Blogs I follow

My bags are packed...........

Ready for a few days of stiching and chatting!  I'm off to Stitchtopia. Lots of stitching and making and probably providing me with several UFOs - although I have made a decision to call them WIPs as I intend to finish them however slowly that might be!

The work on the studio continues and throughout next week the builders will be continuing and, as Monty is being looked after at home by my mum, any potential burglars need to be aware that the house is a hive of activity in my absence!!

I have sorted my fabrics and tools, ready for the off and all that remains is for me to sort out some clothes to wear.  I have a suspicion that we shall not be worrying too much about making a fashion statement! I am so looking forward to it as I am meeting my friend, Angela there.  She is doing the knitting side of the course and I am hoping that I can pick up a few tips from her for my own knitting.

I have a date with a rather gorgeous man too! Such a pity that my quilting is all he might be interested in!!

I know from doing a workshop with Kaffe before that it is a busy and demanding day so I am keen to see how it all works out. We are working on developing our understanding of colour.

More to be posted later............. 


Fruits of my labours

I thought I would show you the outcomes of my dyeing efforts from Committed to Cloth. I know that photographs are very difficult to show the quality, texture and sheen of a piece of cloth but predominantly. I wanted to show you the outcomes of using the same dye in different strengths.

These three pieces of fabric were dyed with a brown dye.  The darkest was dyed with a concentrated solution of which half was added to a large vat of water, the medium dye was dyed with the same solution.  The remaining half of the concentrated solution was topped up with water and half of this was added to a similar amount of water in a  second vat.  The final, palest dye was produced in the same way i.e. adding water to the remaining half of dye which was then added to another vat of water.

All the water had urea added to it as well as a salt solution.  The urea removes texture from the dyeing process and produces a flatter, more even dye.

Our next session sees us working with these fabrics and overdyeing them with a second colour.  Watch this space!

The fabric I have used is a beautiful viscose challis.  It feels very luxurious and I am interested to see how it all looks when further dyes are used.


As well as dyeing fabrics, I have been trying to create something from my charm squares which I have acquired over the past years. Sometimes, it is hard to beat a bit of piecing.  I find it therapeutic and I love the challenge of being accurate with seam matching.

I found this block while searching the web,  it is the clever method of cutting which produces an intricate and intriguing piece.  The pattern came from and I simply re-sized it to work with charm squares. Hope you like it!

The fabric is French General from Moda.  I don't expect it to be anything other than a rather pretty quilt top but it is fun to do.

I am hoping to find another pack of Charm Squares to make it a larger quilt.  Ebay, here I come!

Studio building goes on apace.  We now have the basics of electricity but still a way to go yet before the project is nearing completion.


Committed to Cloth

If you are interested in creating fabrics for use in quilts and art textiles or indeed creating fabrics which are works of art in their own right, then you need to know about Committed to Cloth, if you don't already.

Committed to Cloth is a fabulous teaching and working environment where Claire Benn and Leslie Morgan - the owners of C2 run workshops and provide the facility for independent study if that is what you want. Have a little look at their website  and you will get the feel for this lovely organisation.  The workshops take place in a beautiful 16th century barn with huge glass windows and excellent tables for working on.  Downstairs houses the area for mixing dyes and creating wet processes.  On the ground floor are the working tables and upstairs is the coffee area and table for lunch. All beautifully thoughout and appointed with clean lines in the storage and everything beautifully labelled - great inspiration for my own storage in the future!

Our first day was mind-blowing.  So much to take in as well as getting to know our fellow students. But the notes for the course are comprehensive and Claire Benn is a very talented instructor.

Here are some photos of what we were doing:

Leslie demonstrating how we are going to prepare the various containers of dye.


This is the double act - Claire doing the explanation, Leslie demonstrating. They make a great complementary pair. 

I suspect I shall include lots more photos of our days at  Potters Barn Studio.

I came home clutching my bucket with ziplock bags full of dyed cloth which I am in the proces of washing out.  Once I have completed the process, I shall share with you what I have been doing and photos of the effects.

The trip there is just about 1 hour 45 minutes drive and we need to be there before 9 am.  We finish about 5 pm so again, a long trip home.  There is just one session a month so it is not too bad.

All very exciting and I am looking forward to getting into some of the other techniques which we shall be meeting.



Beginning of another!

Yesterday my studio started to be built.  The weather was lovely and really conducive to starting a building project.  My old summer house was removed in a trice and the new studio arrived on the back of a trailer and by the end of the afternoon was taking shape nicely

Today Mike - master studio-builder extraordinaire - returned to work on it a bit more.  It is sleeting/raining/freezing but he is still out there doing his own thing.  The studio is a lovely size and I shall love working in it.  Thank God for Strip Lighting with day-light bulbs otherwise the back of the studio would be a real challenge but I have invested in a couple of strips so hopefully all that will be taken care of.  

I shall have french windows at the front which will provide light for actually sewing but the back of the studio is for fabric dyeing and I am sure with the correct lighting it will be fine.

Here is a photo of where we are at the moment:



The depth of the room is 21 foot and although the front is relatively small the back measures 13 foot 6 inches so plently of space for me.  It is all going to be plaster boarded and have heating and lighting.  I am SO excited!


End of an era

Well, I spent yesterday afternoon and this evening emptying our summer house.  Such a glamorous name for a building that was a slightly up-market shed! However, for 20 years, it has housed garden furniture, provided refuge from the wind on a sunny day, and generally been well loved by the family. Sadly its life is coming to an end.  It is being pulled down on Friday and is making way for a studio which is being built in its place.  One good shove should do it!  I discovered that the water is pouring through the roof, the floor is rotten and it is generally in a sorry state.  I am certainly not taking action before its time.

So in its place is going to be a beautiful log cabin type studio: insulated (yay!), heated (yay!) with electricity and day-light bulbs (yay and yay again!) and a proper laminated floor!. I have decided to spend my pennies providing myself with somewhere purpose built for my quilting.  It will be about 21 foot long and 13 foot 6 inches at one end, narrowing to 8 foot six inches at the other. I haven't yet planned the storage properly but it is coming along and with the help of my Scandinavian friend with the meatballs, I am sure we shall get it sorted.

I may hold workshops in it for small groups but I want to get a feel for it once it is done.

Piccies to follow.