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Margaret Beal Workshops Burning Issues

How many times have we bought a book at a show or demonstration and then after a quick flick through on the way home or over a coffee,  put it on the shelf for later? I have to admit I did that with Margaret Beal’s Book Fusing Fabric (ISBN 9-780713-490688 currently on Amazon.

However, I recently attended two workshops with Margaret at Quilter’s Dream in Andover and thought you might like to hear about them.

A few general points, the ladies at Quilter’s Dream are very friendly and make tea and coffee for you at regular intervals. They will also send out to the local café for lunch for you if you forget or need a bacon sandwich (collection only is free). There is also a shop with fabrics and threads and as it was Christmas time there were some great printed linens from Germany. Parking is free and plentiful and there is a ramp for access but it is quite steep. Both started at 10 am and finished at 4pm with a short break for lunch. Workshops cost £30.00 per day.

Margaret brings along a fantastic collection of her work in sample form, that you can handle and she doesn’t mind if you take photographs. The other bonus was she has equipment if you want to borrow rather than spend out for a technique you may not want to pursue. For a fee of £2.50 she provides all the materials for the day but you can take your own. Personally I found it better to use hers then experiment with my own in the comfort of my own home. There were no handouts but everything is in the book step by step if you forget.

Part I before Christmas was an introduction to the soldering iron and its capabilities. There are as you would expect a number of health and safety issues that need to be addressed before you start work, when you are working in a group in a confined area, trailing leads can be a problem. Wear old clothes that you won’t mind if you accidentally put a hole in them, in the unlikely event of an accident. It is not a good idea to put two irons in the same flower pot as they will fuse together, or reach across to get something when the tip of the soldering iron is between you and it, as you are liable to make a hole in your sweater! You very quickly learn not to let your fingers too close.

 Margaret works at a steady pace, but each time advancing the technique very slightly so that during the course of the day you are able to produce about six samples (so for those of you who are studying for C & G it’s a great way of getting your samples). If you prefer to work at a slower pace that’s fine. 

Part II after Christmas was more challenging, this time we were introducing stitch into the fused pieces and cutting away which requires a much steadier hand. Margaret comes from an embroidery background but many of the techniques can be translated to patchwork and appliqué. One mother and daughter team were enjoying a day out while the daughter was working on her GCSE textiles project.

Stuck for ideas? Go On Try Something Different.

Debbie Yabsley
February 2008
 

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