Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Ferret Fabricates: A wonderful weekend

Ferret Fabricates: A wonderful weekend

As previously mentioned, I was extremely lucky enough to attend a 2 day workshop recently to learn 'ART QUILTING'. We had a fabulous weekend, and I learnt a great deal. Here are a few photographs of the samples that I made during that time.

Our workshop got off to a flying start on Saturday morning with the unveiling of a quilt that I've been in awe of ever since I saw it on Ferret's website. (photograph courtesy of http://www.ferfab.co.uk/). It is a truely stunning design, and upclose it certainly didn't disappoint. It's one that I truely hope to aspire to (with lots of time, and even more practise!).
Whilst she was there, Ferret was working on another 'Portrait Art Quilt'. It was great to see how she takes a photograph and looks at the shades and hues in the colours to turn it into a quilt. I hope that she has had the time to complete this one, as it would be lovely to see the design from the conception to completion.
We started sewing in my 'comfort zone' and made a quilt sandwich using approx 1m square of black fabric. We divided this into 4 squares which was then to be used as our sample / practise piece throughout the weekend. Firstly, we played with decorative stitches on our respective machines. This is quite easy, I thought! I can do this. Hmmmmm .... cocky? Stupid? Idiotic? All 3?
For the second square, we were asked to 'write' our names using the machine. Ok, getting a little trickier now. There are a few letters in my name that don't flow naturally when you don't have a choice but to do 'joined up' writing. You can't take your needle off the canvas as you would a pencil. It's not precisely hand-written quality, but I don't think that I did too bad a job of it.
Next, we were all shown various drawings on Ferret's white board. (I'm sure that girl has shares in the whiteboard marker company, as she seemed to have a never ending supply!). Now the designs she produced on the whiteboard were beautiful, many were totally stunning. As she drew them, they flowed so naturally, and looked fairly simple when you knew where you were going. However, when you were then told to go away and stitch them .... hmmmmmm not as easy as it seems.
I had big problems with my machine as I started to the 'free motion' quilting designs. I broke 4 needles within a very short period of time. I was becoming more and more stressed as I carried on. I was very wary of moving the fabric by this stage for fear of breaking yet another needle. Fortunately for me, Jo brought out her old faithful Husqvarna D1. This worked a dream - it didn't make my stitching any better, but it sure made it an awful lot easier now I didn't have to worry so much.

Unfortunately though, the psychological damage had already been achieved. My confidence had taken a great knock in the morning with all those needles, I was so convinced that I was doing something wrong that I just could concentrate completely. Even with Jo's machine, I was still waiting for a needle to break.

However, on Sunday, after a good nights sleep, I came back to the workshop with a whole new attitude to it. I sat down, and completely ignored my machine that was sitting at the back of my table. I set to work quilting my 'mini wholecloth' that I had prepared on Jo's machine. I divided the square up into different shapes which I then filled in with various designs. There's a lot of flaws on there, but for a first attempt, it isn't too bad. Some of the designs maybe difficult to see as I played rather 'safe' with the colours that I chose to use in both the material and the threads.

The photograph on the left here is of the back. the designs can be seen a lot clearer, however so can the mistakes including a few 'bird nests'!

All in all, I had an absolutely fabulous weekend, however next time, I would ensure that I had a different machine from the start so that I wouldn't have to cope with the stresses of machine errors. I know a lot of bad workmen/women blame their tools, but in this case it truely was my machine that has taken a dislike to free-motion quilting.

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