Saturday, 11 May 2013

Fibreworks and the Festival

Last Saturday I had a trip out to Chipping Norton for their Fibre Festival.
This was a new event organised by the Fibreworks shop in town and held in the town hall.
We arrived early in the morning and already the hall was buzzing, there were lots of stalls, varying from wool to other creative crafts.  Lots of demonstrations running through the day, all of which are offered as classes at Fibreworks.
The stalls were mostly run by the tutors of the courses and they were all lovely and welcoming, eager to talk and to explain their craft.
There was patchwork and quilting, which I'd love to do, sewing children's clothes, kanzashi flowers, flower arranging, millinery and fabric printing.
All the stalls were beautifully laid out, it wasn't too crowded and I wanted to sign up to all the courses offered by Fibreworks!
The demonstration on when my mum and I arrived was rag-rugging so we were eagerly watching as we were signed up to do this on the following Tuesday! It really got us excited and gave us a chance to think about what materials/colours/shapes we'd like to produce!
The venue was a lovely space, I'd never been before but it was just the right size, it even had room for some tea tables and they have fabulous large portraits on the walls, very grand!
I really hope it is the first of many, it was easy to get to, easy to park and there are plenty of places to go after for a bite to eat or shop! We had a good mooch around all the charity shops, which were full of lovely things - pity I couldn't afford the £85 for the Poole pottery set I spied in one! 
I did manage to get an early birthday present from my mum at the fair though, a, lovely Liberty and bead bracelet, I'm afraid I've mislaid the makers card, do let me know if you can help credit this.

So after a very hectic weekend, which included mine and my daughters birthdays and a party, on Tuesday we were ready for our turn at rag-rugging! Even though I was shattered, I was definitely ready for some 'me' time!
We arrived at the Fibreworks shop at 10am and were warmly greeted and sent upstairs to the craft room.
There were 5 of us on the course and our tutor Claire quickly talked about the history of rag-rugs, about how they used to be made from fabric scraps, worn out clothes and how they would be rotated through the house, a new one made for best at Christmas for the parlour, and then each rooms rug would be demoted down the hierarchy of rooms, to the lowly back door rug which when worn out would be composted!
I love this make do and mend philosophy!
Then we got stuck in (with tea and biscuits) to having a go with some scraps, the technique is very simple, with the latch hook you go through the hessian from front to back, then bring the hook out a few strands away, then push the hook shaft all the way through through both holes (this opens the latch), then you place your rag piece on the hook end and as you pull through both holes, the latch closes and holds onto the rag.
I found the process very calming and methodical without having to be too worried about neatness or perfection, the charm is the handmade-ness, it doesn't have to be perfect!
So then we had a think about what we wanted to produce and we were able to get a piece of hessian cut to our liking and think about a layout or design. I had taken some t-shirts with me but the shop does have a stash for you to use as well. Claire recommended using old t-shirts/tights/ socks as the jersey doesn't fray and usually rolls up into nice coils, if using cottons its best to cut up with pinking shears and that gives a more shaggy look.

Mine is hopefully going to be mainly blues and greens in blocks/squares/triangles, I'm not sure how long it will take to complete though!
Before we knew it, it was 1pm and we were done for the day, I think the timescale was spot on, enough to get started without being too long. We all headed home with plenty of fabric, our piece of hessian and our free latch hook, which was great value I felt for the course fee.
I definitely think we'll be back for more courses!
If you want to have a go, they have two more rag-rug courses coming up:
Tuesday 17 September, 10am - 1pm
Wednesday 6th November  10am - 1pm

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