Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Introducing Kizzie

Kizzie came home with us today. She came in, ate two bowls of kibbles, had a wee on the floor, explored, played for a while and then fell asleep on with her head on E's lap. We are in love.

Kizzie is 7 weeks old, a second generation labradoodle.

Friday, December 11, 2009

The Patchwork Throw

I need to dedicate this post to all those out there who make patchwork quilts. It isn't easy and I raise my hat to you. I thought the disapearing 9 patch looked easy enough for me to have a go at. Some of the photos were taken using artificial light and some with natural, the true colour of the fabrics is somewhere between the two.

I carefully measured and cut 81 5" squares and sewed them into 9 patch blocks. There was a little unpicking and one or two naughty words, but I got my 9 blocks. 5 of one style and 4 of the other. Then I cut them into quarters and rotated each piece 45 degrees clockwise. I had to do a bit of trimming and juggling the pieces about until I could sucessfully sew the pieces back together to make new blocks.

This is what the first block looks like cut, rotated and sewn back together. Below is the second block.

It is easy to see that these blocks will need to be squared up and I hope that after that the seems will match. If they do then I will sew them together sort of like this. The greyish blocks will be needing something to help them to integrate and I may free machine stitch some Klimpt like trees on those, or something.

If I can't get the seems to line up properly, I will a) say something rude and b) attempt to rearrange the blocks so that it doesn't show too much.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Phone calls from heaven

Occasionally I get these wonderful phone calls from GG and E. Last week gg rang and said "today I did singing at the cathedral and I am narrator number 6 at school that's the bit where they go no room and I am going to marry Jesus or I might just kiss him." E is a little older, he told me that teachers invented homework to ruin kid's weekend and anyway, he knows everything already.

Being a grand-ma is the best job in the world :)

Sunday, November 22, 2009


Today I played with my beads and made a heavy and tactile string of worry beads.

I did try to make a patchwork 'disapearing 9 patch' block, using a charm pack of lovely batik fabrics. Using my 1/4" foot, I carefully stitched together three sets of three squares. Pressed the seams and layed them out ready to join. Nope, not one seam matched. I would have to trim each and every 5" square if I ever wanted to patchwork with this pack. I unpicked and threw the whole set into the scrap box. I won't be buying pre-cut fabric again.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Harrogate Knitting and Stitching Show

I went to the K&S show in Harrogate yesterday. Poop of a journey with an accident closing the A1 adding an hour to the journey, because we were later arriving there were no parking spaces, so it was a harrassed me that arrived. However a bonus was no queue for tickets so no wait in the cold. A sit down, a scone and a drink soon revived me.

First stop was the Oliver Twist stand. I always bust my budget here and this year was no exception, I bought hand dyed wool felt, a piece of abaca tissue, a red goody bag with dyed scrim, theads, silk rods and other bits for £6, a bag of red threads, more silk rods and some silk cocoon trimmings, these aren't the whole pods, just the tips. I calmed down once I had those and enjoyed the rest of the show at a slower pace.

CLAIRE BENN and LESLIE MORGAN are such lovely women, they demonstrate, sharing their techniques and patiently answer questions giving away their print secrets. There is a sign on thier stand saying "please take photos", so refreshing. I could have spent hours watching them screen printing. But I didn't - so much more to see. I did buy their latest book, which comes with a dvd. I already have a copy of the paper lamination book and they gave me the accompanying dvd.

RUTH ISSET was demonstrating Markal paint sticks on the ArtVanGo stand. ArtVanGo also sponsored 'Artists in Action' with demonstrations' I saw Ruth, Claire and Leslie amongst others and that is an area not to be missed.

I have seen JANNICE GUNNER's Indigo dyed shibori before, but never looked closely at the quilting on her work. My, Jannice can machine quilt and she knows just where to add a tiny speck of red to bring her pieces to life. This piece was amazing, and so restful to look at, I could easily live with this on my wall. It has 100's of tiny red and white french knots, hand stitching and machine stitching. Jannice generously allowed me to photograph this piece.

CINDY HICKOK had quite simple quilted figures leading you into her exhbition. They were lovely and put a smile on my face. Cindy's work at this exhbition was based on Impressionist's works of art, free machined on watersoluable and mounted in frames. What a lot of work! Quirky, beautifully made and wonderful titles.

This was my favorite piece from 'Art of the Stitch'. Balls of wool/cotton with a photo image and darning stitches. Made by GINTARE PILYPAITE, from Lithuania, it is called simply 'Grandmother'

ROXANNE HAWKSLEY's exhbition was macabre, fascinating and just a little dark! I did wonder where she gets her bird skeletons - are they real? I enjoyed looking at these and they made me think, especially the tiny people wrapped in cloth.

Guild Scholar JILL FLOWER's work was particularly
interesting, Jill stitched scraps of newspaper, glossy magazine pages and comics, + bits of lace to make very textural and interesting collars. All done on water soluable and free machined. Then beads and buttons added. Very different, would love to take a class with Jill.
I had a wonderful day and came home exhausted but happy, I didn't overspend by too much and there will be a special delivery for me sometime before christmas. A brand new on the market, made by Horn, folding sewing machine table. That's B's chrissy pressie to me sorted for him :)

Ben strikes again

C went out yesterday carefully putting Ben into his cage, locking it with a padlock and putting the keys on the floor by the cage. When she got home, the first thing she did was go to let the mad one out for a wee. No key! Search the house for the key, no key! Ben is going bananas because he wants out. Goes back to try to calm him down and notices a glint in the bottom of his cage (buried under socks). Chewed and slightly mangled key.
Did I mention it is a big cage? Huge. And the key was right in the middle where no hand could reach. It is a good strong padlock, (he breaks weaker ones and escapes and eats the house.) So using a long implement C tries to poke the key out of the cage, whilst trying not to hurt Ben who is squirming and wriggling and wagging everything, trying to lick her and generally getting in the way.
Last year my beautiful Katydog died and I am ready to bring another love into my life. B doesn't want to risk the heartbreak again. I have been trying to persuade him to my way of thinking. Ben just isn't helping...

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Bookmark anyone?

These little bookmarks
are so much fun to make.
I made 9 of the little dolly
ones. I hope they sell on our craft stall.

My girls

I was reading back through the blog (how sad is that? - reading your own blog) and realised that I mention C now and again, but not E. This is not because Em isn't gorgeous, adorable and much loved, she is. We do things together but we don't have the sort of catastrophies that me and C seem to attract. Anyway for the record, I have two beautiful talented daughters (C is on the left in the pic, Em on the right). Those frocks were bought in Liberties in London and I don't think the kids will ever forget the crushing (it was boxing day in London) the bad manners and overall mayhem of that day. B has never been shopping in the sales since. I wish I had kept those frocks, they were beautiful and the fabric would be very nice in a quilt. I wonder what I did with them.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Moving Ben and raining socks

C moved house this weekend. One of the things we had to do was take the Van to the 'old' house and collect Ben and his cage. Ben has to stay in a cage when he is in the house on his own otherwise he eats it - the house I mean. Seriously. Doors and door frames are fair game in his eyes. C bought the biggest cage available and Ben (a greyhound) has loads of room to move around.

I have to explain that C used to live down a long street of Victorian terraces built when cars hadn't been invented. It is narrow. Today the street is lined with cars and the gap to drive down is extremely tight. C drove down fine but when she tried to turn around the van at the bottom of the street, the van got stuck. It was pouring with rain and I had to start knocking on doors to try to find out whose car we were almost wedged against. Then ask them to please move their precious car. Twice! Claire finally managed to move the van but there was no-where to park it so she had to park up the hill, 100 houses away from hers. We then had to walk back to the house, catch the dog and attempt to get Ben into a secure room. Not easy. We then had to get the cage down the stairs. Unfortunately there was a huge pile of boxes of books and other heavy stuff in the way so we had to lift the cage over our heads to get it past these.

Ben likes socks. C kept her socks in a basket under her bed. Ben's cage is next to the bed. Ben likes to poke his long narrow nose through the mesh of the cage and steal socks. He is very picky and choses fluffy socks. He then lays on them. He doesn't eat socks! Ben also has a fluffy blanket in the bottom of his cage, he used to eat blankets but he seems to like this one and it is still in one piece.

So, we lift the cage over our heads and past the boxes, to the top of the stairs and then socks start flying around, landing on our heads, followed by a fluffy (hairy and a bit smelly) blanket. I laughed. C laughed. We got a bit hysterical. Couldn't move, socks everywhere, Ben starts fretting and worry about him eating his way out through the door forced us to get a grip. We got the cage downstairs, outside, down the concrete steps, onto the pavement. Cars parked everywhere including the pavement. We had to carry the blooming cage up the middle of the road, giggling like crazy, water dripping off us. We managed to lift the cage into the van and secure it so it wouldn't move around. Went back to collect Ben. Who is by now having a breakdown and has escaped the secure room but is still contained inside the house. Rather innocently I asked where his lead was. He ate it last week.

Picture two hysterical females, absolutely soaked to the skin, water dripping off our heads. One maniac greyhound, one van 100 houses away, no lead. I ran up the road, Ben ran after me with C hanging on to his collar hoping he was following me and not escaping. We did get him into the van and into his cage, he even stopped for a wee on the way up the street.

Next day we went to the pet shop and bought a new lead. It is a long chain with a chunky nylon hand grip. He likes it. Unfortunately someone forgot to use it and take Ben out for a walk. He peed on the brand new carpet.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Playing with my beads

The past few days I have been sat by the fire watching rubbish tv and beading. This little brooch is 3 1/2 cm wide (approx 1 1/2").

These really simple little bookmarks are 8cm tall (3").

The bigger bookmarks measure 12cm tall (4 1/2"), they are all the same size (my cut and pasting was a bit off). The bookmarks will be sold on behalf of Sleaford Embroiderers at a craft fair to be held at the beginning of December.

Couronne stick

I didn't know what a couronne stick was until last week. Whenever I wanted to make a button loop, I would hunt for something approx the right thickness, dowel, pencil etc. I won't need to do that anymore - these gorgeous turned wood couronnes arrived this morning.

I ordered them on Friday and they arrived on Monday, pretty good service, don't you think? They weren't expensive either, the three cost less than £18 including postage. is the place to go if you want one for yourself. Michael has other wood turned tools and is going to make me a mushroom so that I can do some darning.

Acts of Kindness

Isn't this lovely? A beautiful beaded cuff which fits me perfectly and a piece of complex cloth, both made by Julie. I met Julie through reading her blog. We realised we lived reasonably close so we met for a cup of tea and I think we may become good friends. Julie gifted these to me.

I always get a good feeling when I send a random act of kindness, and it is lovely when someone thinks enough of me to send me one. Raks are win win win.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

The Ex Factor

Warning - rant coming.

What is the point of having a bottom two sing off if you are going to go with the public vote anyway? Why not just cut out the second show and send the one with the fewest votes home each week?

Who gives Louis the right to act like a spoilt three year old, have tantrums on air, insult popular music dj's, and when all else fails, accuse someone of cheating?

I give in, this isn't something I want to watch anymore. Good luck to the rest of the contestants.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

A laugh a minute

My daughter gave me a copy of this book. I know, yes it is meant for teenagers but a good book is a good book no matter which aisle you find it down. (My brother has decided we don't have the 'grown up' gene so maybe I am still just a teenager inside my head.)
This one is laugh out loud, snort and giggle funny. It reminded me of my schooldays, when girls were girls and teachers were fair game.
I can highly recommend a box of maltesers and a copy of this to while away a dreary day.
Whoever came up with the phrase "over the shoulder boulder holder" gets my vote any day, we called them "upper decker flopper stoppers :)
What did you call yours?

Monday, September 28, 2009


A couple of weeks ago I spent the day teaching the (Lincolnshire Bailgate) Young Embroiderers how to make atc's. It was hard work, the young E's ages range from 5 to 15 but they worked equally hard and were absolutely wonderful. They were interested in what they were doing and of course, their atc's were way better than mine.
Unfortunately the battery on my camera died and so this pic was taken on my phone and some of the atc's are upside down.


A day at the seaside, notice the happy smiley faces. I am the one wearing the nappy.

I finished something

I am still searching for the perfect bag. There were one or two trials and tribulations but at least I finished this one. It is far from perfect and hopefully the next one will be better. The pic on the left is the bag empty, on the right is the same bag stuffed. This one has great potential.

The pattern for this one came from 'Easy Japanese Quilt Style' by Julia Davis and Anne Muxworthy

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Well, colour me

Your rainbow is shaded violet.


What is says about you: You are a creative person. You appreciate beauty and craftsmanship. You are patient and will keep trying to understand something until you've mastered it.

Find the colors of your rainbow at

Friday, September 11, 2009

Bad girl

I need a new mobile phone, (more about that later) so went into nearest town (aka Grantham) to have a look at one or two. On the way back I had to almost drive past the Boundary Mill Store.
I popped in to see if I could see anything I might like to wear to the wedding next year, but everything I tried on made me feel old and frumpy. I only went over to look at the shoe section to see if they had any boots for C. They didn't but they did have these scrummy comfy red shoes. To get from the shoe section to the door I had to walk through the handbags and this one shot off the shelf into my hand. I didn't feel quite so ancient on the way home :)

So - I bought a Polaroid Pogo at an incredible bargain price. It arrived the next day. I took a pic using my mobile phone and tried to send it to the Pogo. Oops. My phone is so old it doesn't have Bluetooth! That was why I was in Grantham looking at mobile phones.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

I finally have my sewing machine set up

I used to have a brain. I am sure the cells are still in there, they just don't seem to be connected these days.
I bought the Janome 6600 a while ago but struggled to use it efficiently as it sat too high. I considered buying a Horn cabinet but - have you seen the price?
I decided I needed a comfy chair anyway so allowed my lovely parents-in-law to buy me this one for my birthday. Unfortunately when it is raised high enough for me to sew comfortably, my feet don't reach the foot pedal. No problem, I built a shelf to put the pedal on. Brilliant, but then I couldn't get the chair with me sat on it under the table, so I still couldn't reach the machine.
I scoured e-bay for a new desk and eventually found this one. Ace condition, beautifully made, inexpensive and local. It even fits into the room. Big smile, happy me.

Now if only I could remember why I needed the Janome in the first place.......

Friday, September 04, 2009

WOMEN drivers

Busy three lane motorway. Approaching the section where the road divides, one lane leads off to the M62, two lanes continue along M1. Slow moving traffic in the one lane, fast moving in the other two. Woman driver (A) driving in the slow lane follows the junction to the M62 ie the left lane, Male driver (B) shoots across the carriageway and cuts her up, slams his brakes on as there is a queue, Woman A hits man B.
Woman driver (C) behind slams brakes on and stops a breath away from A. Congratulates herself for saving her 2 day old brand spanking new car. Looks up into the mirror just in time to see car (D) slam into her. Male driver.
Three cars written off. None of them belonging to the MOST IMPORTANT PERSON IN THE WORLD who considered traffic jams not for the likes of him.

My daughter waited 3 months for her car. She had it for 2 days. She will be ok when her shoulder heals and she gets her nerves back into shape. She is a fantastic driver. I will be ok, I still have my daughter. You see, behind car D was a HGV and we have all heard the stories of what happens when one of those slams into a car. My beautiful fantastic driver daughter had swerved far enough onto the hard shoulder that the hgv managed to drive past them without harm. I feel very lucky.

For those of you have been reading for a while, this all happened within yards of the very place that the tire blew out. She has to be one of the most competent drivers in this country. And she is a woman driver.

And I love her (and her sister)

Monday, August 31, 2009

Busy busy

Where has the summer gone? Rhetorical question obviously. It has been hot and humid in my part of the world and I have mostly melted and not felt like doing much of anything. I did tutor a workday at the embroiderers guild in Lincoln last weekend and what a wonderful group they were. Everyone worked hard and hopefully by now have a completed amulet pouch of their own. I took my camera but didn't have time to take pics.
T'weather's turned now and we have a definate chill in the air, it is also breezy so it won't be long before the leaves are on the ground. It is true what 'they' say, the older you are, the quicker time flies...

Monday, July 27, 2009

mono printing

My friend Diane (aka yarngoddess) is having great fun doing deconstructed screen printing and has inspired me to get back into the studio. I made up my thickened dye print paste but decided to mono print with it instead. My print surface is an A4 sheet of thin acrylic which I cleaned with a baby wipe. When I rolled my paste, the surface resisted and dots started to appear. The longer I waited, the more dots. The vertical stripes in the greenish piece are from my folding the wet print in plastic. Next time I will roll instead.
Iused cotton soaked in soda ash and wrapped the printed fabric in black plastic, then left it for 48 hours. That was the hardest part.

Of course not everything went swimmingly. I normally print with acrylic paint (mixed with a fabric medium) and so don't need to use gloves. I forgot that procion dyes skin and had lovely bright red finger tips. Then I put the pasted acrylic sheet down, dye side up and pressed with my hand. I had a lovely red print on the palm of my hand. Tried to wash it out with soap but no luck. There was a bottle of synthapol on the sink so I tried that. The dye washed right out of my hand. I don't know whether it only worked because there was no soda ash in my dye paste or maybe synthrapol just works, but either way it was much kinder to my skin than the stuff I normally use.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Blue John

It was the grand-kids birthday last weekend and we decided to meet in Castleton and take them down a mine. Seemed like a good idea at the time. This the view from the pub where we had lunch. We don't have hills in my part of the country so it was nice to see these.

There are several interesting mines and caverns around Castleton (Derbyshire, UK) and we chose to go down the Blue John mine. Blue John is the mineral only found in this area, it is purple and

ocre coloured and very delicate.

It is very damp down there and we saw 100's of stalagmites

We went down about 300 slippery stone steps and then we had to climb back up again. The kids were fine but me and B had to take it a bit slower, by the time we got back out into daylight, everyone had been in the gift shop and ordered tea and coffee :)

Electric lighting was only installed fairly recently but that has given enough light to allow moss to grow in the depths. I love the lime green.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Duh and double Duh

I have been doing a grand impersonation of a headless chicken the past couple of weeks. I went to a family wedding in Sheffield (lovely ceremony, lovely family atmosphere, lovely to see people I haven't seen for a few years) on the way home we had to do a bit of a detour as there had been a shooting and the road was blocked off. I am so glad I live in a sleepy little rural town.
The following day I was teaching atcs to the Bailgate guild in Lincoln. I think that went well everyone worked very hard. Then I went to see TAKE THAT in Manchester with C, (those boys still have the old magic.) Got home from that in time to pack my stuff up for the workshop with Pauline Verrinder.
For the last few weeks my pc has been playing up, with dire warnings of hard drive failure popping up and it would not log on to the net. I un-installed and re-installed stuff and decided that I needed a new modem so ordered one. Whilst waiting for that to be delivered I thought I would decorate the study. In a heatwave! My walls are now lovely and clean (and I lost a couple of pounds)
The modem arrived and I attached it to the pc and ran the set up programe but it wouldn't talk to the pc. After a few hours of tinkering, swearing and sitting in front of the fan to cool off - (heatwave, not all temper tantrums) I worked out that the ethernet switch on the pc isn't working. Duh!! The new modem needs an ethernet connection but the old one works wirelessly, so I re-set that one and it now connects just fine.
It was my birthday last week and my lovely in-laws paid for a new chair which I can raise and lower as needed. This is so that I can raise myself to the right height to sew on my new Janome 6600. To get my shoulders to the right height to use the machine, I raise the chair seat. But then my feet dangle and I can't reach the foot pedal. Not a problem, I will make a wooden box to put the pedal on. I have a 15% off voucher to use in the local diy store as long as I pay using a particular credit card. So I go to the diy store to buy a sheet of mdf with the intention of getting them to cut it to the right size - they do that free of charge. The machine was out of order (or there was no-one in to operate it), so that was out. But I had the voucher so I bought a small and lightweight staple gun to use to make print frames. Went to the checkout and handed over the voucher and the credit card and couldn't remember the blooming pin number for that card. Duh! By the time I got home I was hot and harrassed. I pulled the bag out of the boot of the car and forgot to take my hand out, pulled the lid down. DuhDuhDuh. Goodness I did say a naughty word. The first finger on my left hand took the brunt of the damage and is a bit swollen and turning a funny colour, but at least I can still move the joints so hopefully it will be ok. It doesn't half hurt though.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

John James Needles

Karen from 'John James' came to talk to us (Sleaford Embroiderers) about needles. We learned how they were made and a little about the history of needles and the company that make them. She had some interesting ones with her, some were huge and very ferocious looking. It was fascinating stuff, I use them but had never thought much about needles. Pictured are some of the harder to find needles that I bought. Well, the pebbles are not that hard to find but they are a delight, and that is why I had to have one ;)
There is now an on-line store for buying at and you can contact Karen by emailing her at

Embellisher workshop

I went to Belstead House for a weekend workshop with Pauline Verrinder. We started at 7 on Friday evening, worked until 10.30, slept and then back in the classroom by 9 on Saturday morning. Although we did stop to eat we worked until 10 again and on Sunday from 9 until 3.30. Some from the group were in the classroom from 7 each morning!!!
Pauline worked us very hard, each time we thought we might catch up she would show us new ways to use the embellisher machine. We are having a heatwave in my part of the world and it was very hot in the room, huge picture windows let in fabulous light, but also the sun, and the heat from 15 machines added to the heat from 15 women of a certain age meant that we sweltered and melted. Didn't stop us working though :) I have done a little collage of some of the examples I made, more on flickr - see link on sidebar.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Some days..

Imagine, himself is away from home doing something very important so I have the house to myself. I am sitting in my comfy chair, feet on desk, morning cappacino in my hand, reading e-mail and surfing the net when I hear a scritchy scratchy sound coming from the ceiling. I had left the bathroom window wide open and a bird must have gotten in. So I run upstairs and check. No sign of any bird, must have flown out again. Close window. Go back to my comfy position. scritchy scratchy sound coming from the ceiling! I checked outside to see if there was any way a bird could get into the house, but can’t see anything. Or was it a mouse scuttling about between the floor upstairs and the ceiling downstairs, in which case I don’t really want to know. Whatever, the sound stopped so I decide I must be imagining it.

5 am next day, I wake up to the sound of our neighbourhood pigeon coo-cooing at the top of his voice from the tv ariel. Turn over to go back to sleep and hear scritchy scratchy sound coming from the ceiling. I tried to go back to sleep but the thought of a poor little bird trapped in the attic was too much for me. So I got up – yes me, at 5am!!
I checked outside to see if I could see anywhere a bird might be getting inside. I go into the loft to see if I could see any sign of a bird. Not a thing. However there is something looking suspiciously like a feather floating just above the guttering. There is an air vent in the roof just above the feather so although there is no sign of breakage I decide to use mesh to cover it anyway. Drive to diy store, buy plastic mesh.
I climb back up the ladder into the loft with the mesh, staple gun and scissors. Think “if there is a bird flying around in here, how will I catch it”? Need something to catch bird with. Back down ladder to look for the large piece of fine black net which we used to use to keep flies out of the back door. Find net in kitchen drawer and put it into back pocket of jeans.
Back up ladder to loft. I clear a few cartons so that I can climb though the gap to get to the vent. This is at the lowest point in the roofline in the part of the loft we didn’t bother to board out as it was so shallow we knew we would never use it. Realise I will have to very carefully crawl along the joists to get to the vent. Back down the ladder to find a box to put the mesh, staple gun, scissors etc in so that I don’t have to carry them. Be brave and go into shed for large cardboard box, hoping the giant spider that lives in there is asleep and doesn’t get me. Saw friendly mouse trap on shelf and got that too. Baited that with caramel and sesame covered peanuts and a piece of chocolate (if a mouse has to be trapped in a can, he may as well eat nice things).
I climb the ladder again. Push the box with my tools in it through the gap, then decide I need to go to the loo. Down the ladder. Do the stuff and turn to flush toilet, Yikes! There is something huge and black in loo. It’s the bloody net that was in my back pocket, must have fallen in when I sat down. Of course I had peed on it. Fish net out of loo and put into sink, wash hands. Go and search for something else to catch the bird with.
Back up ladder. Did I mention that it has been rather warm here recently? I don’t know what the temperature was in my attic, but it is a well insulated enclosed space and it was like a blooming sauna up there. Anyway, I push my cardboard box through the small gap I had made in the stacked cartons and climb through. The ceiling is so low I have to somehow crawl along the rafters, which are around two feet apart, with only fibre glass insulation covering the plasterboard ceiling. I manage to get to the part of the roof with the vent, cut the plastic mesh and by laying on my back, at a very strange angle and trying to keep my weight on the joists, cover the air gap with mesh. I found a small tear in the roofing felt so stapled gunned that to fix it. Then to be extra sure I covered the whole area with mesh. I slithered back across the insulation, through the gap in the stored cartons, put everything back. Climbed back down ladder. I was dripping, smelly, had splinters in my knees, was itching everywhere from the fibreglass, when the phone rang. It was himself, he was having a bad day…

p.s. I did ring back and apologise for swearing at him once I had had a shower. The net washed in the washing machine and so far the trap is still empty. I guess the bird got out the way he got in when he heard me coming.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Paddy Killer machine embroidery workshop

Lincoln Bailgate Guild had Paddy Killer come and teach a one day workshop. Paddy's stuff is awesome and I just had to take the class.
Anyway this is what I produced in one day. We had lots of tuition in the morning with slides etc, then we traced part of a design and drew it onto antung silk fabric using a pigment drawing pen. (The silk had been sprayed with starch on the reverse of the fabric.) I lightly shaded in the areas that I wanted to fill using stitch. We could have painted the design with textile paint at this stage. The piece of silk was layered with cotton batting and had cotton organdie as the base. We used a very fine thread both in the bobbin and through the needle - I found it so much harder to sew with this thread, every tiny wobble showed. I did start to sew around the edge again but ran out of time. As I was using Paddy's thread I won't be finishing the started sample! The pen worked really well with no smudging or bleeding and I would use one again but I think I need lots more practice before I use expensive silk and organdie again.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Dyeing day

I followed the instructions from 'Dyeing in plastic bags' by Hazel Deighan. I don't usually bother with following instructions and when I did this batch I was convinced I wouldn't get nice fabric. There seemed to be far too much fluid in the bags. The duff pieces are definately due to my bad scrunching, the recipe worked just fine. I may even follow it again :)

Some of the pieces will need over dyeing or maybe printing over, but I don't mind that. They do look nice and bright drying on my washing line. The one story building in the background is my studio, now finished and a joy to work in. Having this super space hasn't made me a better artist though. Shame about that...

Monday, May 18, 2009


We had a couple of hours to wait for the Cathedral to open so walked across the square to the Alcazar Palace. Typical huge stone walls but as we walked through the entrance there was a hint of what was inside. I started to perk up a bit when I saw this.

The orange tree planted right up against the stone wall was lovely, loads of ripe oranges too. Hmm, but Seville oranges are used to make marmalade so they weren't for eating.

The detail on the stone wall in the garden was great too.

Then we went inside

There were many amazing archways like this one, check out the detail and the colours

The doors had texture and colour and pattern too.

This is a detail from the door on the right

Did I mention the floors and the ceilings

I turned 360 degrees, looked up at the ceiling and down at the floor and was sure I had died and gone to design heaven.

There was far too much to see in one visit, I want to go back for a week with a pile of sketchbooks and pens and paper and crayons to do rubbings and and

If anyone is inclined to look at more photos from the places I visited you can go to and while away an hour or two :)