A Wonderfully Festive Workshop in a Box

A gorgeous box of goodies that will arrive through the post!

Aimed at stitchers who have a love of making.

ALL SOLD OUT I’M AFRAID – well actually I’m delighted!

I was completely overwhelmed by the popularity of my first Workshop in a Box and just thrilled by people’s responses as they received their gorgeous packages through the post. So I’m totally excited to announce that pre-orders are will open on Friday 1st November for my  second: my beautifully festive Patchwood Christmas Tree.

I LOVE the idea of you creating this lovely seasonal wall piece that you will enjoy bringing out year after year!

All the materials & help you need to create a gorgeous Patchwood Christmas Tree

My aim for these boxes is for them to fall somewhere between an inspiration pack (where materials are provided with no guidance for using them) and a kit (where there are step-by-step instructions and everyone makes the same). Because of the nature of this one – it definitely falls nearer the ‘kit’ form but you will find that I have included suggestions for how you can change things around a bit and make it your own. Not least you will start off personalising it by choosing your own colours.

Please note that PAINT IS NOT INCLUDED in the box.

This was to help keep costs down (this box is already more expensive because of the sheer amount of time involved in preparation & some of the tools needed) but also because I thought you would want to choose your own colours. I use matt emulsion ‘Match Pots’ from the DIY store, available very cheaply in every colour imaginable.

You could even go metallic & glittery if you wish… just don’t tell me! Rumour has it that in December I frisk my workshop participants  to make sure they’re not trying to smuggle glitter into my class!! This may or may not be true but I do have a serious ‘bling’ phobia. However even I will make an exception for this and admit that a wee bit of added shimmer might not be a bad thing! (Not included in the box though because I just can’t!)

I use emulsion match pots from the DIY store. Cheap to buy in every colour imaginable.

The Materials

In my own art practice the theme of my work always suggests the materials that I use. These are generally old, collected, washed & worn. I have an absolute passion for vintage materials so this project is highly unusual for me in that it mostly uses ‘new’.

Why?

Because I’ve taken my favourite patches from four years of making Patchwood Christmas Trees and brought them altogether in the design of this tree. Although I prefer to use vintage treasures wherever I possibly can, it dawned on me that my favourite Christmas Tree patches were actually made from new bits from craft stores. Yikes I never thought I would utter these words – but in this instance it’s absolutely true!

But true to form, I have  managed to include some vintage treasures such as: Vintage text – an old book page, newspaper & magazine cuttings for you to cut out letters to use ‘Ransom Note’ style, vintage fabric scraps and other little bits & pieces.

Christmas stocking buttons, the cutest little envelope. brown luggage labels, cinnamon sticks and ‘Ransom Style’ lettering – love, love, love!

I have prepared everything in the box myself, as I would for a workshop and I’m really excited at the thought of people rummaging through it! I had such wonderful feedback on the presentation of my first Workshop in a Box, this is SO important to me. My aim is to keep packaging simple and re-usable…. but also rather beautiful!

Gorgeous vintage fabric tied up in string.

You’ll receive seven wooden ‘patches’ and all the materials and tools required to make your gorgeous Patchwood Christmas Tree with, as I said earlier, the exception of paint. I have pre-drilled all the stitching holes, ready for you to start assembling. These are done by hand and I don’t pretend for a minute that they are perfect. Participants in my workshops always think that I drill perfectly uniform holes and I am very happy to point out the wonky bits. Wood doesn’t always behave exactly as you wish and the grain means that sometimes the drill is pushed out of line. To me this is the point of it – part of the anomaly of trying to ‘sew’ wood. They are drilled as I would when working on pieces for selling or commission.

There is, of course, a story behind why I wanted to stitch wood in the first place, a bit long to tell here, but it’s to do with mixing up some of the stereotypical domestic roles – taking a traditionally ‘female’ role of sewing and working it in a traditionally ‘male’ material. My workshops are always developments from my own personal art practice – read more about my series of Patchwood Samplers.

Before you can stitch through the wooden patches, tiny holes must be drilled. I’ve drilled A LOT of holes!

 

You’ll stitch your patches of wood together (they are glued first) and then embellish each patch. You will actually stitch this little christmas tree through the wood.

 

A most glorious wreath made from scrippy scraps of gingham attached to the patch by French Knots…actually stitched through the wood! Oh and a page from a vintage copy of A Christmas Carol.

To Order

There will be a limited number of 30 Patchwood Christmas Tree boxes available and I will start posting them out on Monday 11th November and will post throughout that week. They won’t take too long to make so there will be plenty of time for you to complete and get them hanging on your wall for Christmas.

You can pre-order a box from Friday 1st November by contacting me by email. Payment will be by Paypal or Bank transfer.

The cost of the box is £45 plus UK postage of £3.00

I can ship overseas but the following postal rates will be added:

United States £9.10/ Europe £6.65 / Australia £9.80 / New Zealand £9.80

I hope you love it and I can’t wait to see pictures of the results!

 

 

Workshop in a Box

A gorgeous box of goodies that will arrive through the post!

Aimed at stitchers who have a love of making.

I first had the idea for my Workshop in a Box during a wonderfully relaxed holiday in Rome earlier this year. Within a few hours of first expressing the tiniest glimmer of an idea to my husband, I found myself with a list of month by month projects that I could develop. Three months down the line I have experimented and played and come up with my first gorgeous little package.

Ta dah – I’d love to introduce you to my first Workshop in a Box my – Scrappy Hand Stitch Sampler

My first Workshop in a Box – Scrappy Hand Stitch Sampler

My aim for these boxes is for them to fall somewhere between an inspiration pack (where materials are provided with no guidance for using them) and a kit (where there are step-by-step instructions and everyone makes the same). I have provided all the materials for making my sampler along with ‘Making Notes’, a chart and photographs. Many of my followers on social media and in person by attending my workshops are already enthusiastic and often experienced stitchers so this box is aimed at them. Anyone who is not familiar with any of the stitches used can look for online tutorials, or even better in my opinion, invest in an embroidery stitch book. I love collecting vintage of course and still use my very first sewing book “Embroidery Stitches’ by Barbara Snook. There are some really lovely books, vintage & new around.

I used some of my favourite vintage needlework books for reference

Everyone who knows me will know that I have a love of vintage, a love of using materials that are used, washed & worn. In so doing, we are not only preventing these beautiful treasures from ending up in landfill but we are also bringing their stories to our work. There is an energy & vibrancy in old textiles, we may never know where they came from, we may never know their stories but they capture our imagination and conjure up pictures in our minds and emotions in our heart. Wherever possible I will be using vintage materials in all of my Workshops in a Box, which is both challenging and exciting. Because of this there may be marks, or some of the fabrics may be faded or slightly damaged. I’ll be including the pieces that I would choose to work with myself – I usually make a bee line for the damaged bits as I know many of you do too!

I have prepared everything in the box myself, as I would for a workshop and I’m really excited at the thought of people rummaging through it!

There will be a limited number of 30 of this workshop available for now.

The Story of the materials in this box

Woollen Blanket

The sampler is worked on a woollen blanket ground. Found as a friend cleared out her mother’s cupboards. I’ve also included a spare bitty blanket to test out your stitching if you wish.

A stitch grid pattern

Printed on a page from a 1950s Woman magazine. It tears easily and is so much more pleasing than anything else!

A fragment of lace

From a big tangled box of tatting, crochet and lace pieces that I bought as a job lot from the Textile Tent at the Newark show ground. I’ve also included a few tiny scraps extra for you to use (or not) in this project. Just patch them on wherever you fancy!

 

A scrap of tape measure, an old Cash’s name tape, a fragment of lace & linen button – or use treasured ‘bits’ from your personal stash.

A scrap of tape measure

Also from an antique fair at Newark. I have a THING for tape measures, ever since I was tiny and called them ‘mithers’. This is slightly ironic as I can’t measure for toffee! You’ll have to excuse wonky lines!

Cash’s Name Tape

An Ebay treasure. Little bundles of tape in the original box. I have a fascination for Cash’s name tapes – I love that this one belonged to a stranger but you might have one of your own that you wish to use or substitute it for something from your stash!

A gorgeous fragment of quilt

Another find on Ebay – this is a phrase you will see a lot in future boxes! It’s a little scrap from a hand stitched antique Durham quilt. It was very scrappy so perfect for sharing.

Fabric patches

Now these are very special pieces. Antique Japanese scraps bought in the wonderfully amazing Asia Gallery in Aukland, New Zealand. This beautiful antique fabric, was found while rummaging amongst kimono, wonderful boro pieces and other most gorgeously special antique Asian treasures. This very special place may be on the other side of the world but I’d love to think I’ll return there sometime!

Fifteen boxes have blue fabric patches included & fifteen have a gorgeous green  & cream stripe – I honestly can’t tell you which I like best. Tell me which colour is your first choice and whether you are willing to accept the alternative when you order.

Two different but equally gorgeous striped antique Japanese fabric patches – blue or green

Buttons

I’ve absolutely no idea where these have come from. They’ve been collected over time, vintage mother of pearl as these are my favourite, especially when they are a bit bashed and marked through use. I also love and covet linen buttons but I never quite knew what to do with the ones with no holes in them until I came across instructions in a vintage book so I’ve popped one in!

Suffolk puffs

These are  from a hand stitched vintage bed cover made in old batik fabric. These are little extras that I have popped in – I didn’t include them in mine but you may wish to swap around a couple of patches to include one.

Stitch names

These are typed on bias binding. The tape is new but I’ve typed them myself using my mother in law’s old typewriter. I always love how some letters don’t quite come out right so no apologies that they may not be 100% perfect!

Tape typed with my mother in laws typewriter and a heading stitched with words by ‘The Lady Wolverton’

Calico patches

New fabric printed on my inkjet printer. There’s a choice of headings for the sampler including a little line that tickled me from the introduction of one of my vintage needlework books ‘Needlework For Student Teachers’ by Amy K Smith. the introduction is written by ‘The Lady Wolverton’ and is one of my favourite parts of the book. My copy of this gorgeous book belonged to Maria Davies of Taff’s Well near Cardiff and she has handwritten the date 1895 inside.

Threads

DMC Cotton Perle no 8 in numbers 413 (Grey), 321 (Red) and Ecru. The stranded cotton is also DMC number 321.

I’m so hoping that people will enjoy using all these bits & pieces that I have hoarded over the years but I also that they’ll personalise their samplers by adding bits from their own stash and by using their own favourite stitches. The possibilities are endless.

Follow my suggestions for gorgeous stitches or stitch your own favourites.

To Order

There will be a limited number of 30 Scrappy Hand Stitch Sampler boxes available and I will be posting them out from 1st October. You can pre-order a box from today Tuesday 24th September by contacting me by email. Payment will be by Paypal. If you do not have a Paypal account then let me know and we can arrange another method. Remember to tell me whether you would prefer blue or green antique fabric patches and whether you are willing to accept the other if your first choice is no longer available.

The cost of the box is £35 plus UK postage of £3.00

I can ship overseas but the following postal rates will be added:

United States £9.10/ Europe £6.65 / Australia £9.80 / New Zealand £9.80

I hope you love it and I can’t wait to see pictures of the results!

 

 

Only Two Autumn Workshops? Gasp!

As you may already know I’ve decided to take a break from teaching my own programme of textile workshops for now. However the two that I taught earlier this year at The Restoration Yard, near Edinburgh were such a success, and such fun, that I’ve decided to return to this big, beautiful space this coming October and November to teach just two more!

Textile art by Ali Ferguson
Stories from the Sewing Box / Stories from the Scullery workshop

The first one will be one of my favourites (yes I probably do say this about most of them).

Stories from the Sewing Box / Stories from the Scullery

This is a gorgeous day of ‘slow stitching’, nostalgia and sharing stories. This workshop is perfect for lovers of ‘vintage’ especially those who have fond memories of sewing as a child, of playing with mum’s button box or being fascinated by nan’s sewing box or maybe childhood memories of licking cake mixture out of the mixing bowl and the smell of home baking.

We’ll spend six glorious hours designing and creating  a gorgeous textile collage with a ‘sewing box’ or ‘scullery’ theme.

Materials provided by the Purple Thread Shed
I’ll provide a gorgeous selection of vintage haberdashery treasures!

I’ll be raiding my supplies from my studio, The Purple Thread Shed, and will provide a fabulous selection of vintage materials for you to use throughout the day. I LOVE using old & used materials so I’ll be looking out boxes of vintage embroidered table linens, 1940s floral fabrics, scraps of old lace, paper from 1950s magazines and vintage dressmaking patterns and anything else that comes to hand while I’m packing. Ooh maybe some old quilt fragments and definitely a great selection of vintage haberdashery. And for all you who love to rummage through a good old ‘button box’- there will be buttons…lots of buttons!!

Workshop materials from The Purple Thread Shed
Buttons…all old & used, bringing their own stories!

I’ll also prepare some printed fabrics to bring along. These will be printed from text and images from old sewing magazines, books and jotters and some of my precious vintage recipe books. There isn’t time on the day to print your own fabrics, but I’ll talk you through how it’s done and provide a great selection ready for you to use.

Laying out your patches of fabrics & papers

I’ll work with everyone throughout the day. I tend to demonstrate a few techniques and then work with people individually because you’ll all be doing something different and completely personal. While I provide all the materials that you’ll need, people very often bring along their own bits & pieces to work with. What could be more personal than using your own fabric treasures collected throughout the years from your own family stash? I’ll give suggestions for what to bring when you book your place but do know that you can turn up completely empty handed – perfect for those of you who don’t have a minute to swing a cat (there’s something not quite right about that) or for those who don’t have a stash of their own!

Ali Ferguson work in progress
Creating a collage with vintage papers & fabrics

So – using an old woollen blanket as a ground, I’ll show you how to piece together a gorgeously scrappy background from our vintage fabrics and papers. This is a lovely intuitive process and be warned – it will take much longer than you think! You’ll add more pattern using old haberdashery (don’t you just love that word?) and then you’ll be ready to start the lovely process of slow hand stitching.

Simple straight stitching is all that you need – or be more adventurous – up to you!

Don’t worry if you’re not an experienced stitcher – running stitch and cross-stitch are all you need. A love of textiles and scrappy vintage style is far more important! I encourage people just to start stitching. Once you get started, ideas will grow from there – I promise!

I’ll help you to create balance and flow in your design through your stitching and bring all of these scrappy little patches together as one gorgeous piece. If you feel more adventurous, I’ll demonstrate some of my favourite stitches and will bring along a lovely selection of vintage ‘stitch’ books from my growing collection! Neat perfect stitching is not the order of the day, making lovely personal ‘marks’ with needle and thread most definitely is!

Ali Ferguson Textile Collage
‘Dear Nora”‘ – stitching complete!

Warning! The picture above is  to tempt & inspire you BUT don’t expect to finish your hanging on the day.  Hand stitching is  slow, as is the design process. I’ll give you all the guidance you need to finish your gorgeous project at your own pace at home.

Textile art by Ali Ferguson
The Rev Duncan – stitching complete!

Stories from the Sewing Box / Stories from the Scullery workshop

Saturday 6th October 2018

The Restoration Yard, Dalkeith Country Park – near Edinburgh

The workshop runs from 10.00am – 4.00pm

The cost of the day is £65 inclusive of refreshments & materials

You’ll find out all the details here and I’d love to have you join us!!

I will be teaching one more workshop in the Edinburgh area before the end of the year

Patchwood Christmas Trees on Saturday 17th November at the Restoration Yard.

You can find out the details here and do book soon as there are only a few places left.

Find out where else I will be teaching and I’d love to hear from you if you would like me to teach in your own gorgeous craft venue or to your textile group.

PS – Can anyone accurately count the number of times the word ‘vintage’ is used in this blog? Clue – it’s an awful lot and I even took loads out!!

A Round White Collar – inspired by my personal memories of a home where we ‘made it ourselves’.