Slow Stitch Workshops and Wonderful Maker Products

I tried something new recently- hosting 2-day workshops in November and early December. This proved quite different from my typical one-day workshops or evening classes. Hosting a longer, two-day event made it more practical for guests to travel from farther away than the San Francisco Bay Area and consider hotel or Airbnb lodging to enjoy two full creative days. It was a fantastic turnout of very talented ladies! The projects included collaged and hand-stitched textile samplers. Lunch was catered both days and my husband Jeff cooked us a delicious Friday night dinner for each event. There were 8 attendees at each workshop. Everyone seemed to really enjoy collecting fabrics, ribbons, lace, vintage embroidery pieces and other textiles from around the studio, compose their designs,  the basting and stitching, and getting to know one another. We all spent creative, mindful time together as well as alone.I had some generous sponsors for the workshops who shared products to not only elevate our projects but also enhance the overall two-day experience.I began day one by reading an excerpt or two from Mindful Thoughts for Makers, a lovingly-crafted little book that celebrates the meditative beauty and nature of making by Ellie Beck who shares why creating with our hands is uplifting, rewarding and soothing for the mind, body, and soul. Everyone received their own copy from Quarto Knows as a morning surprise on day 2.

iStencils sponsored two of my favorite stencils– 12-inch and 6-inch designs from my collection as well as a stencil brush. You can purchase any of the 48 different designs in both sizes at iStencils.comCathe Holden’s Inspired Barn stencils are excellent for adding texture layers in stitching projects, mixed media, transforming furniture and home accessories, and embellishing apparel. They are great for cardmaking and collage, and even for food-crafting like dusting cakes and breads! Each stencil is laser cut for precision from 7.5 mil mylar and can be used between dozens to times to hundreds of times. Use these stencils with paint, ink, bleach, embossing powder, markers, glass etching cream, gold leaf, glitter, texture paste, fabric dye, gel medium, and food powders (ie. sugar, flour).

Fiskars sent many fantastic workshop tools, including this pair of Seamstress Scissors featuring ergonomically designed handles for cutting performance, control and comfort. They are now my main, everyday fabric cutting tool.Attendees were able to use these fantastic Amplify® RazorEdge™ Fabric Shears that sense blade separation and force the blades back together to cut cleanly through heavy materials. I can cut through multiple layers of cotton with precision, then right after cut through one layer just the same.We also enjoyed using the Fiskars Classic Stick Rotary Cutter providing comfortable use and control for both right- or left-handed users! We used one with a straight blade and one with a pinking blade. The tools everyone got to take home, and possibly the one we used the most, were the Fiskars Ultrasharp Thread Snips. They easily cut fabric, ribbon, floss, yarn and threads with their razor-sharp, premium-grade stainless steel blades, and have pointed tips for trimming in tight spaces. They have a built-in blade guard can be extended when not in use during storage and travel. They also have a spring-action design with Softgrip® touchpoints to make cutting comfortable and easy.My friends at Moda Fabrics provided lovely, colorful Sherri & Chelsi Walkabout Zipper Pouches for carrying needles, snips, thimbles and more for our projects on the go.Beacon Adhesives Fabri-Tac has been my go-to adhesive for years. We used it for basting our fabric collages with tiny dots prior to stitching. I’ve used it for covering lampshades with fabric, hemming jeans in a pinch, and a multitude of other things around the studio and home. Everyone received their own 2-ounce starter bottle!What’s mindful stitching without tea?! Thankfully The Republic of Tea is just down the highway from Petaluma and generously provided each attendee with delicious Beautifying Botanicals teas: Daily Beauty & Beauty Sleep to sip, refresh and nourish the skin from the inside out. Daily Beauty is an herbal infusion of juicy blueberry and calming lavender to hydrate and help promote callogen growth. Beauty Sleep contains chamomile which helps promote a restful, relaxing sleep, and both are caffeine-free.Stampington & Company gifted each attendee a set of mixed media postcards tied up in a bow, and a discount coupon for shopping their online store! Who doesn’t LOVE Stampington?! Have you ever shopped their craft supplies?Clover sponsored the needles for the workshops. Their Gold Eye Tapestry and Chenille needles are nice for embroidery projects, but their Sashico needles were used most for the kantha/boro-style stitching we did.

Also provided were their Flexible Rubber Thimbles. These help me so much to pull the needle through heavy or multiple layered sections of my stitching. I wear one on my thumb religiously now when hand-sewing.On day one of the November workshop, we took a little break from our tables for an afternoon field trip on foot to tour the gardens of Susan Kelly of Marion Moss Floral Design, one of Wine Country’s top wedding and venue florists (who happens to live next door!). Susan finished our tour with a wonderful lesson in basic floral design. We all came away glowing from the experience.

Oliso provided the studio with their Oliso Mini Project Iron™, three in fact for workshop use, and they are perfect for small fabric cuts and projects! I also own their full-size pressing iron, but these little gems are so great for small pressing tasks. Each comes with a solemate™, a silicone trivet that hugs the mini iron for travel and storage and functions as a safe place for the soleplate to rest while ironing. Each has 1000 watts of power and an 8-foot pivot cord. It has a diamond coated ceramic soleplate with precision tip, has multiple heat options and yes- STEAM!On a non-sponsored note, I made everyone little beeswax thread conditioners by melting beeswax in a little electric crock and dripping it into a silicone candy mold. If you haven’t used beeswax to run along your thread prior to handstitching, it’s time you tried. It’s a game changer. The wax keeps your length of thread free of tangling as you pull it through the fabric, and it helps the thread glide through your sewing project so smoothly!And finally, two sweet guests brought gifts for the others. Kristi of Dutch Home Creating gave everyone her hand-poured Harvest Kitchen cinnamon and apple scented candles in vintage-style canning jars. Rori brought each of December’s guests a hand-stitched drink coaster crafted from a well-loved vintage quilt. So thoughtful!What I’ve discovered about Collect and Collage stitch workshops is that the experience and pleasure of getting away to a creatively-rich environment to craft, share and enjoy one another’s company seems to far outweigh the crafty project results. That being said, the finished projects were AMAZING!!

A big THANK YOU to all the sponsors and guests who made these two events SO special. And thank you to all the beautiful, and lovely women who graced my favorite creative space.


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