Saturday, 10 October 2020

Back to School

Hurrah - classes have re-started in a Covid-secure environment!  

To celebrate the return of regular workshops I have devised a stitch sampler book.  Here are the first pages to practise straight stitches and chains.  Each double page has examples of the different kinds of stitch with a small sampler on the opposite page.  There will be 8 double pages in all which build into a small fabric book.

Classes run on Tuesday at Glusburn Institute 10-12noon and Thursday at West Lane Baptist Church, Haworth 10-12:30.  Message me to reserve a place or order a kit.

Purple reign


When someone sends me a photograph as beautiful as this, I can't help but get out my sewing threads and recreate it in stitch.  The wonderful textures and colours captured in this image taken by Lindsay have been translated into two pictures worked in darning stitch (below left) and kantha (below right).  Both are available as kits.

Thursday, 20 August 2020



Pattern or pattern?  This is both.  It's been a nice diversion from making up my own patterns but I still like a challenge and this was exactly what I got when my daughter presented me with a PDF pattern for some palazzo pants.  28 pages and a lot of sellotape later, I had an outline but no instructions!  Using an old sheet to make a toile, I tested the pattern and the fit, only to learn that the waistline was too low and the pockets were unworkable.  

The fabric itself proved to be difficult to source.  During the lockdown period, sewing has proved to be very popular and at one point many retailers had sold out of fabric.  Luckily Sew Essential came up with this joyous leaf print.  So here they are, Summer-ready palazzo pants.

Thursday, 6 August 2020

The evolution of an idea

Sunday, 28 June 2020


With very little to keep me rooted, anchored and calm during the Corona virus lockdown period, sewing has proved to be a valuable pastime.  Over the last few months I have been working on a Travelling Book project for Skipton Embroiderers' Guild.  The most recent theme was Inside my mind chosen by artist Haley Mills-Styles and this has provided a great opportunity to reflect on all of the conflicting emotions brought on by 12 weeks of social distancing and isolation.
I started, as I do with most projects, by making a map of anything that popped into my head: what made me happy or worried; what I missed and what I was happy to leave behind; how the elements connected or clashed.  The page was peppered with doodles too.   I remembered a previous piece of work that I'd done called 'Something on my mind' and wanted to do a smaller version.  In a moment of pure serendipity, my friend Marjorie had also remembered this piece of work and sent me a couple of vintage handkerchiefs that she had acquired.  What luck!  

I stitched an edited version of the mind map onto one of the handkerchiefs, adding some extra colour with Inktense pencils and doodle stitching to connect the words.  I like the idea of layers and conflicting emotions created as the fabric is folded which mirrors the turmoil inside my mind.  Thank you Haley for a great project!

Tuesday, 12 May 2020

Sakura time

I have been celebrating the glorious cherry blossom that has been festooning the trees in our nearby town.  Looking like a bridal procession, the graceful flowers have injected some much needed joy to the neighbourhood.  During these strange times of lockdown, it has been great to take a moment and enjoy beauty of nature.

In Japan, the cherry blossom (sakura) is much anticipated and revered.  They are a metaphor for the ephemeral nature of life and so it seems an appropriate choice right now.  

The subject of my latest Travelling Book is trees.  I have stitched a Japanese style cherry tree using just Sorbello stitch.  Its a really versatile stitch: by changing the weight and composition of the thread, each stitch looks very different.  I've used tapestry wool, viscose perle, cotton and metallic threads.

Friday, 6 March 2020

Holidays past

I'm taking part in the Embroiderers' Guild Travelling book challenge again.  It's a great way to boost your creativity because you have to do a piece of work each month in response to the theme chosen a member of the group.  The books are swapped every month, new theme, new challenge!

This month's theme is Gwynedd, North Wales.  This sparked lots of memories of family holidays to the area and after a couple of phone calls to my Dad, photos too.  This is me aged 7 outside the station with the incredibly long name.

One particularly vivid memory was a trip to Beddgelert and sad tale of the prince who returned from a hunting trip to find his favourite dog, Gelert, covered in blood next to his son's cradle.  The prince assumed the worst and killed the dog, only to discover a large wolf my the child's bed.  The dog had killed the wolf to protect the child.

My work is inspired by the Bayeux tapestry.  Of course we know it's not a tapestry but an embroidery, cleverly worked in wool using a special filling stitch - Bayeux stitch.  The legend of Gelert is set in the 13th Century a couple of hundred years after the famous tapestry but I imagine that similar materials and techniques would still be in use.