Wednesday, 6 April 2016

My Glimpse of New Zealand through Gail Lawther's Workshop

I am not new to patchwork as you know but in a formal setting I am very much a beginner. I am enjoying my level 2 City&Guilds patchwork and design course more than I imagined. I really get lost in the time I spend especially looking at designers. Gail Lawther is one of those designers and I was delighted when she attended our Guild and gave a workshop. We all have our own styles and ideas and I am very traditional in my choice of home decor and design but open to others views and opinions as I feel everything has a place.

Being involved in the Dollshouse and miniature hobby I always put more emphasis on the skills I learn from a workshop rather than the item I make. The skills can lead to more things whereas the item is usually put away in a drawer or passed to a friend.

It is because of this I was very enthusiastic in taking Gail's workshop. Her stained glass style wall hangings are very bold and bright but I was keen to learn her techniques. Her talk at the guild was inspirational.I have never been to New Zealand but following her talk which she illustrated with her quilts I feel I have been. If you ever get a chance to listen to her or take a class with her I would jump at it. She says she talks to fast but if she didn't we would have been there all day. In saying that I would have been more than happy to listen to her all day. She is not just a designer and speaker and editor but the skill in the quilts was amazing with the various designs and embellishments.

Back to the workshop...
She was very relaxed and put us all at ease as she was very quick to point out things could always be fixed and in many ways there isn't always a right or wrong way to attempt something. However her useful hints and tips along the way ensured we came out with more than acceptable wall hangings. She taught each of us at our own individual paces which I feel is very important as speed can lead to errors and having to wait can be frustrating.

We started off by tracing our design into plain cotton which proved very easy with a soft pencil.
The next part got us all thinking and swapping fabrics because even though you thought you knew what to prepare for you really didn't.
Oops...this picture managed to go on its side but you can get the idea. We took snippets of each fabric to arrange on the hills so that we would remember as we went along. Then it was time to really get started. We started with large areas first and as I was doing the lake scene that was the sky and the lake. The right side of the fabric goes down on the table with the marked cotton on top. Pin in place before using a long narrow zig zag stitch along the lines as you can see below.
It did seem strange to sew on the back but it all came together when we turned over the piece and trimmed off the excess fabric. Gail recommended applique scissors but my decoupage scissors worked a treat.
You continue with this method for all the pieces of fabric. This means at times you sew over a line you already have because maybe the lake or sky borders it.
She said it was a good way to use up odds and ends of thread as this zig zag is eventually covered by bias.
You can see above all pieces in place ready for the fusible bias binding.
Gail demonstrates this above. We used a marbled brown but she did admit this was hard to get at the moment due to a problem with the factory. It molds really well to the contours of the hills and she gave direction to ensure all ends were covering each other.
If you purchase one of her kits (www.gaillawther.co.uk) there are very clear directions on this. It's at this point you add the wadding to the back. I used a twin needle, which she recommended, to sew the bias once it was ironed in place. This procedure, as well as securing the bias, quilted the hanging at the same time.
At this point I am ready for my binding and backing and as well as having a Glimpse of New Zealand I have learnedly very useful techniques.

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