a piece of furnishing fabric into a quilted wall hanging. I decided not to make it too fussy so I chose a simple design that was like the feathery fabric on the reverse. The cotton duck fabric was quite hefty so it should hang nice and straight!

In addition to an old idea that is lurking in the background for some type of arty-farty quilt, I have a bit of an odd one currently rattling around. I confess that it started as a reactionary idea to some of the more obscure entries in the Fine Art Quilt Masters at FOQ. However, my idea is developing into something that could convey a powerful message if I can figure out how best to interpret it in textiles. The winning entries to date have been minimal and that is an approach that baffles me. As a quilter I want to stitch and embellish with abandon but to think like an artist I need to concentrate on the concept. Time will tell whether I take this forward but I can say that I have ordered something unusual from India as inspiration…

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