a week at the coleg

What an exhausting week it was too. I really enjoyed my first experience of summer school, but it may take me a while to recover. I am sorry I wasn’t able to blog from the campus, but — unlike Pat and Isabella — I wasn’t able to get my laptop to speak to the network from my room, and never quite organised myself to have both time and laptop together in the central social area.

I managed to get myself, my cloth, my scissors AND my toothbrush all the way to Malvern on the train (well, four trains) and then, after an evening of curry and weave-chat and an overnight stay, Pat drove us both the rest of the way to Carmarthen. In the pouring rain. It was not the most promising start, but when the sun came out on the Monday morning it turned out to be a beautiful campus — or rather pair of campuses, since we were resident at Trinity St David’s but studying at Coleg Sir Gâr which was right next door. (They are in the process of becoming the same institution, but you know the sort of pace at which these reorganisations go…)

Here’s the view from the car park looking uphill to the old college…

view uphill

…and here’s the view downhill:

view from campus

Of all the classes in the summer school — and there were 16 altogether — the sewing class was far and away the jammiest. There were eight of us in the class and we had an enormous room to work in. There was every kind of machine for us to use, and effectively two tutors: our ‘official’ tutor, Helen Gill, and the college technician, Laura Reynolds.

I think I must have taken this photo…

sewing shed

…on the first day, before we had spread out everywhere.

Everyone else was making garments (mainly jackets) but I am not much of a jacket-wearer and had set my sights on turning my stash-busting tweed into a carpet bag. Which I did.

carpet bag

carpet bag interior

I also made a small purse to go with it…

carpet bag and purse

…and started on a third bag made out of repurposed scarves, which is looking a bit floppy as I haven’t sewn the lining in yet.

bazaar bag

The patterns are all from Carry Me, the same book that I used for the messenger bag. I’ve a feeling I am going to be experimenting some more with this last design, as I really do like the effect of all those brightly coloured fabrics. And, by the time I needed it, I had managed to get just enough of the Baltic-style band woven for the strap, but found myself in my room needing to cut it off and wash it while my scissors were all locked up in the classroom. Solution:

washing band

I am not sure that I got a huge benefit from the class in terms of learning new techniques, but I did get the very practical benefit of encouragment and persistence. There were moments, particularly in the construction of the carpet bag, when I would have been inclined to shove the whole thing in the back of a cupboard and forget about it. But I had to go back to class the next day and deal with the consequences!

It was lovely to discover that there were loads of people at summer school that I knew already. Among others: lots of JEC members (present and retired) were there, lots of members of Complex Weavers, and several people I first met at Braids last year. It was so much fun catching up with everyone… but another week would have helped. I would love to post pictures of the marvellous things they were making, too, but having just taken my phone (what kind of silly idea was that?) my photos don’t do them justice.

Home now, and frantically trying to catch up with myself. The brick wall has crumbled and the rest of August seems to be full of days when I need to be somewhere else, mainly Edinburgh or Glasgow, and I can’t imagine how I am going to fit it all in.

a week at the coleg” was posted by Cally on 14 Aug 2013 at http://callybooker.co.uk

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7 Responses

  1. Martha
    | Reply

    The carpet bag is just smashing! Love it!

  2. Michelle
    | Reply

    Glad you are back and enjoyed it – sounds exhausting! The bag is incredible – you worked hard and it shows. I expect the range of bags in major shops soon!!

  3. Isabella
    | Reply

    Great to read your version of Carmarthen events and you are so right that the fact you are on a course ensures you can’t give up on anything. I thought your bags were great. And, I was thoroughly amused by the image of your basin. What unlucky non-attendees of Summer School won’t realise is that the design of the washbasin and its glass shelf were a little tricky to negotiate.
    You needed to spit diagonally after cleaning your teeth (camels and llamas – no probs), duck into the basin at a peculiar angle or risk clonking your nose on it. This would be more likely if you had already removed your vary-focals, like wot I did.

    • Isabella
      | Reply

      I did mean varifocals, natch

    • Cally
      | Reply

      A little tricky indeed… I couldn’t get my head anywhere near the basin, so gradually adopted a sort of sideways long-range spit – but that’s probably more information than anyone wants or needs.

  4. Jane
    | Reply

    The carpet bag is beautiful.

  5. Margreet
    | Reply

    Lovely way of using your handwoven. They all look great! Sorry that you did not get into a weaving class but at least you came home with some finished items!

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