Saturday, December 25, 2010

Friday, December 03, 2010

Bells and hearts

Some of this year's handmade christmas tree decorations. For the Christmas Craft Fair and for personal presents. I like to make a few each year for family and friends.

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Scraps of synthetic fleece fabric layered onto ecofelt with wisps of wool tops (roving) and run through the embellisher machine. Then machine quilted and hand embroidered. Finished with a machine wrapped cord and wooden beads.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

All cut up about it!

I'm fed up with constantly buying new embroidery scissors. I must have spent quite a lot of money over the years and I have a drawerful of blunt scissors. I've tried the "manual" types of sharpener and been totally underwhelmed by the results. I've been looking at what else is available. Has anyone got, or tried, a really good electric scissor sharpener you could recommend? I'm sure it would save me money in the long run.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Tom Foolery Joolery!

A little light relief. I've had it in mind to try making an embroidered cuff for a while, so I had a go, using up some odds and ends.

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It is a "sandwich" of needle felted and embroidered fabric, pelmet vilene (pellon) and commercially produced felt. I used velcro (hook and loop) as a fastener, but I wasn't very pleased with it. It made the cuff far too thick and the overlap didn't sit nicely. I had to add a bead and loop fastening to the edge to keep it flat.

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So, an opportunity for experimentation with different kinds of decorative fastenings!

It is edged with my favourite trellis stitch!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


My comfort cats have been featured in an Etsy treasury courtesy of The Virgin Rose from Mexico. Thank you Virgin Rose!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Threads in Common

Went to see a very nice exhibition today:

Reflections from a sketchbook - Threads in Common.

At the Greenstede Gallery, East Grinstead.

An exhibition of textile, mixed media and painting. A wide variety of styles and the standard is very high. Well worth a visit. Unfortunately the group do not have a presence on the web, so I can't link to any of their work.

The Greenstede Gallery is a very nice venue with a cafe and cheap car parking right outside.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Blog flog.............

It's clearly my day for passing on information. I just found this blog from the New Embroidery Group. Well worth a visit, especially for this page of experimental or nue samples and the gallery of members' work.

Textile Studio Exhibition

I've just been to a really nice exhibition by the Textile Studio at the
Greenstede Gallery in East Grinstead, West Sussex.

This group have been going for 40 years. To celebrate they decided that each current member would make a piece with 40 as the theme. The pieces are very varied but each is plainly mounted on a board, all the same height and they make a really nice display showing a wide variety of styles and techniques. In addition, there are many more very impressive examples of members' work.

I asked if this group have a web presence and was told that they do not. I think that's a pity. I "lifted" this description from an exhibition leaflet:

The Textile Studio was formed in 1970 for advanced embroidery students and those interested in developing their textile and designing skills by meeting with like-minded people. It has since gained a well-deserved reputation through successful exhibitions of creative work, using fabrics, threads and other materials to push forward beyond the traditional boundaries. During the life of the group, many well-known textile artists have been members.

Members enjoy working together to exchange ideas and knowledge. Their wide range of skills includes embroidery, felt making, silk painting, patchwork and quilting, mixed media, beadwork, three-dimensional work and dyeing.

The group aims to be experimental – exploring fabrics, threads and other media in an innovative way. Textiles are produced in a variety of forms including wall hangings, soft furnishings, quilts, clothing and accessories, soft sculpture and jewellery.

Well worth a visit if you are in the area, and there are 3 more textile-related exhibitions at the Greenstede Gallery coming up over the next two months.

Christmas is coming..............

and while I object to shops putting out the decorations and playing the christmas tapes (Store 21 you should be ashamed of yourselves), I should have been getting ready for the seasonal craft fairs for a while now. Left things until the last minute as usual!

Here is my favourite from this year's batch of SMockery Santas!

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I fell in love with this chap myself............

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...and then I sold him.

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How could I do that?!

A bit late.....................

but happy halloween ....................

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Here's my latest witch!

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Saturday, October 23, 2010

A little bit more...............

I took out that bit of french knots I didn't like - and added a couple more TAST stitches.

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I think the embroidery on this is finished now - I just have to decide where to go next. I want to put a white layer underneath to strengthen the colours, so I tried wadding with some hand contour quilting, but it didn't work. I may try tying with colonial knots.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Stretch my song.............

I really don't know where I'm going with this. It's difficult to tell when parts of it are hooped up and other parts are all puckered around the stitching, so I decided to stretch it then take another look. Here it is, pinned on my batik frame, ready for dampening:

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The embroidered part of it measures 18 x 12 inches.

Now that I have looked at it again, I've decided to take out that cross shape in white french knots and replace it with some more needleweaving in a variegated thread. I can see that I've still got room for one or two more TAST stitches too, so I'm not quite done with it yet.

This piece kept me company during the dark hours before dawn when I awoke and couldn't get back to sleep because my mind was full of worry, sadness or fear. I'm not sure yet how I want to finish it, but I do want to give it the respect it deserves because it is very important to me. It has a lot of meaning for me and at some time in the future I know it will be a comfort.

Saturday, September 18, 2010


BeeFranck featured my felt fish as a Stitchgasm over at MrXStitch. Thank you BeeFranck!

It's well worth going to take a look at MrXStitch to see all kinds of embroidery, interviews with artists, guest columns and more but beware - subversive stitching is featured on Saturdays, not for those of a nervous disposition!

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

You should have seen the one that got away!...

Creatures from the deep. I may have gone a bit over the top with this pair.

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Monday, September 06, 2010

Once more with feeling............

I've felt able to pick up this piece again at last, and so I've done a bit more to it:

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It is almost full up!

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Catch of the Day!

Made some progress:

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All felted and on adjustable cords for hanging - variations in faces, fins and tails!

Friday, September 03, 2010

Something VERY fishy going on here!

A few WIPs to finish up, before I start on this year's Christmas ideas.

Time I got going on these felted fish:

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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

.....Weep if you must for parting is hell...................

but life goes on so sing as well (Joyce Grenfell).

To that end, I joined other members of the Creative Co-op at the Llammas Fair at the beginning of this month. Here's your truly, all dressed up and ready to throw myself into the spirit!

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I actually sold a couple of dolls like those! In fact, I did quite well over the two days. My friend Suesi says it must have been the "Lucky Llammas Outfit". The bubble soon burst though, I had another outing this month at a local Funday and I sold one card for £1.50 - I threw caution to the wind and spent it on an icecream! Still, it's got me going again. I'm going to tidy up the sewing room this week and dust off my needles and pins!

Here's a couple more pictures of the Llammas Fair, courtesy of my friend Alanna:

John Barcleycorn, he was at the head of the procession with the Eastbourne Giants.

Some of Eastbourne's own Morris Dancers.

and a picture of my table in the gazebo:

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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Double edged sword

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Raw grief can be a sharp, sharp pain, especially if it is accompanied by anger and bitterness. So this TAST stitch was just right. I spat and I stabbed and I stitched.

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Here the sword stitch is worked in a circle, all encompassing, pointing inwards, focusing on the source of the pain and guarding the memory of the one that is gone.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

My Sad Song continues...........

but in more subdued colours now. Still a slow cloth and still using the "TAST 2010" stitches.

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RIP my lovely Jim - 22 June 2010

To find out all about TAST 2010 click

Monday, June 07, 2010

Now the piece has a proper name..............

It is to be called "My Sad Song". (Because hope is gone)

We were given the worst possible news last Tuesday and for a few days I didn't even pick up this piece of work. Although my brother is two years younger than me, he's my big brother, he's always been there. Thankfully, I knew before he did. I visited a day earlier and saw the doctor. When he telephoned to tell me after getting his biopsy results, he said "Never mind" - he's still looking after me. I'm so grateful that I was prepared.

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So, all the hope that I stitched into the top left hand corner of this piece is gone. There are other little bits of hope scattered around it too. We have been on such a rollercoaster ride. The treatment my brother received in the first few weeks was callous and incompetent and time after time we were told the worst, then given hope, then had it snatched away again. Now he has a new consultant and his care and treatment have improved immeasurably. So, first has to come acceptance and then later, much later I hope, grief.

(The condition that my brother has is called CUP(cancer of unknown primary). 3-4 percent of cancer sufferers present with this problem. Much work needs to be done by the medical profession on the speed of diagnosis and the way that this disease is presented to patients and their loved ones.)

Sunday, May 30, 2010

I learn more about 'Slow Cloth'

Unusual for me, an introspective post.

Suddenly I find some very personal meaning in a piece of work.

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I started this piece for Sharon B's TAST2010 challenge. A stitch a week for one year. I realised that it wasn't going to last, so I patched on some extra pieces of fabric and stitched scraps around the sides so that I can work right to the edges and more easily hoop the piece.

It is hand stitched and it will go on for the best part of a year. That has to be a 'Slow Cloth'!.

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I will be learning new stitches, or experimenting with old favourites as I go along.

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Also, this is a perfect example of the way I like to use threads and stitches to completely change the look of a piece of fabric. The background to this piece is made up of patched together pieces from the reject bin. Ragged bits of muslin I used as sop cloths when I marbled some nappy (diaper) liners with oil paints. Looking at the heavily stitched areas, you would never know!

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Lastly, but most importantly: my brother is very ill. He has been in hospital since March 25th. This week we anxiously await the results of a bone biopsy. I am so scared that we are going to lose him, and I panic. Then I think about how scared he must be, the pain he is suffering and I am distraught.

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I pick up this piece and I stitch, and I stitch. I'm still afraid. I think about him all the time, one minute hope the next despair. But the stitching has a calming effect. For all this time, I have stitched my thoughts into that piece of work. Never before has this happened. Whatever the outcome, I don't think that I will ever part with it. For it has become my 'Piece for Jim'.

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To find out all about TAST 2010 click

Saturday, May 29, 2010


Feeling Stitchy is running a rainbow challenge. All work has to be displayed on the Flickr Group and must be hand embroidery in predominantly one colour. I think there is just one more day to go, get the details here.

I put in a couple of pieces of canvas work. I'm not sure what colour category they belong to! One is all grey and the other is mostly black and white with touches of colour. I put them in the 'black' section.

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This one was about texture and scale.

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This one was about texture and cool colours.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Wise Ones and Elders

I've added a few more to this collection, another "Wise One" and a couple of "Elders".

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I wanted to make them look foreign and exotic, without any distinct racial characteristics - not sure if I succeeded.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Wise words

When I posted here about trying to make something cheap enough to sell and not doing the kind of work that I really like, my friend Tarni sent me a message saying "Don't get good at something you don't like doing". I took note of her wise words and took time for myself and made these "Wise Ones" just because I wanted to:

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They incorporate all the things that I like doing best. The base fabrics are constructed of bits and pieces, machine quilted, embellished on the machine and needlefelted. Portraits in coloured pencil, needle sculpted. Fancy headresses:

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Best of all, lots and lots of slow, rhythmical hand stitching that took several hours. Lots of texture:

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All combined into a 3-dimensional decorative item, around 9 inches high, that can stand up on its own.

My friend Tarni also tells me that I underprice my work. That if I want to continue making the heavily embroidered items that I like, and be taken seriously as a textile artist, I must be prepared to charge a fair price, reflecting the skill and time involved. I'm working on that....................

Friday, April 16, 2010

You can embroider just about anything...........

Close up of stitching on a trio of goddess dolls:

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The fabric is recycled felt needlepunched with scraps of silk, chiffon and wool sliver (roving), machine quilted then embellished with stitchery.

I used most of my favourite stitches: double herringbone, double cretan, threaded herringbone, laced fly stitch, buttonhole and trellis stitch.

Here's a picture of the three ladies:

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Monday, April 12, 2010

Just cruisin' and usin' up some scraps!

Odds and ends made from scraps and leftovers, useful to put on the table at craft fairs.

Some brightly coloured fabric badges:

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Spot the TAST knotted buttonhole stitch!

and a handful of pretty patchwork pincushions:

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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Country cats

Still looking towards the early summer craft fair, I came up with these:

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They don't take too long to make and as they don't take up much fabric they use up left over scraps. They are just 5 inches high and almost as much around, can stand up on their own on their fat bottoms and I think that several of them will look bright and cheerful on the stall.
(Here's a fat bottom)

here's the problem. In trying to come up with something handmade that is cheap and cheeful enough for people to buy at our local craft fairs I'm getting further and further away from the intricate and labour intensive embroidery that I love but that people are not prepared to pay for.