Friday, 23 September 2016

358 years of Tea Drinking in the UK - who'd a thought it!

Apparently tea drinking has been going on in the UK for the last 358 years (according to Google's banner today anyhow). 
Which sort of got me thinking of a time around 10 years ago when we had a retail shop here at Eccles Farm and a young mum dragged in her 10 year old son.  She had been working on a beautiful Lanarte cross stitch kit which had a natural linen background and had completed around half of it. Both of her children had been told they MUST NOT TOUCH mummy's work.  However the 10 year old had clearly taken up the challenge he thought this created, got it out, spilt tea on it, panicked and shoved it back without telling mum.  Of course, she found out what had happened the next time she came to work on her piece and there was a huge tea stain in the centre. She tried everything to remove it, but as we all know to our cost, after tea has dried it is very, very difficult to shift and the stain remained. She knew it had to be one of her two boys and interrogation techniques that only mum's know eventually got the eldest to admit his guilt.

She frog marched him into the shop and made him use his own pocket money to purchase a new piece of linen for the background and also to replace some of the threads she would need extra of to start again.  Which must have been rather painful for the little chap, but perhaps not as painful as mum telling the whole shop what he had done.....embarrasing or what!

Anyhow if you need to get tea or any other stains out, then checkout the Persil site for the best way to do it.


Friday, 9 September 2016

Life is short.......

I had some horrible news today - one of my students who thought she was making a good recovery from a serious illness emailed me to say she had just had major surgery and found out that was not the case. Of course, she won't be able to carry on with her C&G qualification, but that hardly seems an issue in the circumstances. She has much bigger concerns now.

News like that makes you stop moaning about no-one emptying the dishwasher or the dog leaving muddy footprints and really think about what is really important, doesn't it? Well, it certainly had that effect on my anyhow.

Life is short  - of course we all know that, but we try not to consider it too deeply on a day to day basis.  Sometimes, though, something really brings it home - like that email today.

So this weekend; I will not work, I will not moan.  I will, however, spend time with those I'm closest to and try to live each second as though it were my last.  Sounds cheesy, but maybe it isn't such a bad idea for us all to do that once in a while.

Thursday, 1 September 2016

Sewing Faster - is that what we really want?

I came across a good blog post today called How to Sew Faster:7 tips for sewing more efficiently. Whilst I think many of the ideas are great - I particularly like the one about preparing small projects to undertake whilst you're waiting for pasta to cook (!) - I have to ask myself if it is worth squeezing things in to such an extent that they become stressful?

Isn't the reason most of us have for undertaking any type of craft or sewing that it is a complete change from normal routine and that we find the process relaxing and feel satisfied with what we have produced when we reach the end of the process? Many years ago whilst working in a sewing shop, we had a regular customer who bought a huge number of tapestry canvases and wool, however she never framed them, but instead rolled them up when she had completed them and put them in a bottom draw never to see the light of day again. I was fascinated by this and asked her why she continued to work on something she didn't use. She told me that, for her, the pleasure was in the sewing, but once the canvas was complete, she completely lost interest and wanted to move on to the next project. It was all about the relaxation, the feel of the canvas and wool, being able to lose herself and completely relax in the process of creating something. That doesn't go along with squeezing it in between making a pasta dinner!

There are now many academic studies and articles centred around mindfulness, relaxation and craft, telling us what we already know; it is good for us to take time out for ourselves, relax into something we enjoy and ultimately feel the pride of creating something we can be proud of.  A friend who has been a yoga teacher for many years (and my bad back thanks her for it!) as well as a councellor and colour therapist has just found her way back to textiles after a long break. Unsurprisingly she is excellent at 'ring fencing' time in her sewing room and I am constantly amazed at her output - both in terms of quantity and quality. She relishes the idea of 'experimenting' and does not count time spent 'messing about' with different ideas, techniques and materials as time wasted. Her sewing room is her haven when things outside it get too much - an escape to another place. We have talked about doing some day work shops together to help others find this 'zone' where the process becomes the main goal and where the emphasis is moved from WHAT we make to HOW we make it and the pleasure we derive from the process rather than the end goal.

Thursday, 18 August 2016

Quilters Guild Launch new Heritage Fabric Range

The Quilters’ Guild has now launched the first of the Elizabeth’s Dowry collection fabrics, inspired by one of the quilt treasures in The Quilters’ Guild Collection, the Mariner’s Compass Coverlet (1820 – 1829).

It always attracted interest from the quilting community not only because of its historic design, but because it is one of the few items in the Collection where the provenance is known.
The new line, including 23 stunning fabrics and a complete Mariner’s Compass panel, will be introduced in August and available in quilt shops worldwide at the beginning of October 2016.

“The Quilters’ Guild Collection is a wonderful source of inspiration for quilt makers, designers and researchers throughout the world. This collaboration with Marcus Fabrics and Karen Styles represents an exciting new direction for The Quilters’ Guild and it’s only fitting that we should start the journey with the motif of the mariner’s compass at centre stage”, said Chris Gatman, Chief Executive, The Quilters’ Guild.

You can read more about the fabrics at the guild's site  HERE

Friday, 5 August 2016

Off to the Festival of Quilts?

So, who is off to the Festival of Quilts at the NEC next week?  Don't forget to keep an eye out for the two of our graduates, Cheryl Edwards and Moniek Hulsebos, who are in the final 10 competing for the Quilters Guild Bursary Prize.  We wish them both the very best of luck. To find out more about visiting the FOQ, go to their website at

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

We are now partnering Janome sewing machines exclusively

We're really pleased to be able to start this page off with some excellent news - we're now partnering Janome, the world’s largest manufacturer of domestic sewing machines. Most of you will have heard of them, but how much do you really know about them? A couple of  factoids to entertain your friends below:

  • Janome is famed for the quality and reliability of its products and was the first company to produce a multi-coloured embroidery machine for home use and still leads the world in this advanced technology field. 
  • Janome UK was established in 1969 as New Home Sewing Machine Co Ltd and changed its name to Janome in the mid 1990’s. Operating in nearly 200 retail outlets throughout the UK, Janome is the No1 choice of brand by independent retailers and department stores.

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Awarded an Excellence in Coursework C&G commendation

Sylvia Cavanagh's work was put forward by her tutor for a excellence commendation and we're delighted to say that she received it. As well as Sylvia's work you can also view the completion galleries for many of our recent students at this link