Beef, Brew and Bags
I had the chance to visit the New Millennium Guild in Walkerton, Ontario this past week to speak to the 80-member guild, showing them my quilts and bags as part of my Developing the Designer in You trunk show. About 50 quilted items are shown, along with my extensive line of purses.
Sewing class for the Norfolk Bag
The following day was my chance to lead a class for the Norfolk Bag. It’s a curvy-pocketed handbag with two zippers and an adjustable strap. Although it’s not a pattern for an absolute beginner, with my sister-in-law Kathy Wodrich and I helping, it becomes a beginner-friendly class.
The class filled up quickly and judging from the excited emails I was receiving from participants before coming, I would be teaching a group of very keen women.
Sometimes when we visit we have overnight hotel or B&B accommodations, but on this visit we stayed at the home of former VON nurse, volunteer extraordinaire and guild member Nina McTeer. Nina also took the class. As she confessed to us, she’s not a detail-oriented sewer, but all the same she churned out a lovely Batik bag with the best in the class.
The class ran from 9 am till 4 pm and despite a bit of a slowdown due to blown fuses, we were able to almost finish the bags. For most students, the outer binding and adjustable strap just needed to be completed.
Walkerton, Ontario area
Walkerton is fortunate to lie in some of the prettiest farmland and it’s known for its excellent beef production. Rolling hills, woodlands, small crystal clear ponds and fast rivers bisect the landscape.
My husband Rob loves to come this way to fly fish for Steelhead Trout in the riffles. I just like to enjoy the scenery – not too concerned if I catch anything or not!
Chepstow Mill Mercantile
With a few hours of daylight still left to us after teaching, Kathy and I quickly joined fabric sales-rep (for Textile distributor J. N. Harper of Montreal) Sheila O’Hagan at her cottage and mill: the Chepstow Mill Mercantile.
Here’s a charming video:
Sheila and her husband actually live just across the water in Chepstow and run the mill and cottage as a commercial enterprise selling Aspire mineral paint, antiques, giftware, outdoor furniture and more. I bought two antique suitcases to show fat quarters in and a couple of very cute minky backpacks for the grandkids for Easter. (Yes, sometimes I don’t make my own!) Kathy purchased a terrific wreath.
The mill was built in 1902 and has milled lumber, grain, feed, has made apple cider, baseball bats and even coffins. Sheila tells me that every kid in Chepstow must have signed the wooden walls over the years.
More modern items are found in the cottage gift shop just across the mill race.
The funny thing is, Sheila has had the mill and cottage on the real estate market for 3 years and it sold last week – right after she got in her seasonal mechandise order. As a pitch for Sheila, to help her sell out before closing on May 12, I highly recommend a visit before then. Visit her facebook page for her hours of operation. I’m sure you’ll get a great deal if you go.
Cowbell Brewery in Blythe, Ontario
After a long day of teaching, I generally try to find a nice spot to get some supper.
Stop there on your trip to Sheila’s mill. The food was great, there’s a lovely gift shop and you can take a self-guided tour of the brewery. You are especially going to enjoy yourself if you like beer!
About the bag and lecture
I gave a lecture called Developing the Designer in You. Would you like your local shop or guild to host? Mention it to them, and send them to this page to find out more. They may contact me to arrange a trunk show.
The class we taught was for the Norfolk Bag. You can find out more about the Norfolk Bag here. There’s a gallery of bags others have made at the bottom of the page.