Tuesday, December 19, 2006


My version of the embroiderer's equivalent of doodling with pen or pencil during meetings and telephone conversations. You thread a needle, select a stitch and sew till the thread runs out. Then you take another thread . . . . and sew on and so on. Sorry! Occasionally I've used it to try out a new stitch, but that is not the main purpose, unlike similarly named 'doodle cloths'. I've used up ends of thread left from something else. Waste not want not, which anyone brought up during rationing will know something about. But mostly it is simply a means of satisfying that urge just to be stitching, but without having to work out a design first, or, in fact having to make any preparations at all. Don't work it out, just do it.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Fabric book of stitch samples

A very simple way I made a stitch sample book during City and Guilds some years ago was by making pages, then simply stitching them together down one side, then onto a soft cover that folded over them.

Each stitch type was done on a piece of fabric which was then either sewn to a background piece of roughly appropriate size, or was extended by adding strips. The book was added to over a period of time, and each 'page' was simply sewn to the existing ones when finished. A couple of bits were even sewn in just as they were. I like the rough look of it, its the sort of thing that appeals to me. I can't do neat!

Shells from St. Andrew's.

I don't know the names, except for the long ones, which are razor shells. And one of the barnacle-encrusted bits is a mussel.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Back to the seaside . . .

. . .but 500 or so miles away from Nov 6th blog entry! St Andrews, in Fife, Scotland has this amazing beach, seems like miles long, a broad band of pale sand with sparkles in it. Last Saturday the sun shone on a visit with the part of our family that lives in Dundee, as we braved the wind to stroll on the beach. One of us, age 7, paddled, in his wellies. We all picked up white shells and watched the waves come in and loose sand blowing, leaving layers on the surface.

I think this makes an interesting composition!

And this would make a good textile or mixed media landscape, with layers of fabric or paper and some stitching in the foreground.

Seaweed postcard

Trying a different approach from the crazyq-type pc's I've been doing - couching lumpy threads plus lots of small beads onto a painted background. And instead of buttonhole round the edge, a couched thread.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Chatsworth visit

We've lived here just the Cheshire side of the boundary with Derbyshire 12 years and never been to see Chatsworth House, the home of the late Duke of Devonshire, just 20 miles away. Isn't it often the way, you live somewhere, you don't get to see the sights. We're going to be moving back to our roots in Dorset this year, so we'd better catch up!
So here's an internal window, a lovely patchwork of sheets of blue john, a famous Peak District mineral; a quarter of a precision display of seashells; a marble tabletop.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Loose ends . . .

Why am I always dabbling with bits and pieces, try this, try that? There are too many beguiling creative techniques and ideas out there. And here are three.
1. Sunprints in winter - I have heard you don't need lots of light for this, so thought I'd try .

Plain cotton fabric, painted with green and blue acrylic, dried, then overpainted with dark grey silk paint. While wet I laid on it torn strips of paper and shapes cut using those gadgets that punch holes , sprinkled some salt grains in between, and left it to dry on my worktable. Gloomy day, light on in the room.
The painting didn't work so well. I wanted the colours underneath to show more in the shapes. But the shapes show up.
2. Abstract work - thought I'd try an abstract approach to autumn, leaf colours printed in non-leaf shapes. I'll stitch some leaf shapes over them. Why blues in the background? I think it is echoes of the summer that preceded the autumn. Work in progress anyway.
3. Insertion stitches - article by Beryl Taylor in one of the latest 2 Quilting Arts mags, lent by a friend. Wanted to try them out. And the strips between were begging to be filled up with couching - just lacing and whipping running and back stitches with various threads.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Autumn colours in the park

The beech trees are the best at the moment. Other trees have had a mixture of green, yellow and brown leaves all at once for ages, but this week's winds have stripped them. I should have taken a photo of the ground in our church car park today, (I was there for the church banner group session), that's where all the leaves are, turning to mush in the periodic downpours.
My husband read out to me today, from a book about British history, that after the battle of Glencoe, it kept raining and the sun did not shine in Scotland for 3 years!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Oh I do like to be beside the seaside . . .

. . . and if I had two and a half million pounds I could buy this house and live 1 minute up the road from this beach, at Sandbanks, Poole, Dorset, UK.

But I don't, so whenever we go to visit family down south we just all wrap up warm, pile into cars, find some free street parking , and go for a walk. Which we did last week. But none of us can resist the shells, and because there'd been some blowy weather recently there were lots more than usual, and more variety.

Having grown up in this place I miss the sea where we live now, miles from it just south of Manchester.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Red and green in stitches

Time for a bit more textile work . . . a couple of hangings I made a while back, influenced by all the reds and greens, and by shapes in Indian pieces.

(Be nice if blogger would arrange the pics tidily)

(Oh, perhaps it has)

I also made a traditional sampler patchwork quilt in reds and greens, which our eldest daughter decided she couldn't live without and I handed it over. But she did then pick some nice green paint for her bedroom to go with it! Any photo I have of it may date from my pre-digital camera days, so it may take a while to find. Watch this space.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Painted rubbings . . .

. . . from the Silk Museum, not sure its improved them! I just like brighter colours. Blame it on the nasturtiums.

This fourth piece is perhaps the most interesting - When I'm painting a piece of fabric I usually put either a bit of paper or fabric under it, to catch the colour that soaks through. Its also worth using a paint rag too to mop up spills, blot print blocks and wipe brushes. My current rag isn't 'finished' yet, needs a bit more mess to deal with before revealing to the public.

Monday, October 23, 2006

There are things in the garden . . .

. . . that fascinate me. The crocosmia seed heads for instance. These are what the flame-coloured flowers featured in a previous blog have developed into. If we don't get a sense of wonder from this sort of thing . . . . ?

And all the different shapes and textures?