Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Game of Thrones, Hand & Lock and Arnold's Attic.

So Happy! My photos have been published by Hand & Lock for their newsletter.
In March, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to see The Hardhome Embroidery, and to meet Anthea Godfrey, the Project Manager for the piece.
 It's a joy to be able to share these images with the readers at Hand & Lock.

Look out for this gorgeous embroidery at the Knit and Stitch Shows later this year.

Monday, 4 July 2016

How to Make An Educational Resource - Blanket Book

This project was made in less than a week.
I received a call requesting a resource full of garment fasteners for a young autistic boy.

After thinking about it's design, I started rummaging around the charity shops looking at everything in a different way. Usually I shop for textured fabrics for embroidery, but this time it was any and every garment and bag fastener I could lay my hands on. Luckily I sourced it all in one big shop -  zips, toggles, hooks and eyes, magnetic poppers, poppers, buttons and Velcro. I had a stash of vintage wool blankets at home and set about thinking about its construction.
If you would like to make one too, here's how I made it.
  • What you'll need:
    1. Wool blanket to make the pages
    2. Garments with suitable fasteners (dependant on the ages of the users, be aware of choking hazards such as buttons and laces)
    3. Thick Perle cotton thread and a long needle (Trapunto or Mattress needle
    4. Ribbon or cotton tape for top stitching onto the cut edges of garments.
    5. Sewing machine and thread (I used a walking foot too for stitching some of the pieces).
  • Wash and press everything before cutting. 
  • Cutting the blanket.
    •  I looked at the dimensions of the largest piece to be appliqued onto a page - a baby's vest - and took this as the starting point for the page's measurements. 
    • Cut pages 17" x 17". Some I cut 17" x 12" to make narrower pages.
    • Cut front page 17" x 17"
    • Cut a piece of blanket 22" x 17" for the back cover (which wraps around the front to make the spine of the book)
  • Cut the garments and the fasteners ensuring there is enough seam allowance to stitch the piece down.
  • Arrange the pieces onto pages, leaving a 3" gap at one edge of the blanket page for stitching into the spine. I sourced a book fastener too from the white trousers.

  • Pin and using your sewing machine, stitch into place using a running stitch or zig-zag stitch. Add ribbon or tape to the raw edges if needed.


  • Layer the pages, the front page and back page. Wrap the excess fabric from the back page around to the front to cover to make the spine. 
  • Use an odd number of long pins (I used Quilting pins) to hold the spine edge ready for binding, spaced around 2" apart. 
  • Measure enough thread - 5 x the length of the spine - thread the needle, double the thread and knot (I tried using single thickness but double thread will be far stronger). Using the position of the long pins as a guide, make a book binding pamphlet stitch to hold the spine together. 
  • Add extra stitches to hold the pages in place.
I am thrilled with the finished book, especially the book fastener.
The laces were stitched down to stop them being removed 

Shirt sleeves were added between the pages

I've had a brilliant response to this book from teachers and parents who feel it would be a perfect resource for infants and special needs students. I'd love to hear if you make one or have made something similar in the past. Please share and leave your comments below.

Saturday, 11 June 2016

Bovey Tracey - The Contemporary Craft Festival 2016

This was my first visit to Bovey Tracy. I'd heard so many wonderful stories over the years about the brilliant artists who showcase their creations at the Festival, that I just had to come visit and check it out for myself. I was so excited!


Around 200 artists were nestled side by side in the longest adjoining marque I've ever seen. Ceramicists were in stands next to jewellers, next to mixed media and textile artists. The place had an amazing buzz of energy, chatter and creativity and it was crammed full of shoppers just like me.


My aim for the day was to catch up with my textile friends, check out their latest work, make some new acquaintances and then browse and indulge in some shopping.
I spent some time chatting with very talented Linda Miller, Viv from Hensteeth, Janine Pope of Mudrabbit  and Ella Robinson, before chatting to other artists whose work I adored. I really did quite a bit of chatting.

Marna Lunt  - Textiles
Anya Keeley - Mixed Media
Claire Read of Little Burrow Designs - Mixed Media
Lucy Gell - Printmaker
Amy Denton - Ceramic Jewellery
Sue Brown - Printmaker
Kirsty Elson  - Driftwood Sculptures
Liz Cooksey - Textiles 
Elizabeth Loveday - Textiles
Jane Ryan of OPI - Mechanical Toys and automata
Kate Whitehead - Textiles

......I bought some unique artwork made by Anya Keeley  - 'The Mill' - my new little Lancashire Cotton Mill.

This beauty came home with me.

... I loved this vintage mobile cinema (called Audrey) who was showing the most wonderful black & white Pathe films all about textiles, fabrics and crafts - I watched the Cashmere Story.

Audrey the Vintage Mobile Cinema
..... gathered some new inspiration for ongoing projects and did lots of shopping.


Linladen Embroidery - of course I bought some!
These goodies came home with me

What a fantastic day out - It's already in the diary for 2017.
I can't wait for Art in Action later this year! 

Tuesday, 31 May 2016

How to Make an Apron - A 'Make-Do-And-Mend' Challenge

It's Bank Holiday Monday. All my chores are done, and I need a PVC apron for an up and coming mixed media workshop this weekend - but I don't actually own one.
My new Make-Do-And-Mend Spotty Apron
I thought about buying one, but instead set myself a challenge to make one from the bits and bobs that were in the house.
My first thought was an old wipe-clean tablecloth I had left over from a party that was languishing in my sewing room.
An old PVC table cloth
Then I thought of the webbing needed for the ties and neck straps - this I found in a box full of trimmings (and I also found some yummy 'sewing tape' for decoration), and some bias tape.


The whole piece was constructed in an afternoon, and this is how I made it.
  • I found an old apron that fitted me well and folded it in half lengthways. Folded dressmaking paper in half (I've used greaseproof paper or newspaper to make templates in the past) and made an apron pattern, adding extra all around for my seam allowances.
  • Cut a piece of the spotty fabric larger than I needed and folded it in half to get the spots symmetrical down the front of the finished apron.  Placed the folded paper pattern on top and used tins to weight it down - could't use pins in this project! Cut out the fabric.

  • Stitched the bias tape to the curved edges.
  • Marked the seam allowance with a pencil and used a ruler to help fold and finger press the sides, bottom and top edge. 

  • I used paper clips to hold the folded seams in place then stitched them down - the sides, bottom and top edge. Then added some decoration - a strip of 'sewing tape' to the top edge of the apron.

I pencil marked the 'plaster' to create a guide for the depth of the seam allowance
  • Using the old apron, I measured the neck and waist webbing. Then cut out the blue webbing and 'measuring tape'  which I stitched into place as decorative detail.  Then added each to my apron using my old apron as a guide.






I'm so happy with the finished apron. It fits brilliantly and didn't cost me a penny!  
Let me know about your Make-Do-And-Mend' projects. 

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Art in Action 2015

I've just heard that 2016 will be the last Art in Action ever. So sad. Such an amazing event that will be sadly missed. This year's date is already in my diary, but I wanted to show you how brilliant last years event was.
........Art in Action 2015 was as a sunny and inspiring as ever.
The Show was held on part of a working farm at Waterperry. There was plenty of space for parking and for the twenty plus marquees that were bursting with every artistic talent imaginable.

This fabulous Sculpture was at the entrance to the Show
I had a wonderful day out with a fellow 'mad textile' girlfriend. Our first port of call is always the Textile Tent - so much talent! I loved chatting to the artists and finding out about the techniques & materials they used. It was a perfect time to check out if they had spaces on future workshops. Between us we managed to chat to every wool, textile, embroidery, illustrative, printing and clay artist at the Show - that's lots of talking!

Maria Boyle - Embroiderer
Bridget Bailey - Millinery
Carol Naylor - Embroiderer

Harper & Carr - Clothing
Roanna  Wells - Artist
Bobbie Kociejowski - Weaver
Trude Timlin Brown - Weaver
Wendy Dolan - Embroiderer
Work by Wendy Dolan - Embroiderer
Kirsten Scott of Elsa Cappelli Hats
Amanda Wright Embroiderer of Goat Street Gallery
Helaina Sharpley - Wire work Artist
By the end of the day, we were on such a high - our feet were killing us, our shopping bags were full and our heads were bursting with ideas. A perfect day.
We couldn't wait to get home and try out some ideas for ourselves.
I can't wait for Art in Action 2016!
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