Couture, mindfulness and the joy of creating

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Interest in all forms of crafting has been boosted during the Covid lockdowns of the past two years, and patchwork and quilting have been no exception.

Stroud’s hours visited the Friday morning quilting class at the long-established In Stitches shop in Cainscross, run by City and Guilds-trained tutor Gail Smith, where students work on their individual projects. The class is made up of a mix of experienced patchworkers and beginners.

Class tutor, Gail Smith. Photo: Matt Bigwood.

“This course is weekly and people choose what they want to do. We have a variety of projects from bags to table runners to quilts and they work on them every week, a little at a time,” Gail explained.

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“We also do workshops on Tuesday evenings and Saturdays once a month to complete specific projects and I have just launched a monthly quilt sampler course, aimed at beginners. It’s a bit as if you were doing your apprenticeship so you work on a different technique each month.

A sample quilt features many different styles, techniques, and fabrics and gives a beginner the opportunity to try them out to create a finished quilt.

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Claire Bassette. Photo: Matt Bigwood.

Clare Bassett joined the class last September: “I started because I was expecting a grandson and I wanted to make him a quilt. Gail told me that with her help I could finish it before the birth (which we did). I’m also an artist, so I try to bring images I want to do in a textile format, combining quilting on the back with applique on the front.

What does Claire get out of being part of the class? “It’s joy – it’s nice to do and to be in good company. There’s the design side, then the assembly to see what it looks like, and finally sitting down and sewing, which is very therapeutic and calming.

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Sharon Goodson started sewing three years ago when Friday morning class started.

“I used to sew when I was a kid – my grandma used to do a lot of crafts and I used to sew with her, but then as you grew up you had less time, and when my kids came I completely stopped sewing – that was 30 -odd years ago.

“Gail mentioned she was starting a class, so I came in as a beginner doing simple projects and things that could be completed quickly – first I made crib quilts, using fabric I already had. I switched to making scrap quilts and now I’m working on a sampler quilt.

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In Stitches at Westward Road, Cainscross. Photo: Matt Bigwood.

“Learning something new helps keep your brain active. When you’re working all your time is taken up but in retirement you almost have to relearn how to ‘play’, and that’s where this course comes in.

Classmate Linda Ellis has been sewing for several years. “My mother was a seamstress, so when I sew, it reminds me of her. When I’m cutting fabric, the sound of the scissors on the table always reminds me of her.

“I like patchwork because I like its geometric shapes. I made blocks that will go together to make my sampler quilt. We had three new babies in the family, so I made quilts for them. I also made a bag for my granddaughter who has just been admitted to Cardiff University.

“I also really love her story, learning about American quilt history and how they made quilts for special occasions – birthdays, weddings – they’re heirlooms and they’re all so personal.”

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Christina Hinder, owner of In Stitches. Photo: Matt Bigwood.

Christina Hinder bought In Stitches last October: “I always refer to it as my ‘happy place’. I love it here – looking at the beautiful fabric and helping customers solve a problem or find something new to do, which gives me a lot of fun.

“The courses bring dynamism to the shop with people sharing a common interest, exchanging ideas with each other – it’s not about the money, it’s about having fun together.

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A sampler quilt features a variety of fabrics and techniques.

“There is a joy in creating something – whether you think it is a thing of beauty or not, mindfulness of the process is healing, restorative and fun. In a world where lately we have been constantly bombarded with news of death, whether it’s the pandemic, or now the invasion of Ukraine, there’s a certainty with the patchwork and quilt life sometimes doesn’t give.From the first idea and planning stages, right down to the hand stitching of the binding, a quilt tells a story, not always literally, but it’s a moment in your life that’s captured in the fabric.

“Personally, I love patchwork and quilting, it allows me to focus on shape, form and texture. You can either follow the quilting “rules” or play around with fabric and colors, textures and patterns and see what happens. Painting with fabric, that’s what I think. It is my place of happiness, one of the things I like to do and when you offer your creations, what makes me very happy is to see the look of wonder and happiness that my creation can bring to someone. another.

And if you’re looking for a way to supplement visits to In Stitches, you can watch online courses in patchwork and quilting at justhands-on.tv.

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Steve Barton, CEO of justhands-on.tv, said: “We all needed a little inspiration during the lockdown. Still need. The quilt provides that. Views of our videos increased by 200% during lockdown. »

He added: “Our online courses feature the best tutors in Britain who help you learn to quilt. You learn at your own pace, in the comfort of your own home. And after watching a tutorial, many of our viewers head to local stores to buy more supplies and swap stories.

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Places in classes are in high demand at In Stitches, although places do arise from time to time due to cancellations. For more details contact In dots.

Get unlimited access to over 1,800 online courses from £5/month. For more details, visit justhands-on.tv.

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