Thursday, December 20, 2007

Tassel for Sue

My friend has a key stuck in a lock. It will turn but won't come out. She asked me to make a dangly something to hang from the naughty key. Sue already has a woven copper piece made for her birthday a couple of years ago, so I decided to incorporate copper into the tassel.

I strung the beads onto beading thread and used needle weaving to make the loop. Time will tell whether it is strong enough to withstand handling. I will report back if it falls apart.

I delivered presents to my in-laws yesterday. Today I got a phone call telling me that they have opened them. Who needs kids when you have parents like these? Anyway they like their stuff, I think their favorite gift was the clockwork racing snails. They are already bickering over who gets to eat the caramel nougat bars:) Wonderful people are buying me a sink to put into my new workshop for christmas.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

I've been tagged

I have been tagged by Diane at
This is quite exiting, I have been reading other blogs and wondered if anyone would like me enough to tag me. It's a bit like being picked for a team at school. Yippee.

I am not sure there are 7 interesting things about me, but here goes...

1. When I was 7 I won the nobbly knee contest at junior school.
2. I was in the school choir and stood in the front row - but I was asked to mime.
3. I was banned from the art studios at school when I was 12.
4. I believe Robbie Williams is the most phwaa man alive.
5. I met two women on-line and travelled across the atlantic on my own to meet them, and neither of them were mad axe killers.
6. When I have a beading project which needs finishing, I have the outrageous desire to paint something but when I need to paint I just have to stitch, etc etc
7. For every project I complete, at least 7 go into the bin.

Now I have to find seven people to tag, here goes...

I would like to tag the following people because they have excellent blogs...


Saturday, November 24, 2007

Have you seen the latest issue of QA? There is an excellent article by an amazing (and egotistical) artist. I feel a bit of a fraud squished in between the fab articles in my favorite magazine.

Anyway, I am walking tall and much more of this and I will be able to reach the top shelf in the supermarket all by myself.

**On a serious note - Helen Gregory and Barbara Delaney from QA were wonderful, friendly, helpful and 100% professional. If you have an idea, don't hesitate to send it to them.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Paper collage with stitch. Another work in progress. It is not as grey as it appears here, more a bluey grey. I plan to add highlights and maybe a little orange.
It will be a postcard one day.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Marilyn Pipe came to our Embroidery group to teach for the weekend. We played with Lutradur, bondaweb, tyvek and other goodies. This is one sample which is waiting for stitch and embellishment.

Marilyn is lovely, great fun, a great and inspiring tutor and she gives good girls jelly babies.

Inky Pinky Plonky Poo
Oh dear, I don't know what to do

The pigs are flying overhead
The cows refuse to moo
The sheep are saying ba ba baa
The ducks have gone to the zoo


The bears are eating museli
The lions say boo hoo
The dolphin has a broken leg
Oh dear, what a to do

The Elephant has lost the plot
The mouse lives in a shoe
The fox is eating strawberries
and....about the kangaroo

He has

Gold bullion in his pocket
And in his pouches too
The policeman waves his trunch e on
And we all hide in the loo

Oh dear, what are we going to do

The judge, he says "you naughty boy"
"Off you go to prison"
I've only got a tiny cell
Where nothing can be hidden

And now I am stuck, a prize of an atc is offered for the best last verse

Both last verses are excellent and I would like to send an atc to thank you for entering into the spirit of my daft poetry. Would 'justthesmallstuff' please let me know who you are and where I can send your wondrous piece of art ;)

Friday, October 19, 2007

Paper landscape. I stitched this today, from torn scraps of paper with some yarn. Then I painted it with watery acrylics. Next I plan to highlight some of the raised areas. And no doubt ruin it completely.....

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Silk bookmarks. I used some of the paper I made from silk cocoon stripping to make a few bookmarks. The inchies were cut from the leftovers.

A star made for the cloth paper studio swap. The diamond shapes have three layers of quite tacky shiny stuff with a velvet top. I dyed the silk puff and hand twisted the cord edging. Had to add a few beads :)

Friday, September 14, 2007

Silk Paper class. I went to the knitting and stitching show at the NEC yesterday and took a one hour class with Sarah Lawrence. This is the piece of silk paper that I came away with.

It was made by laying out cocoon strippings, spraying with dye and then adding a sprinkling of gold flakes. Then ironed between sheets of silicone paper. Very simple.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

This is Katy, occasionally known as "that bloody animal", in an endearing way of course.

She is the reason why I haven't posted much recently, or the reason why I haven't achieved much recently, so have had nothing to blog about.

Katy has been poorly again. She is on the mend now and, having been pampered rotten, is being a bit of a prima donna. When she is awake of course - asleep she is adorable.

Latest tumor has gone, the pancreatitis is under control for the time being, the renal failure is on-going but not critical yet, the heart murmur isn't a problem except for when she has been charging about like a puppy, the cataracts don't appear to bother her too much and the deafness is a wonderful excuse for doing as she pleases.

So, think of me trying to sew with Katy's head on my foot and my foot on the pedal of the sewing machine. Is it any wonder my stitches aren't even.....

Sunday, August 26, 2007

I took this photo at Belton House,

The old ruin is a folly and was built in around 1750, there is a wonderful cascade of rapids behind it. I do like spooky places.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

I made six sheets of 'silk' paper today.

Got out my cmc powder. It said on the packet, mix one or two tablespoons with a little water taken from one pint. Stir vigorously then add the rest.

Deep sigh. I think it must have meant the rest of the water. Thick stuff this paste.

Anyway, after I had beaten it to within an inch of it's life, sieved it to get all the lumps out, I had a nice batch of gloopy paste. Add some silk, viscose, bamboo and whatever else I had dyed recently and I have paper. I did three sheets using commercial dyed silk tops and three where I carefully threw any old thing on. Guess which I like best?

I do like a bit of texture. No idea what I will do with my sheets. But I like them. Ish.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Embellished and dyed. I did a little experiment, I embellished a load of white bits of stuff onto a base of white pre-felt then dyed it using acid dyes in the microwave. The different fibres sucked up the dye in different ways so I now have a textured base to stitch into. I used a combination of pink, turquoise and violet dyes.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Not a Saint. Just my dad.

I have never hand quilted before, so the quilting is a bit rough and now I wish I had hand stitched the gold circle into place. Live and learn.

The base is hand dyed cotton, overlaid with printed silk organza. Gold silk circle added. Then I printed onto t-shirt paper, bonded that onto cotton and hand stitched it into place. I coloured the t-shirt print with watercolour paint. I backed the piece with some hand dyed cotton and slip stitched it into place on the front. Can't decide whether to embellish this some more or leave it and make another.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

A white atc made in the memory of someone very special.

Green (ish) ATAP. This is as close to green as I get, although there is a little splash of lime on the surface of this one, the camera chose not to pick it up.
Getting addicted to making these now, must think of something else before I bore everyone into not reading my blog.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

White lace amulet pouch.

I spent every spare minute this week hand sewing these tiny lace scraps onto a base of lace and felt. Then I added beads.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

ATAP. Artist trading amulet pouch. A while ago I challenged Daune to make an amulet pouch. Whilst I faffed about, Daune got on with it and has made a number of lovely little pouches.

This is my prototype. It is made from one piece of felt, with acrylic gel mediums, acrylic paint, foil and free machine embroidery. With a stuffed ribbon strap.

The next one will be similar but will have beads and stuff too. Unless I make the white fru-fru one first.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Bookmarks. I needed to make 12 things for the birthday rak at cloth paper studio. I figured that everyone uses bookmarks so they would come in handy. These are they! They are birthday cards which are also bookmarks and they are in the postal system winging their way to those with June birthdays.
The raks are a nice idea as they are sent freely and with no expectation of receiving anything in return.
I started with a base of pelmet vilene, bonded on hand-dyed abaca tissue (tissuetex). Added a strip of heavy lokta paper, machine stitched with metallic thread. Then I put on a strip of angel wire (Sizoflor?) across and embellished with copper and bronze bits. Decided that a tassel would be superfluous so didn't put one on.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Embellisher tree. Playing around with the embellisher and some silk waste, bit of scrim and a handful of cotton thread. This piece was three times the size but I mucked up part of it. I had two trees and put blossom (viscose neps) on the 2nd. Put too much on and obliterated the tree. You can see some of the blossom on the right of the postcard.

I was planning to stitch on this, but I think it will make a great sample of how not to get carried away!

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Canvas work. The Embroiderers Guild (Lincolnshire branch) asked us to all make a canvas work sampler. We had to use at least 9 different stitches.
I have never done any canvas work and I knew that whatever I produced would look amateurish next to the stuff the others would be making. And I don't like hand stitching much. I decided to do 9 stitches, just one of each. I always planned to cover them with tissue and paint over them, originally I was going to use three rows of three stiches and make a wig-whammy thing, but Elis has done some fab work on building blocks and I just happened to have some mahogany blocks that I bought at a boot fair ages ago. I gessoed over a handful of the blocks and painted them with a thin coat of quinacridone gold.
I stitched my samples using cotton warping thread (from the handweavers studio), I needed something that wouldn't be squished by the tissue and this is very firm but not hairy. And it was handy. Cut out the pieces and glued them onto the blocks. Then I glued tissue paper over the top. I coloured over them with gold acrylic paint but it was a bit too bright, so I washed over with Parker Quink ink (blue) to tone it down a bit. Then stroked a bit of markal over the raised areas.
I made the box! I bought some beading the same size as the blocks and used my trusty hack-saw to cut the pieces to size. Sanded the edges and then glued it together with marvin medium. The bottom is a piece of grey book board. I did put one panel pin on each edge to make it look as though I could hammer straight. I think I might need a bench saw if I am going to make any more of these (I did cut a few extra before I got four the right size and with straight edges).
Oh, gessoed the box then painted it with blue acrylic with glazing medium added. Then dabbed a tiny bit of markal on the edges.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Legs. I am making an artist trading doll for a swap on clothpaperstudio. Not sure what I think of what I have done, but I do like these legs.

I used an old map to make rolled beads, wrapped a bunch of threads round then stitched beads on. The feet are made from 2 layers of pelmet vilene, with bondaweb in between. Painted with quin gold acrylic paint.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Claire's handbag and our adventure.

Claire wanted a new bag and has been saving her christmas and birthday cheques. Yesterday was the day to go and buy the bag.

We were driving up the M1 in driving rain when a tyre blew out. Horrible banging noise followed by loss of power and steering. Claire aimed for the hard shoulder pdq and we parked unharmed. We were on the hard shoulder of the sliproad from the junction of the M1 and M32 in driving rain with cars and trucks flying past, very close and very alarmingly. Not somewhere anyone would chose to be.

A very nice man stopped to tell us to get out of the car and offer us his umbrella. He was lovely, a personal trainer and gorgeous to boot. Claire didn't notice she was too busy ringing the RAC. Their driver rang back to check where we were and promised to be with us within 10 minutes - Claire told him to come quicker as we were about to die! I think his heart sank when he arrived as he really had to take his life into his hands to change the tire. I bet he would have won the competition for the quickest tire change ever. However he did it with a smile and a gentle reminder to get the tire changed asap.

We drove straight to the dealership to have the car checked and a new tire put on. The Toyota garage in Wakefield were lovely, kept us supplied with coffee for the two hours we were there, the car had a thorough check, and we eventually went back on our way to the handbags. We admired the rubber marks we left on the carriageway as we drove past.

Claire bought her bag. We came home thankful that she is a good driver and we got home able to complain that we had wasted three valuable shopping hours, both of us have curls in our ever so straightened hair, Ikea didn't have either of the two items I went for (but they did have the 750 items that I had to have once I was in there) and borders was closing when we arrived so I only managed to buy one book.

A good day.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Abducted girl. It was her 4th birthday yesterday. I can't begin to imagine losing one of my daughters.
Please help to find Madeleine, watch out for a little girl with an unusual mark on her eye.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Little Jester bag brooch. This is 2" across. It is made from a simple 6 sided star which I drew.

I used quilters cotton fabric, two co-ordinating designs. Made a twisted cord in matching threads. The beads are glass and help the points to hang correctly.

Little woven bag necklace. I invested in a universal loom from Maggie Grey at workshop on the web (also available from This made weaving with copper wire really easy. I wove this little bag with wire as the warp and bunches of hand dyed threads and beads as the weft. The bag measures 1 1/2 inches by 2 inches.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

"Her sun set when Gilbert died". Another of my meet my ancestors quilts.

My mum looks so happy in this photo.

One day, in May 1945, mum was told that her brother was missing 'believed killed', later the same day she heard that her fiance was also missing.

My dad was fished out of the sea and he came home, but Gilbert didn't. When mum died, 50 years later, I found Gilbert's letters on her bedside table.

I painted the blue background fabric ages ago. Really like it and tried to paint another, but of course I hadn't followed any instructions and no matter what I tried I couldn't re-create the piece. So it became the most precious piece of fabric I ever owned. I gave myself a talking to and used it for my mum. The photos were fiddled with in photoshop and printed onto hp t-shirt transfer paper. I prefer this paper as it isn't shiny at all, transfers well and it is easy to peel off the backing paper. I had very little of the painted fabric left over so decided to piece the border. I can't make up my mind whether to add anything to the left hand side of the quiltie so will leave it for now. The binding on the left is unfinished as I am not sure how I am going to finish these quilts. I might bind them into a book.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Heart of Gold atc. This atc has a confetti fabric background. It takes ages to make a piece of this, but I only use a little bit so it goes a long way and it is worth the effort. The heart motif was made on cold water soluable fabric, I stitched the swirls in pink thread and the stitched over with a gold based variagated thread. I only partly disolved away the soluable so the motif is quite firm. I may stitch on a brooch back so that if the recipient wants to they can wear it.

Landscape atc. This was made by using the decorative stitches built into my Pfaff, stitched onto cold water soluable fabric. The background is cotton fabrics with pelmet vilene sandwiched in between.

It was easy to do although it took a while to stitch out the patterns, the best bit is that you really have no idea how it will look once the fabric has disolved away. I can see lots of way to improve the next one...

Sunday, April 22, 2007

New toy. I got a new toy this week - a blowtorch. I like working with wire but I don't like the sharp ends. The blow torch melts the end of the wire and forms little beads. I did have to sand off black residue afterwards.

I wove the copper wire onto a frame then wove hand dyed (by me) threads through it. When I held the wire in the torch, flame ran down the wire but it didn't set the yarn on fire.

It does need more beads and I need more practice at coiling the wire, but I am happy with the overall result. The brooch measures around 1" x 1 1/2"

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

E needed a waistcoat for Victorian day at school, I didn't have the fabric, didn't have a pattern and didn't have him to measure. Found some white wool and dyed it grey, had his mum send me his chest measurement and guessed the rest. I think it doesn't look too bad, kind of mucky and grungy, just the effect I was after. Most importantly, E liked it. He also liked wearing his grand-dads flat cap!

My favorite boy in all the world sent this, he is an artist in waiting.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Workshop with Pam Watts

One Day Workshop with Pam Watts, using cold water disolvables. Sleaford Embroiderers meet at the Hub in Sleaford and we have some excellent tutors come to teach us. We meet once a month and have tutors approx 5 times a year.

Pam is a lovely tutor, with a merry sense of humour so any workshop with her is a pleasure. This was no exception and although we all worked really hard, we laughed a lot too.

I was doing my health and safety expert impression and managed to stab myself with the sewing machine needle. That will teach me to wave my arms around willy nilly. Of course I was using a microtex extra sharp needle and to my embarrasment I managed to bleed on the lady-sat-next-to-me's disolvable fabric.

I free machined a leaf shape. Wet the disolvable and dripped silk paint onto it. When it dried I had these pieces. Hard to see in the picture but they are a little 3 dimensional with the ends of the leaves curling up from the paper.

Some of my leaves are the 'wrong' colour and look a bit dodgy but if I turn them upside down and add a little face and a halo I will have some very nice little angels!

After lunch we chopped up some scraps of fabric and placed them between two layers of disolvable and using a hoop, free machined. When I disolved this I draped it over a jam jar and left it to dry.

I like the rough edges and the scraps of shiny fabric, not to everyone's taste. Maybe next I will make one with tidy edges and some nice lace. Maybe.

Workshop with Janet Edmonds

Weekend Workshop at Broadlands Art Centre with Janet Edmonds. Brian and Katydog came with me. We stayed at the Wayford Bridge Hotel in Stalham, which has a great restaurant and allows one very well behaved dog to stay. During th day Brian and Katy went off walking on the Norfolk Broads whilst I beavered away at the workshop.

On Day one we studied and sketched a 3d object, then made a wire frame and wrapped it with various heat distortable fabrics. Mine was a complicated shape and I haven't started to wrap it yet. Typical of me!

Anyway day 2 was using wire frames to weave the distortable fabrics and fibres and I chose a base of garden mesh.

I painted tyvek cloth with silk paints and cut it into strips and wove it through the mesh. Then wove shiny polyester strips and bunches of rayon threads. I made some 'eggs' from tyvek, stuffed those with cotton chenille and pushed them through the mesh. I couldn't wait to zap so there are some zapped bits even though it isn't finished.

The tyvek distorts and shrivels up except where it is held into place by the wire.

Then it goes holey and my chenille fibres popped through the holes. I added some beads threaded on wire as I just like beads.
There will be more beads added when the weaving is done and the distorting finished. I plan to seed bead and add a few hand stitches too.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Celebrating Spontaneity in Creative Embroidery. I went to Broadlands Art Centre for a weekend workshop with Gwen Hedley. This is the piece I produced in one day, admittedly with a lot of help from Gwen.

I love the way these pieces are created, it is impossible to predict the end result and Gwen is such a nice tutor, very helpful and encouraging. I worked very hard this weekend, but Gwen worked 11 times harder.

Broadlands is in rural Norfolk, a lovely part of the country, the studio is a Victorian school house, and Kit our host for the weekend worked wonders with the food and refreshments.

Work in Progress. Needs more machine embroidery and lots of embellishing.

Friday, March 02, 2007


Took a workshop with Sandra E Middleton yesterday. We started with a 6" square of silk velvet with bondaweb on the reverse. This was cut into lengths approx 1/4" wide and lay onto a piece of black cotton fabric 12" x 6" leaving black stripes. This was backed with bondaweb and cut into 1/4" strips, cutting in the opposite direction, ie at right angles, to the last ones. These strips were lay on dyed silk fabric.

The whole piece was then backed with bondaweb and the edges trimmed. A new piece of bondaweb was cut to the same size, then the piece of striped fabric with the layers was cut into lengths, cutting the opposite direction from last time. The strips were lay onto the bondaweb, slightly staggering each piece so that the squares were broken up. This was repeated several times until I ended up with the piece shown here. It takes a while to make a small piece and uses loads of bondaweb, however a little goes a long way. The tiny silk pieces glow where the light catches them.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Wild women

Stitch Magazine (Dec 2006) had some wild women brooches and I used the idea to make my Little Green Men. These are around 3 1/2 inches high, made from confetti fabric.

To make the confetti fabric I chopped up scraps of fabric into tiny pieces. Ironned bondaweb onto some base fabric, scattered the scraps over, covered with a piece of nylon scarf. I covered this with some non stick baking parchment and then ironed. Then stitched rows of straight stitch over and over changing the thread every few rows. Then I stitched a few rows of leaves and a few flowers. Then I stitched some more. It takes ages to make a sheet of fabric but a little goes a long way, and I don't need brain cells to make this so it is good to make on a day when I am tired. I backed the fabric with iron on pelmet vilene and more of the base fabric. Stitched the outline of the little men with straight stitch, cut out as close to the stitching as possible and then did a row of zig-zag to tidy up the edge. The face, hands and feet are artchix charms, hard to see in the picture but each little man has glass bead hair.

Monday, February 12, 2007

I thought I would share my way of stitching perfect circles onto fabric. You need a drawing pin (thumb tack), a small piece of rubber/eraser/blue tack and some masking tape. I also used cold water soluable fabric. Leave the presser foot on your machine and lower the needle. Work out what radius you want for your circle and measure that distance from the needle. Push your pin through some masking tape and place it so that the pont of the pin is the radius from the needle. My circles were one and a half inches across so my pin needed to be 3/4 of an inch away from the needle.

Put the water soluable fabric into a hoop. Put the hoop under the presser foot and press the pin through the fabric (I have to take the foot off to do this, then replace it.) Put a piece of rubber/eraser/blue tack onto the point of the pin.

Lay your piece of confetti fabric, (or whatever fabric you want to show on your circle) onto the hoop and stitch with a standard straight stitch. Try not to touch the hoop, let the machine do the work. (There is only soluable fabric in my picture so that you can see what is happening)

Take the hoop off the pin and out of the machine. Carefully cut around the straight stitches as close to the stitching as possible. Do not cut the soluable fabric. Put the hoop back, replacing the piece back onto the pin in exactly the same place as it was before. Set the machine to a close zig-zag, just wide enough to cover the cut edge and straight stitching. Stitch, letting the machine/hoop/pin do the work.

Take it out of the hoop, cut away the circles and disolve the soluable fabric.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

sewing perfect circles

Everyone seems to be making 1"x1" squares so I challenged my friend Diane (aka yarngoddess) to make some circles. Diane made hers using a paper base and bounced the challenge back to me. So here are my circles. I started with confetti fabric (from Beginners guide to Machine Embroidery by Pam Watts). I put cold water soluable fabric into a hoop and using the drawing pin/masking tape/eraser technique, stitched circles with straight stitch. I cut out my circles leaving the disolvable fabric intact, then restitched with a close zig-zag.

Then disolved the water soluable fabric. Voila!

Now I am going to have to think of ways to embellish these.