Stuart Hillard Evening

Posted by Amy | Posted in Patchwork & Quilting | Posted on 24-07-2015

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A couple of weeks back we had the wonderful Stuart Hillard here at the Craft Barn for two full day workshops and an evening lecture – we really did keep him busy! It is lovely to see the passion and enthusiasm Stuart has for his craft. This enthusiasm is reflected in his magnificent quilts and patchwork designs.

On the evening everyone enjoyed a glass of bubbly and canapés whilst perusing the Craft Barn, before gathering in the fabric room and settling down to listening to Stuart and witness his phenomenal designs. Take a look below at some of Stuart’s quilts he brought along to share. He really doesn’t do things by halves, those quilts are enormous!

stuart hillard evening

stuart hillard quilt

stuart hillard quilt

stuart hillard quilt

stuart hillard

stuart hillard quilt

stuart hillard quilt

stuart hillard wall hanging

stuart hillard quilt

stuart hillard quilt

An Evening with Stuart Hillard

Posted by Amy | Posted in Company News | Posted on 26-05-2015

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We are very excited to be hosting not one, but three events with Stuart Hillard here at the Craft Barn in June. He will be teaching two fabulous, full day sewing workshops on 26th and 27th June – ‘Machine Quilting‘ and ‘Quilt in a Day‘.

machine quilting workshop

bright_hopes_quilt

After a day of teaching on the Friday, Stuart will have a quick break before settling in for a relaxing cheese and wine evening. Stuart will be talking all about his life in fabric, not forgetting his time on Series 1 of the Great British Sewing Bee, followed by a question and answer session. Tickets are £5, which includes a glass of bubbly on arrival and 10% off all purchases on the evening. As you can see from the photo we took of Stuart last time he was here – he really does love fabric!

stuart hillard

Stuart Hillard GBSB Guest Blog Post – The Final!

Posted by Amy | Posted in Guest Blog | Posted on 18-03-2015

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stuart hillard

The Final

Another season of The Great British Sewing Bee came to a close last Thursday and the knives (and scissors and pins) were out. This year’s contestants were, I think, the most competitive bunch so far and the final was as tense as I’ve seen it. Three tasks, three finalists and one winner to crown…or give a golden dress form to.

Everyone seemed to pull everything they had out of the bag, including fairy lights and a pair of “skanklets”… no garment should ever have the work “skank” in it Neil, sorry old love. The final “avant garde”garments were, erm, interesting and certainly not what I was expecting… This season of the sewing bee has been unusual in that the contestants have been expected to draft a lot more of their own patterns and it’s certainly moved quite a way from the original show.

Over the last six weeks we have seen some truly exceptional sewing, records have been beaten (one contestant winning all three challenges) and some really amazing garments have been produced.

The winner, Matt, looked completely gob-smacked by the judges decision!

Photo credit - getreading.co.uk

Photo credit – getreading.co.uk

Stuart Hillard GBSB Guest Blog Post – Semi Final

Posted by Amy | Posted in Guest Blog | Posted on 11-03-2015

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stuart hillard

Semi Final

This week sewing got brutal, Neil got all Black Lace and there were some shocks in the sewing room.  The first challenge saw our hopefuls tackle a pencil skirt, nothing too challenging about that, until Patrick threw in the requirements… a lace outer skirt and slippery satin lining.  Both tricky fabrics to work with and a challenge designed to sort out the serious contenders for the final and those whose days were numbered.  The atmosphere was incredibly tense and no one really looked like they were having a jolly time.  There were two firsts in this challenge, Neil struggled and Matt came top… I didn’t see that coming.

The alteration challenge came next, turning a rubber wetsuit into a ladies dress.  Funnily enough none of the sewers were familiar with the particular skills required for this one and I couldn’t help thinking that the programme makers were being nasty for the sake of it.  I hated all the creations but I hated Deborah’s least which for once, was something the judges and I agreed on.

Last challenge was to make a perfectly fitted leather jacket in 6 ½ hours… I have made bags with leather but never clothes and this challenge did excite and terrify me in equal measure!  Clover mini clips are perfect for holding seams together for fitting and sewing (much better than bulldog clips!) and a teflon or non stick foot is pretty essential too.  These both work for sewing oil cloth too, which makes brilliant bags.  I loved Lorna’s jacket, Neil triumphed and we said goodbye to Paul and Deborah which left me feeling sad and just a little bit bereft.

It’s the final next week and Neil, Lorna and Matt will battle it out, although  for me, there has been an obvious winner from week 1. Who’s your money on?

Stuart Hillard GBSB Guest Blog Post – Part 1

Posted by Amy | Posted in Guest Blog | Posted on 18-02-2015

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stuart hillard

I’m so excited to be blogging for Black Sheep Wools for the duration of The Great British Sewing Bee! Thank you for having me and let’s begin! Ok, I’ll start with a confession, I missed the first two episodes of GBSB as I was swanning around Australia promoting my book, Sew Fabulous, and generally escaping the snow. Good old BBC iPlayer stepped in and saved the day and I enjoyed a two hour “sew-fest” at 3am in my jim jams. It was wonderful to see so much Amy Butler fabric in the first episode…Lorna and Amanda both chose Amy fabrics for their cotton trousers and proved that fabric with massive impact can take a simple pattern to a whole new level but it was army boy Neil who won the first challenge with his military precision and creases you could cut yourself on.  Transformations came next and, like the judges, I was thrilled to see so many imaginative ways to re-vamp a denim shirt and not a single bit of cowboy fringing to be seen… hoorah!  In the final challenge it was Neil who triumphed with his cut-away dress… help me out here, is he actually married to Rhianna or was my jet-lag playing tricks on me?  Annie said farewell and we were all promised a calf named Claudia…sweet.

the great british sewing bee week1

Image source – The Great British Sewing Bee Facebook page

the great british sewing bee week 2

Image source – The Great British Sewing Bee Facebook page

Episode two and three more sewing challenges. On that note, I can’t help thinking that these challenges are pretty tough for week two… if you’ve never sewn before and fancy having a go please do not panic! There are squillions of easy patterns to start you off and in the real world we all have more time and less pressure than the contestants in the sewing room! I loved Lorna’s little tweed waistcoat, she consistently produces well-made garments and she’s definitely in my top five already. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that she will make it to the top spot in a challenge soon, she seems like a very talented and creative lady.  Speaking of creative, I love Ryan’s style, he has great flair and some fab ideas. Sewing for children, the theme of week 2, is where a lot of people get started with a needle and thread.  A new baby or young children are often the catalyst that starts a person’s sewing journey.  A simple quilt, basic clothes or a fancy dress outfit are brilliant ways to get started and cotton fabrics, particularly the ones made for patchwork, are perfect and easy to stitch.  It was another chap, this week Paul, who made the garment of the week with his hilarious ballerina elephant costume.  I was sorry to see Alex leave and her tears show the passion that many of us feel when we are sewing. I can’t wait for episode three of the Great British Sewing Bee which airs on BBC2 this thursday at 8pm…

xxx Stu