Of course, there was no way I was going to be able to go without my crafty fix for fifteen days. You may, or may not, remember that I have an English Paper Piecing project on the go which I started a "few" years ago now and which I always take on holiday with me. I just about managed to summon up the energy!
I wasn't very productive this year but I did have a little pile of blocks to show for my efforts upon my return. I think I now have thirty or so blocks so another few years and errm, I may be getting there.
I had reason to keep going with the EPP when I got back home and that was because I was due to teach a workshop in the very same subject three days later. I had in my file of stashed away projects, a pin cushion pattern which used some paper pieced hexys on the top so I thought I would give that a go, show my students you don't just have to make quilts.
However, it turned out to be incredibly large, that would certainly have been one whopping great pin cushion, and I actually loved it as it was, nor did I need another pin cushion, so I binned the idea (for now) and have kept my first hexy rosette as it is. I now want to make a whole quilt. Hmm, I need another hand piecing project like a hole in the head!
Late the night before the workshop, I had been inspired by a project on Katy's blog I'm a Ginger Monkey which used a pretty piece of EPP hexys on the lid of a Kilner jar (Mason jar for my American friends). So I sat until very late and pieced together pretty vintage scraps to make a similar jar.
Next morning, I was up bright and breezy, it was a lovely sunny day in London and as the boys headed off for a jolly on the steam railway, I set off for the other side of London. I took with me some English Paper Pieced goodies so I could set up a (hopefully) inspiring display for the workshop attendees. The fabulous Tikki Patchwork shop in Kew was my destination, owned by the lovely and accomplished Tiina. It's set in a decidedly pretty part of West London and I stopped to admire the florist shop on the corner and well, I couldn't resist a snap of my chair!
If you thought that looked ok, just wait until you see how fabulous it is inside the shop!
This is but one wall.
Tiina is a lady after my own heart, super organised and her shop testifies to that. She is also a fan of the very lovely reproduction fabrics I too adore (as well as a healthy dose of modern blenders) so I was pretty much spoiled for the day.
I set up a little display down in the teaching room. I cannot take credit for the large honeycomb quilt which was already handily hanging on the wall.
It was a lovely day, so nice to sit and sew and watch new people find a love for patchwork. I got home to a nice quiet, empty house so rewarded my efforts with a sit down with the new magazines which had arrived in the post and a spot of refreshment.
Oh and before I forget, the Kilner jar project you can see (just about) in the corner of this pic, here. I bought my jar from John Lewis, they had several sizes but all had the same lid dimension which was really too small to do justice to the patchwork. I ended up having to cut off just about all the outer ring I'd so lovingly sewn on. Hmmm. I will keep my beady eye out for better jars as it's a cute idea and one which would be great for gifts I think, as you could personalise the contents inside the jar.
Other things that have been keeping me busy this week or so, is bag making. Tiina has asked me before to run a workshop to make my patchwork bags. You know the ones.
I thought I should therefore reacquaint myself with making them and write out a proper pattern and materials list and so on. Out came the rotary cutter and the 1930's style fabrics.
Jenny Janome and I were happy to be getting to know one another once more.
A day or so later, I had prototype number one in my chosen shades of red and aqua.
Although I love the leatherette handles on my own first two bags, they are really quite pricey to buy (the flowery Clover ones are about £16, the tan ones were much cheaper from the Festival of Quilts but still about £10). This adds so much on to the cost of producing things, something which I have to be very aware of when making things to sell, (the other materials for this bag add up to about £20) and they are also quite time consuming and fiddly to sew on. Tiina had some good quality thick cotton webbing in stock so I played around with machine stitching some handles of my own. I think they've turned out really well.
It was soon joined by a pink and blue friend. Can't choose which I like most to be honest.
I'm keeping hold of them for the time being as samples for my bag workshop. I haven't yet any dates (in case you're interested in joining us) but do keep an eye out here or on Tikki's website as we'd love to see you there. (I will be selling some bags like these through my shop in the near future, just in case you were wondering!)
For now, the collection continues to grow.
I'm thinking maybe a Liberty Tana Lawn version next...