A stitch in time as countryside scenes are preserved by a sewing tradition
Traditional crafts have found a new place in our hearts with programmes like The Great British Bake Off and Sewing Bee reviving a passion for baking and sewing.
It's perfect timing, then, for Jo Colwill to release her first book – Cushions and Quilts; Quilting Projects to Decorate Your Home.
Jo set up Cowslip Workshops on the family farm on the outskirts Launceston to share her craft skills with classes on patchwork, quilting and rag rug making.
She will be at the Splash Festival in Falmouth to talk about the book and hold a workshop to teach people how to make a small embroidered wall hanging.
FREE home energy survey - BEAT THE ENERGY PRICE CRUNCH!View details
Call us on 01271 323309 and book your FREE home energy survey during December. Let us help you reduce your energy bills as well as your carbon footprint.
Valid until 20th Dec 2013
Consultation is completely free
No obligation and impartial advice
Contact: 01271 440974
Valid until: Friday, December 20 2013
Her lovely book is packed with great ideas and lots of detail about making a number of projects – quilts and cushions all reflecting Jo's love of the countryside and animals.
"It's the kind of thing people learned from their granny and it seems to be of interest to both young and old people," says Jo.
"I'm very honoured to be asked to do this for the Splash festival. I remember I went to Falmouth when I was five and it rained all the time so I made a cross-stitch tablecloth and learned how to do a lazy daisy stitch. We went into a lovely shop which sold embroidery threads.
"I've always really loved sewing... sewing and animals. I'd wanted to be a vet, but at the age of 16 I decided that life was a bit more important than studying.
"I'm completely self-taught and started sewing to be able to keep horses. Sewing has always been a pleasure for me. I used to work in a riding school and made all the costumes when we took part in the carnival. I loved making something out of nothing.
"I started off making clothes and competing with the Young Farmers' Clubs."
Like many of her generation, when Jo married over 30 years ago she started making soft furnishings – curtains, quilts and cushions.
She joined the fabric shop Inscape, where she learned about "colour and texture and design".
The projects in the book show a real understanding of the skills needed to mix different fabrics and Jo likes to include recycled fabrics in projects. It's often a great way of retaining memories.
"I started Cowslip Workshops 25 years ago and we get visitors from all around the world," she says, adding that the old tradition – particularly in America – of people working together to create an heirloom quilt is catching on.
"It's very friendly. People help each other and they have little parties to create special presents for a wedding, or perhaps if someone is having a baby.
"They are modern heirlooms and hark back to the old make do and mend era. It's almost as if we have come full circle."
Jo hopes her book will take some of the fear out of such work.
"People do get very scared, but this book is about building up confidence. They can start with a vintage button cushion project – we even sell the packs of fabric – before building up to quilts, or maybe the advent calender.
Jo Colwill will be at Dolly's Tea Room and Wine Bar on Thursday, September 19, from 10am-12 noon. Tickets are £25 which include a copy of her new book, Cushions and Quilts: Quilting Projects to Decorate Your Home (published by David and Charles, £16.99) a kit of materials to make a wall hanging and Dolly's delicious tea and cake. Tickets available from Falmouth Bookseller 01326 312873