Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Hadrian's Wall

I’ve recently finished this piece, but it has a history of over a year. I started it when I was asked to do a demonstration of free machine stitching at a local library. I backed a piece of calico with felt and worked to a photo I had taken from Hadrian’s Wall.
Although I persevered with it I didn’t really like it. Somehow, right at the end, it came together. I have a love hate relationship with Bullion Knots, always trying to conquer them, and then the one line, the green gimp in the second picture seemed to make all the difference. Sometimes it just pays to put something aside and keep thinking about how to make it work.

Thursday, November 23, 2006


Thank you for the encouragement with regard to the Beta hiccups.
I am sure it will all work out for the best. I have already been able to add a better link list. I still cannot access my blog re the bar at the top. I have two fairs next week, not strictly craft fairs but near to Xmas perhaps I will sell a few items.
It has generally been a week of angst – however, I have found a great distraction, some really simple and fun knitting. If you have not seen it there is a whole site dedicated to Curly Wurly Scarves. Really fun, have a look.

Here it is, my first curly wurly, and my first knitting for a long time; also the first photo taken with my new camera!

Friday, November 17, 2006

OH Dear!

Having just bought myself a big treat, a Wacom Tablet, I should have been very busy getting to know it, but the fact is that I have been busy in other directions. The biggest excitement is that I am going to give up full time work at the end of the year. This should give me plenty of time for new endeavours. I hope to make more of my textile interests; I’m not sure in what direction yet. I would like to teach and sell more work.
In the background is the fact that my camera died and I have been mourning it, even though my son says ‘get over it’ and that nothing is made to last. I am researching a good buy and it gets more complicated each day.
You may also have noticed that I have gone over to the Beta version. I feel sure it will be better in the long run, but I have lost most of my add-ons and have to start again. I can’t seem to put a picture on the header in the minima template. The very worst problem is that it will not let me in unless I say I have forgotten my password and gain access by blogger sending me an e-mail. I had a feeling it was a mistake to move to Beta, and it looks as if I was so right!

Monday, October 30, 2006

Pekin Knots

I am starting to work on the shaped felt now. Above is a sample, made years ago, based on a dry stone wall in The Lake District. I remembered it when thinking about my felt rocks and planning how to work the embroidery. I was amazed to see the intricate tiny stitches I produced at that stage.

I bubbled up some synthetic organza using a heat gun and painted scraps to be my ice and lichen round the rocks. Tiny stitches, Chinese or Pekin knots. I read somewhere that people went blind working these - I can well believe it.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Having a blog since the start of this year has brought me a lot of new interest and satisfaction; not least of which was selling one of my book covers to a 'blogger' in New York. My first international sale! You can find this discerning person over on serenityis bliss. I also was lucky enough to do a trade for two pieces of artwork by tara you can see her unique work and purchase it by following the link.
These transactions gave me much pleasure, especially as both people liked and enjoyed my work. This is the sort of feedback which keeps you going, paticularly on those grey, wet days.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Knitting and Stitching Show

I was at Alexandra Palace yesterday. The show was amazing as usual, a chance to see top textile artists and to shop till you drop. However, this year there was added sadness to suddenly see the book of condolence for Val Campbell-Harding and to find that she had been buried the day before. It was a real shock. Many will never have had the 'experience' of a class with her but will have been inspired by her books which are the bibles for machine embroidery. There is a virtual book of condolence on the Computer Textile Design Group site.
On a happier note a generous young woman on the felt makers ' stall gave me two felting needles. If you look at her site you will see felt with a whole new scope, www.feltesque.co.uk

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Shibori Felt

I have had my first go at this type of felt today, inspired by a piece I saw at Windsor by Angela Scolding which was based on a crab shell. Mine is very much a first attempt but I am pleased with the effect. I followed Sheila Smith's instructions with whom I once did a felt making course at Urchfont Manor.I felted Merino tops and African Wild Silk onto scrim which I had dyed. I found a bag of glass shapes in a Charity Shop which were ideal for the shaping.

Here it is all tied up and soapy, and then taking shape as the real felting begins.I have now left it to dry. Don't you think the scrim side looks so tactile; I have made it my desktop picture. I plan to embroider the piece at some point.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Felt tips

The background in this piece was first drawn with felt tips and then sprayed with water as described in Sherril Kahn's book 'Creating with Paint'. I added some foiling at one point. The stitching is sort of Kantha quilting. I framed it with frayed edges; I'm quite fond of it really, I suppose because it was just a bit of fun.
I have been getting ready for a craft show in our local village hall tomorrow. I am looking forward to it and hope that I have a few sales, but I am quite philosophical about that these days. I wonder if I will sell my little friend above.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

London Design Festival

We have been to London to see The Scrawl Collective exhibition. The setting and the large scale work was impressive. More by accident than any 'design' on our part we were in the BrickLane area and on a sort of art trail round a number of other design shows. We even went on an old syle red bus which was showcasing the work of designers from Singapore. The New Designers Selection showed the work of 50 selected designers and was excellent; you can see examples of all their work on the link.
The emphasis in the show above was on recycled materials. There was a chance to sit down and have a go with fabric strips, hessian and a sort of prodding technique, it looked really interesting, but to tell the truth by that stage I was bleary eyed.

Friday, September 15, 2006


When I followed some links to find out what Parfait dyeing is, I found mention of Ann Johnston's book 'Colour by Accident' and instructions for Low Immersion dyeing on Paula Burch's web site; I think they are the same thing. The results are really interesting and make a good background for stencilling and screen printing.
I am making some book covers for hard backed sketch books ,using pelmet vylene as a backing, to sell at a craft fair. Its difficult to know what to charge, as they take quite a bit of time, but at the same time I do want to sell them. Any thoughts about charging?

Here I enlarged a maxi leaf pattern and stitched it as the final layer.

The dyeing and printing is done on a brushed calico, which I like as it is very tactile,almost velvet like.

Thursday, September 07, 2006


This is my new' inspiration wire' copied from an idea on port2port .I am using it for unfinshed pieces and samples at the moment. At some point I'll probably add another line.
I have added a badge for a flickr album this week, if you would like to have a look at some of my work as a slide show.

Saturday, September 02, 2006


We had a lovely morning visiting some of the open studios in the Hampshire Artists scheme.Prints, felt,glass and digital photos were particularly memorable. As you know I am really keen on experimenting with working on felt , and you can see some inspiring work at raspberry.

I have just finished a piece using mainly eyelets; after reading Julia Caprara's article in Quilting Arts I fancied doing some hand stitching and got out my stiletto.

I layered some painted scrim over in parts and worked some eyelets on the machine. It made a nice change to work some pretty intensive stitching.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Festival of Quilts

There are quite a few photos on blogs from people who attended this event last week in Birmingham. This is my favourite part, the virtual studio. You can get so many tips and ideas from watching other people work, and there always seem to be more people ready to share at quilt shows. The artists working are part of committed to cloth; on the links section of their web site you can find out about thermo screens, which are relatively cheap and good for screen printing if you have limited space. Since last years show I have used the idea of complex cloth by layering dyed fabric with stencilling, painting, stitching etc.. I plan to try monoprinting with thickened procion dye at some point.

Jo Budds quilts were amongst my favourite work, lovely clear fresh colours; worked on rusted fabric.

I bought some small pieces of marbled fabric from Chaosprint for my son who is interested in learning the process.

Thank you to everyone for your recent sympathy after my 'puter problems!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006


Things seem to be back to normal now. The computer is, hopefully, well protected from viruses and I have a back up system. Along the way I am much wiser about files, formats, dvd drives etc.. I used the brilliant Pfaff Talk site to get information to re format my Creative Card in the Pfaff 7570; I did lose designs but can now make a new start. The local sewing machine shop coudn't help and suggested I buy an expensive new card.
This piece with Peruvian birds is stitched on hand made felt with some silk tops felted in. The patterns were inspired by a work colleague who has just walked the Inca Trail. The stitching is in part done with the 7570 embroidery unit and in part free machining.The birds are painted with bronze powder and Ormoline Fabric Medium.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Pride goes before a fall

You will note the lack of photos. I am in fact only able to post by 'borrowing' my husband's
computer. Terrible things have happened to mine, not to speak of expensive things. Anyway it had to go back to the shop and now my husband won't let me hook up to the internet until the files are all backed up and the dvd writer doesn't work. Could it get worse? Well it did, I also managed to wreck the creative card in my sewing machine, which will be more expense. I suppose the worst thing is that I don't really know how I managed to create such chaos.

Its a real shame as I wanted to show you the felt piece all stitched, beaded and complete.
I have also found out about Parfait dyeing and wanted to show the results. I could tell where I found out about the dyeing process but of course I managed to lose all my links.
Hopefully, life will be back to normal soon.

Friday, August 04, 2006


Here are some pictures of the laundry room at a National Trust House, Kingston Lacy, which I visited this week. It gives some idea of the amount of work involved for the servants in keeping those' above stairs ' clean and respectable. The house was the home of the Bankes family for 300 years, it was built when their lands were restored. They lost their estates following the fall of Corfe Castle to the Roundheads. The house is in Dorset where I spent a few days this week with a friend and her daughter.
We stayed on the coast and the views were lovely, with high seas and blustering winds, but still sunny.

Can you see the old mangle, the flat irons and the good old Singer hand machine? I grew up using one of those and the tension seemed to take hours to get right.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Embroidery Unit

After ages I decided to have a go with my embroidery unit on the Pfaff 7570. It has been interesting and less frustrating than in the past, probably because I now know at least a little about computers. I'm not able to sew out the Maxi stitches however I try to balance them. There used to be no problem. All the other stitches are fine. As you see I made some flat felt and worked a few Peruvian birds which I autotraced with the help of FlutterWhumper Pro. I am sure the whole process is much simplified with newer programmes. I will work into this with more free machining and some hand stitching when the inspiration strikes.

Saturday, July 22, 2006


Just to show that I have done some batik with my new wax pot. I treated myself to it with the money from a few items I sold at a craft fair. I have used Jacquard Dye & Flow fabric paint on a silk background. Completed it has a beaded edge and tiny tassels on the bottom corners. The base fabric is from a Chinese silk blouse that was always too uncomfortable to wear; I know its very fashionable now to recycle. I worked into the image with a gold pen from Paperchase.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

'Art in Action'

On Saturday we had a family outing to an event called Art in Action held in the grounds of Waterperry House in Oxfordshire. An annual event but the first time for us. For anyone who can get there I would recommend it as an excellent venue to see a wide range of good design. There was a textile tent but also drawing, painting, illustration, woodwork, calligraphy, many more arts and crafts, not to speak of Pimms, pancakes and Mozart played throughout the sunny day.
I came back full of inspiration, with lots of ideas to try; its just a pity that I have to go to work tomorrow. I bought a sample piece by Pat Hodson http://www.pathodson.co.uk . Hers is an interesting web site, and have a look at the educational link which has interesting video clips, especially of her talking about her work. Felt pieced by Lizzie Houghton were amazing.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006


Here is some lovely colour in a Coleus leaf. Apparently each one has a slightly different pattern and colouring. The garden is lovely at the moment, although suffering from the current heat wave and drought. The first cucumbers and courgettes are ready. The gooseberry crumbles are in full swing; lovely buttery biscuit topping on a slightly sour fruit, which I'm not sure anybody really likes but it is so traditional.

Thursday, June 29, 2006


My first swap all the way from Winnetka arrived this week from http://missellz.typepad.com/missellz . A lot of thought went into it, including researching liquorice allsorts - she contacted me after I had commented that some of her small felt pieces looked like sweets - so she made me some felt ones. I have already used two of the unique cards; all in all it was a great pleasure to receive.
I hope you are impressed that I have managed to put a picture in the blog title. This took many hours and assistance from the help files, as I really don't know anything about computer code. It made my head hurt, just like my maths homework used to do. The satisfaction when I got it in place was enormous.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

A Gemini

I have been on leave for a few days for my birthday. Most days have been sunny; on a very hot day I decided to make another felt bag to prove to myself that I could complete it without the tutor standing over me. It was hard work but I made the bag without the fastening in a morning,

I visited the Windsor embroidery show and particularly enjoyed the Diploma textile work; once again it made me aware that I really need to be more disciplined ,to draw more and to start with an idea rather than a technique, but being a Gemini I have a good excuse for getting so easily distracted.

We briefly visited the National Gallery on Friday on the way to lunch with my very busy son. It was amazing to stand so close to Van Gogh's Sunflowers and to really see the texture in the layers of paint.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Tissue Paper Poppy 3

I have finished the final poppy embroidery now. This involved making a small print block and twin needle stitching over some strips of Mawata Cap silk dyed with silk paint.

I used Bokhara Couching stitch again and machine embroidery with some satin stitch blobs. Now all three are mounted and I hope at least one will be in a local summer exhibition, which has given me the incentive to work them through. Its nice when inspiration comes and the work just seems to come together.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Felt Making

This weekend I have been on a 3D felt making course, both the course and the venue were excellent. The tutor was Mary Chandler, highly recommended. We all worked very hard on a really hot day and as you can see made some lovely bags.

The setting was the Gridshell building at the Weald and Downland Museum in West Sussex. This is the home of a number of historic houses and agricultural buildings. The Gridshell itself is an awarding winning construction of green oak laths. I don't understand much about the building principles but it is a lovely space to be in; I think the photo below will give you some idea.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Workshop on the Web

The June workshop arrived and this weekend, just for fun, I have tried two of the projects. Two pieces are the first part of a book and the next issue will have the rest of the instructions to make a keepsake book. The background paper is done
following the technique http://tryittuesdays.wordpress.com. I can't share the techniques from the workshop, but do have a look at my link if you don't already know about the web workshop. Has anyone else been trying the workshop ideas?

This is an idea you may know for using thicker threads - I use a topstitch needle. I only managed to get it to work recently, perhaps I found the right size jam jar!

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Paradise Lost

'The World was all before them, where to choose

Thir place of rest, and Providence thir guide:

They hand in hand with wandring steps and slow,

Through Eden took thir solitarie way.'

John Milton

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Finished ?

This piece is finished now, except for putting it on a backing. Its hard to know when to stop the 'seeding'. A good stitch to do when you want to get thoroughly engrossed and ignore the world around you. I didn't want to skimp on the stitching, but finally it told me it was finished and I agreed.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

May walk.

I have just received my first copies of 'Cloth, Paper & Scissors' and 'Quilting Arts', thanks to reading about them on other peoples blogs. I have been diverted by making layered paint backgrounds and thinking how to transfer these to fabric.
I will certainly be subscribing. I recently started getting 'Embroidery' magazine again after a break of a few years. I used to regularly refer to it and looked forward to receiving the next copy, but I don't find it so interesting now, perhaps this is because the articles are often not by practising textile artists.

I have had a few days off work; here are a few photos from a recent walk. It has been very rainy but warm. I found a rusty farm trailer which yielded some photos with potential.

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