Category Archives: classes and workshops

As seen on TV

a few weeks ago I answered an e-mail asking if I’d like to be a guest presenter on a shopping channel called the ‘Sewing Quarter’ – I thought ‘why not’ and so I went to Birmingham and did a screen test. And today I found myself on the other side of the camera demonstrating how to make a mini quilt pattern.                                                            It was a thrilling experience, everyone was really welcoming and so helpful and friendly, I had a lovely day (even if I did have t get up at 4 this morning!)

Now I’m back at home, it all feels a little surreal.

I feel extremely lucky to have had this opportunity and on reflection today wouldn’t of happened if I hadn’t decide to take on the shop. It is a decision that some days I wonder why I did it! It’s hard work having your own business, every day wondering if anyone will come to the shop, will they like the fabrics I’ve chosen, will they want to attend the workshops we’ve decided to put on? But I love it! I love being able to work with the beautiful fabrics, meeting very talented patchwork and quilters, being inspired by them and helping them to create fabulous quilts, sharing the love of needlecraft with the young stitchers.

So really I have to thank all of you for letting me do what I do, because without you I wouldn’t have a shop, I wouldn’t have started teaching and I wouldn’t have appeared on television today.

Opportunities don’t come along very often – I’m a great believer in going for it. Life is for living!

Sometimes that gets me into trouble but mostly it takes me on amazing adventures like today.

So have a lovely weekend, enjoy the sunshine and have fun!

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Block of the Month

Chris’s ‘Block of the Month’ this year is quite interesting she has added a little twist – in so much as she has created four versions of a block in various degrees of difficulty, from one suitable for beginners up to a quite difficult one with lots of pieces and seam matching!

February’s block’s moved on from January’s ‘Strips and Squares’ to adding in ‘Half Square Triangles’

The magic of these blocks became apparent with the different fabric placements – even the simplest version could look quite different. This is what I think fascinates me about patchwork, how the same pattern can look so different just with different colour and pattern placement.

The results look stunning I’m sure you’ll agree. I can hardly wait to see what March’s block looks like the combinations of ‘Nine Patch Stars’ are going to be a joy to behold I’m sure.

‘I’m useless with colour’.

This is a phrase I hear so often  – I actually don’t think it’s true.                                                      I’m of the opinion if you like the colours together then it will work and it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks.

However, I thought that I would share my process for matching colour with you.

Barbara has signed up to the ‘Trip around the World’ class in April and she’d seen the ‘Summer breeze IV’ fabric from Moda and asked if I could help her choose the rest of the fabrics.

For ‘Trip around the World’ we need 10 fabrics, so by Barbara choosing the range she had, we had 4 to start with….

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Two pretty florals with a tone on tone blue and yellow.

So firstly we looked at the blue, I suggested that we choose a shade darker and lighter

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and the same with the yellow

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I then suggest we had a contrasting colour and looking at the floral print, we chose a green in light and medium shade

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So there you have it 10 fabrics chosen ready for what I think will be a stunning looking quilt.

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My best advise to you would be – if you have a patterned fabric you love the colours of; use that to inspire your colour choices, you may not use the original fabric but you will have colours you like and that work together. Failing that come into the shop and I’ll love to help 🙂

Show and tell

Saturday saw the last of this months ‘Block of the Month’ classes. This month Chris has been teaching cutting strips and squares, using a rotary cutter and ruler. With four patterns to choose from the results have been fantastic.

Jessica has joined her Mum for this course, Jess is 13 and was one of our ‘little stitchers’ last Summer. It’s so lovely to see a young person really enjoy sewing and I’m sure we’ll see some fabulous things from Jess – she had a little play with one of her units in the afternoon and made it into a coaster.

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Next month’s classes will be looking at half square triangles – I look forward to sharing the results with you.

A couple of weeks ago our Friday morning ‘Sew Social’ group had asked me if I’d show them how to do the ‘Trip around the World’ technique, which I was happy to do and this week we saw some near completed quilt tops.

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Donna admires Sheila’s rainbow ‘Trip around the World’

Ruth was unsure of the lay-out for her quilt….

So we put it to the vote and decided on Option 2.

It’s the first Staffordshire Patchworker and Quilters meeting  of the new year on Thursday (2nd Feb) I will be the meetings trader, I shall be bringing lots of sale pieces so be prepared to grab some bargains,but if there’s anything you’d like me to bring please let me know, I’ll be happy to help.

Look forward to seeing you there.                                                                                                                  Jane x

New Year, New Classes…

Do you remember the excitement of starting a new year at school? That lovely feeling of opening a new exercise book and writing those first words (and did you always try to use your neatest writing?)

We have started our new ‘Block of the Month’ this week and our technique of the month ‘Frame Quilt’.

I’m incredibly lucky to have the support and encouragement of Chris Franses, she has 30 plus years experience in teaching patchwork and quilting, designs and writes quilt patterns and writes the monthly column ‘Wandering the Web’ for British Patchwork & Quilting magazine.                                                                                                                                      She has designed this years classes and the ‘Block of the Month’ is very clever. Chris has designed each monthly block so that can be made in four different skill levels – this means that anyone from beginners to accomplished stitchers can take part and can make as many of the versions as they wish.

This month’s block is an exercise in perfecting measuring and cutting techniques and making strips and squares.

As you can see the first two classes have been very productive.

 

The first ‘frame quilt’ class was all about design this month and Chris brought her EQ7 programme in and helped the ladies with colour and design ideas. I’m really looking forward to seeing them come to life.

Alison bought her quilt to show us – made from four of last years roll-over quilts

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Alison is working on joining the others, which will something to look forward to.

Sheila had completed her 2016 ‘block of the month’ before Christmas because she was giving it as a gift

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I’m sure you’ll agree it looks fabulous, Sheila’s quilted it beautifully.

I can’t wait to sharing more of last years completed projects with you and results from this years classes.

Happy to Help

One of the things I love most about having my little shop is helping customers with their fabrics. I love fabric and colour (probably a good thing when you own a fabric shop!) and people often comment that I have a lovely selection and the shop is bright and colourful.

I also love teaching customers the basics of patchwork and quilting, it’s lovely to see them grow in confidence as the weeks go on and watch as they learn the different techniques. I always feel I’ve done a good job when they start to ask what they can do next, before they’ve finished their first project.

I have helped lots of ladies over last few years to learn the joy of patchwork and nearly all of them have continued to try other projects, some of them making new friendships along the way and forming their own little sewing groups that like to come and sew together at the shop. This gives me immense pleasure and makes me feel quite proud.

An example of this was just before Christmas, when I helped Heather to create a quilt for her son. She came to the shop to join one of our ‘Absolute Beginner’ course at the beginning of the year, and after completing that, she made a bag and a table runner and is really enjoying the fun that is patchwork.Heather had bought a panel with a picture of a wolf on it, but didn’t know what she wanted to do with it other than use it to make a quilt for her son who loves wolves. A friend gave her some fabrics that went with it and so we then started to work on a design. I chose ‘log cabin’ block and we chose rich browns and warm creams to compliment the colours in the panel and a deep teal blue and together we worked out a design. I decided it would be slightly easier to quilt is using the ‘quilt as you go’ method and so Heather made it in 3 sections.

I think you will agree she did a great jobheathers-wolf-quilt

and I know her son loved it.

We’re already starting on the next project – it involves ‘flying geese’ – watch this space!

 

Coach Parties welcome…

anyone who knows me, knows that I rarely say ‘no’. This can lead to all kinds of adventure (and stress!). So when a lady got in touch with me at the beginning of the year and asked if their sewing group could come and visit, I of course said ‘yes’. I didn’t think how 30 ladies would fit into the shop, I moved everything around upstairs, made some cupcakes and asked Mum & Glen for a helping hand and the ladies came, and had a lovely time, shopping and chatting.

So, I was delighted, when Joyce got in touch again and asked if the ‘Sewing Divas’ could come again. I made mince pies & shortbread this time, and once again moved the tables around in the workshop upstairs.

It’s a squeeze, if you’ve been to my shop you will know that it’s not very big (usually six people find it difficult to move around!), but these ladies enjoyed themselves and with good humour and patience had a great time, browsing the fabrics, enjoying some retail therapy, chatting and drinking tea (even sitting outside).

They left with happy smiles and promises to see me again next year.

Thank you ladies for choosing my shop and making a Monday morning full of fun.

So now I can say ‘Coach parties welcome’ – so if your sewing group fancies a day out, you know where to come  🙂