On the weekend 6 sewing friends and I traveled to a very pretty part of Victoria for a sewing (and purchasing) weekend. On Saturday we visited 3 patchwork/fabric shops around Shepparton, had a wonderfully relaxed dinner at a Thai restaurant in Nagambie and stayed at our friend Simone’s lovely little cabin on the Nagambie Lakes – what a view!
At Spotlight in Shep we found a pretty funny game in the discount bin and took it home to have a play after dinner. “Stitchopoly” is of course a version of Monopoly – you collect stitches instead of addresses, and you build Studios and Patchwork shops instead of Houses and Hotels.
I am pretty sure that the Ladies would kill me if I posted a photo of us all playing “Stitchopoly” in our PJ’s (and most of them can probably run faster than I can), which is why you will have to make do with a photo of Molly our guild mascot, who amassed quite a fortune, but was asset poor.
On Sunday we squished into one of the people movers, (expect I was the princess who gets car sick so I must admit I was comfy up the front) and drove about 30 minutes to Mooroopna, to the “Girls Day Out” stitching retreat, run by the “Country Thyme” patchwork shop. It featured our three favourite designers Melly, Rosie and Leanne! In our little goodie bag, we got 10 designs – there were so many delicious projects to choose from, but I decided to learn a new skill, so I chose Rosie’s Punch needle project.
On the left is the view from the back, which is the side that you work from. You can see here what it should look like when it is finished.
This project ends up looking like a very cute little carpet, with lovely springy pile made with embroidery floss. The punch needle has more than a whiff of danger about it, and with the fabric stretched tight in the hoop (weavers cloth, adhered to a pretty cotton on front) it makes quite a punchy drum noise as you work.
Rosie was a great teacher – I was inundating her with questions because that is the annoying kind of student I have always been – but she was very patient. She did tell us that punch needle would be frustrating at first, and she was right, but I can tell it is just the right kind of project for doing in front of the telly – punch, punch, punch.
Sadly I think I have ruined my project. I have pulled out the threads so many times that I have frayed the pretty pink front fabric, as you can see if you follow the blue arrows in this picture.
The word in the picture is actually “Welcome” and it is hard to read because it needs all the background punching around it to help it stand up properly. Clearly I am a beginner, you can see down there by the red arrow where a loop is way too long, but I think I have been getting better as I go. I would like to get some more weavers cloth (punch needle has to be done on this type of weave) and draw up something to have another go.
Melly taught me how to do proper colonial knots (I only knew how to do the french variety) and we caught up on each others news. Melly and I have become friends over the last few months, we get together occasionally to teach each other what we have learnt ourselves about using Illustrator and Photoshop. We have both discovered quite a bit, but we always have some new trick to show each other.
Our whole table waited until the venue kicked us out, because we were keen to hear Leanne talk about her method to sew rick-rack on a curve, and how she does her needle turn. As a needle turn devotee, I was keen to hear about how Leanne does hers – there are about a gazillion ways to needle turn! She uses a method similar to the one I like – using no freezer paper or starch. Listening to her I learnt about a glue product she uses to baste her applique pieces to the background, and that she uses silver gel pens to draw her lines onto dark fabrics.
I was really inspired on the day, not just because the designer’s work was all lovely, and not just because of the charming company I was keeping. I was inspired because it was a taste of where I want to be in a few years. Someday I am going to be standing up there, at the front, taking a class. It is a goal I will get to in time, and you can say “I knew her when she played Stitchopoly in her Pj’s”!
Thanks Simone, Debbie, Anita, Christine, Madeline, and Maria for a really great weekend. Thanks Melly, Rosie and Leanne and Country Thyme for a lovely “Girls Day Out”.