Wednesday, 10 January 2018


Happy New Year from Busy Bees Patchwork!

Your centre for City and Guilds Textiles and Patchwork
in South Wales

 Week 14 City and Guilds Level 1 Certificate in Textiles 7161

January 10th 2018


Hope you all had a Merry Christmas and good start to the new year. I hear all to often how people dislike the New Year and over the years I would have probably agreed but this year I have tried to change my mantra, this year I'm looking forward and hoping for good times. I am not going to dread what the days ahead will bring but I am going to try and make every day count. I am not going to make any resolutions I am just going to be more resolute. There are so many things I could do better but even if I can improve on some of my worst points then that will be good enough for me!

I am very lucky that my job is my hobby and my thirst for learning never tires, trying new techniques,
building on them and creating new ideas is what it's all about. Just wish there was more time to fit in all the experimenting I'd like to do, but then I need to make more time and not waste it, looking for stuff in my untidy sewing room, now there's a resolution I should stick to. Keep my room clean and put things away instead of letting it all build up in a huge creative mess.

My big son is buying his first house so guess who's getting a new sewing room ! Well to say I'm excited is a bit of an understatement, I am feeling quite guilty though... really 
should I be feeling so excited when I am going to be losing my big son.  Well as much as I love my big lad to pieces he is not the tidiest of people he loves to play with oil and cars of an evening which usually means when he comes home covered in oily t shirts and trousers which somehow transfers to the walls and banister, light switches, tea towels and anything else he comes into contact with. He is a creative soul like me, and I suppose there are times when I am wiping up paint and such from kitchen surfaces and dining room chairs,  I can't be too cross with him.... but now his girlfriend can put up with his creative finger prints and grime. They are only moving 5 miles away so I'll probably see him more than I do now considering his garage is nearer me than it is to his so I guess I am not going to be free of greasy oily light switches after all...... you gotta love em!

This means now  that I can have a painterly room and a sewing room! how greedy is that. You may ask what my husband thinks of all this, well, bless he doesn't have much say at all, I think he's all too happy to let me carry on..... anything to keep me quiet really. 

Well enough of my meanderings, although I'll keep you up to date on the new room!

Over Christmas and the New Year celebrations the ladies have been completing work and my goodness they have created some beautiful pieces.........


 Celia was inspired by a sea groyne encrusted with barnacles at a beach near Lindisfarne.
With the addition of shells, driftwood, starfish and the fishing net it all sets the scene. I love
all the barnacles she has made individually by making rings from finger stitching. (I did try to make 
a video of this for you, but least said about that the better. I am going to try again soon.)
At the end of the year we are going to have an exhibition of all the students work so you will be able to see this in the flesh as it were, photo graphs never show how much work is involved.  
This is Kay's interpretation of a beautiful flower she took a photo of on one of her travels. Difficult to tell apart really.  The original photo at the top was recreated below by painting the background fabric and then over printed in layers. The white flowers were appliqued and the stamens satin stitched on the machine. I think Kay has really the captured the fine elements of this quite difficult picture. Not an easy subject to turn into a work of textile art. Amazing!  

Ann has machine stitched her interpretation of a silver birch tree bark, the background was painted and printed with home made stamps. She has used free motion stitching for the lichen and gathered and used a decorative stitch on the machine for the fungi and raw edge appliqued the birch bark onto the background. The over all effect is fabulous with lots of machine techniques used to create the whole piece. 
Woven Threads, fabrics and yarns!

In this weeks workshop we have been making a piece of cloth from fabric scraps, ribbons, yarns and anything that goes really. Weaving is yonks old going back in depths of time we have woven cloth to keep us warm and the techniques have not changed. They may have become more elaborate and complicated as looms became more fandangled but essentially the process is the same.

A set of warp threads have to laid first and then the weft threads added horizontally by means of placing the weft thread/yarn/fabric strips interwoven with the warp. 
We used a cake rack as our loom because I had plenty of them for everyone to borrow but we could have equally have used a piece of hard card board. We wrapped the warp thread around the rack, making sure not to make it too tight or too loose.



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Now for the weft threads, ribbons, fabric strips, yarns and if you were so inclined string, wire cables, carrier bags, paper twine, lace..... anything really! To aid the passing of the weft thread through the warp I made them all a plastic shuttle which is a strip of plastic cut from a pop bottle rounded at one end and slit in the other to hold the thread. You could also use a large blunt needle or bodkin.


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Below Linda had a little practice before making a larger piece and I absolutely love it, the colours are super! She has used some sari waste ribbon, a funky yarn, an open mesh ribbon and lace. Being a narrow piece of weaving she could use this for the top of a bag or as the bag handles. 
Of course the pieces of fabric could be embellished further with machine stitching, needle felted or hand stitching. Food for thought!



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I have asked the ladies to make up their fabrics over the next couple of weeks so we'll see how they get on. I am working on a bag at the moment so with that extra time I'm going to find, it should be finished fairly soon. Nothing like a bit of pressure to get things done.

Next week we are scaling it down a tad and we will be learning needle weaving. There are several ways to do this and it has an abundance of uses when using embroidery stitches for texture and filling large areas.

If are joining us on our journey through this blog and may be you would like to take part in the City and Guilds, I have only 10 spaces available starting in September 2018. Please get in touch and register your interest with me Beccy at Busy Bees Patchwork. 01633 810801 or email me beccy@bsuybeespatchwork.com..

Thank you for reading our blog and please leave us a comment we love to know what you do and how you use your creative time.

Best stitches
Beccy xxx