Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Happy christmas

Me and my hooligans wish you all a happy holiday.  I hope those of you who get new toys have time to play and share your experiments. 

British Patchwork and Quilting

My work isn't on the front cover this time :( But I have words, the 'NEW from old' is my article.  Happy bunny dancing again....

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

something finished

The hooligans have been using two old stools for three years, it was time to cheer them up a bit and stop that annoying gap between them happening.

They approve :) 

Monday, November 25, 2013

Harrogate Knitting and Stitching Show

The traffic was a nightmare.  Long queue, slow moving, frustrating knowing what would be at the end.  The anticipation of exhibits to see and goodies to buy.

Eventually we got to the door.  Shock horror - £15 to go in!  I am sure it wasn't that much last year.  The exhibits were good, but if, like me, you had been to the Quilt Festival, then much of it had already been seen.  The atmosphere wasn't nice.  Too much pushing and shoving, backpacks smacked in face, tempers and tantrums.  Goodness knows how the people sitting in wheelchairs coped.  I didn't buy much.  We had intended to go for two days but we left early on day one and didn't go back.  I did manage to chat to a few friendly faces so it was worth the trip.

That meant we had a day spare so we popped to Leeds and Ikea, and I bought this fabric.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Stitch and Structure


I forgot to mention that whilst we were away someone showed us a copy of Jean Drapers book.  Everyone wanted a look and it was clear that it was a 'must have', I nipped onto Amazon and ordered three copies.  Even though this was a Sunday, the books turned up the next day, although the postman was a bit confused about who to deliver it to.  I know that at least one more person ordered it to be delivered to their home address.

Another brought for show and tell was this
one from Angie Lewin.  I don't usually work from plants and wouldn't have given this one a second look.  What a mistake that would have been, the illustrations are amazing and I think will be inspirational for some time to come. 

So, two tomes I won't have to cart around with at Harrogate :)  Did I mention I am going to the Knitting and Stitching Show this week?  

Thursday, November 14, 2013

holiday tales part three

We got back from St Ives, happy and refreshed.  A good nights sleep sorted out any other cobwebs and we started Wednesday full of verve.

Wednesday was officially the day off so most people were out for at least part of the day.  The three of us stayed in and got on with stuff like good students should. 

Thursday was finishing and rounding off day, I started a postcard but to be honest I was more interested in seeing what everyone else had done.  It was very good. 
We had a nice lunch and as we were settling to actually do something the power went out.  Hmm.  Not just our power, not the farm's power, not even just Mevagissey's power.  The whole area went dark!!  With no sign of it coming back on, those who lived close by packed up their cars and went home.  We sat in candlelight wondering whether to tell ghost stories or play charades when it came back on again :)  Saved from silly games! 
On Friday morning we squished everything in the car, there was still room to breath and no-one had to sit on anything they didn't want to.  We set off on the next stage of the adventure, Stonehenge - here we come.
Bleddy traffic.  Bleddy accidents.  Sigh.  We did get to Stonehenge, it was still open, just.  Julie and I had been before but Tina hadn't so we said we would go in.  Tina had forgotten her NT card and refused to pay the entrance fee.  So we popped into the shop and bought a couple of postcards, then we peeked over the fence.  It was raining and a bit muddy.  We drove to Salisbury to the hotel and had a little rest and dinner.  Tina should not have eaten the ice cream.
The plan was to spend a few hours in Salisbury, nice Cathedral interesting antique shops and at least one fabric shop that I know of.  However Tina had an almighty headache, (on account of eating dairy ice cream, which she knows she shouldn't have!!) we decided to go home.
Sigh bleddy traffic, bleddy accidents.  Luckily Julie is a good navigator and knows a thing or two and led us away from the big jam and towards the A1.  Serendipity meant that Julie needed to 'powder her nose' just as we approached 'Galleria', so we went just for a comfort break.  And TK Maxx.  hmmmm.  We ate lunch too.  And then we really did set off on the last leg of the journey.  As we approached Knebworth I did wonder if there was time for a quick hop to ArtVanGo but sadly we were a bit late.  Bugrit (as one of my favourite literary character says.)  AVG had a fab exhibition and we missed it.  Gruump 

And that is kind of the end.  We dropped Julie off at home, Barry came to pick Tina up. 

holiday tales part two

St Ives is never quiet, it is way to lovely for that so there was a bit of a panic when the park and ride car park was full.  Not being daft enough to drive down to the town (I have been before don't ya know), we had a bit of a ride around and found the rugby club, which had opened it's car park for the day.  Sorted!  A slow stroll down to the town followed by rather nice fish and chips in a pub.

Tide was in so we had to do the galleries and shops, buying nothing but postcards as it is a popular tourist spot with prices to match!  Eventually towards the end of the afternoon the tide went out enough for us to beahcomb.

There were interesting bits of rock

 and bits of pottery, washed smooth by the sea

and heart shaped bits of rock

    and sea glass.....swoon  

holiday tales part one

Tina, Julie and I went on our holidays to sunny Cornwall.  Via Glastonbury.  We managed to cram all our stuff into the car and set off full of anticipation. Julie wasn't well and Tina hadn't slept so some of the anticipation wasn't good!  There was a little hiccup on the way as someone had done the unthinkable and gotten themselves killed on the M5.  The road was closed for investigations.  There followed some whining about the holdups and detours whilst thanking our lucky stars it was someone else and not us.

We found Glasonbury and the hotel, which was situated right next to the Clarks discount outlet, so we found that too ;)  Julie had done a sterling job of navigating whilst feeling under the weather so she went to her room for a little sleep and Tina and I popped into Glastonbury for a looksee.  We parked in the Abbey car park full of anticipation for the ruins, but Tina refused to pay the £6 entrance fee so we went shopping instead.  The shops were interesting, full of things I might have liked but every one seemed to be burning incense which made my head spin, the prices finished me off!  We did find a couple of charity shops and Tina came away with a big bag of interesting stuff.   I bought these.  They are around 1inch square and I think there were 80 in the bag.  But they were a bargain at around 3p each.  

The next morning we took Julie to have a look at the shops and then set off for mevagissey  We took the direct route which entailed driving through the little town with it's picturesque narrow steep streets with brick walls and buildings and nowhere for vehicles to pass and I don't do hill starts on account of having lived in flat areas where there aren't any!  Goodness I was very brave.  Tina closed her eyes and I do believe Julie said a naughty word. 

I borrowed this image from keithlard as I didn't take any pics on account of I was driving. 

We arrived safely (and without harming either humans or animals on the way) and found the farm where we would be staying, it was absolutely charming.  The studio is a huge space with 6 bedrooms on the ground floor and a huge living area/studio upstairs.  We were a little early and the tutor was a little late on account of being stuck in a flood.  We chose a single room each and sort of waited. 

Other students arrived and we said the usual hello's etc.  A late arrival put the cat amongst the pigeons as she insisted she had to have a room in the studio.  She looked at us in turn waiting for someone to agree to move.  One kinder lady moved her things out and moved to a room in one of the cottages.  The LA (aka late arrival) then announced that "I go to bed early and I need peace, so there will be no noise at night.  No walking around, no using the kitchen, no tv, no drinking, no using sewing machines, no radios, no making cups of tea, no going up and down those stairs and no slamming of doors!"  Tina, myself and Jenny put our boots on and walked down to the beach, we had a lovely hour beachcombing before it became too dark.  When we got back to the studio, the last student had arrived (and found the unoccupied room in the studio to be very comfortable, thank you) and also the tutor.

We had a very quiet evening.

Next day was due to be 'go to the beach and take photos, beachcomb and sketch).  Sadly the tide was in until 5pm so there was nothing to do but trundle around Mevagissey, eat fish and chips whilst sitting on a bench over looking the harbour. The space on the bench was mine, and I have no idea who the chap is, but he was happy:)

The following day, Sunday,  was dyeing day.  Onion skin, red cabbage and indigo.  Whoohoo.  There had been a little misunderstanding about food so four of us were designated to go food shopping.  I admit, I didn't drive!  When we got back to the studio the dyeing was in full swing, everyone had had such a good time that the indigo vat had died, the onions were depleted and one batch of the cabbage had produced nothing.  After lunch the indigo vat was topped up and more onion skins boiled and I did manage some interesting pieces of fabric. 

The big storm.  Parts of the country were having a hurricane and we were supposed to, we waited but gave up and went to bed.  Boy did it rain though! 

Monday was a stitching day.  It was a hive of activity with thundering machines, some painting quietly, some gently  musing and a bit of chatting.  I procrastinated.  Then there was some giggling and some whining. Some watching of lambs being born.   It rained again.

Tuesday was the day we got too stressed.  We booted up and went off down to the beach for a walk to blow away cobwebs, headaches and other stuff.  Sigh.  The path to the beach was flooded.  Not a paddle through flood, a up to your elbows, can't get through kind of flooded.  A little despondent we went back.  Julie face was a mirror of mine.  I suggested we went out for the day.  So we excused ourselves and bunked off to St Ives


Front cover!!!!  Ok, you have to look really hard and it is tiny but it is there.  See the little red and green bowls next to the £400 sign?  Those are mine :) 

The editor did a fabulous job presenting the article, even though she only had my photos to work with.  Happy skipping today...

Thursday, October 03, 2013

Cloth and Memory Salts Mill

I went to Saltaire to see the Cloth and Memory exhibition.  Wow.  There were some quite special works on display, some of my favorites were the embroidery frames by Caroline Bartlett - I could have looked at these for hours

Caren Garfen's embroidered ribbons on wooden reels were beautifully stitched and so poignant - each one a name taken from the local 1891 census.  Tiny objects were attached to some of the reels.  I wanted to find out more about the girls listed here.

Rachel Gray's layered stitched pieces brought English Paper Piecing into the 21st century,  another of those 'I could look at these forever' moments.

I loved Yoriko Murayama's spirals and Jeanette Appletons books.  We had a lovely day, ate a scrummy lunch and came away enthused.  I have more photos here

Saturday, September 28, 2013

a little box

isn't it annoying when students do better than the tutor
This was taken on Friday, didn't they do well :) 


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

dyeing part 2

I scrunched and folded and basically bunged the white fabric into jars and pots.  Poured over the dye and walked away.  I did not poke, or shake or even breath on those jars for 24 hours.   Then I rinsed and rinsed and rinsed and rinsed and.....bunged it all into the washing machine.  Hung it on the line and ironed and ironed and ironed.  Folding the finished dyed fabric is such a pleasure, so I stroked and..
Dyeing is hard work and I send a round of applause to anyone who makes their living doing this. 

I didn't dye bright yellow or lemon, I know I have plenty of that, but I can see that I need more red..


I learned once again that I love cotton poplin.  I don't think I will ever buy any other fabric for dyeing again. 

Colours used were - top photo, lilac, purple, marine violet, magenta, scarlet, golden yellow, mustard, orange rust..  bottom photo, jet black, warm black, indigo, warm blue, robins egg blue, turquoise and lime green.
Friends came round for a dyeing day, I supervised, made the tea etc.  There were some bits of dye left over so I had a happy day using it up.  Then I mixed up a bit more :)

Sometimes I get more than I expected

sunshine for a rainy day

A gift from someone special :)

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

organiser box thingy

This pretty little thing is made from a 12" square

Monday, August 19, 2013

comments came

I may not have my sunflower back yet, but the judges comments came this morning.

happy dancing today :)

Tuesday, August 13, 2013


My entry for the Festival of Quilts.  I am waiting for the judges comments to come.  Scary times...

Thursday, August 01, 2013


When life gets you down, I get down to some dyeing.  These are the pieces of silk that I showed in jars in the last post.  Many rinses, a good wash and a hint of fabric conditioner to cut the static and they are ready to use. 
Colours used were medium blue, turquoise, magenta, scarlet, golden yellow, lemon yellow and pearl grey.  All procion dyes.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

arty day

I have E staying with me this week.  He likes to do an arty project so today he painted and printed a canvas. (I found a huge stash of big bubble wrap stashed in E's dads car boot.  I may have 'borrowed a couple of pieces)  Then E ran some card through my big shot using one of Tim Holtz's cutting dies.  We tried one or two colourways and E decided he like the aged rusted look, he dabbed teal paint on first, then went over with copper.  

My main input is to let him use my equipment and stash...and I get to clear up! 

Watching E use those gorgeous colours gave me the urge to colour some fabric.  Well, that and the fact that I am teaching on Friday and needed some silk

The smaller jars sitting in the microwave contain silk habitai.  The larger tubs have cotton poplin.  I used procion dyes and all are happily batching overnight.  The microwave is an old one used solely for dying, although on this occasion I only used it for storage. 

We had the most spectacular sunset, one glorious blue sky with many more pinks than my camera can capture.  Even the sky supports my colour choices today :)


Thursday, July 25, 2013

sneak peek

After many false starts and new beginnings, I finally decided it was done and mailed my first ever entry to the Festival of Quilts.  I am not sure whether I am allowed to show it on the net so am only giving a sneak peek for now.  I now have to wait for the judges comments and hope that they are not too critical. 

Friday, July 19, 2013

Alicia Merrett day

Alicia Merrett came to a local quilt group and there were spaces so I booked and I am very
glad I did.  In the morning we did free form cutting and joining, although mine wasn't as 'free' as I would have liked. 

In the afternoon I learned how to do those itsy bitsy inserts.  These pieces are around 5 inches high. We would normally have done much more but it was so hot, the irons and sewing machines didn't help to cool the room either. 

I love these techniques and have already a project in mind once I finish the one I am supposed to making for the Festival of Quilts.  I do love a new technique :)