A Quilting Weekend

No sooner home than off again, with Angie this time, for a glorious weekend of nothing but sewing from morning to night amongst like-minded people.  Jackie Taylor from White Cottage Country Crafts organises regular weekend quilting workshops at the Mount Hotel in Wolverhampton. They’re very popular, and from the moment we arrived we could see why.

We dumped our suitcases into our smart single hotel rooms and headed straight for the conference centre. As we set up our sewing machines in the spacious room, we were greeted with afternoon tea and coffee with biscuits – just the ticket – and that set the tone for the whole weekend. The sewing room was open to us for as long as we wanted to sew, and our only interruptions were for meals and tea breaks – breakfast, lunch and three course evening meals – a feast of good food every time.

Jackie had already emailed us with some suggestions as to what we might like to make, although there were plenty of people just doing their own thing. Everyone there was pursuing their passion for sewing, which made for good company all round, and we soon realised that some people had travelled long distances to be there.

I decided to make ‘President’s Pride’ a medallion quilt from Mary Etherington and Connie Tesene’s book ‘Civil War Remembered’. I was told it was a good choice but that I’d have to get my skates on if I wanted to finish it over the weekend. By Saturday evening I realised I wasn’t going to get it done, so I just relaxed and carried on carefully sewing my blocks to see how many I could do without rushing. I decided to put it away until after Christmas when I got home. I’ll pull it out again when I’ve got my Jackleberries quilt finished.

Angie chose to do the bed sized ‘Sophie’s Quilt,’ a White Cottage Country Crafts original pattern, using ‘The Cookie Exchange’ fabrics by Moda. They’re a lovely bright and breezy Christmas collection, and she soon got down to business. She’d almost finished the quilt top by the time we were ready for home.

As the weekend progressed we saw some lovely quilts coming together. A large area in the centre of the room had been left open so people could lay out their work on the carpet to get an idea of how things were coming together and to rearrange blocks before sewing. On Sunday we took the opportunity to meander around other people’s desks to see what they’d been up to. Though many had been coming to these workshops for a number of years, and we were complete newcomers, still we knew we were among friends. Angie says quilters tend to be gentle folk and I tend to agree.

Throughout the days we were there Jackie was on hand to give advice, encouragement and suggestions so help was always at hand – she’s a great teacher. I know we’ll be back for more of the same when the next quilting weekend comes along (because we’ve already booked!!)

Angie has finished her beautiful quilt now. As a bonus she bought extra fabric and magicked up another complete quilt top, based on the disappearing nine patch pattern, for use as her backing. It’s double quilted too for extra warmth.

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All is Vanity

Angie and I attended a workshop at White Cottage Country Crafts a week or so back.  I do love our ‘away days’ where it’s all about the sewing and there are none of the usual interruptions you find at home.

It’s such a boost when you know there’s someone around to help you with the tricky bits and bolster your confidence when you’re not quite sure on how to go about something.

We can choose a new project or continue with one already started. This time we both chose the same new project – a vanity sewing case. It’s an original pattern by Louise who was also the person presiding over the workshop that day so we thought we’d made a wise choice.

The pattern itself was pretty straightforward and I loved the look of the finished item pictured on the front. We had problems sewing it together though, but this was down to either our choice of wadding or our inability to handle it properly.

We used a foam wadding which does give the vanity case a great shape, it stands up really well, but oh my did we find it hard to sew with. In places I was trying to go through four layers of the stuff plus fabric and lining, and my little machine was really complaining about it. Even though I used a fresh needle, I got skipped stitches galore and had to keep going back to re-stitch gaps – no fun. If I hadn’t had the use of Angie’s machine (the super duper one) to help me finish up I might have given up completely.

If anyone can tell me what machine adjustments are needed to effectively sew through several layers of foam wadding I’d be eternally grateful. Otherwise I think I’m going to avoid the stuff altogether in the future.

After all the hassle I didn’t have the energy to wrestle with machine sewing on the bindings, nor the confidence to think it would work, so I’m in the middle of hand sewing them on for now. That’s slow going too because there’s plenty more things I’d rather be sewing to distract me.

Angie was so unhappy with her finished case she’s relegated it to the back of an upstairs cupboard, never to see the light of day again and certainly not to be photographed! She’s currently working on a new and improved version. Needless to say, she’s not using the foam stuff either this time.

I’ll post pictures in the gallery when we’re finally done with them.

…link to Summer Progress

Jackleberries

Angie and I have been to a few day workshops now at White Cottage Country Crafts in Seisdon, and each time we learn more patchworking skills and grow in confidence.

On one of our early visits, I fell in love with the Jackleberries Quilt – a beautiful quilt that hangs on the wall in the sewing room at the back of the shop.  It’s a sort of sampler quilt with each block set designed to teach a different technique to the maker. Of course, I bought a pattern, and I’m slowly working my way through it.  I’m finding it challenging at times, but then it’s so satisfying when I actually produce a block I’m happy with.

I’m doing mine in shades of red.  I may not use all of the blocks when I’ve completed them as I plan to make a tablecloth for the dining room with them which is quite a bit smaller than the double bed size of the actual quilt pattern.

…link to Jackleberries II