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Hi there, it’s been a while!
What a whirlwind the year has been, but guess we probably all feel like that?
I won’t bore you with tales, or excuses for my absence from the blogasphere, merely move on and tell you what’s been going on in the studio.

We recently hosted our first ever quilting and patchwork workshop.
The lovely Josie from The Patchwork Dog and Basket was our guest tutor and led a weekend workshop of quilting newbies down a dark and dangerous path of addiction, into machine patchwork and quilting techniques.

I feel the need for a little back-story at this point:
Back in the summer I started teaching a morning class in Lewes at the aforementioned Patchwork dog, in dressmaking. Each week I would try and slide through the shop without looking at any of the fabrics for fear of bankrupting myself. Once in the workroom, beautiful quilts of all designs, styles and colour combinations adorn the walls, to inspire and motivate the students. Each week this one quilt would catch my eye and draw me over to where in hung in the corner of the room. Made from historical, 1930’s replica print cottons (mailbags) in faded primary shades.
The seemingly haphazard shapes and naive prints really appealed to me and I couldn’t get it out of my mind.

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Whilst she was distracted by her upcoming nuptials and not thinking about life post-wedding I managed to rope Josie into teaching a workshop for the quilt I’d fallen in love with. It’s a Dandelion Designs pattern, by the marvellous Mandy Shaw (off of the telly) and after asking her permission to use her pattern in the class the date was set.
Over the following weeks my students began getting excited about colour combinations and where their finished quilt would lie. I myself bought three different collections of fabric destined to be made up (never very good at decisions) These colours were my favourite in the end, as I had immediete plans to use the quilt on my (newly built) spare bed.

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On saturday morning the students arrived each with a selection of craft cottons, eager to learn new skills.

Josie and I settled the ladies in with fresh coffee and Danish pastries whilst they divided up their fabrics and got practising with the rotary cutters.

By lunchtime, we all had our pieces cut, a planned layout for each quilt, and (most importantly) all our fingers in tact. Turns out rotary cutters take a bit of getting used to!

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After lunch in the local tea shop we got to grips with the layout of our quilt tops and took it in turn to use the cutting table, offering opinions on colour spacing and layout.

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Here’s mine so far…

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By the end of Saturday we had almost all sewn together a quilt top and had chosen our backing fabric and bindings.

Adding the skinny border…

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On Sunday morning Josie arrived with a car full of goodies, and set up a pop-up shop in the studio with trays of fat quarters, jelly rolls, gorgeous trims and ricracs, and all the quilting apparatus we would need to finish our projects.

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After a brief talk on the basics of quilting and the history behind some of the designs and styles, we set about finishing our borders and getting the layers all laid out ready to get quilting!

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Taking it in turns to use the cutting table again, we used spray adhesive and curved safety pins (I always wondered what they were for) to lay out our projects and get all the layers stable before hitting the machines.

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The happy whirr of machines…

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After a hearty pub lunch, Josie gave us the final talk and demonstration of the day: How to finish the quilts, hand binding, decorative stitches and hand attaching additional embellishments. Fuelled by one final cup of tea we powered on and everyone had a quilted patchwork project to take home.

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Hannah chose colours that made us think of the Indian festival, Holi.

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Shirley was making a quilt for her nephew, so chose masculine prints and colours.

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Sally inspired us all with her soft, chic palette with a pop of acid yellow and charcoal.

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Laura went for all brushed cottons, in a mix of bright prints, Her quilt has a beautiful balance of colours and feels so soft!

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Maria made her quilt as a Christmas gift for her little nephew. He’ll cherish this for years.

Exhausted and excited to finish their quilt bindings, my students left, laden with bundles of fabric for future projects,and full of ideas for new projects. I couldn’t put my quilt down so took it home that night to  finish the binding and hand stitching. I didn’t get far before Mimi offered her services!

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Since then it has been commandeered as a full time cat bed.

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If you would like to join us at the next Patchwork Weekend Workshop please contact us to book your place.

Until next time, happy sewing! X


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