I've just come back from a week away that has left me feeling refreshed, revived and full of ideas. We spent the first part of the break in a cottage on the Chatsworth estate in Derbyshire. Lots of bracing walks and hearty food (probably too much hearty food judging by the tightness of my clothes!) and stunning scenery in every direction. I now fancy having a go at some landscape embroidery and collected some sheep's wool from a fence to wash and incorporate into a scene.
We were even treated to some snow on our last day.
We then travelled to Birmingham and after some tips from my lovely Instagram friends, I explored the Rag Market. The 'Liberty Man' was fab and I bought some beautiful fabrics - including tana lawn, tana laine (which he informed me contains 80% tana lawn and 20% wool fibres), liberty denim and my favourite discovery - Liberty swimsuit fabric!
I have just taken delivery of Melissa Fehr's excellent new book Sew Your Own Activewear - so this fabric is destined to be some very funky yoga leggings.
The main reason for our stopover in Brum was to attend a Shirt Making Skills Masterclass at Guthrie & Ghani. The tutor was the amazing Layla Totah and it was such a fun day. Layla guided the class of 8 through the skills needed to make a professional looking cuff and sleeve placket and collar and collar stand with sharp neat points. The teaching was informative and friendly and it was great to spend the day in the company of other keen sewists working on our samples and chatting about all things fabric and patterns!
Before the class started - I also had the chance to do a little fabric stroking in the shop downstairs and meet the very lovely Lauren Guthrie (finalist on the Great British Sewing Bee and I'm afraid I was a bit of a fangirl!). I picked up some wonderful quality sweatshirting and jerseys and will definitely be visiting Lauren's stall at the Knitting and Stitching Show at Olympia in March. She has a beautifully curated selection of good quality fabrics. Check out her website at www.guthrie-ghani.co.uk.
I arrived home full of ideas for my own makes and also some class ideas ...so watch this space!