Here at InStitches we love nothing better than quilts with lots of quilting on them. We enjoy traditional hand quilting and all types of machine quilting, but our favourite thing is to use interesting threads and a variety of stitches to add texture and interest to the quilt surface. And better still to mix it up a bit and combine large hand stitches with machine quilting.
In Hazel's quilt Does Anyone Fancy a G&T? she used seeding in various colours and thicknesses of thread to great effect for shadows to ground the items on the table. If you look closely ou'll see it is also used for texture in the lower sections. Can you spot her favourite french knots? Look for the bubbles!
What is it about tiny things that make them so attractive?
Many of us have a fascination with miniature quilts but don't know where to begin, so the InStitches miniature quilt making day was an ideal opportunity to find out more; even if it came with a warning!: stitching on this small scale can be addictive...
For some 'miniature' means 1/12th scale (where an 1 inch is equivalent to 12 inches) but for others it is larger, maybe 2 to 4 inches. Using foundation piecing Hazel encouraged students to make a selection of small scale blocks, getting smaller and smaller as their confidence grew in piecing at this scale.
Some students used commercial fabrics, but as we can see from Jane's star, hand dyed fabrics worked really well too.
As printed foundations were provided in several sizes some students started large and then worked their way smaller as their confidence grew.
By the end of the day everyone had tested their sewing skills at 1/12th scale!
and there was cake...
Of course, sewing at this level makes you hungry so there was plenty of cake and a bowl of tasty homemade spicy pumpkin soup for lunch. Hazel grows the squash on her allotment and this year they have become HUGE, so there will be plenty of soup for our workshops this year!
Begin by heating a small frying pan and dry roasting the coriander, cumin and cardamom seeds – this is to toast them and draw out their flavour. After 2-3 minutes they will change colour and start to jump in the pan. Remove them from the pan and crush them finely with a pestle and mortar.
Cut the pumpkin in half through the stalk, then cut each half into 4 again and scoop out the seeds using a large spoon. Then brush the surface of each section with the oil and place them on the baking sheet.
Season with salt and pepper, and then pop them on a high shelf of the oven, gas mark 9, 475 F (240 C) to roast for 25-30 minutes or until tender when tested with a skewer.
Meanwhile melt the butter in a large saucepan over a high heat, add the onion, stir it round and when it begins to colour round the edges, after about 5 minutes, turn the heat down. Let it cook very gently without a lid, giving it a stir from time to time, for about 20 minutes.
Then remove the pumpkin from the oven and leave it aside to cool.
Now add the stock and the milk to the onions, and leave them with the heat turned low to slowly come up to simmering point. Next scoop out the flesh of the pumpkin with a sharp knife and add it to the stock together with a seasoning of salt, pepper and nutmeg. Then let it all simmer very gently for about 15-20 minutes. Next the soup should be processed to a puree.
Because there's a large volume of soup, it's best to do this in two halves. What you need to do is whiz it until it's smoothly blended, but as an extra precaution it's best to pass it through a sieve as well in case there are any unblended fibrous bits.
Taste and season well, then when you're ready to serve the soup, re-heat it gently just up to simmering point, being careful not to let it boil. We like to serve our soup with a swirl ofcrème fraiche and cubes of creamy feta cheese.
This recipe is a combination of two from Delia's winter collection
Makes about 20 scones
350g caster sugar
110g soft unsalted butter,
2 large eggs, at room temperature
225g plain flour
1/4 teaspoonbaking powder
1/2 teaspoonbicarbonate of soda
3 large over-ripe bananas, peeled and flesh mashed
1 teaspoonvanilla extract
75g chopped pecans (optional)
Hot on the heels of Lin Kerr's workshops, this week we had the pleasure of a two-day workshop with Arleen Wild. For those of you who aren't familiar with her work, Arleen is a mixed media artist, and her work is an energetic mix of painting, free motion stitch and fabric. She produces stunning landscapes, seascapes and flowers some of which are huge! You can see more of her work on her website.
Arleen is a very generous tutor, with a wealth of knowledge and tips about the media and processes she uses. We started by priming the canvas and while it was drying Arleen helped everyone select a suitable image or elements from several images as a jumping off point. The idea was to produce a unique piece of artwork, and not a slavish copy of the photograph. Next we added a subtle wash of paint to form the background. Hers is a very loose style and I think one of the things that most people took away was the message that less is most definitely more! The tiniest amount of paint, or fabric and thread used in a painterly way, can really lift a piece. The day was all about layering materials to achieve the desired effect and give the work energy and focus. A dab of paint here, a couched thread there, then perhaps a tiny piece of fabric, caught down on one edge only, all the time paying attention to composition, and definitely no straight lines!
Don't you agree that all the work looks amazing? Some aren't quite finished yet but all are well on the way.
and there was cake . . .
You will have spotted that there are scones and home-made jam with clotted cream in the picture. Well we couldn't let all these lovely people work so hard without some kind of reward, so over the two days there were raspberry muffins, banana and pecan loaf and chocolate oat biscuits and the aforementioned scones. Recipes will follow!
If you have been inspired by the work shown, and fancy a creative day out with friends (and cake!) why not check out our Textile Adventures workshops. There are three left this year and we will soon be adding next year's programme.
That's all for now - thanks for reading!
Hazel & Terry
Just where does time go to? If you know, please drop me an email letting me know! We are so busy here at InStitches that keeping up with our blog seems to drop to the bottom of the list. But I just wanted to show you the work from another creative workshop with calligrapher, Lin Kerr. Two days this time, exploring the work of David Jones.
With examples of David Jones' texts as inspiration we first drafted our own texts before transfering them to prepared paper. Lin has painted these beforehand using gesso and acrylic paints to give the impression of an old distressed wall.
So many letter choices for some!
Then it was time to paint in the letters. Using a limited colour palette suggested by Lin we never the less were able to create an array of schemes!
and there was cake...
Of course there was cake, how could you think there wouldn't be!
Today it was a chocolate and sweet potato loaf cake from a Waitrose recipe card. you can find the recipe and 'how to' video here: https://www.waitrose.com/content/waitrose/en/home/recipes/recipe_directory/c/chocolate-sweet-potatoloafcake.html
InStitches are Hazel Ryder and Terry Donaldson. Our mission is to provide exciting courses for lovers of patchwork, quilting, dyeing, sketchbooks and stitching. Check out our current courses on our website.
InStitches: exciting courses for people who love fabric, quilting, design, stitching and sketchbooks