Friday, 28 May 2010

Having fun making bunting

Having got SO excited about the news of my allotment I decided to make some celebratory bunting to hang up in my shed (when I eventually get one)! I decided that you can't have customised bunting without including some original work, so I incorported some of my rose designs. (I have previously made bespoke bunting for weddings, babies, house moves, etc. and am happy to take orders - contact via my Etsy Shop).

And now for something completely different! Allotment

I am delighted to announce that after waiting for more than 2 years on the local allotment list, I have now got an allotment. YEAH!!!!!! It might not look much, but it has enormous possibilities. A blank canvas, albeit liberally studded with thistles. I will be scouring YouTube for Alys Fowler's (my garden guru) hints and tips in the allotment department. Being a textile creature by nature, I celebrated the news by making some flowery bunting un shades of blue to hang up in my shed. When I get one, that is. At the moment the only structure is a tool shed and I am planning a recreational area brimming with herbs and flowers so that I can sit and sew when I am not sewing and hoeing.

Loopy Vintage Knit

Another one for all those vintage aficionados out there! I found this delicious knitting pattern for a loopy bolero jacket in a vintage shop. I remember knitting something very similar back in the dark ages! Loopy knits take an enormous amount of wool but are very warm and cosy. Enjoy!

Sunday, 23 May 2010

Advance Notice: Collaboration

I am going to be working on a collaborative piece with the Japanese Textile Designer Hitomi Kimura. See her work and designs in progress at:

Heavy Duty Stitching

I have been having fun with machine embroidery creating a vaguely "floral" motif. I really like this technique which is done on a heavy hessian background which easily takes the weight of the stitch but is sufficiently malleable to cockle into a pleasing surface tension effect. I will definitely use this technique again - however, I need to remember that it consumes a massive amount of bobbin thread. Best to keep several bobbins charged up so as not to interrupt the process. BUT it is an excellent way of using up all your old bits of thread as the bobbin thread does not show through unless you fiddle with the tension.

Colour Stories using balloons

I thought I would inject a little fun into creating my colour stories and as I was playing around with balloons at the time (as one does!) I decided to group them into colour stories. With varying degrees of success, as you can see from the photo. Several issues here: the colour of the balloons does not translate particularly well to the screen images because of the degree of transparency and background colours creeping in but you can add and take away very easily in grouping colours. Unfortunately, it is not until you get home and put the images on the computer that the colour variation becomes apparent. In this case I would get rid of the yellow and use the orange only for accent.

Saturday, 22 May 2010

My Latest Muse

I am always looking for a New Muse for my stitched "portraits" and I needed to look no further than my friend Runa - who I have to say has such an individual style that she is an art form in herself and being a lovely person too, she was the perfect choice. Hello Runa! Watch this space!

Sunday, 16 May 2010

First Steps in Pattern Cutting

I have been busy working on my personal toile at my Tuesday evening pattern cutting class with the wonderful Julianna Sissons (an inspirational fashion designer who teaches at the London School of Fashion, Northbrook College and Brighton Uni and has run workshops at the Victoria and Albert Museum). I have decided to take my time and record it step by step. I hand stitched in turquoise thread all the major fitting lines for my personal toile. Here are the front and back sections. I will be working on the sleeves next before the fitting and fiddling process begins.

If you like Dolls Houses, you will ADORE Leonardslee!

As per my previous post - Last Call for visits to Leonardslee Gardens in West Sussex which will be closed to the public at the end of June.
If you like dolls houses you will be absolutely blown away by the exhibition "Beyond the Dolls House" it is absolutely incredible - it is all there in mini tableaux: upstairs, downstairs, nursery to boudoir, cake shop to costumier, milliners to coffin makers. Here a a few pickies to give you a idea of the amazing detail.

If you like gardens, you'll love Leonardslee !

For those of you not familiar with Leonardslee Gardens in West Sussex this is a "last call" to go and see them because they will be closed to the public at the end of June. Forever! Unfortunately the National Trust were unable to secure them when they came up for sale and they have been sold to a private buyer for his own personal use. This is an enormous loss as you will see from the pickie.

Monday, 10 May 2010

If you go down to the woods today

you are sure of a delightful surprise - even this late in the season. The woods are ablaze with bluebells, wood anenomies and even wild orchids. Glorious! In East Sussex go to: Arlington Blue Bell Walk, £4 for adults to get in and you can enjoy tea and yummy home-made cakes and buy plants and books and home made preserves. Lots to do for the children too - they can get up close and personal with baby goats, lambs and chicks. I didn't spot any teddy bears' picknics though! Super day out.

Friday, 7 May 2010

Vintage Vogue

I really LOVE this vintage Vogue jacket pattern! Soooo Grace Kelly - even down to the "Kelly" bag and white gloves. I have just seen the Grace Kelly exhibibition at the V&A - it is fabulous and a must for any style aficionado. Such a pity this pattern is nowhere near my size, I'll have to learn how to adapt it on my pattern cutting course!

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

ATC my first attempt

Prompted by the Hand Embroidery Network (HEN) ATC (Artist Trading Card) swap and having been put in touch with Anne Schult (see her work on the Hand Embroidery Network - she of Cardinal Arts, Lewes, Sussex), my swap partner this is the design that I came up with. I am obviously still going through a "blue period" because I have chosen to interpret the piece based on some lilies I was bought in sky colours from inky nighttime through the various blues to white. I hope Anne likes it!

Another technique! Freeform needleweaving

Here is another technique that I haven't tried before. Freeform needleweaving with beading. The design is VERY loosely based on one of my drawings from an historic fabric swatch in the V&A textiles collection. I outlined the motif with wire using a cordonet thread around the shape and filling in the interior with a variety of freeform needleweaving stitches with emrboidery threads and metallic threads. To add lustre I also used some beading. To stabilise the shape when finished I used buttonhole stitch around the perimeter. The wire enables you to bend the shape and it can be attached to a piece of work as a relief piece of raised work. Quite a lot of work for such a small sample but fun to do.

Saturday, 1 May 2010

If you ever wanted to know:

What a professional designer's studio looks like - look no further than Hitomi Kimura's. She is a very talented and successful Japanese textile designer working in a home-based studio. I aspire to be as successful and to have such an amazing studio. For details of Hitomi's work visit: or her blog:

Surface Detail - Alexander McQueen

I was having a look at some runway images on when I found this totally fabulous detail from Alexander McQueen -a truly aspirational and inspiration piece of surface design and stitchery.

Stitching for Victory

If you like vintage, make do and mend and a bit of history, you will LOVE this book. Suzanne Griffith has written an amazing book on war time stitchery. (I'm mentioned in the credits for my research into stitch and occupational therapy!) Available on Amazon and in museum shops.