What a great way to steal away on a winter’s day in the Northern Beaches. Cottage Quiltworks hosted Miriam Jones teaching her SewMiriam bag patterns last Saturday and it was so much fun. Miriam’s table of example bags and quilts was bursting with vibrant colours and providing such a rich array of examples of the many ways her patterns can be modified for different uses.
Miriam gave us a brief overview of what to expect of the day and told us a teeny bit about her amazing background that has contributed to her being such a fantastic teacher. Her experience ranges from speech pathologist to paediatrics at Westmead and even more… all contributing to her incredibly clear and easy to follow pattern instructions and teaching style.
While I thought I was here to learn how to make a bag, I learned so much more. Miriam started the class discussing how best to select fabrics for your projects. Using Elsa’s Tula Pink fabric collection, she advised us to look for the least colour in a print and bring it out. She picked up on the blues in Tula’s Elizabeth print and we could just watch it POP!
I had selected two Alexander Henry panels from “The Ghastlies” for my centers and had brought in a bag of scraps. I had an idea (sort of!), of where I was going with the fabrics (selecting fabrics is still something I’m learning). Well, Miriam stepped over and, well, it was amazing. Her hands flew through my pile and the first thing she picked was a bright yellowy-orangey spotty bit of fabric and POW my panel just lit up. It reflected just a hint of orange in the fishes eyelids. I knew then she was a master! The brights! The lights! Before I knew it, I had a selection of fabrics from my scraps that looked amazing around my centre panel. Ready to sew!!
What I found so remarkable about Miriam in her helping students select fabrics was that she was seemingly intuitive or very responsive to what worked for different folks. While I went wild and whacky, Donna’s Frida Khalo fabric was so beautifully framed in rich deep tones and textures.
Our class had students making one of three bags. Here is Miriam talking the Tote Bag makers through the process of inserting the pocket on the interior of the bags (I’ll take on that project in the next class I take!)