About us

This is the start of a new adventure for Joan and myself, an exciting new patchwork and quilting shop called Dotty Dolly. We are based in Wellington, Somerset, at 13 Fore Street (opposite the Nat West). You can contact us on 01823 660879.

We are easy to get to from junction 26 on the M5 - come and see us if you are passing by.

Monday, 24 December 2012

Sale News

I know you all need to get Christmas out of the way, myself included, but just thought I would let you know that we will be starting our sale on 2nd January.  There will be 20% off all fabric.  We need to make room for our lovely new stock.

That just leaves me to say have a Happy Christmas - I'm off to stuff the turkey!

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Happy Christmas!

The big day is getting closer, and everyone is getting busier, myself included.  I haven't been in the shop for the last week, but Debby has been working away.  I haven't got much to tell you about the shop, and my mind has been on other things.  I have made several Christmas presents this year, and have spent the last week trying to get them all completed.  I have one more little gift to make, but I need Christmas fabric for that so will have to wait until tomorrow, when I am in the shop.  I can't even show you the presents I have made because they might be seen!

I decorated my house on Sunday.  I don't know about other people, but my husband likes loads of tinsel, and what I call tacky stuff, and I don't, so it always gets a little tense!  I did tell him I am quite happy for lots of natural green stuff in place of the tinsel, and have left it in his safe hands, needless to say it hasn't appeared yet!  I went to my friend Rosalinds yesterday and she had the most beautiful swags and wreaths all made with stuff out of her garden. Even if I was inspired to do the same, it would just end up looking a mess! Another friend always makes a wreath for my front door, I can't even manage that myself. Debby likes lots of sparkle, and I'm a little more understated, I think she thinks I am a right old misery. 

I like lots of red, and I had hoped that this photograph would show how cosy my fireplace looks, but it looks totally uninspiring, so I am not going to show you any more!  The reality is much better than the photograph, but I expect you are all fed up with me telling you that everytime.

I have given myself a break each afternoon, I discovered that Channel 5 were showing two seasonal films in the afternoon, so have wrapped presents and watched them at the same time, most of them have been very corny, and one or two truly dreadful, but I have still carried on watching them.

Well I have no more to tell you apart from we will close the shop at 12 noon on Christmas Eve and re-open on Wednesday 2nd January.  We hope you all have a great Christmas and a Happy New Year, and thank you all for your continued support.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Christmas is on it's way

We seem to have more or less got over the rain, although I appreciate some people are still experiencing problems after the flooding.  The weather here has got much colder, and several mornings we have had to scrape ice off the car. I would far rather have crisp cold days than grey days with rain, I just end up looking like the michelan man with all the layers I am wearing!

We are now in full Christmas mode in the shop.  Debby and I have lost count of the number of advent calendars we have made.  We are now on the Christmas stockings!  As fast as we have been putting items in the window people are coming in and buying them, which is what is supposed to happen when you have a shop but then there is the dilema of what to replace it with, and have we got the time to make a couple more cushions or stockings!  Believe it or not we had a rep in today, and he was showing us fabrics for Christmas 2013, and guess what we actually ordered some,  not much but a little.

Still talking of Christmas, we will be open Sunday 9th December, and Sunday 16th December from 10.00am - 3.00pm.  There will be 10% off all fabric, but not gifts, gift vouchers or haberdashery, so if you fancy a nice civilised bit of Christmas shopping Wellington is the place to come. We will also have a late night on Wednesday, we will be open until 8.00pm.

Debby ran a scrap workshop yesterday.  She used quite tiny pieces, 1 1/2" squares.  A couple of the students were out of their comfort zone (their words) but  they produced some great pieces of work, and they all said they enjoyed themselves.  Two of them came to my class this morning, and brought the pieces in that they had completed.  Both introduced colours they wouldn't normally use but were very pleased with the results.  Below is Debby's sample.

The finished tiny squares in the middle are 1".  Debbys work is always very precise, unlike mine.  She hasn`t quilted it yet, but I am sure that will happen soon.

We had the last meeting of the year last night at our quilt group. and I actually remembered to take my camera, so below are a couple of photographs.

This lovely piece of work is by another Debby, it was made from a jelly roll so the pieces are quite small.  Her points were really neat, and the colours looked fantastic.  She layered it up last night ready to quilt.

This quilt was made by Jacqui and I love it.  It was made from a layer cake, the sashing is a ticking like fabric, and the back which I didn't photograph was a fantastic black and white print with little houses and cars.  She made the quilt for her campervan.  I love the colours and the way that the ticking frames the other pieces making the colours stand out. 

I was going to show you some more photographs, but it has taken half an hour to download these three and I can stand it no more!  Debby and I really look forward to meeting everyone on a Wednesday evening.  It is alway fascinating to see what everyone is doing, and I alway go away feeling inspired.  Last night there were quite a lot of Christmas things going on.  Marie had been to a Christmas weekend at Cowslip in Cornwall and had lots of bits and pieces and patterns to show us.  She was concentrating last night on completing a Christmas Tree, but had a little box in the shape of a house and a fairy to show us.

I don't know how other people are getting on with their Christmas shopping, but I am not doing so well.  I always get off to a good start, but then reach the difficult ones, mostly the men like my husband and son, and come to a grinding halt.  I was wondering around Taunton on Monday when I bumped into Shirley from Stitcherydo, so needless to say we went for a cup of tea, and no more shopping was done.  We met in a lovely shop Laing and Lewis which belongs to a friend of mine, in St James' Courtyard.  Sue and Annie who own it have a really good eye and it is full of wonderful goodies.  I bought a lovely scented candle, but was sorely tempted by a fantastic cake stand, but couldn't think of anyone to buy it for apart from myself, and actually I have two already!  If you get a chance go and have a look.  The next day I had to go to the hairdressers and thought well I will go earlier, and try a bit harder today, but didn't have any more luck.  My husband and I decided to set a limit this year, but as I pointed out to him if the limit was a £1,000 I would still struggle.  My problem is that I have a husband who buys me very nice presents, so it makes it even more difficult.  I will let you know how I get on in my next post.  I'm off to make some more stockings now!

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Nynehead Court

The South West has woken up yet again to flooding.  I have just had a telephone call from Debby to say she can't get to the shop on the A38, so will have to go on the motorway, but everybody else wants to go that way and it's taking her forever.  According to the weather forecast it was supposed to be sunny today, and the weather forecast tells me that it will be sunny this afternoon, I will believe that when it happens

On a happier note, we had our first workshop at the lovely Nynehead Court on Saturday.  What a lovely location it was.  It was held in the Orangery, which was a beautiful light space and very warm!  I was slightly worried that it might be a bit cold, so wore lots of layers, that was a big mistake, I was  peeling off layers all day!

This is the orangery, the photograph does not do it any justice at all!  Nynehead Court is just outside Wellington and is a nursing home, with assisted living.  Apart from the main house there are several mews type cottages in the grounds.  The grounds are amazing and they often have Sunday walks round them with the Head Gardener, in fact there is one next Sunday.  The Orangery is used for lots of social events.  A couple of weeks ago they had a breakfast to raise money for Wellington Youth Centre, and the night before we were there they had had a Cheese and Wine Tasting - all very civilised!

This is the view we had from the Orangery of the Church.  The church is rather large for such a small village, so there must have been quite a lot of money at some time.  The branches hide a beautiful rose window, which is not something you see very often on village churches.

This is the view inside the Orangery.  The facilities were really good.  Again my photograph doesn't really do it much justice, but everyone said what a great venue it was, so we will hopefully start to use it in the future.

This is a phtograph of Tip working hard on her bucket bag.  Tip we discovered is the most amazing cook.  She brought lemon drizzle cake and biscuits for everyone.  The lemon drizzle cake was the nicest one I have ever eaten, she tells me the secret is in the amount of lemons she uses, no less than three.  Her biscuits were lovely little flower shapes drizzled with icing and presented so nicely in a cookie jar complete with gingham trim.  I overheard her telling someone that there was to be a weddding reception in the Orangery in a few weeks time and she was making the desserts.  If the lemon drizzle cake is anything to go by, lucky them!

Apart from the lovely venue and the amazing cakes, there was a lot of work completed, and everyone expressed their satisfaction with the day.  Unfortunately in my usual efficient way I failed to take any photographs of completed projects.

I have been working hard this week on Chritstmas orders and presents.  I have managed to get a lot of things done, but not completed, and I am feeling quite pleased with myself.   Debby has been very busy in the shop, although in view of the weather not too busy today I suspect.

I am now going to clean my kitchen floor and then take myself off to my workroom to carry on sewing.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

November Days

Despite all my good intentions it is a couple of weeks since my last post, so today is blog day.  I am writing this in the shop, so it will probably take me all day to complete it, but complete it I will.

The first thing I want to show you is this lovely fabric.  I can't quite make my mind up if the deer fabric would be suitable for Christmas, given that every shop I go into a present seems to have a cushion with a reindeer on it!  However, I am not sure about the colour.  It would look great any time of the year, and I especially like the birds.  My daughter Katie has browns in her sitting room and has just bought some green accessories, so I will be making some cushions for her from it.  I will probably put wadding behind and quilt a little just to give it a bit more body.  The fabric is by Moda and part of the oh deer! range.

I love the odd blue bird, but wish they had done the same with the deer and the spots.

Debby and I have a Christmas Workshop next week at Nynehead Court.  This is a new venue for us, but it is a larger space, and so many people wanted to do the workshop that we thought we would try it out.  We have been busy making samples -

This is Debby' wall hanging, she used up lots of her red scraps.  You could quite easily just make one and turn it into a cushion of a smaller wall hanging.  You could also embroider Happy Christmas, or similar round the edges.

If you have been reading the blog for a while you may remember the Christmas tree cushion from last year, the Noel cushion is new for this year.  It is very simple, but effective with just the linen and red spot.

I am always trying to come up with new ideas for bags.  I have been making the smaller version for quite a few years, but decided to make a larger one, which was quite successful.  They are made from denim but with a contrast fabric for the flap.

I made the larger of these slippers in the summer, but made the smaller ones last week.  I wish I could say that they were my pattern, but they are not.  Unfortunately I can't remember the name of the book I got them from.  I posted a picture of them on facebook a few nights ago, and the response was really good.

Debby is off for a fortnight although she can't seem to keep away, she has popped in a couple of times so far!  She has not gone away, but has told me she is spending the week sewing.  She is putting a quilt together with some new fabric by Moda, which we will show you as soon as it is completed.  I have been quilting this quilt which I have nearly completed, then it just needs the binding on it.  The backing is a large blue spot, and I will bind it with the same.  It is a pattern that Anne Baxter runs workshops on, made from a layer cake.

I have been busy cutting for Christmas presents.  Unfortunately cutting is as far as it has got so far, but I will let you see what I have made eventually!

There have been some grey days so far this November, but today the sun is shining.  Sometimes when I get the bus to Wellington I get here early.  I decided I would try to get to know Wellington a little better, and get fit at the same time by walking.  My plan is to walk at least a couple of mornings before I need to open the shop, even it it only means getting off the bus a couple of stops earlier!  This week I discovered the park.  My son worked over here for the local council during the summer holidays when he was a university, and has told me so many times I should take a look, so now I have.  It was lovely, especially so early in the morning.  It was funded by the Fox family in the early 20th century.  I am not sure if I have mentioned them before, but the Fox family were Quakers, and owned the local mill, along with another one at Uffculme(I hope I have got that right) called Coldharbour Mill now a museum. The Wellington factory is still open on a very small scale.  They make the most beautiful soft woolen fabric.  Deborah Meaden  of the Dragons Den has taken an interest in at as they were in trouble recently.  Most of the old mill is now empty, but it is a lovely old building.  I am finding as I walk around there are some really interesting buildings which you just don't notice when you are in the car.  That said, yesterday's walk was not so good I ended up walking through housing estates, but at least I know they are there now!

Earlier in the week one of the local community Police Support Officers came into the shop and said he had a photograph he wanted to show me.  I immediately thought there was some kind of problem and he was going to show me someone he would want me to identify.  However, he pulled out his phone and proceeded to show me a picture of a cushion his wife had made, her first attempt at patchwork!  It was great by the way.  It is so nice when people take the trouble to show you what they have made.

I think that's all the news for now - happy sewing!

Monday, 22 October 2012

This and That

I can't believe it is nearly three weeks since I wrote the last blog, so have made myself settle down this evening and do something about it.  It has been a glorious weekend here in Somerset, but I woke up this morning to a grey sky and dampness.  I thought the weather was going to be nice this week, at one point Indian Summer was mentioned and now they say this weather will last until then end of the week.  They are even saying it will snow in the North East at the end of the week, thank goodness we live in the South West!

For those of you interested in Vintage Fabrics there will be a sale at Trull Memorial Hall this Saturday, 27th October.  To give it it's proper name it is called The Textile Rag and Remnant Rummage Sale. (Try saying that quickly.)  If you want any other information you can find it at Thevintagebazaarblogspot.com.  I have had several people in the shop recently who have had stalls there, and they all rave about it, as do the customers.  It got very busy last time, so I suggest you get there early!  It starts at 9.30am and finishes at 2.00pm.

Still on a vintage theme, we have a new shop in Wellington selling lovely vintage items.  Jilly has opened it, she sells beautiful vintage china, which she also hires out.  She also does up furniture on which she uses Annie Sloan chalk paints.  She is stocking the paints.  She will be holding workshops on how to transform your old furniture.  The shop is at the back of Staggs Estate Agents, so if you are in Wellington pop in and have a look. Her friend Angela is also involved, she has a blog called the English Romantic, and has made lots of her lovely pieces for the shop.

Last week several of the traders in Wellington met up to discuss arrangements for Christmas.  Last year for the first time Wellington had a couple of late nights and Sunday shopping, and the plan is to do it again.  We didn't do brilliantly well, but I think people have to get used to the idea that Wellington is doing this, and think of Wellington as a destination for Christmas shopping.  It seems crazy to be talking yet again about Christmas, but we have to think about it so early, and as I have said before I am amazed at the number of people buying fabric for Christmas projects.  We have already run out of some designs.  Debby and I have been busy making up Advent Calendars.  We decided it would be a good idea to make up some of the panels so customers can see what they look like, or alternatively buy one ready-made.  I have made up a Christmas quilt from a Moda Christmas Charm pack, we also have layer cakes and jelly rolls in the same design.  Crazy really we haven't had Halloween yet!

 In my usual efficient way the photograph needs to be rotated, but I think you can get the idea.  I haven't shown you it all because I wanted to show the quilted Christmas Trees, and you couldn't see them otherwise.
 I have four more trees to quilt and then put the binding on it.  I need to get a move on because Debby is muttering about Christmas stuff in the window when she comes in on Thursday.

I have started my hexagons, and have quite a few made up, but will show you them when I have more.  I must say I have really enjoyed doing it, but have a long way to go.

I thought I would show you what some of the work from out Thursday morning class.

This has been made by Lyn who has been making quilts for all her grandchildren.  This was given to one of them, but she told Lyn that she would like some butterflies on it, so being the good granny that she is, she duly took it home to do as she was told!  The pieces of fabric laid on it are the pieces she is going to use for the butterflies.

The two above are again made by Lyn.  She put the blocks together, but felt it was lacking something and Debby suggested that she use the organge spot which has totally transformed it! 

This is the top that Lesley has just put together ready to quilt.  As you can see she likes pink!  She brought in all her scraps and decided on three blocks.  The most difficult thing was finding a colour for the sashing, but it has turned out really well.

The two photographs above show Anne's bags.  They are tubular with a zip across the top.  I love the text on them.  Anne is the sort of person who doesn't just make one bag, but several.  She is prolific in her output, but always produces lovely things that I want!  She bought a layer cake of the Christmas fabric that I have shown you, and I fully expect her to turn up with the quilt top made up next week!  The others are also producing great pieces of work, and I will show you some more later.

I am in the shop this week, and have spent today making up stash packs.  We sell lots of these and it is difficult keeping up with demand sometimes, so inbetween customers I happily cut away.  I like making them because it means I can play with the colours and mix and match to my hearts content!  They consist of 8 x 10" squares which we sell for £5.00.

That's it for now, I will try not to leave it so long next time before I write.  Happy sewing!


Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Water, water, everywhere

Well I am now back from my trip to Italy, and reality has already set in.  I spent the last few days of the holiday in Venice, surrounded by water, woke up on Monday morning to hear on national radio that the A38 was blocked by a flood.  As I have to go along this road to get to the shop this posed a problem.  My husband said take the car - I usually go by bus.  I decided to go to the bus station and see if the bus was running, I got to what looked like a ghost town, but luckily the only bus in sight  was going my way.  Well it was kind of going my way, but it was going via the motorway.  I don`t think that bus had ever gone that fast before, it was an old doubledecker, and everything shook and rattled, including me when I eventually got off, it took me most of the morning to get over it.  At least in Venice the water was where it was supposed to be!
I had a fantastic time, and although I took hundreds of photographs, I will only show you a couple.  The first photograph above is of the Doges Palace in St Marks Square, which is the most amazing building, I just love it and took far too many photographs of it.  Can you spot the deliberate error.  The date says October and not September.  I didn`t realise that the date would appear, it didn`t on my old camera, but at least I have now managed to get rid of it.  Our tour guide David was great, as I said on my previous blog he was an ex-cameraman for the BBC.  In fact he still works freelance for them and will be filming Eastenders this week, before he takes another group over to Europe.  I did ask him a few things, but then started to worry that I would appear stupid, although he was very helpful, and did give me lots of tips, most of which I will probably forget.

I couldn`t not show you the Grand Canal, this was from the Rialto Bridge, again I took loads, and this isn`t probably the best one - should have asked David for more advice - but I could take forever to find one I am really satisfied with, so this will have to do!  I did take quite an amusing photograph at the other end of the Grand Canal showing a DHL delivery boat.  How fantastic would it be to have your fabric delivered like that!

We also went to Florence, and while in the cathedral I took several photographs of the floor, ever the patchworker looking for inspiration.

Needless to say it`s all marble.  There were lots of other patterns, but I think one is enough.

I think that is enough about my holiday now, apart from to say travelling across Europe by train is great, and I would thoroughly recommend it.

Back to the shop, and yesterday I re-arranged a few things and finally put all the Christmas fabrics out.  It has been selling well, people are so organised, including Debby who has put a completed Advent calendar at the back of the shop.  While I was away this lovely fabric arrived from Stof.  It is quite grown up, not obviously Christmasy, in fact you could use it for other things.  Some of it has a real Byzantine feel to it.

You can`t really tell from the photograph, but there is a lot of gold metallic - quite blingy in fact.

I did tell you on my prevous post that I would  let you know how I got on with my hexagon quilt which I planned to take with me.  Well I have a confession to make, I didn`t touch it.  I could have lied, but I really didn`t have any time to do it at all.  I thought I might on the train, but was frightened I might miss something if I wasn`t looking out the window.

I came back from the shop yesterday determined to do something, and I managed to layer up my churndash quilt, and even started to quilt it.  In fact when I have finished this post I will carry on with it. I finally have some ideas in my head, and hopefully next time I write I will have something interesting  to show you.

Debby came over to the shop yesterday and we caught up over a cup of tea after we had closed the shop.  She did survive without me, although two weeks in the shop is a long time.  Never mind, I spoke to her this morning and she told me she wasn`t talking properly because she had a mask on!  Turns out she was having an internal wall knocked down by the builders, but her and Chris were ripping out the fireplace - happy days!

Saturday, 8 September 2012

New Projects

My turn to write this week, as Debby has posted the last two blogs, and I will be away for the next two weeks.  We have had a busy week with our sale.  We have lots of lovely new stock in the back of the shop and need to get rid of some of the old stuff to make way for the new.  If you haven`t been come along because we have some great bargains, mostly at £7.50 per metre, and it`s going fast!  Enough of the advertising.

  Our new workshop list is out now and the classes are filling up with several full already.  Debby and I have made most of the samples, but there are still a few to make.  I have to come up with a Christmas wall hanging for our Christmas present workshop.  I am hoping that if Debby see`s this she might oblige as originally she was going to do one!  I have actually made two advent calendars, and Debby one, which I can`t believe.  Although we have some Christmas fabric out, we do have quite a bit more to put out within the next couple of weeks.  One lady came in a couple of weeks ago and bought about 16 fat quarters to make bags to put bottles of wine in as presents, which I thought was quite a good idea.

I seem to have the patchwork and quilting equivalent of writer`s block at the moment.  I keep trying to start new things and then they don`t seem right, so I put it all away and try to start again to no avail.  I had a great idea for a cushion this week for a present, but it wasn`t a great idea when I started to put it together, so came up with plan B which was even worse, so that was abandoned.  The only thing I have made this week is the cushion shown above.  I have made this lots of times.  I am afraid I cheat and just applique the stripes on and then put the heart in the middle to hide the mess!  Anne Baxter has done a fantastic Union Jack shabby chic cushion workshop for us, but it is foundation pieced, which I am just too lazy to do I am afraid.  The cushion is actually square, but the angle I have taken the picture as it not quite right.  I have a new camera, which I am just getting to grips with.  Actually who am I trying to kit, I  never really go to grips with the old one, so I don`t expect I will with this one.

  I said earlier that I will be away for the next couple of weeks.  I am going on my holiday to Italy.  We are going by train and I am very excited about it as I love trains.  Some of you already know about this, so I apologise for boring you yet again!  The reason I am telling you this is because we have a guide on this holiday and he is an ex BBC cameraman whose hobby is photography, and he is happy to give advice on taking photographs, when he is not issuing us with train tickets or guiding us from place to place, etc.  Hopefully I will come back an expert.  Just in case you would like to know, we are going on the Eurostar to Paris, then transferring to the TGV to go to Tuscany via Turin.  While in Tuscany we will visit Florence, Luca and Piza amongst other places all by train, then we transfer to Venice for three days before we come home via Basle and Strasbourg.  This brings me to my new project.  If you follow Shirley`s blog Stitcherydo you will have seen her amazing hexagonal quilt that she has just completed.  I have quite fancied making one for some time, but didn`t want to do one that looked like my granny had made it, and hers certainly doesn`t.  She came in the shop this week, and I showed her a jelly roll that I wanted to do it in called Coquette, but didn`t know what colours to use to go with it.  She had a look around the shop and produced a bolt which matched perfectly for the centres and suggested I did the background in white - sorted.  My grand plan is to take this on holiday while I am on the train, just in case I get bored.  I always do this when I go away, and don`t touch it, but I know that if I don`t take it I will regret it.  I will let you know if I actually get any done.

In my usual way the photograph does not do this project any justice at all, just wait until I get my hands on that ex cameraman!

Trying to find inspiration a customer came in the shop the other day with a book called Making Baby`s Clothes (not a very exciting title I know).  It is by a man called Rob Merrett, but the projects are quirky and a bit different.  She wanted to make a little dress for her niece.  Needless to say I got straight on to Amazon when I got home ordered it, and discovered the author has written several other books including one called Sew it, Stuff it, which was again full of quirky projects, so I had to have that as well.  I am desperate to make the little Russian Dolls on the front cover, but they will have to wait until I get back.  His background is in trend forecasting for the colour, textile, fashion and interior industries, but he also works as a stylist.

So I have a few little projects planned, but I have the desire to make some original amazing quilt but can`t seem to get going.  I don`t want to use a pattern, I want it to be mine.  Lots of people think Debby and I have a great life working in a shop surrounded by fabric all day, and it is great, but we don`t have time to sit and sew all day, there`s always lots of other things that need doing.  When we decided to do a week on and a week off in the shop, the plan was that we would be able to concentrate on projects on our week off, but it never seems to work out like that!  I follow the Material Obsession blog, and the work shown on there is incredible.  I will settle down, now the nights are drawing in, and I will keep you posted on how I get on!

Reading this post back it has been a bit me, me, me, so if you are interested Debby is fine.  She has been to the paralympics this week, and thoroughly enjoyed herself! 

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Busy week

It has been one of those weeks (couple of weeks actually).  Started off with trying to sort out the stock room as it was becoming a bit of a nightmare.  Everytime I touched something it fell and whilst sorting out the wadding the step ladder fell on the back of my head as I was bending over.  My first thought (remembering that I am a drama queen) was that I might have seriously hurt myself and made a note to let my husband know in case I keeled over later in the day. 

The whole week seemed to be a catalogue of accidents including knocking glasses of water over fabric, the air conditioning unit pouring water on my head  (spent day worry about getting legionnaires) and ending with raspberry juice leaking over two laundry bags I had made which resulted in driving over to the shop at 10pm to cut more fabric for replacements as they needed to be ready the next day. Thankfully Joan was willing to work on Thursday so I had a day out at the NEC which meant I had a break from it all.

I have never visited the Festival of Quilts before always preferring Malvern so was surprised at the size of the whole event.  I went with Corfe Quilters and was pleased to see so many people I knew on the coach.  Shirley, Marie and myself all made a rush for the back seat so we had space for our shopping on the way back.

The show is so big you need more than one day, I ran out of time so missed most of the quilts although I did manage to see the Russian stand and loved these two examples, the pictures were taken on my phone and don't do them justice at all.

Good news is that it is our 2nd year anniversary on Saturday 1st September, we  thought that we would celebrate by having a clearance sale starting on Friday 31st August for one week only. There will plenty of bolts reduced to £5 - £7.50 per metre plus we are also offering 10% off the rest of the fabric in the shop.  So it would be lovely to see  you, we may even have cake!
Debby & Joan

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Olympic fever

If you are Olympicked out I apologise as I have become slightly obsessed and whilst most of the UK (apart from Joan) is in the midst of Olympic fever I thought I would just say about my weekend in London with my husband.

We stayed in a lovely hotel in Hampton Wick (The Chase) which is just across the bridge from Kingston Upon Thames (edge of Londonish) which happened to be on the route of the Cycling. My husband is a big cycling fan and the hotel staff assured us that we could see the cyclists just 5 minutes away in Bushy Park. They obviously walk far faster than I do as it took us 30mins of very fast walking to get to the road, stupidly my husband suggested that we run in case we missed it but I am not built for running and told him so in very few words.  Eventually we got to the road, the bikes passed us in less than 2 minutes leaving us to walk for 30mins back across the park. 

We decided to call in to John Lewis for a cup of tea so crossed the bridge to Kingston Upon Thames only to be confronted with the strangest sight - empty streets at 10am, I have never seen traffic free roads in the London area before but they were preparing for the riders coming back through in the afternoon, even more surprising was that the coffee shop in John Lewis was also empty! After all the exercise I had already done I needed a cup of tea.
I thought we would also go to the Olympic Park and after buying two travel tickets for £17 we got to Stratford to be told that we needed tickets to enter the park so we got back on the train and returned to Kingston just in time to see the cyclists passing back through.  Not a brilliantly successful day.

We did have tickets for Wimbledon the following day, fortunately they were for Centre Court so we were not affected by the torrential rain and managed to see Andy Murray, Maria Sharapova and Tsonga.  Lovely day and very well organised, I have never seen so many happy and helpful people in London.

Anyway enough of my trip - back to the shop and sewing.

I have been trying to get new fabrics onto the website but it's proving to be quite difficult, I did send a message to the web people saying that I was ready to jump on the computer (drama queen) as I could not remember how to do anything. Thankfully they are really helpful and I successfully got the Lakehouse fabrics onto the site, so impressed with my success I decided to put another batch on and yet again I couldn't do it but am too embarrassed to ring them so will spend more hours trying to work out why. We need a young child to show us how to do all the technical stuff, they don't seem to struggle at all.

We have had more deliveries including a range called Belle Provence, they only arrived on Friday and by the following Thursday Joan had made a lovely cushion cover using the blues.  These are some of the new fabrics that I am trying to get onto the website.

Our Wednesday group is going well and we have a fat quarter challenge starting next week which should be interesting, it is lovely to sit with like minded people and have time to sew.

Also our new workshop list should be finalised next week, we have sorted out what we are doing and now just waiting for the hall to confirm that the dates are okay. 

Well the weather forecast is good for the next couple of days so I hope you all enjoy the sunshine.


Monday, 23 July 2012

The sun has got his hat on!

At last we have some sunshine!  Typically it`s my week to be in the shop, but never mind, even though I am not outside enjoying it, just seeing it makes me feel happier.  The shop is always quieter when the weather is good, but that gives us a chance to catch up with our sewing.  Bunting is so popular at the moment, everyone seems to be making it, and fat quarters are ideal.  I have been making up an order today with the alphabet on it.  Usually we get asked for a name, although we have been making lots for weddings with the bride and groom`s name and the date on the flags.  I sometimes feel I could make it in my sleep!  The most I have made so far is 50 metres.

We have started our new quilt group at West Buckland, and have now had two meetings.  It has been so popular that we already have a waiting list.  It`s great to spend an evening with like-minded people, some of whom are old friends - not literally you understand!  It`s great to meet new people and share skills. We have all levels, and the work is inspiring.  We already have a list of things we hope to do.  A fat-quarter swap was a popular idea, we all have ones that we don`t want.  We are also going to have a fat quarter challenge.   I love to see all the ideas people come up with using the same fabric and theme.  We are even talking about an exhibition next year - lets see what happens there!

I ran a gift workshop last Wednesday.  I think some people have started making gifts for Christmas already. I brought along several ideas, one of which was the little sewing holder above.  I love to use linen, as I find it seems to take any colour well.

These little drawstring bags are always popular, in fact I have made four today.  When we sell them in the shop we customise them with a name if that`s what a customer would like.  The posh pants bag was featured in Sew Hip a few months ago.

I found recently the pattern for the slippers in a book and just had to make them.  I have a children`s pair cut out, but haven`t got round to making them yet.  They were quite successful, and at present are in the window.  I have heard quite a few comments about them as people walk past, luckily all positive.

We were asked to go and talk to West Buckland WI a week or so ago.  We were rather nervous about this, but everyone was so kind, and I think they enjoyed it.  We took lots of quilts with us, and talked about how we met and how we acquired the shop.  We then talked about the quilts.  Afterwards we were asked to judge the handicraft section.  It was really hard, everything was so beautifully made, in fact the judging was more difficult than giving the talk.  Finally we were provided with a light supper - all I can say is if that was a light supper, I wonder what supper would be like!  Needless to say because it was all made by the WI, it was delicious - no shopmade stuff there!

We often get asked if our fabric is suitable for dressmaking, and it always amazes me that people don`t realise that it is.  They seem to think that because we make quilts that`s all you can do with it.  I`m not quite sure how we put the word out there.  We often have garments in the window, I make and wear what I have made.  At the moment we have a lovely dress in the window made by Jane a customer of ours who is a I trained designer, and at one point designed for Next. We have had loads of comments about it.

A few weeks ago Mandy who comes to our Thursday morning class said could she make a garment, to which, of course, I said yes.  She had never made a garment before, but it was very successful as you can see below.

Alice who comes to the class has lots and lots of fabric - I don`t think she ever throws anything away.  She loves to try new techniques, and often attends workshops.  She then uses her new found skills to make small quilts which she gives to the special baby care unit at Musgrove Park Hospital.  Above is one she has been working on using Anne Baxter`s Chop Suey technique.  I absolutely love the fabrics, they are not new, but date from the seventies, real vintage!  She thinks it`s a bit bright, but the rest of the group think it`s great, what do you think?

Anne is another one with lots of fabric, in fact I think she could open a shop of her own with what she has!
She has been making these pieces which she is cutting into squares. I am really looking forward to see how it has gone this week.  She will probably have finished this quilt and started on the next one, I think she spends her whole life sewing, she once told me that she stitched on Christmas Day! 

I have taken several other photographs of what people have been up to on  Thursday morning, but I will show you them next time.

I don`t know how many of you are looking forward to the Olympic Games.  We had been going to do a window, but are too worried, that we might break some silly rule, so have given up on that idea.  I am sure I will watch it, but I am not too bothered about the sport. However, I will be able to tell you all the gossip, because I love that side of things. I listen to Radio 5 Live most days.  I have cancelled my Friday night visit to the pub, because I am so excited about the Opening Ceremony, I always think that`s the best bit, apart from the closing ceremony of course!

Debby has tickets for the tennis next week, and John my husband is going to watch some of the swimming heats.  He really wanted to watch the cycling.  He has followed cycling for years, and in fact we have in the past arranged our holiday in France around the dates of the Tour de France, so we can watch it.  Personally I think the bottoms are the best bit, but if you blink you will miss them, they go past so fast.

Happy sewing

Monday, 9 July 2012

Rain, rain go away!

I have been in France for a holiday and came back last Tuesday morning, it seems to have rained ever since, apart from Sunday.  We took the family to Brittany and had a really lovely time, we haven`t been back to that part of France since our children were young, and now we have taken them back with their children.  That makes me feel really old!  We had good weather, and as my daughter said consumed our bodyweight in cheese, wine and lovely food.  Just in case we brought a bootload home to keep us going.

Debby soldiered on in the shop, and got rather fraught as several fabric deliveries arrived.  She just got one lot put away having re-arranged everything and then another lot arrived, and so it seemed to go on.  To cap it all on Friday the bulk of the Christmas fabric arrived.  I haven`t told her yet, but some more arrived today.  It`s all in the stockroom, because there is no room in the shop at present.  We will have to get our heads together on Thursday when we are both in, because surprise, surprise people are already asking for it. It all looks very nice, but I`m not sure I`m ready to think about Christmas yet, I still have another holiday to come in September!

We have had some great new fabrics delivered, so thought I would show you some of it.

This is one of my favourites it`s by Sarah Watts and called Feather n Stitch.

This one is Lucy`s Crab Shack by Sweetwater for Moda.  We only ordered a little bit of this range, but have charm packs.

These fabrics are by Lakehouse.  There are lots more of them, too many to show really, but there are other colour schemes.  I love the tea cups, and am trying to think of something to do with them, but not sure what yet.

A week or so before I went away I did a bag workshop, and thought you might be interested to see what  was produced on the day.

This bag proved to be the most popular on the day.  Jane made this, and went home and made about three other bags the next day!

These were made by Jacqui and Rachael, and again Rachael went home and made more.

Sarah-Jane as usual made not one, but two bags, everybody loved the doggy fabric.

  Suzy didn`t quite finish her bag, but it was looking good. She was going to put a red binding round the top, which we all thought would finish if off beautifully. She had intended to make a simpler bag, but when she saw what everyone else was doing decided to go for it.

There were some other lovely bags made, but unfortunately I left it a little late to get out my camera, and they were  gone.

The next workshop is a day of gifts.  I have completed all the samples, and will show you what is produced afterwards.

We had another project featured in a magazine a couple of weeks ago, in the revamped Sewing World.  This is a magazine that has been around a long time, so we were thrilled to be asked to contribute.  Debby has a bag in the August issue.  We have produced a kit for this design, and have sold quite a few already.  Take a look at the magazine, there`s some really nice projects in it.

We have finally got our website working which caused us great excitement.  We have lots of new fabrics to add to it, and Debby is working on that at present, but have a look at it, we are really pleased with it.

It`s an interesting life having a shop.  Today a lovely lady and her husband came in.  They were from the Wirral and were down here on holiday.  We were chatting, when another couple came in.  I heard them talking and realised they weren`t English.  The lady from the Wirral suddenly said hello to the other lady in Spanish and they then proceeded to talk to each other in Spanish, while the two husbands talked in English.  I have no idea what was said in Spanish, apart from at one point jelly rolls were mentioned and the nice English lady was showing the Spanish lady what they were and discussing what to do with them - I think.  The Spanish lady bought a kit for the cushion mentioned above.  Anyway it was an interesting interlude, I felt rather like a spare part.  When the Spanish couple left the shop they all started kissing each other, like long lost friends - that would never happen normally - I was a bit put out because I didn`t get any kisses, but heyho!

Last Wednesday was the first meeting of our new quilt group at West Buckland.  We were rather overwhelmed by the number of people interested and had to have a waiting list. It was a good first meeting, and lots of interesting projects going on.  Hopefully next time I will remember to take my camera and show you some.

Thats is for now, happy sewing