Saturday, January 30, 2010

Want to have a go at this?

When I was in London I bought a bag of scrap papers from Faulkiners. This week I decided to put some of them into a small sketchbook. If you would like to have a go at this project here is how I did it. It’s not meant to be perfect.

1.Find a piece of fabric from your stash, mine is batiked and painted graffiti style ala Alisa Burke. It has been on my wall sometime. You can use any piece which has some marks you think would encourage stitching.
2.Find a variety of papers and measure the size of cover needed. Mine is about 13 x 7 1/2inches.You will need a sympathetic backing fabric and a piece of wadding.
3.Make a sandwich of the fabrics with the wrong sides together and machine; leave a small gap for turning. Clip the seams. Turn to the right side and push out the corners with something pointed but blunt, like a knitting needle. Machine the gap closed.
4.I have just rediscovered my cording foot, so I used this to put a line of two threads round the edge and over the part where I had sewn over the gap Just zigzag over a thread if you don’t have the foot. As my fabric is about Questions, I added some not v. good question marks with the cording foot.

5.Decide how you will add stitch. I mainly used blocks of Cretan Stitch to echo the graffiti look. The fabric could be stitched first, but I think it is a sort of organic process that sort of grows as you begin to literally get the feel of the chunky book.

6.I made three holes in my papers and cover and joined the paper with pamphlet stitch. I didn’t worry about the grain of the paper being parallel to the spine, I just went for it. I left the end of the thread on the outside of the cover and tied it; you could add a bead but I decided this would get in the way for using the paper to sketch.

7.Nearly there. Make inner pockets as shown for pens and postcards. I machined mine but for neatness they could be over sewn.
8. I added two leather ‘flaps’ because I also got some leather off cuts in my scrap bag. They could be made of the main fabric.
Now all I need to do is actually use the book!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


If like me you are a fan of buttons, especially old ones, I’m sure you would find these fascinating. At a stitch and chat group I go to someone was having a clear out and I could not resist these finds from the button tin, although I have no idea how I will use them. They are particularly nice because they are so minute, which doesn’t really come across in the photo, about a centimetre and less. Thanks to ThingsHandMade for this link to an exhibition about button and button phobia- yes, it really exists.

The same group has had a display of journey quilts at the new home of The National Needlework Archive, which is now based on the former Greenham Common Airbase site. From their web site it looks as if they plan to be very active with exhibitions and activities over this year. I still have a piece from Poetry in Stitches on tour and it should eventually end up in a waiting room somewhere; I said I did not want it back so I have no idea of its fate. For anyone in the UK you can obtain a book of poetry and then choose a poem as a theme for your stitched piece. There is a competition and then the pieces are bound for public waiting areas in hospitals etc; more details on their web site.

Just over a week left to book up for The Hurst Textile Workshops. 0118 9812918

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


The topic for this week was ‘Plain weave card, paper and mixed media with stitch’, for some reason I never really get on with weaving strips of fabric and I struggled a bit with the class. For the first time I got to use a heat press which was daunting at first but really is just like a huge iron and fuses the plastic layers together. I used it on the second sample which has a background of a frozen chip bag and some strips of metallic pill wrappers. When the samples were finished and framed in my sketchbook I learned to love them.

We also used the cording foot, which was good as I have had one for years and seldom used it; the yellow and orange wool are applied with it.
This week has been good, as I was back to work on Monday and also started a Life Drawing Class. I was so pleased that it started as the tutor didn’t have enough people last term. If I had not done the access course I would never have had the confidence to have a go. I also taught two people how to make felt, a successful and enjoyable session in which they made a piece of nuno felt and a piece with additions of ribbon. So that is the good news, but as I write the field opposite is white with snow once more!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Painted Papers

These are another couple of samples from my recent course. The idea was to take in an image, paint papers and then layer marks to make interesting surfaces for stitch.

I enjoyed the course but I feel there was a gap about how to move these samples along, and how to develop ideas. Perhaps that is just my mood having been snowed in for weeks. This is what it look like from my window in deepest Hampshire. Very pretty, but I've had enough now.What wimps we must seem to those of you in areas with hugh snow falls every winter.

The Day Service Centre where I work two days a week has been closed and my car snowed in. I have been to another course and spent most of the week’ ifing and butting’ about whether it would be cancelled and if I went might I get stranded. As it was in central London there was no problem at all on Sunday and thanks to my husband I had a lift to the station and back. It was great to be out and about and with people.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010


This small felt bag was made just before Christmas, and as you see I have been braver and made it without seams and still managed some free machining. The colour is probably more delicate and prettier than the photos show.

It’s basically merino with silk wisps and some beading. I don’t have my two previous bags and brooches as they were given as gifts. I did my best to give some handmade presents, which included three key rings made out of pieces of mecano by Reform, and a moleskin zine self published by an artist whose drawing I admire. Other presents came from Charity shops.
One guest gave us a pot of delicious homemade Beetroot and Orange Chutney in a lovely decorated jar complete with designed label.

I know most people are too far away but just to let anyone interested know, I am organizing three workshops at The Hurst, Tadley(0118 981 12397) starting on Saturday 6th February. They are linked and will be about designing an embroidered panel using ethnic textiles as a design source. My tuition on HEN is ongoing, i.e. you can join 'The Painted Kantha' or 'Printing with Found Objects' at any time.
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