Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Patchwork Cushion Classes

There is a lovely shop in Malmesbury called Dolly Bobbins. It is full of yummy yarn and bits and bobs for sewing.

I am lucky enough to be running a 6 week patchwork cushion course there next term.

The course covers:

  • Cutting fabrics with a rotary cutter and ruler
  • Making Half Square Triangles (HST)
  • How to sew patchwork accurately
  • How to machine quilt
  • How to make an 18" cushion

The course starts on Friday 12th September and costs £99.00 including all, equipment, materials and use of a sewing machine.

Please contact Tracey here to book a place.

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Modern Sampler Group 2014/15

After a lot of jigging around, I have finally managed to sort out the Monthly Modern Sampler Group!

Over the course of 10 months you will learn how to accurately cut and piece a variety of patchwork blocks. You will learn how to hand applique and machine applique fabrics to make a wonderful patchwork top.

We will then look at how to quilt your quilt using hand and machine quilting methods.

This course will give you all the skills you will need to start confidently creating quilts at home - be warned everyone will want one!

The course will start on Saturday 13th September 9am until 12pm - a change to the previous post about the course.

The other dates are: Saturday 25th October
                               Saturday 22nd November
                               Saturday 10th January
                               Saturday 7th February
                               Saturday 7th March
                               Saturday 11th April
                               Saturday 09th May
                               Saturday 13th June
                               Saturday 11th July

It will be held at St Micheal's Hall, Tetbury.

The cost will be £25.00 a month, payable by Standing Order.

If you would like more information or to book a place, please email me.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Year 1 done!

Phew, I have been gone a long time!

It has been a long 8/9 weeks of work, children and trying to get module 4 handed in..... that and 2 nasty injuries finished me off!

So as the title suggests I managed to get module 4 handed in and my first year of the 3 year course is done! Yay!

Here are some of the things I made for my portfolio...

Mono Printing

Raised pebbles


Mark Making with tracing paper.

Lulworth Cove.... It is honestly!

More collage.

Mini book with designs.

Larger handmade design book.
Stitch sample.

Ruffled, gathered fabrics.

Mixture of textures.

My first attempt at cords with beads - love these!
A year seems to have gone by so fast - although sometimes it has felt very slow!

I have moved so far from my starting point that when I look back I am slightly shocked! When I started last August I was in a panic, it all seemed so hard and my dream seemed impossible. One year on, and 4 modules completed, I feel ore confident of my skills and that my dream is almost on the horizon...

It has not been easy though. Teaching lots of classes, looking after 3 boys, being a Scout leader and working through the course has left me very little time to think! It feels worth it though!

So to year 2... well, there is one more design module looking at Form and then I get to work through my designs to create 3D pieces of work. They look scary when I look at them in my student booklets.... but oh so exciting!

I am also turning towards the new teaching year and I have been working hard to pull together a fun and versatile teaching schedule. I will be sending out the details of classes and workshops in a newsletter tomorrow, so if you want to receive the newsletter just drop me an email: quiltingthegrain@btinternet.com.

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Plush Addict

One of the best things about being a sewing teacher is being able to buy fabric for classes!

I get to buy lots of different types of fabric and often I buy things that don't suit my taste, but my students turn them into amazing items!

I am always on the lookout for new places to buy fabric and to be able to recommend to my classes. Over the last week I have ordered from a shop I have been following for a while on social media - Plush Addict.

They have a wonderful range of wonderful fabrics including all the latest designer ranges.

I needed a whole collection of Kona Solids for a class I am teaching tomorrow. We have been making wonderful cushion covers with a eight point star. The fronts have a mix of pattern and Kona solids.

I hadn't realised that Plush Addict carried all 277 Kona solids until last week when I managed to get hold of some much needed Bone. They delivered the order so quickly I knew I had the right place to order fabric for my class.

So on Friday morning I started shopping - £89 later I put a quick note on the order saying I needed the fabric by Tuesday morning did they think I needed to pay for tracked deliver.

To my delight the bundle arrived on Monday morning with a wonderful note and a bag of sweeties!

So pleased with they service and the selection they carry!

Go check them out!

Monday, 9 June 2014

Monthly Sampler Group

Following on from the success of the monthly patchwork and quilting group in Tetbury, I will be starting a monthly sampler quilt group in September that will run for 10 month.

We will be learning how to make 2 different blocks each month that will build over the course of the 6 months into a gorgeous sampler quilt.

After we have made the quilt top, we will be learning how to sandwich the quilt and machine quilt. By the end of the 10 month course you will have a wonderful patchwork quilt and all the skills you need to make more patchwork quilts at home.

The group will start on Thursday 18th September from 11.30am until 2.30pm at the Catholic Church Hall in Tetbury.

The cost each month is £25 and includes use of sewing machines, cutting equipment and support between session.

If you want to sign up, please email me for more details.

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

June Classes

The months are passing so quickly - how did we make the middle of the year already?

I have a couple of exciting classes in June at the fabulous Dolly Bobbins in Malmesbury.

Hand Turn Applique

Monday 16th and 23rd June

10am until 12pm.

A fabulous 2 day workshop all about hand turn applique and make a mug rug.

The 2 day course is £30 including all materials.

Beginners Sewing

Sunday 22nd June

10am until 4pm

Come along and learn how to use your sewing machine to make a gorgeous pin cushion and zippered purse.

This workshop will give you the skills and confidence to use a sewing machine.

The workshop is £45 including all materials.

If you want to book a place please email me or Dolly Bobbins in Malmesbury.

Sunday, 1 June 2014


At the moment I am having a bit of trouble sleeping and I am not able to just lie in bed... once I am awake there is no hope!

But waking at 4.30am ish has some advantages...

the house is super quiet,
I get to listen to my boys sleeping and dreaming,
a mug of tea with no pestering is bliss,
I can work through my course work,
I can make plans for what I want to try next....

Trying to put the time to good use is important me, otherwise I feel frustrated that I am just sitting there!

So this morning I was up at 4.15am and lay in bed for a while, then started planning my day.

After out textile trail day I have been researching natural dyes and how to prepare fabric to dye with leaves and flowers. The effects are really stunning.

One of the things I have discovered is that shop bought cotton needs to scoured before it can be used for dyeing. Even when it has been machine washed it still has chemicals and additives in the cloth that stop the dyes from fixing permanently to the fibres. I have been using Prepared For Dyeing (PFD) fabrics, but having run out I picked up some cheap cotton from Ikea to have a dyeing session.

I wanted to dye some black and charcoal for my course work, which needs to be worked in black, white and grey only.

As you can see the results were varied:

The fabrics are top left to right: Hessian, PFD cotton organdie, Ikea calico. Bottom Left to right: cotton scrim, Ikea cotton and PDF natural cotton.

They were all placed in the same dye bag and the hessian and organdie have absorbed the most black dye. The others came out grey and the Ikea cotton was variegated. Even those these are pretty cool I want more black!

The charcoal came out much better:

The Ikea cotton, which is quiet thickly woven came out blotchy again.

So at 6am I decided it was time to try scouring my fabric form Ikea and some cotton organdie. I know 6am is totally crazy!

It is a interesting process that requires Soda Ash, Metapex, water and time to simmer the fabric for at least an hour!

This is the second pot full this morning and is the Ikea calico. I am hoping this works because this is cheerfully cheap and took the colour well last time, just want to see if I can improve it!

The other Ikea cotton and organdie are drying on the line...

Fingers crossed this works!

Can I also say that I am expecially proud of my dyeing book?

Lots of experiments and colours! Need a new book soon!

Also mixed some Manutex dye thickening paste this morning which is currently being stored in clean margarine tubs... best label them before the boys put some on their toast!

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Textile Trail 2014

Today my middle son and I went on the Stroud International Textile Trail. It is a fabulous trail around some of the amazing textile artist and ceramists of the area.

We sat down yesterday with our book and circled the studios we wanted to visit. For an 8 year old he is quite opinionated about the trail! We chose a mix of textile artists and ceramists - he loves all things pottery!

We also plotted the best places to stop of cake and lunch - a major highlight of the day for him!

We started at Ruskin Mill in Nailsworth with Helen Taylor and Clare Herrington. Their fabulous studio is full of amazing felted scarves, owls and bags! It was a great place to start.

Then we went to Stroud to visit Matthew Harris. His work is really inspiring and I was so excited to see his work in black and white. His studio was an amazing space with an grass roof!

Echo no IIII by Matthew Harris

Also on the same path were a couple of Ceramists, including Noah's favourite of the day Tara Davidson.

By Tara Davidson

We then went to visit Alice Fox's exhibition, Tide Marks.

Tide Marks by Alice Fox
It was amazing. Alice's work is full of texture, marks and rust printing love it!

This morning Noah made the decision that we needed to have lunch at the Lavender Bakehouse in Chalford. They have the most amazing panini's with huge salads!

Opportunity for more cake.

Our final stop of the day was the amazing Polly Lyster and her husband. Polly is an amazing dyer, using indigo and other natural dyes to create amazing fabric.


They had an indigo dye vat set up in the garden and Noah had the opportunity to dye a cotton scarf. I think he dyed most of himself too!

He was so proud of his first attempt at dyeing and I was drooling over the amazing colours that natural dyes can produce!

We drove home inspired and very excited about all the textiles we had seen! Noah now has a list of things he would like to felt and dye!

If you live near it is worth watching out for the trail details next year. It is already in our diary for next year!

Saturday, 17 May 2014

Half Square Triangle - HST

At the moment I am teaching 3 beginners patchwork classes in one day - I do like a challenge!

I teach all my beginners how to make half square triangles (HST). They are the most versatile building block in patchwork and lead easily to lots of different designs.

I thought I would collate some fabulous quilts made using HST as their base unit as inspiration for all those new to HST!

From Red Pepper Quilts
Love the mix of solid colour and bright patterns!

From Sew Katie Did
This quilt is a wonderful mix of HST in solid colour, no plan just go for it!

From The Cottage Mama

Love the mix of colour and the geometric shape.

From Quilt Addict
These stars are so lovely!

From Freshly Pieced
This scrappy HST quilt is divine!

Hope you find this gorgeous collection of quilts just as inspiring as I do!