Monday, 23 May 2016

It Fell On The Floor - Art Quilt: Quilting By The Lake 2015

At Quilting By The Lake 2015, I took a 5-day Composing Composition workshop with Textile Artist/Quilt Maker, Cynthia Corbin.  

For 3 days we worked on different studies each day and at the end of the week, we could explore one of these studies further or work on a new piece.

Two of my studies I'm not ready to share, they're still WIPs and I won't to hang on to them until they've finished developing and becoming in my head - they've been on my design wall since I got home last July and I look at them daily.  The third piece I finished soon after QBL and I'm ready to share along with a little of my idea development/process.

On Day 3 we were told to take an element of a piece we'd worked on during Day 1 and add to/expand it to create a larger piece and it shouldn't be obvious that it's an extension of the Day 1 piece. 

I'd kept all my scraps from Day 1 so I placed them on the design wall (upper and lower left).  That was my starting point and then I took 'inherited from another student and the tutor' fabric and created a background piece (far right).

Over Day 1/2 I'd become frustrated with my need to plan things through to completion before starting a piece and during Day 2 I tried to move away from this way of working.  By Day 3 I was determined not to plan and to be more random so I decided that each piece would be attached using a different embroidery stitch and a different colour thread.  I wouldn't look what the stitch was I'd just press buttons on my machine and I would look what colour the thread was, I'd just put my hand in my thread box and pull a reel out.

By the time, I'd joined these 6 pieces I realised that far from being spontaneous I was busy making 'rules' for myself again.  I even had them all written down and pinned to the design wall to make sure I followed them correctly.

I immediately ditched the written rules and just did what felt right with each piece of fabric as I took it off the design wall.  I placed the background fabrics onto a further backing fabric and the scraps from Day 1 were placed on top in their original layout from the design wall.  Nothing is fused, hemmed or pressed not my usual way of working at all!!!

I free motion scribbled around the edges of everything to hold it in place.  I didn't cut my threads and I didn't stop stitching at any point I just sewed off one piece and across the background to where ever the next piece was that needed fastening down.

I purposely used red thread as the eye is always drawn to red in any work, be it a painting, quilt, whatever and I wanted my stitching method to be obvious and an important part of the finished piece speaking strongly to the viewer of my stitched journey.

I didn't have any batting with me to quilt the piece but I did have the batting I was using for my design wall so I cut a piece out of that much to everyone's amusement in class.

By the time I left QBL this is how the quilt looked.

And this is how it looks now hanging in my apartment's entrance hall.

When I'd finished attaching all the Day 1 scraps to the quilt at QBL I turned back to the design wall and spotted one of the scraps had fallen on the floor.  Rather than add it retrospectively to the front I quilted it into the back of the quilt.

Hence the name for my Art Quilt

It Fell On The Floor

This was an amazing class, the other students were wonderful and very supportive of each other and Cynthia is an incredible teacher.  The class was life changing for me, bringing to the surface emotions about my work and direction that I was locking away and Cynthia supported and encouraged me throughout and we have stayed in contact since, I feel it was one of those meetings and moments in life that was meant to be.

I'll write another post about QBL very soon but if you're interested in finding out more about this year's courses I'll leave the details here for you, classes are filling/full but I know there are still some places left.

Quilting By The Lake
17-29 July 2016

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Linky Parties This post may be linked to some great Linky Parties, always a great source of inspiration too.  If you click through to my 'Fave Linky Parties'  page you can see where I like to share my work.

Sunday, 22 May 2016

Twice Monthly Newsletter Sign-Up

Introducing a new venture for mbCD - twice monthly newsletters.  

Up to now if you subscribed to my email service each blog post was sent individually to your inbox.  I realise not everyone wants two, and sometimes more, emails from me per week and I find myself becoming reluctant to create blog posts as I don't want readers unsubscribing due to email overload.

After much thought, I've decided the answer is a newsletter. More work than using an automated service to send out blog posts still I think it could be a lot of fun.  

Update:  To clarify only email subscribers via Mailchimp will be affected by this change.  Subscribers to this service, old and new, will now receive the newsletter only instead of individual blog posts.  For those who were happy receiving each blog post individually, I'm sorry to be making changes that affect you and hopefully, you'll enjoy this new service more. 
If you do want to receive individual blog posts this service is available still via RSS and  Bloglovin' and other blog readers - click through on either of the links to subscribe to these services.  Anyone currently receiving emails via an RSS feed or blog reader will not receive copies of the newsletter or be affected by these changes.  If your last email from my blog doesn't have the Mailchimp logo (below) at the bottom then you aren't a Mailchimp subscriber and there won't be any changes for you.

Typical content will include links to all the blog posts I've published over the previous two weeks and it'll also give me the chance to share snippets of personal and business related news, some behind the scenes pics and anything else I think of that might be of interest to you too.  I'm thinking that readers will be able to dip in and out of reading the newsletter picking topics that interest them to click through to and skipping over those that don't.

You'll see I'm using a Hello Bar pop-up in the top right of the screen and if you add your email to this you'll receive my newsletters via this little fella at Mailchimp.

I'll run through the subscription process quickly here as many who sign up remain as pending and never convert to subscribed so they won't get my newsletters.

  When you subscribe you receive an email from Chris - owner at made by ChrissieD asking you to confirm your subscription.  Sometimes this email goes straight to your trash/junk mail and if that happens you won't receive my newsletters.  If you don't receive a follow-up confirmation request email shortly after subscribing do check your junk folders to see if it's hiding there.

This is what the confirmation email looks like:

I hope you'll love the content and that you'll look forward to receiving it but if you don't that's okay too.  All I ask is that you take the time to scroll down to the bottom of the newsletter and click the unsubscribe button and then the 'not interested anymore' option.  Mailchimp monitors why people unsubscribe and can ban individuals if it looks like they're abusing subscribers with junk mail.

Here's what the bottom of the post looks like right where the unsubscribe from this list button is.

The first newsletter went out last night have a look using the link below, see what you think and decide whether or not you want to sign up to receive it if you aren't subscribed already.

I've also created a My Newsletters button in my sidebar
so you can visit and revisit my newsletter archives if it takes your fancy to do so :D 

The newsletters will be delivered to your inbox on the first and third weekend of each month unless life gets in the way too much but hopefully, we'll soon get into the swing of the new routine.  If I've got a time critical giveaway coming up I'll do my best to let you know in the newsletter prior to the relevant blog post so you'll still have the same opportunity to enter as everyone else.

Only two weeks to think about the next newsletter, I wonder what I'll be sharing next time? There's only one way to find out!!!

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Disclaimer: This post is for informational purposes only, no payment or commission is received on click-throughs to links shared.

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Linky Parties This post may be linked to some great Linky Parties, always a great source of inspiration too.  If you click through to my 'Fave Linky Parties'  page you can see where I like to share my work.

Friday, 20 May 2016

Exploring Austin - Stitch Lab

Last week of April I travelled to Austin Texas and as always I was keen to find a neighbourhood fabric shop gem to share with you - wait till you see my pics of Stitch Lab, I guarantee you'll be adding it to your 'must visit' bucket list.

WARNING: this post is photo heavy and full of eye candy.
Grab a cuppa and take your time, there's so much to drool over.

I walked to Stitch Lab from my hotel in downtown, it took me about 25 minutes to get there.  Lab Stitch is two bungalows with parking space between, one of the bungalows is the shop and the class space is the other.  The above pic is looking at the shop from the street and the pic below is the class space and you can just see the shop in the background.

Let's take a look at the class space first.

There are four workspaces including two class areas each open to the next and the light travelling through is amazing.

Pressing stations everywhere,

and cutting mats and so much equipment.

The walls are covered in class samples, totally inspiring and showing off gorgeous work and fabrics.


I'm totally loving the upcycling going on around both buildings adding to its charm and character and so funky too.

Each space is dressed to perfection - who wouldn't want to sit and sew here, even the window is dressed to kill.


On the back porch is this FABULOUS giant sewing machine - totally summing up Stitch Lab

and this is how the class studio looks across the car park from the store.

Let's head into the shop now and see what's going on there.

The bungalow is still laid out in its original rooms so we'll walk through each together and take a look around.

As you walk in at the door this is your view through the shop

and there's another class space on your left, let's turn into it.

We'll walk through this passageway to one of the back rooms.

I want this drawer chest!

Back to the corridor and we'll turn left again.

Right at the back of the shop is this cute yellow room

then heading back towards the front of the shop we'll pass through this thread, notions, and drinks area.

And moving back finally to the main front room of the shop - beautiful cabinetry built in every alcove full of colourful fabrics



Everything to keep the little ones happy while you browse.


Let's take a last look through the shop - booked your tickets to Austin yet?

If you're anything like me you'll now be feeling totally inspired to get into your sewing space and make something.   Before you rush off remember if you'd like to experience Stitch Lab for yourself or follow them in all the usual social media places here's all the info you'll need.

1000 S 1st Street  Austin  Texas 78704
Tel: 512-440-0712

Opening hours:
Mon-Sat 11 am to 6 pm
Sunday 1 pm to 6 pm

Permission granted by a staff member to take and blog all photos.

For details of other fabric, yarn, trim and notion stores I've visited around the world along with the NYC stores I love, exhibitions and events I've attended and wonderful people I've been lucky to meet click the links below or on my sidebar :D

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Disclaimer: This post is for informational purposes only, no payment or commission is received on click-throughs to links shared.

Linky Parties
This post may be linked to some great Linky Parties, always a great source of inspiration too.  If you click through to my 'Fave Linky Parties'  page you can  see where I like to share my work.