Sunday, 19 March 2017

Slow Stitching Workshop


So the day of our first slow stitching workshop finally arrived, I was nervous and excited at the same time. I plan and arrange workshops several months in advance so there have been weeks of anticipation for this class. I prepped the goody bags nearly two months ago and they've been in the workshop waiting area that whole time all sewn up so I couldn't faff about changing my mind about the contents!


Last year a lovely and very talented friend came and taught some dressmaking lessons in the shop. Anna previously worked in costume design in television and film, she now designs and makes beautiful wedding dresses from home. I asked if she would be interested in teaching some hand sewing classes, partly due to studio buddy Tracey wanting to try her hand at quilting and me wanting to get back into embroidery, happily she said yes, so we have devised a series of hand stitching classes, slow stitching, English paper piecing and we will also be doing a make do and mend class. 
I worried Slow Stitching would be a hard class to sell, because there was no definite end product, no hard and fast rules and no real structure, but I was silly to worry the class sold out and if I had the room I could sold more places!


 With the workshop prepped and ready for action, the lucky dip bags lined up and ready for distribution, I got the kettle on and waited for the lovely ladies to arrive. Once everyone was settled in with a cuppa in hand, we chatted about the principles of slow stitching and Anna showed us some of her beautiful antique embroidered textiles and some lovely ethnic hand stitched pieces to inspire us. Then we all chose a goody bag, ripped 'em open and got stuck in!


 In each bag there was a selection of vintage textiles, including blanket pieces, napkins, hankies,doilies, pieces of antimacassar and embroidered tablecloth, mother of pearl buttons, cotton trim, embroidery transfers and needles and pins.


 After a little experimenting with layouts and some snipping and transfer ironing we got stuck in to some stitching,lots of chatting and more tea drinking and of course cake eating. Anna gave us gentle guidance and encouragement and some embroidery stitch tuition through the session.






The end result was lots of lovely slow stitchery, several wall hangings, a textile postcard and some really sweet little blankety animal brooches. Most people still had a fair amount left in their goody bags to use for future projects. I'm looking forward to seeing everyone's progress in their projects but of course no pressure to finish that is the point after all, keeping it slow!




This was how my project looked at the end of the session, I am obviously a super slow stitcher as I had hardly barely got anywhere before the three hours was up, I'm going to blame the tea making/cake serving duties, it couldn't possibly been too much chatter 😁


Here it is after a little more quiet stitching in the workshop on Saturday



I really enjoyed this workshop it was a lovely gathering of ladies and a really relaxing class. It was also really nice to continue the project the next day, i think i will be picking up this project and adding to it for weeks to come.
I hope you enjoyed reading all about the Slow Stitching Workshop, there are a few goody bags available to buy so you can have a go at slow stitching at home, get in touch with my facebook page The MaGpiE's Nest for details.If you are local we also have a monthly slow stitching club starting in April.

Monday, 13 March 2017

Little beds and red squirrels

I have been having a lot of fun in the workshop lately making little beds, there is something very satisfying for me, making things with no real function, and these definitely fit that category! After a lot of trial and error and fiddling about I came up with this little willow twig bed, I made a little quilt for it {used as a mattress} and it has a handkerchief sheet, a wooly blanket made from a lambswool tartan scarf and a doily bedspread, I have made some other layers of bedding too not pictured, there is a crochet granny square blanket from my massive stash of unfinished crochet projects and a blanket made of . . . well a blanket!



 I was inspired by the Princess & the pea story from the Ladybird book of my childhood, my goodness I loved that series of books and would spend hours reading them and looking at the pictures, I still  have many of my original ones, a treasured collection indeed.


The next bed I made was a lot smaller and even cuter with even less functionality, it is too small to even fit my smallest of dolls! I love it though, so sweet, it even has a tiny ladder so whoever sleeps there can scale it's heights. I have supplies to make some little mattresses for the bigger bed, some wool and vintage French ticking arrived in the post last week, no time to make them yet though due to meetings about workshops and big plans for the very near future, more about that next time.




On Saturday in the workshop, I had a lovely group of ladies learning to make red squirrels, well just their heads as it was a three hour session! Look how cute they are and all so different, proper little characters aren't they! My studio mate Tracey {Benton's Menagerie} is our needlefelting teacher and the classes are always so much fun with lots of laughs, a little naughtiness and many demands for tea!


Some were made into wall hangings and one was made into a brooch.


This little chap missed the group photo as he had to rush off and finds his acorn stash before the other squirrels got loose :) 


Here is my squirrel, amazingly I finished him which I don't normally get to do in lessons due to hosting and tea making duties, although in writing that and looking at the photo, I realized I have forgotten his whiskers, poor thing! 




Sunday, 5 March 2017

Whimsical Witchery

  Never being one to stick to one "craft" at a time, in recent months I have being making a selection of products which  I have chosen to call "Whimsical Witchery"*



I started off by making little charm bottles containing crystals and herbs that I gathered together - the jars are for lots of different things - luck, love or protection for example. These little charms can be worn as a necklace, kept under your pillow, carried in a pocket and of course opened up and the contents held in your hand. I have always loved crystals and also tiny bottles and jars so making these little charms was a lot of fun for me.



Having had so much fun making the charm jars and doing a lot of research into the crystals and herbs I became very interested in Wiccan practices and read about modern witchcraft, of course when we think about witchcraft we think of ugly old crones in pointy black hats but in truth Wicca is about living in peace and harmony with the natural world drawing good things from the Earth and all it's wonders, it is not about casting hexes and making mischief but about healing and helping yourself and others. 
     I made some little tins full of whimsical witchery, they contain a number of ingredients relating to a subject, this little tin is all about LOVE, there are crystals for love and herbs for love, there is also jar of salt which is widely used in witchcraft to cleanse an area before you cast spells amongst other things, also there are candles to burn whilst focusing on the love you are looking for be that self love, to attract love to you or perhaps to maintain and encourage the love of your partner. Also included are some little bags to use in making charms, you can carry charms in your pocket or place them under your pillow.

"love"
The next tin was made with protection in mind, there are many ways in which we may feel we need protecting, sometimes from other people and sometimes from ourselves. 


This tin contains a jar of crystals for protection, a jar of herbs that offer protection and a jar of salt, there is also a charcoal disc to burn the herbs as incense, little bags for making charms or mojo bags and red candle to perform a protection spell. I have really enjoyed learning about the plants and herbs and crystals and all their uses and qualities, it has been really fascinating and I look at the world in a different way now and take time to open my eyes and see the beauty of the world around me.

"protection"


My best sellers in this range are my willow pentagrams, I make these five point stars and decorate each crossing point with crystals and botanicals that offer protection, these are pretty stars to hang in the house and also have a sprinkle of glitter just for fun.

My daughter sells my range of "Whimsical Witchery" in her beautiful shop Earth & Heaven in Bideford, North Devon.

Interestingly one of my home towns many claims to fame is that the last witches to be executed in England were townswomen of Bideford, Temperance Lloyd, Susanna Edwards and Mary Trembles were hanged on August, 25th in 1682.



*they are purely whimsical I do not claim to be a witch {whatever other people say about me} nor do I claim them to be effectual. The contents of my products are not to be consumed or smoked.