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.

Sunday, 12 July 2009


Wow, how busy was I last week. As I mentioned in my previous posting, I needed to make 17 bags in rather a short period of time. However, I managed it, and here are the results of my hard work. Fifteen of them were for a nursery. The manager chose a beautiful spring bug and very cute butterfly. Both of which stitched out lovely.
They were all personalised with the children's names and then the nursery on the back. Please note, that to safeguard the children, I have not taken photographs of the back of any of these bags.

Jorja's mum chose a catterpillar for her design which fits in nicely with her class theme. These were stitched and made into both a PE and matching shoe bag ready for Jorja to start 'big' school in September.

Thursday, 9 July 2009

What's been happening?

Anyone wondering why I haven't posted the photographs that i promised? There is a reason - and a good one too.

On Monday evening, I received an email from a lady asking me to make her 15 PE bags. She runs a nursery and had a great idea of giving each of the children one to take with them as they leave to go to attend 'big school'. The only problem was that she needed them before Monday of next week!

Impossible task? ? ? You may think that, indeed I certainly did when I received the message. Surely I would need all weekend to enable me to make this quantity and the PE & Shoe bag that I had already received an order for. Especially with the amount of time that I've been in school this week.

Well I certainly love a challenge and rose to the task in hand. Each bag needed to be embroidered with a cute design (a spring bug for the boys and a butterfly for the girls). I also embroidered each one with the childs name on the front, and the nursery on the back. I knew that they would take around an hour each to complete just the embroidery. So time was very precious indeed this week.

I spent all day Tuesday embroidering the designs on the front on the bags.

When I came back from school on Wednesday I got straight to work embroidering the backs of the bags. I programmed the name into my machine and made it into an arch and added the year. I loved how well they stitched out.

Finally on Thursday, I spent the afternoon sewing up the bags and added the cords.

I completed all 17 bags just before Jon walked through the door at 8pm. I was so impressed with my time management. They're all now sitting in a box in my lounge awaiting a trip to the Post Office tomorrow. I hope that they will all be received in time after all the hard work that I've put into making them.

It was too dark to take photographs this evening after I'd finished, so that's a task for the morning before I visit the Post Office.

Thursday, 2 July 2009


Oh my, how time does fly when you're having fun. Things have been rather hectic here recently with one thing or another - although there's nothing at all unusual in that now is there.

I finished my swap pincushion, and after a slow start due to missing emails eventually sent it to my partner. I decided to hand sew a felt cushion which took me most of a day to make, however I was really pleased with the results.

The pincushion I received is absolutely beautiful, unfortunately, my camera isn't working at the moment so I haven't been able to take pictures. However, my brother is visiting at the weekend and i've already asked him to bring his over so hopefully I'll manage to take some then.

Gen was extremely happy with the 4 letters that she received. She does keep asking why she hasn't received the 5th letter, which I haven't been able to give her an answer. She's hoping to write back to the children that have written to her, hopefully she'll manage to do this soon.

Last weekend, I atttended a workshop at Jo's http://hobbyholidays.blogspot.com/ . The tutor that she had invited to run the workshop was the fabulous Ferret http://ferfab.blogspot.com/. She was an inspiration to all who attended. I will post a seperate update regarding this, hopefully with photos.

I was back at Oasis Academy this week to complete a tile project with the Year 6 transition students. I had a great time meeting everyone, and am really looking forward to seeing all of their glazed masterpieces displayed when the school re-opens in September after the Summer break. Again, I will post photographs when I can take them.

I've received 2 orders for PE bags from customers who have found my website following a Google search which is fantastic news.

ooooooh .... last but certainly not least ... I've finished the top of Gen's quilt this week!!! I just need to buy the wadding and backing and then quilt it up. Again, pics to follow soon.