Monday 26 October 2009


My 'Box of Delights'* is ready for off ..actually its The Platform gallery for Mirrorball their Christmas show.
It took a while to get into the swing of creating things but I feel quite happy with the overall package.

I love piles of things, boxes of stuff, rather like folded quilts.

They are all peeping out trying to get you to look at them.

Clamouring for attention.
Allow me to introduce a few.
Its great to be re-acquainting myself with my stash of Harris Tweed. This time I've added some felt shapes. (You may have seen one of these before)

As usual I've found that Harris Tweed has hidden depths and a piece I dismissed previously, because it didn't match my idea of HT, is now the love of my life.
Just look at the colours here.

There's another colourway but I don't have much of any of it sadly.
Just enough for a little purse or two and some hearts and circle brooches.

The round brooches take longer to make than you would imagine.
I tried them with big beads.

I especially like the blue ones.

The Autumn sun provided the light for these pictures.

I was doubtful it would be bright enough but I think the glow is perfect.

There's always a bit of fluff where you don't want it though isn't there?

*Please excuse me for judging my own work to be delightful..I just like the turn of phrase

Wednesday 21 October 2009

The Turning of the Year

Its that time of year again.

The time when I wish I had been driven to stitch other things than felt brooches a bit earlier in the year.
The time when I work to get a delivery for a local Gallery Christmas show.
But my 'silk muscle' has withered. Its taken me a while to get back into shape and some of these pieces, cuffs and brooches, are my limbering up exercises and not quite up to performance standard.

We have been under stress lately and its hard to be creative when you have a worry.
I go through well tried motions and the results are ..well.....neither here nor there.

While probably quite acceptable
I feel they lack the verve and spontaneity of earlier pieces .

It was very difficult to take decent photographs this week with such dull conditions and low sun.

There was one little strange I-don't-know-where-this-came-from piece.

I had just seen a TV programme about Madonna.

I would have made more things today, but I had to make three trips to the Hospital .
One to take an elderly neighbour, with his wife, for an appointment.
He had to be admitted so the second was to take his wife back with his necessary belongings and for a visit in the afternoon.
The third was because when I got home from the second I couldn't find my purse.
I drove back 5 miles to search the car park.
There was no sign of it.
I went inside and on my way to the main reception I just happened to pop into Outpatients where two receptionists were huddled over the computer screen trying to get in touch with me.
They had my purse.
I wish I could thank the man who had found it on the car park and handed it in.

There are good people out there.

(I do love our newly painted garage.
Ball Green and Clunch.
With red leaves.

Friday 16 October 2009

On Hand stitch

As I work on struggling to regain my creativity and meet deadlines, I envy those who are able to sit and hand sew.
Please, don't misunderstand this..I love my tiny machined adventures in textile art, each one a new beginning and and as exciting to me as the one before. You just never know where the line will take you. Where the colour will take you or where the texture will take you.
But I cast my mind back to earlier days. Days when I earned my crust by other means..and a much bigger crust it was, but left me hungry for creativity.
In those days if I had the time, I could sew just for pleasure.

I still used the machine but the fun was in the rhythm of the needle.
And the sound. That sound..even on a machine. That' in and out' of the needle and the thread is magical, entrancing and addictive.
But best of all by hand.
You have probably seen these before but they illustrate my point. Th ephotographs are old and not great but you can enlarge them by clicking on them.

Machine sewn felt, in much the same way as I do my current work, finished with gorgeous Stef Francis hand dyed threads handstitched.

I made 15 for this screen.
Heads from Ancient Greek 'Attic' Vases.

These led on to other Faces.

Apologies for repeating this.
A while later I was working to a group theme of 'Arabian Nights'.
This was my Scheherazade.

Good in parts (but I hated the hair)
I learned lessons from this piece. Tiny pieces of chiffon and velvet held down by running stitch.
I discovered a technique which I promised myself I would return to.

I was reminded of this when I caught up with Spirit Cloth today.
Jude is the Doyenne of the hand stitch. She needs no introduction and reigns supreme in the realm of 'Slow cloth'.

Other lessons were learned.

Stored up for future use.
You learn something with every piece you make.

Sunday 11 October 2009

A Grand Day Out.

Preparation is all important.
The night before.
Tube map:tick

Make new bag:tick
Train schedule with all important reference number for retrieving tickets from worrying self service machine:tick
Credit card:tick
Tissues: Tick
Paracetamol:tick (EDIT: For Americans! Paracetamol=painkillers)
Comfy shoes:tick
Phone: tick
Lipstick for meeting blogger friends: tick
Sandwich ingredients at the ready, and an early night with very little sleep and that which I had was filled with many bad dreams of not being able to input correct number on ticket machine at Preston station and friend getting fed up and going home.
At 5 am I jumped out of bed, showered and rushed down to make aforementioned sandwich. I had prepared the ingredients but forgot we had no bread other than a frozen unsliced loaf and some frozen rolls which I managed to saw in half.

We caught the Virgin train at 7am and two and a bit hours later we country mice arrived at Euston. We cleverly managed to get to Alexandra Palace, I must have had retained a little tube memory from my 6 years living in Twickenham, can it really be 40 years ago?

The Knitting and Stitching show, of course,was spectacular.

but by far the best bits of the day were when I met fellow bloggers, Gina, Gill, and their friend,Val, and Carol, and Lynda.
I was recognised by my bag by Sandy from Dangling by a thread.
What an absolute pleasure it was to get together and chat with my imaginary friends!

I'm sure there were a lot more bloggers there who I didn't get to meet.
My preparations had as you all know if you read the last post, included research into eating places.
For the sake of convenience we decided on Carluccio's on St Pancras Station. My friend cleverly realised we didn't need to change trains to get there from Wood Green and as it was only one station away from Euston it seemed the best option. The food was lovely especially the panna cotta.
We had a touristy photo taken with this gentleman..I am the one on his right who bears an uncanny physical resemblance. Dishevelled, portly, with a big square..... bag..I am glad I wore my scarf so you can distinguish between us.

Our return journey was first class so we could relax in the lounge at Euston, and if I hadn't eaten so much Italian I could have availed myself of allsorts of lovely stuff.

The day was a great acheivement for me.
Having become rather sedentary lately I was wondering if I could manage a whole day ..a very long day.. wandering around but I didn't feel tired at all.

I am so lucky to have a friend like the one I went with because we instinctively like the same things so enjoy going to shows and exhibitions together.
There were one or two really beautiful pieces or artists we enjoyed. In the Pfaff embroidery challenge we loved the pieces by Barbara Lee Smith and Jean Littlejohn.
Janice Gunner's beautiful selective stitchings on Indigo dyed fabrics were subtle and understated and underlined the 'less is more' theme we began to feel as we walked around.
We enjoyed Tom Lundbergs glorious little pieces of embroidery. He must have been working for ages and we didn't even know it.
Of course the graduate Showcases were entertaining but one in particular appealed to me. She had large printed textiles but had made some very small pieces with animals illustrated on fabric with just a little stitching. A fox in particular caught my eye with the tiniest ever sequins across the top of its head.
Anyone who saw them couldn't fail to be impressed with Kerry Mosleys amazing knitted and stitched portraits.

There was a lot more to see but I didn't get the feeling of wanting to rush home and try something.
We both felt that ultimately stitch, fabrics, threads, are like paint, and its what you do with them that matters. Someone can use the simplest of materials and techniques and put them together in such a way as to delight.

Now here's something you don't see on my blog very often...

Good grief!! I'll be making bunting next!!
But how could I resist them?
I also spent an inordinate amount of money on 'things to hand pendants from'. What else would you call them?
I am intending to hang some of my felty pieces and silk hearts from them.

Now I'm back with my very small new stash working with my very limited techniques and doing my own very limited thing.
This is a 'Little and large' order for an American gentleman.

I had some very helpful and kind comments on my last post (not counting the Japanese one and they were not helping with dress patterns) so thank you for saying lovely things.
Lovely .

Monday 5 October 2009


This is not a real blog post.
Just popping in to make an announcement.

A few months ago I bought a return rail ticket to London for the Knitting and Stitching Show with a friend, so on Friday we will be making a very early start for our big day out.
(Think Country Mice)
I've never been to Alexandra Palace before and I don't know how feasible it is to arrange meetings , or where would be a good place, but it would be lovely to meet you if you are going to be there on Friday. I think the afternoon would be better than morning, or perhaps lunchtime if there is such a place as where ones own comestibles may be ...comested(?)
Perhaps those of you who know it better will be able to advise.
I would also like advice about a nice place to eat between there and Euston in the evening, Our train leaves at 8.30 pm so we have 3 hours to dine and travel and its Friday....
When I say 'nice' I mean reasonably inexpensive, quick but not 'fast' and a bit more interesting than we get at home.
I am not averse to a chain such as Carluccio's or is there one called something to do with kebabs? Shish or something? I'm willing to try anythings except eels...

Thank you thank you thank you thank you everyone who sent me lovely messages during my break.
The support and good wishes I've had really mean a lot to me. I feel I have dear friends and confidantes all over the world.
I may well be back to my blog shortly.
I don't think I'll be able to resist a review of the K&S if all goes well.

I'll leave you with a picture of an experimental 'Woodland' cuff, which I made at a particularly trembly and emotional moment from the last week and which is, as I type , winging its way to its new home after a very brief appearance on ETSY.
(Thank you fp)


st of my pictures can be enlarged by clicking on them.

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