Saturday, 21 December 2013

Raggedy wreath

My friend Anne has sent me this photo of her raggedy wreath to share on my blog.

She used 5 fat 1/8ths and a wide gold organza ribbon on a double florists hoop.

It looks stunning 

Thank you Anne

for instructions on how to make your own raggedy wreath see my previous post


Thursday, 19 December 2013

WOW where has the time gone?

The last few months have been super busy what with decorating, moving office and finishing projects before Christmas. 

Firstly I just want to say a huge CONGRATULATIONS to all my students for completing their City & Guilds level 1 courses, ( machine embroidery, hand embroidery and patchwork & quilting) We heard yesterday that they had all passed so it is a wonderful early Christmas present to everyone. 
I also heard today, that I can offer level 2 courses next year so I am over the moon. I will need to get back down to earth soon but will enjoy today.

Last night my friends popped round for a Christmas make - raggedy wreaths. A great make as there was no stitching or sticking involved.

To make one you will need a wire hoop and at least 2 different fabrics and some ribbon ( 1" wide)  or organza to add a touch of glitz

 The above finished hoop was made with a florist hoop which has 2 rings. 
The pictures below show a single hoop which is of the sort used to make dream catchers and lamp shades. I purchsed it from Fred Aldous and I have to say delivery was super quick.

Fabric - 2 fat quarters and some ribbon or organza to add a bit of glitz.
A double hoop will take more fabric and some of my friends used 5 fat 1/8ths which worked very well.

Cut the fabric, ribbon and organza into strips 1" by 5" (2.5cms by 12.5cms)

We found that knotting the fabric with the right side on next to the hoop made the knot lie better. 

Keep knotting the fabric round the hoop (randomly choosing the fabric strips, ribbon or organza) until it is covered.

Then fiddle and tweek to fluff up the fabric. The left side of the photo is before I fiddled and the right side shows some tweeking.

Bev x

Saturday, 26 October 2013


Are you like me?

I buy something which catches my eye at a show and then wait months before I get round to using, playing or experimenting with it. 

Or do you delve in as soon as you get home?

Well a  few months ago I purchased a marbling kit and it is only in the last few days that I have managed to start playing with it. 


As you can see it is now well used

These are a couple of pieces on fabric

And as Christmas is galloping towards us 

I couldn't resist making a few gift tags. I think I may go all brown paper parcels and home made gift tags this year.


Thursday, 24 October 2013

Out and About

It has been a busy few weeks and I feel that I have lost touch with my blog.
To get you up to speed, my current City & Guilds students have finished their courses in machine embroidery, hand embroidery and patchwork & quilting. There is just the final push to make sure all the samples and notes are completed before the student showcase at Bee Crafty in November.

I have been out and about visiting new sewing shops. It has been lovely going to new places and meeting some wonderful people. 

The first was Tudor Rose in Oakley near Bedford. With a lovely coffee shop and and an enticing display of cakes it took a lot of self control to restrain myself. However their fantastic range of batik fabrics could not be so easily passed by and I couldn't help buying a few for my stash. There is an impressive range of patchwork fabric, wools, and haberdashery just to name a few of the items 

My next visit took me in the opposite direction up the A1 road to a brand new shop near Oakham. Rutland Sewing Centre in the Rutland Village next to Rutland Garden Centre in Ashwell. This shop has only been open a month and things are certainly looking good. With a lovely workshop area it is a lovely bright airy space.

I am looking forward to many a visit over the next year to both these new venues.

Also don't forget the second of Grayson Perry's lectures

Friday, 18 October 2013

Reith Lectures

Grayson Perry is giving this years series of Reith Lectures on BBC radio 4.

 Not a usual blog post but I have just listened to the first and want to share it with you.

Monday, 30 September 2013

Fresh Take At Burghley House

We were delighted by international exhibiting textile artist Anita Bruce on Saturday at our branch of the Embroiderers Guild. Anita is well known for her sculptural forms knitted in wire, and came to share her new work and the work of five local artists in the Fresh Take at Burghley exhibition.

Fresh Take is a contemporary art exhibition with artists responding to the history, interior decoration and collections at Burghley House in Stamford.
Burghley was built by William Cecil, Lord High Treasurer to Queen Elizabeth I. He hoped that Elizabeth I would visit Burghley but an outbreak of smallpox prevented this from happening. This event has been depicted as a wonderful pair of shoes by sugar craft artist Kathryn Parsons. Kathryn has also made another pair of shoes full of delicately crafted flowers

Anita was influenced by the bird imagery found throughout the house and blended photographs of tapestries and paintings with feathers she had drawn. The result is a beautiful heavy silk fabric with rich feather designs.This has been used to create the silk Trophy Birds which hang at the top of the Hell Staircase. 
Jason Duckmanton's Danse Macabre zoetrope, 
Lindsey Holme's the Little Bedlam Club 
Sue Shield's delicate narrative fragments 
And Street Artist, Stuart Payn's innovative cabinet all make for an exciting new Fresh Take on Burghley

Anita brought some fabric remnants to whet our appetites

Certainly not an exhibition to miss and with the Burghley Flower Festival starting this Saturday (5th October) there is even more reason for a day out.


Friday, 27 September 2013


Hello everyone

I haven't deserted my blog, just been busy catching up on marking. Lot's of time spent at the computer and not enough in the studio, so not much creativity to report. I have been busy making the Blue John #1 block for the International Block Swap, but it has been decided by the group not to publish photos until December, so I will have to keep you in suspense. 

I have received my new flyers for the City & Guilds courses which I am pleased with as they are so colourful. 

Also the Calico group have an exhibition at John Clare Cottage in Helpston starting next week. 

Normal posting will be resumed soon, Bev

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Blue John Blocks #3

Development of the 7 piece block 

Having explored the 6 piece block I then turned to the 7 Piece block. As I said in the earlier posts I was thinking of marble floors and tile patterns.

Taking the tracing of the picture and simplifying the block and adding in tonal values gave some striking block designs. 

As each block has 4 sides different larger blocks can be created.
I haven't mirrored the image yet and have only used 2 or three different tonal values. 

Putting two of the larger blocks together, it is starting to look like tiles.

I really like this block but it didn't work in this form for the quilt so back to the drawing board.


Sunday, 1 September 2013

The Pencil Museum

The Summer is nearly over and there certainly is a slight snap in the air. Things have been busy on the home front with sorting out some of the clutter accumulated over many years. There has also been time to catch up with family further afield. Being from the Lake District I do miss the mountains and I can feel myself relax when I catch sight of them. The weather was beautiful and there's no better place to be than Keswick, for me anyway.

Every time I go back 'home' the town has changed. We seem to play spot the new shop. It is almost a relief when the new shops are not more outdoor clothing. There is a lovely new interior shop called Poets Interiors which is in the old dining room of the Royal Oak Hotel. The wonderful listed stained glass windows with portraits of Lake poets and some of their verse makes this shop unique. 

Another first for me this trip, was that we had time to visit the Pencil Museum. The factory is long gone but the museum is on part of the factory site. There is a feeling of nostalgia in this visit, as my mother was a book keeper at the pencil factory and the managers secretary at the Royal Oak Hotel. 
The story behind pencil making is fascinating and I hadn't realised what goes into something that I take quite for granted. The science behind the production of accurate colours, makes this humble everyday item something really special.

One of my favourite Derwent Pencil products has to be the Inktense Range and I was lucky to be given this wonderful set last Christmas. They are vibrant water soluble ink pencils. The full depth of colour is not revealed until water has been added. They can be also be used on fabric.

This is a idea sample for a fan. The leaves are applied and then trapunto quilted for a 3D effect. I used the Inktense pencils to add shading to the plain green fabric. 
Lots of potential for this art material I feel.


Sunday, 18 August 2013

Blue John Block #2

Colour choices and dyeing

Going back to my source picture I cut out small squares of different colours which I then tried to reproduce using water colours. This was the preparation for dyeing fabrics for the Blue John quilt.

Using tray dyeing and procion dyes from Art Van Go on polycotton  I created some wonderfully textured fabrics.

This is the grey, blue and purple palette, and the warmer yellow, orange and browns

I had in mind  terrazzo floor tiles and marble for this quilt so didn't want uniform colours

More design ideas using the 6 piece block. Not quite what I am looking for yet.



Friday, 16 August 2013

Blue John Blocks #1.

Whilst I was away on holiday a friend started an International Block Swap group. I have been lucky to be involved with this project and so I gave myself the week off the computer last week, to concentrate on a block I  developed during my City & Guilds. When studying for something like a City & Guilds you end up with masses of design work which never seems to be developed. I decided to go back and revisit some of my work which I will now share with you, over the next few posts.

My starting point was a favourite cave photo.

I love the colours and textures as well as the strong lines in this picture. To create the block I traced then picture and then isolated some areas with interesting lines. The three squares on the tracing.

I then simplified the shapes and looked at tonal values for each area.

Already I can see blocks appearing.

These are some blocks made with the 6 piece block pattern 

Hope you enjoy the start of this project


Thursday, 15 August 2013

Can't see the Wood for the Trees

My blog posts this summer have been slightly erratic as I have been busy trying to catch up with everything. Perhaps it just feels like that. Housework, decorating, clearing out masses of accumulated junk, mainly paperwork from the year dot. We have been clearing out our son's room in preparation for remodelling and redecorating. it is amazing to find exercise books going back to his primary school days, he is now in his 20's!! The recycle bin has been working overtime. Perhaps this post should have been called  'Can't see the floor for the paperwork'

Anyway to get back on track I decided to give my little Messy Studio a bit of a clear out. It was great because I re-discovered lots of old sketchbooks. These are a few pages I thought I would share with you today.

Looking at them Makes me want to get out my water colours again. I am not very good at using watercolour but do enjoy dabbling. 

I was a bit heavy handed with these.

I was pleased with this effort of Silver Birch trees in Winter

I really need to make time for more sketching and painting in my day. Will someone invent a 25 hour day please.

Thursday, 8 August 2013

A Good Mornings Work

I don't know whether I was getting ahead of myself ( by making a quilt for a Christmas present) or procrastinating ( I should have been making samples using soluble fabrics ).

I had seen Valerie Nesbitt's video of a quilt in 40 minutes and thought I had time to spare.

Well, two lovely chatty phone calls, I was trying to still sew with the phone tucked between shoulder and ear, and two hours later I managed to finish it.

I used a jelly roll I purchased from Bee Crafty at the opening of their new shop on Tuesday. Wonderful Moda fabrics called Wintergreen collection. It is certainly Christmassy.
 And now I will have to add to my shopping list for the Festival of quilts fabric for a border and the back. This list is getting longer by the day.

I don't think that I am the fastest machinist around so won't be entering any jelly roll races in the near future, but it is certainly a quick piecing method and will make a lovely present.

Have you made a jelly roll quilt?


Wednesday, 7 August 2013

A Homely Pursuit?

Having had a break from blogging to remodel a bedroom I thought I would pose a question or two.

Does the 'Art World' accept Textile Art as an art form? Is is just a homely pursuit?

Each year I visit the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition and hope that there will be some art textiles included. Perhaps most of it should be classified as textile art as the canvas most artists work on is a textile.

 I wasn't expecting to see any textiles and so was delighted to see a whole gallery devoted to Grayson Perry's wonderfully quixotic tapestries. It is fantastic that such a high profile artist should choose textiles as one of the mediums for his craft. His exhibition last year at the British museum proved what a versatile artist he is.

The cover of the exhibition catalogue is taken from 'The Annunciation of the Virgin Deal' 2012 Grayson Perry

The six large tapestries show snapshots of life which are thought provoking and full of Grayson Perry's trademark wit and humour. I wish that I had had more time to really get up close and personal with them as there was so much detail in each. Having spent just a short time with them left many of the other works on display feeling flat for me. There was much that did inspire discussion with my son and pieces that he liked that I didn't and vice versa. That is what is so great about the Summer exhibition it is a mixed bag but there is something for everyone.

And now there is the Festival of Quilts where I can get my textile fix for the Summer and look forward to the Knitting and Stitching shows in the Autumn.

I'm now off to finish my shopping list


Wednesday, 10 July 2013

More Research

Another day sitting at the computer researching embroidery techniques has brought to mind my very first embroidery. 

It was a Penelope 'Tapestry' kit of these two Golden Pheasants.
Not really tapestry as it is needlepoint, but at the age of 14 I knew no better. It was a printed canvas with wool threads, the embroidery version of painting by numbers. 

As it was my first embroidery project it was probably a bit ambitious but I was never one to give up on a challenge. And it was the start of what has been a life long love of stitch in all its forms.

What was your first embroidery?


sorry about my shadow on the picture -  I'm useless at taking photos!

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Goldwork Tuesday

As yesterday was Blackwork Monday I have decided that this is Goldwork Tuesday.

Goldwork was a technique that I was looking forward to when I did my City and Guilds way back in the early 90's. However the reality is that you cannot like every technique that you experience on the course. 

I love and appreciate metal thread embroidery and Goldwork but have come to the conclusion that I do not have the patience to master the technique.

This is the little book of samples. It is not just the book that is little - the samples are tiny too!

As you can see by the gaps between the rows I am need a lot more practice.

Maybe one day