Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Cakes and Crafts

Last week I taught 2 groups of enthusiastic sewers how to embroider and construct their own snap frame purses. The classes were organised by Craft Creative Events, and were held at Tavern Co. on Smithdown Rd and Siren at the Womens Organisation on St James Street.
Tavern Co. where we had the top floor to ourselves.
Beautiful light and spacios Siren cafe. And they made their own bunting!
All the threads, fabrics and equipment were provided by us, as well as tea and cake!
Colour coded needle sheets and the BEST fabric glue in the world.
Stranded cotton wound onto old thread reels to make it easier to use.
Delicious selection of cakes from Siren, including a sew appropriate 'Red Velvet' cake.
The Liberty fabrics I picked up at Standfast went down a treat, particularly the William Morris designed Strawberry Thief print (absolute classic). Once everyone got their embroidery going it became very quiet, extreme concentration!

Even though some of the participants had never done any embroidery before they all produced a really beautiful purse, just using the most basic of stitches.
Just lazy daisy stitch but using different lengths and numbers of petals to make a little cluster of flowers.
Lazy daisy cluster for a large flower with satin stitch and french knots in a lovely subtle palette.
Two coloured running stitch to personalise a phone case.
Running stitch, back stitch and 2 purple sequins to make a couple of very dainty flowers, in colours perfectly matching the lining.
Back stitch, french knots and a little bit of couching to make a flower echoing the lining.
A little running stitch bird to match the Strawberry thieves inside.
Lazy daisy and stem stitch to make flowers and butterflies.
Brilliant geometric pattern in simple straight stitches with sparkly gold sequins.
More lazy daisy and running stitch to make a colourful bouquet.
Lazy daisy, french knots and sequins to carry on the colourful flowers from the Kayoko print lining.
A very fuzzy picture of the most dainty embroidery, love the fly stitch grass and tiny prick stitch stems.
A colourful mix of lazy daisy flowers, leaves and french knots, with another stitchy bird.
Chevron blanket stitch, lazy daisy petal, back stitch stems and a buzzy satin stitch bee.
Delicate stem stitch stalks with red lazy daisy petals.
I love that from starting with the exact same materials they all created something really individual!

Friday, 12 April 2013

Print Pilgrimage

Next week I'm going to be leading two workshops with Craft Creative, teaching some eager sewers how to hand embroider and construct their own snap frame purses.
As well as learning some basic embroidery stitches, and how to use and fit metal purse frames, they will have a choice of fabulous Liberty Tana Lawns to line their purses with. Now, I always have a stock of Liberty fabrics in my studio, but recently I've been running a little low. What better time than now to pay a visit to the Standfast Factory shop?
I'd had a few customers and other stall holders at fairs telling me about this wondrous place where Tana lawn is only £5 a metre and they sell scrap bags of all sorts of prints! The shop is attached to the Standfast and Barracks printing company in Lancaster, where they print not only Liberty fabrics, but other big names like Sanderson, Designers Guild, Harlequin and John Lewis' own furnishing fabrics, and all are available in the factory shop.

Printed furnishing silks by Designer's Guild. Far too nice for curtains in my opinion.

The shop itself is small but well stocked, and when I visited this morning it was very busy. Possibly explained by a certain recent BBC series, as when I went to get my fabric cut the sales assistant asked if I was 'a Sewing Bee person?' I think for those in the know this shop has always been a go-to place, scrap bags and Liberty fabric packs are rationed, with a limit per customer, and they were in short supply when I arrived. They did constantly repelnish the shelves while I was there, and all the fabrics they had packaged up were also available off the roll.
The Liberty range was fairly small, but there were a number of classic prints, and some I'd never seen before, plenty were perfect for the workshop though, and I might have bought a little extra for myself ... The shop takes steps to discourage reselling of their fabrics (potentially a VERY profitable exercise), by limiting the amount of fabric you can buy in one length ie. you can have 9m but you have to have it in three 3m pieces. Even if you're making curtains or furnishings this isn't an issue, and at the prices they're offering (generally around £6 - £9 for upholstery types and printed silks) you wouldn't complain!

My haul for the day consisted of these Tana Lawns to add to the collection for the workshops;
Some beautiful Harlequin furnishing cotton for my studio curtains;
A perfect match for my new desk chair and my Nikki McWilliams custard cream cushion.
And this Sanderson cotton sateen, it's meant to be for curtains, but I feel it's headed for dressier things...
The shop recently extended their opening hours, Monday - Friday 9.30 - 3.00, and Saturday 10.00 - 3.30. There are directions here, I took a taxi from Lancaster station for about £4, but walked back into town, it only took 25 minutes or so.
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