Friday, 1 May 2009

Sew, a needle pulling thread

A long time ago (back in the days before I took up knitting again), I used to head off to quilt shops, festivals and craft fairs with my mother (my family's true textile artist) and pick up the odd fat quarter (or ten) of fabric.

I had quite grand ideas about making myself a quilt for my bedroom and over time, I built up quite a bit of fabric. However, the flaw in my master plan was that I really had no idea how to sew, piece or quilt - at all.

So, other than toying with my fabric a bit, making a few quilt blocks (not all shown) and some Christmas presents, I did not manage to achieve very much:


Sewn Christmas Presents

When I came to Canada, I decided to pack my fabric stash as well as my yarn stash. Just on the basis that if there was ever going to be a time that I might get to grips with the 'whole fabric thing', then surely it would be while I was here?!

So in between study and DIY duties last autumn, I did my best to hunt down a reasonably priced sewing machine. I was stumped - the selection of machines, features and prices were so mind boggling that I stalled completely on the whole sewing idea - I simply could not afford or justify the purchase of the machine that I really wanted.

Then, as you know, the Fella and I got engaged! After a short discussion on the topic of engagement rings, I am delighted to say that mine arrived in the format of a large, heavy brown cardboard box containing a
sewing machine! This might be considered a little unconventional but as someone who rarely wears jewellry (or remembers to put on her wedding band each morning), what on earth would I do with a diamond ring except lose it?!

Thus equipped, I joined the sewing club run by the people who sold us my sewing machine. Once a month we tackle a small project that takes us through a range of different sewing techniques. I have been going for three months now and this is our output so far:

Month 1 - Test Stitching
Month 2 - Travel Pincushion with Pockets
Month 3 - Thread Catcher

While extremely informative and fun, the focus of these workshops is firmly on how to use your machine effectively rather than on how to approach a bigger project from end to end. The fabrics are precut for us and the workshop time streaks past like someone running naked across the cricket pitch at Lords!

So, after speaking to the sewing club tutor (who has excellent patience and teaching skills), I signed up for her 'Flying Birds' beginner's quilt class. I have attended two classes so far (2 more are scheduled this month) and it's been brilliant!

In the first session, we learned how to cut our fabrics precisely. In the second, we learned how to put together our first quilt block. Here is our tutor showing us how to piece our blocks together (you can see the quilt top that we are aiming for in the background):


Here is the block that I produced (I need to produce another 8 of these before our next class, next week):


Here is one of my classmates holding up a half completed quilt block:


Now, please do not panic mum but, I am really hoping that I can convince this lady to let me adopt her 'in loco parentis' before end of this course! She happens to be one of the most kindly, lovely people that I have met here. If you flip through this slideshow of our second class (which seems to be running in reverse order)? You will see the really cute baby quilt that she has made for her grandchild and bought to class to show us all. Very cool.

So, in summary, although things have been a bit quiet on the knitting front of late (I am having trouble finding my stitching mojo), I am working away in the background on new skills: sewing, spinning, photography and Photoshop.

So far? It's all a very big but enjoyable learning curve!


Roobeedoo said...

Now that's what I call an engagement ring! Most impressed by your work so far - useful and well-finished looking! Now you have reminded me about my quilt top - hidden away in the "secret drawer" of my wardrobe. Last touched in 1995. Gulp. Maybe I ought to resurrect it and actually finish the blinking thing!

Lara said...

I am still in AWE over the thread catcher. I'm salivating on behalf of all cross stitchers I know. Maybe one day ... in the distance future ... when you actually find free moments ... you can teach me to make it. It would be the bestest gift for my stitching buddies!