Wednesday, 5 September 2018

Long time, no blog! City and Guilds 7161 Hand and Machine Embroidery Beccy Paget Busy Bees Patchwork

Busy Bees Patchwork
City and Guilds Hand and Machine Embroidery
Beccy Paget

Long time, no blog!

Well the summer holidays are over, we've had some wonderful weather quite like old times. I remember wonderful summers as a child, I lived in a beautiful country cottage on the side of a huge Pine forest with a view to die for looking across the Usk valley towards Christchurch and Caerleon. It was idyllic when I look back, my sister and I used to make den's in the forest and ride our bikes and on rainy days we'd make tents out of blankets on the settee and watch telly by the fire. 
My parents were always busy so I was glad to have my sister for company but she was 3 years older than me and boy did she assert her authority she was definitely the Boss but I didn't mind she had the most wonderful way of telling stories and I could have listened to her for hours. I have two older sisters who at the time lived at home, it was a squeeze but we all rubbed together along well. My mother would never allow us argue and we were never allowed upstairs in the day, sometimes I wonder how we all managed in that little cottage on the hill. 

 No one in my family sews, I can remember begging my mum to show me how to use her new sewing machine when she part exchanged my grand mothers old singer (oh how I wish I had that now !) A singer starlet sat behind the sofa for so long I don't think my Mum ever threaded it up. But her talents laid elsewhere, she was an amazing cook and she was a wonderful writer of letters. In fact it was my Mum's letter that got me my job working with sewing machines when I was 22.
That singer starlet bless it's little heart never really had any use and I asked my mum if I could part exchange for a newer model where I worked, from there my passion for machines started. Learning how to use all the different models in the shop was an absolute joy,  all their different abilities the higher in price they went, you soon learned why paying that little extra could make your sewing project that little bit easier, you can guess what happened to my little Newhome machine, well it was part exchanged for a reconditioned Newhome 7500 and to me all singing all dancing I thought I was the bees knees. (Little did I know!!) Let's say it didn't end there but hey ho I loved my sewing and with no family at that time my money was my own.

I have to say over the holidays I haven't done a great deal of sewing because my sewing room was so untidy and over flowing it really put me off, so I decided enough was enough and I donned my Apron and began painting the spare room (which my big son vacated in march), ordered a big unit from Ikea and lots of storage boxes, I ordered some kitchen drawer units and spent a whole afternoon in the bedroom with my husband :) putting together this blessed unit, lets say the air was blue he has no patience for flat pack at all !!!!!!! It took at least 2 hours and there's only another 7 to go, well not in this room, the other 7 are going in the new art room downstairs I'm feeling very lucky and blessed at the moment to be able to separate the sewing from the art. I think I'm going to have to call on my son or son-in-law to put up the rest.

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Behind this door is such a mess I would be ashamed to show you, but I will keep you up to date with what happens as work progresses. I have moved a lot and found to my horror the biggest spider in the world hiding behind my sewing machine which set me back a few days because my husband won't let me kill them, so I had to pluck up the courage knowing that he was there to decant all my sewing stuff to the new room up stairs. He's still there but as long as I can't see him i'm okay! and any way I couldn't harm him because he's hiding behind the existing units :(

In contrast the new sewing room is taking shape and looking super dooper if I say so myself.

Image may contain: indoor

Image may contain: indoor

I can't wait until it's all done, but I have to be patient and it will get there and then I hope to be more organised between my time in the sewing room, the art room and hand sewing at the dining room table. You may think my goodness does this woman do anything else but sew and paint? Well yes but when you teach City and Guilds in hand and machine embroidery you need a good space to store and practice new techniques. I'm always trying out something to show the students and keep everything from thread waste to empty cereal packets and for those things, which you think, might just come in handy and that is how the other room got into such a pickle.

We start back in earnest next Wednesday and I am really looking forward to last years ladies moving on to year 2 and the new learners for level 1. Level 2's will be learning more about shape, pattern, form and beginning to put a portfolio together to make an item for a commission. Level 1's will be  starting with mark making  and basic drawing skills.

For myself among everything else I have decided to give myself a project or a theme and I was shopping in Abergavenny market a few months ago and a stall holder was selling leather pieces and I'm not sure why but into my creative mind popped coal faces and miners, the leather looked for all the will in the world like a coal face and of course I bought it and there it has been sat for quite some time as I mull over what to do with it. There is my inspiration and it may get used and it may not but it has set the ball rolling and so I will spend some time drawing, sketching, painting and deciding what I would like to make a hanging, a sculpture, a picture maybe all three it depends on how I feel about it. I have family connections with the mines so I feel a connection with the subject already. I have made some sketches from pictures I have found on the internet from old photographs.

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Image may contain: drawing

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I was quite pleased with these seeing as I haven't done a lot drawing for a while, but I think when you connect with a subject it always feels better. I am now working on some stitching samples in hand quilting and machine applique. I also want to experiment with some surface fabric treatment. I will let you know how I am getting on as the weeks go by. It may not come together quickly but it will be an ongoing project.

Hope you will join us on this year's journey into hand and machine stitched textiles, let me know if any of the work has inspired you and thank you for reading my blog.

Best stitches 


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