I think I would have magicked a weekend like I just had. I can pinpoint three things that even on their own would generate massive excitement levels, but pulled together in one weekend? I feel like one blissed out girl.
On Saturday I was full of happiness to make my way to Birmingham for my third visit to the Rag Market, meeting some old friends as well as making new ones. I shall not elaborate or repeat what others have already written – but visit here to find out what it was like for Marie, who with Kat took on the massive responsibility of organising us, feeding us & not losing us when we drifted our own ways! She also describes what fantastic hosts they were, our activities and who was there. Thank you for all your hard work & attention you both.
Suffice to say I was in heaven, sewing buddies, oodles of fantastically priced fabrics, the largest swap I have ever been part of & lots of pretty things (& people!)
Here is Roisin, aka Dolly Clackett, modelling her “home sewing dress” (how awesome!). In the top right a dress pattern I was lucky enough to bring home & gasp, could you see the white version made with that silk trim around its hem? (Thank you Mellie) Now to the picture in the bottom right. Confession time? I got the swap the wrong way around. I deliberately brought light weight things knowing that the return home would be heaviest. But then I threw caution to the wind & came out with metres upon metres of swap swag (thanks to Claire and Suzy). This did nothing for what I had to carry home. Whilst keeping very clearly to my cash budget (& not using credit cards) I still ended with a whole haul of fabric to feel guilty about (well, not too much. I can cope. I have rationalised that I’m stocking up “just in case” of redundancy, or something like that. Buy it while I can…) Anyway, this is the funny part. I weighed my fabric when I got home. It came to 22% of my bodyweight! Grrr! I’m a lean mean sewing machine ……That pile there is providing glimpses of what I bought: much jersey & knits as well as a trouser length of almost flannel, a few frocks & a skirt or two….& I shall keep you guessing about the animal print, I have clear very frivolous plans, but blame Suzy for enabling them!
OK, so the next day, Sunday, was another day not to sleep in & why would I when I had my first ever free machine embroidery workshop to attend. Not only was I going to be trying something new that involved even more reasons to sit at a sewing machine, but I was meeting Laura from Laura in a Tangle as well. But here is the surprise. I woke up on Sunday morning & against all forecasts there was some fairy dust sprinkled on my heavenly day …
Just how excited could a grown woman be on a Sunday morning ? The first snowfall of the year? Massive flakes of snow, get this, before even all the leaves have gone from the trees. Madness, but beautiful madness. Luckily everyone got to the workshop at the Makery without incident where we were hosted by Susi & Emily.
Susi is a real live textile artist (& artist researcher ) – here’s her blog here with links to current exhibitions. They both led us so well through what we needed to know to get started on machine embroidering -no feed dogs, just an embroidery hoop, a darning foot & some wild & wonderful stitch directions. Freedom! It was drawing with a machine & not needing to worry about where the edges were or how straight your lines – actually, wonky can be very good!
We had some practice on a piece of calico before designing our own piece. The time FLEW by (like it usually does for me when at my machine). We had all manner of bits & pieces to use, including variegated threads, pretty fabrics & lace. This is my design:
Here’s Laura (note she’s sporting her latest Kelly skirt – it’s rather lovely!)
A closer look at Laura’s beach huts & those seagulls!! (I think she misses Brighton …)
If you get the chance I urge you to try free hand machine embroidery….it is so satisfying, a bit scary at times, but let go of your desire to be neat & it’s just so liberating & creative….thanks Susi and the Makery
Sigh, hurry up postman, bring me my darning foot & pretty threads …..