Fusing Workshop, or, Getting my Mojo Back!

I’m ashamed to admit that I haven’t blogged for a while. Well, for several months actually. Since Christmas in fact. Shocking!

That’s not to say that I haven’t been sewing. Far from it! I’ve been working on plenty of projects – and some of them I’ve even finished! I’ve made some pretty skirts for everyday wear, a glorious dress for a friend’s wedding, I’ve paper-pieced some cushions for Mum, and even finished off the odd quilt top too while I was at it. But to be honest, I’ve not been feeling 100% recently. What with one thing and another, my energy levels have plummeted and I’ve been left feeling like I’ve been put through the wringer. And while I’ve been feeling so wiped-out, I’ve just not felt inspired to sit down and write about what I’ve been working on.

But hopefully all this is about to change! RR and I have just got back from a wonderful relaxing holiday in Georgia, the sun is out, it looks like spring is finally on its way and I feel like starting new projects again for the first time in ages. And I want to tell the world about all my fantastic finishes and recent creations!

In short, I think I’ve got my blogging mojo back :-)

I’m pretty sure that this was in no small part due to a fantastic Fusing Workshop I attended last week, with the lovely ladies at my quilt guild, Patchwork du Léman. It was the day after we got back from the US,  and I’d only managed a couple of hours sleep so I was feeling pretty jet lagged. Dragging myself out of bed and off to Blonay for the day took all the motivation I could muster. But I’m so very glad I did!

Truth be told, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, given that the supply list instructed me to bring a variety of batiks, rotary cutter and mat, fusible web and a travel iron, with no mention at all of a sewing machine. But seeing as the workshop was led by the ever-wonderful Ms M, who constantly inspires me with her glorious creations, I was pretty confident that I would have a great time and learn something new and fun into the bargain.

And how right I turned out to be!

We started off by ironing the fusible web to the wrong side of a selection of co-ordinating batiks, then peeled off the backing paper, onto which we drew a 9″ square. We then drew a series of lines inside this square, starting with the corners and working in one direction towards the centre in an inward spiral, to create the template for a 9″ crazy patch.

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Then, starting with the centre block, and working in an outwards spiral, we cut shapes from our pre-fused batiks to cover each numbered segment in turn, leaving a small 1/8″ overlap on each side, and fusing our pieces on top of the pre-marked backing paper as we went.

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This fusing-as-you-go technique meant that each new piece we put down adhered to the previous pieces, with no need for sewing to secure them.

Clever, huh?!

I really enjoyed this technique, and I actually ended up making 2 crazy patch blocks…

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That’s as far as I got with them, but the next step would be to remove the finished piece from the backing paper, fuse the whole thing to some batting, add some backing fabric and use your machine’s decorative stitches (or hand embroidery) to secure the raw edges (thus quilting the block at the same time).  Bind it and you’re done! These are destined to be a pair of pot holders for Mum, once I get them finished.

We then moved onto the concept of using the same technique to create pictorial blocks. Now I’m not at all artistic (as RR says, even the cats could do better than me…), and I don’t really do fiddly stuff, so I opted for simple. Very simple. Not too sure about this one (looks a little too much like a toddler’s creation with fuzzy felt for my liking), but I can see how this idea could be used to great effect by people more skilled than me.

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Finally we tried our hands at a free-form, improv kind of design. What I really liked about this was how easily you can incorporate curves and other interesting shapes into a piece without actually having to faff around sewing them (always a bonus!), as well as providing a great way of using up all those little scraps that are just too pretty to throw away. I’ve never really done much improv piecing before, but I enjoyed this process, and although I now have no idea what to do with it, I created this…

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… and this with all my little leftovers (which will be made into a card for the club)…

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All in all, I had an absolute blast, learnt a fun new technique, and came back home exhausted but fired up to create something new. Ideas are now brewing, so hopefully I’ll have something to share with you very soon :-)

Linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday – hop on over and check out some more quilty loveliness!

The Night Before Christmas – with apologies to Clement Clarke Moore…

‘Twas the night before Christmas when all through the flat

Not a creature was stirring, not even a cat

‘It’s so disconcerting’, Lynne Pussycat said

‘They’re being so quiet it fills me with dread…’

‘You’re awfully suspicious!’ said RR to Cat

‘They’re being angelic, let’s leave it at that!’

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 And so off to bed went the whole family

And left out for Santa a large G&T

A carrot for Rudolph, a plate of mince pies

‘Cos from the North Pole it’s a long way to fly!

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But then at some godawful hour in the morn

(Don’t know when exactly, but way before dawn…)

A tremendous commotion broke out in the flat

‘Oh, what the heck’s happened? And where are the cats?’

RR ventured forth, to have a look-see

And discovered the kitties had toppled the tree

Had trashed all the presents and munched the mince pies

And sent Santa’s G&T soaring sky-high

Till it fell to the floor in a broken-glass puddle

Those dastardly cats, what a horrible muddle!

They were charging around as if they were possessed

Leaving in their wake such a terrible mess…

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 And so Christmas morning, at quarter past three

Was spent re-erecting the darned Christmas tree

Re-wrapping the presents, and calming the cats

Restoring tranquility throughout the flat

And two hours later, both tucked up in bed

Lynne Pusscat and Richard lay down weary heads

And said as they snoozed off and turned out the light

‘Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!’

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Three Quilts Sold, Two Holiday Gift Fairs and A Brand New Etsy Store

As you may have gathered from my last post, I have been mad-crazy-busy recently sewing up items for a Christmas Gift Fair. And now it’s all over I finally have time to relax and reflect on the experience.

In the end, I took part in two different Gift Fairs. The first one took place at the International Women’s Club of Lausanne, on a Monday morning between 9 and 12, and the second one was held at La Chatagnière, an international school near Geneva, on a Saturday between 11.30 and 4pm, where I shared a table with my lovely and extremely talented friend Chris of MalleyCat Designs.

To be honest, I didn’t have desperately high hopes of the first gift fair. I mean, a Monday morning in early December?! But as it happens it was jam-packed from start to finish, and I was so busy I didn’t have time to take a proper photo of my table, to look at anyone else’s stall or even to have a cup of tea. In the end, I sold more than I ever dreamed possible, including 3 quilts(!), had some fantastic feedback about my work, and, all in all, had an utterly wonderful time.

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Not the best photos, but you get the idea!

As for the second fair, Chris and I were reasonably optimistic of making some sales; there were going to be plenty of vendors and it seemed like a large number of people were planning to attend. But despite us both having had such a successful sale the previous Monday, this one really didn’t go that well. It seemed that most people were coming to socialise and have a drink with friends rather than to make a purchase. As it turned out, I only just broke even on the day. The two fairs couldn’t have been more different!

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Our table

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Some of my products…

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… and some of Chris’ products

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A selection of quilts for sale

Well, you live and learn, as they say, and here is what I learnt.

First and foremost, I absolutely loved making everything – I got to try out new patterns and new ideas, and, more importantly, to get re-acquainted with my stash! There have been times over the last couple of months where the floor of my sewing room was nowhere to be seen as it was liberally strewn with fabric I’d pulled out of boxes and cupboards to try and find that perfect match. Lots of old favourites were rediscovered and plenty of scraps and leftover pieces of quilt backing were put to good use.

Secondly, I really enjoyed selling my stuff, and chatting to people. I think I will be tempted to do some more fairs next year, but I also think I will do some more research before committing to any.

And finally, there seemed to be enough interest in what I made for me to take the plunge and open up a little Etsy store to sell my creations. Like these, for example :-)

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My Etsy store is called Pusscat Handmade, and you can find more fabric loveliness at

https://pusscathandmade.etsy.com

Please do go and take a look, and let me know what you think!

A Christmas Craft Sale Beckons…

Well, there seems to have been a bit of radio silence chez LPC recently. And for a very good reason! Not only have I been travelling – visiting Mum, weekend in Bath, day trip to Lyon – I’ve also been sewing away like a crazy woman.

Mais pourquoi I hear you cry! Well, a local group I belong to – the International Women’s Club of Lausanne – is holding a Holiday Gift Fair in early December. And I’ve decided to take a table to try and sell my wares.

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This is a bit of a departure for me, as, until now, I’ve never seriously considered selling what I create. Most of it is made for the sheer pleasure of creating something beautiful, and ends up as gifts for people close to me. What’s more, I’ve never actually been convinced that anything I make is good enough to sell. But a couple of things have recently helped changed my mind.

First off, I successfully completed my Fabric Fast earlier this year, during which I committed to not buying any new fabric for 6 whole months. And so, from January to June, everything I made came my stash. This not only made me feel Deeply Virtuous, it also made me really take stock of the yards and yards of beautiful fabric I already have and which I’ve been hoarding for Some Special Project Or Other. But I’ve come to realise that such a Special Project may never materialise. Or, if it does, I’m much more likely to buy something yummy and new. And this is because of another revelation from my Fabric Fast – over the years my tastes have evolved. Fabric that I bought, say, 5 years ago, whilst still very beautiful, just doesn’t inspire me like it used to. It’s just sitting forlornly in my cupboard, waiting to be used. And that makes me a little sad. Fabric should be enjoyed, not hidden away in a cupboard!

And so I resolved to use up some of these former favourites to make beautiful and useful items – not just quilts, but things like various-sized fabric baskets, tissue holders, bookmarks, bags – and whatever else I can think of! And seeing as I can only use so many of these, and only have so many friends that would appreciate them as a gift, the logical conclusion is that I should try to sell them, so that they can be used and enjoyed as the fabric gods intended.

Secondly, I recently attended Patchwork in the Peaks - a twice yearly quilt retreat, held by the lovely Ms E in the glorious French Alps. And when I was there, I made a new friend, Ms S. Now Ms S, like me, loves modern quilting fabric, and was, like me, hugely frustrated by the lack of said modern quilting fabric available in the local area. And so she opened an Etsy store to sell fabric that she loves (she currently has some beautiful Jeni Baker Art Gallery fabric for sale…) One of the evenings we got chatting about fabric in general, and fabrics we’ve grown out of in particular, and she suggested I look into selling off some of my stash on Etsy, which, she assured me, is nowhere near as complicated or expensive as I’d previously assumed. And so a seed was planted…

Finally, I heard about the Holiday Gift Fair, and it occurred to me that this would be the ideal opportunity to maybe try and sell some of my creations, and then, if it goes well, possibly open up a little Etsy store myself as well.

And so I’ve been creating… And here is a little snapshot of some of my Works in Progress.

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Noodlehead Divided Baskets

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Handy Little Fold-Up Pouches 

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Pocket Tissue Holders

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Reversible Twisted Fabric Baskets

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And last, but by no means least, Kitty Cat Tissue Box Holders, just like this little guy  – but in waaaay cooler fabrics :-)

Linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday...

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