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May news

My latest monthly art project piece is a small, but came out better than expected! You may remember that my guideline for this series was to try to make inroads into my vast stash of ‘bits and pieces’ and to use up some of the blank canvasses that I have lying about. I’ve only partly met those parameters – I used a blank canvas, and some odds and ends, but sadly the mountainous stash does not appear to have gone down at all!!

   close up view

Myself and Margaret were considering the possibility of topics which might be taught as a workshop or day-school. This idea was suggested to us by outside parties, and therefore is something we thought we should investigate. One possibility was using my copious bag of scraps to demonstrate how to create a framed or mounted landscape (using the same method that I always fall back on when I want to do some ‘twiddling’). We had a ‘dry run’ session in Margaret’s work-shed where we both worked  through the instructions I’d written to see if they needed alteration. I think that it was a successful exercise, so we’ll be thinking of other topics to add to a set of possible sessions we can teach. Slightly wonky pictures below (I’m still fiddling with a new fancy camera, that I haven’t quite got to grips with yet!).

    close up view  

I would like to say that I haver other things to share with you, but I’ve been a bit lazy this month as far as stitching is concerned. I have been working on my latest FifteenxFifteen quilt, but I won’t be able to show that until next month, and I’ve been continuing to twiddle with some more needle-felted brooches, fronts complete but no backs or pins added yet, so they aren’t ready to show yet either. Do you get the feeling that twiddling is my main distraction? – you’d be right!!



Where does the time go?

Well, it’s about time I updated our blog instead of me relying on my talented stitching partner.  As Joan has shared some of her work on our ‘urban challenge’ I thought I would show you my latest endeavour.


and a close up


I had a change with this one and decided to use a piece of hand dyed blanket with hand stitching and appliqué. Fairly pleased.

On a different note, we spent a couple of days in Formby and Crosby and I really liked both places, especially the beaches.

These are our two  cockerpoo puppies enjoying the surf.  We had superb weather and enjoyed walking for miles along the beach at Formby.

We moved onto Crosby because we wanted to see the Antony Gormley statues.


I hadn’t realised there were 100 of them positioned along the coast and we thought they were awesome.

If you have been, thanks for reading and I’ll try to  be posting again soon, no promises though.

Enjoy the rest of the summer, bye for now,


Catching Up

You may remember that Joan and I went to a workshop at the end of last year, where we were dying fabrics with Jo Hill and challenged ourselves to produce a piece of work using some of these fabrics.  I managed to make a small cushion from 2 pieces of my fabrics –


that’s one challenge done and dustred, onto the next…

Our challenge for this year is to produce a small ‘landscape’ every month.  I produced this urban landscape for January


Just less than A4 and it is layered with different organzas and then some parts cut away.  I’ve used machine and hand stitch. Both Joan and I have featured bottle kilns that were throughout Stoke-on-Trent when the ‘Potteries’ was thriving.

For February, something similar


I’ve used patterned, commerical and hand printed fabrics on this one, but prefer the January piece really.  Intend to continue on the layering of fabrics but I need to remember just how many layers I have made.  The ‘kiln’ second from the right only has the one layer left and so is a little flimsy.

I’ve made a start on the March piece, so I’m getting on track now.

To finish, this is a photo of our snowdrops in the back garden and I hope it helps to cheer up those of you who are as fed up of this weather as much as I am.


Bye for now,






I’m Back

Read the rest of this entry


In October I went to a patchwork class with the ultimate goal of making a quilt in sections, making a different block design per month and quilt that individual block and eventually be able to join all the different blocks together.

I do make quilts of the patchwork type, but they are not precisely pieced and I wanted to do patchwork ‘properly’.  Not to be….  I realise that I haven’t the patience to get the patches exactly aligned.

If you take a look at the bottom of the vase, you will be able to see part of one of the finished squares, which I have now bound and am using as a type of place mat.


Moving on …………

Joan and I recently attended a dyeing workshop with Jo Hill, who is a textile artist working from home.  Jo is a member of the Gallery 12 at Eccleshall.

There were just four of us and we had a lovely day. It was good to be with like minded people, who all agreed that whatever we are able to sell, it really only ‘feeds our habit’.  We all admitted to having enough fabrics,  dyes, stamps and stencils etc., etc., to sink a ship.

These are a few of the fabrics once washed and ironed


Nothing like my usual palette, so I’ll have to give some thought to how I use them, although Joan has challenged us to create a piece of work, any size, using 2 pieces from those we died and have it finished before Christmas!  We’ll see.

Thanks for reading, be back soon.



Here comes autumn

I’ve noticed that autumn has started to sneak in ‘under the wire’ just lately. There are a few leaves starting to gain their party colours, but not in any numbers yet, but the countryside is starting to look mellow, and the afternoon light has taken on a golden tinge. The colours always inspire me, and start me thinking about warm fires and hand stitching We have enjoyed a few walks around the Peak District (our local patch), and I’ve tried to take a few picture – see what you think. Perhaps some of these will turn up in new designs (watch this space!)

img_3057 img_3082 img_3217

I would like to tell you that I’ve been really busy with my sewing projects … but I would be lying! My major achievement since I last wrote was to finish my latest Fifteen x Fifteen quilt. It was  on the theme of ‘Botancials’ this time, and I chose to base the deign on the seed heads of Teasel and Sweet Cicely (see below and in the ‘Fifteen’ tab under my Gallery pages).


It’s not what I started out to make, but then my pieces seldom are!

I was at a loose end after this one, and slightly hindered by a back problem so I didn’t want  to start anything big at the moment. I decided I would try and work on one of my (many) unfinished pieces. Whether it was the thought of the moors, or the coming of autumn in my mind, I’m not sure, but I picked up this bit of hand-stitching that I got disillusioned with a few weeks ago. It doesn’t seem so bad now that it’s been hiding in the bottom of the sewing basket for a while, so I’m going give it a second chance (I’ve given it a stern talking to and told it that it needs to behave this time!). Let’s see what happens next.


Once the back is better, I have a couple of big projects that I want to get started on, but those are still in the planning stage, and you know what happens to the plans of mouse and men. However one of them will be a Christmas gift (sorry to be the one to bring up that word), so I can’t get sidetracked too much – hopefully I’ll let you know how that goes.


Janet Bolton Workshop

In an earlier post I said I would say more about Janet’s workshop that a friend and I attended in Lampeter, Mid Wales in July.

We both thoroughly enjoyed the slow pace of the day, enjoying the hand stitching of patchwork pictures.  Janet is a lovely, gentle lady with quite a sense of humour, which I think her work portrays.  In preparation for this workshop I had done a piece of work, which was a little ‘workshop’ featured in Janet’s latest book,  ‘Fabric Pictures, A Workshop with Janet Bolton’, see  below.


Whilst I really like it, I am conscious of the fact that it is not really ‘my’ work, so I tried to do something more ‘me’ in the workshop, see below

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This piece I do not like, it seems too contrived and hasn’t got that naive quality I associate with Janet’s work.

I have done a few more, trying to find my own style, but I don’t feel happy with them.

AGGRO - WIN_20160821_102633

This is from a drawing I made some while ago and it is all turned applique, a slow stitching method but because of its’ sometimes outlines, I think it is more in keeping. I’ve added the sketchbook page ..

AGGRO - WIN_20160821_103023

I had to do another sketch which simplified the shapes for the turned applique..

AGGRO - WIN_20160821_103042

So, not all our work turns out as we would like, but it is always worthwhile having a go.

Until next time, happy stitching,


Jenny Wren

A couple of weeks ago, we noticed that our little wren, which had been flirting about all over the garden for a couple of weeks, had not returned to her baby chicks .  By now, it was about 7pm and we were getting a bit concerned.  Help from the internet told us that sometimes the nest is left for a  while by the parents in the hope that the chicks will leave the nest and also that towards twilight the chicks would stop chirping and go asleep. We checked about 9.30pm and sure enough, all was quiet.  Sigh of relief.

The next morning, about 7.00am the chicks were madly chirping and there was no sign of our wren.  We phoned Staffordshire Wildlife Trust, who said they would get someone to call and check the nest and if necessary take the chicks away for care at their centre.  In the meantime, it would be beneficial to try and feed the chicks with small caterpillars, spiders and the like!!  Whilst my husband rushed off to the pet shop to buy some mealy worms, I scouted round for caterpillars, but found only one, as they had to be very small ones.

During his absence, one of the little chicks fell from the nest.  I managed to put it in a shoe box, but sadly this one did not survive.

Peter was quite successful in locating the nest entrance, finding two baby wrens and feeding them mealy worms, no small feat.

The man from Staffordshire Wildlife Trust collected the nest about 11.30am and took it away to their centre, saying that we had done a good job in keeping the survivors alive, adding that we could check on their progress tomorrow, which we did and they had both survived the night and were doing well.

I wrote this little poem in remembrance:-

We really thought it wouldn’t be long
Before we’d hear your cheery song
But we waited and waited to no avail
And your dear little chicks began to wail
We sought some help from The Wildlife Trust
Swift action and care was surely a must
To save the lives of your chicks so sweet
With their bright yellow beaks and enormous feet
So wherever you are, be it close or afar
Know that we’ll keep our doors always ajar
In the vain hope of hearing your shrill little songs
And seeing your nest just where it belongs

and here is a photo, albeit not a good one, of the chicks

Jenny Wren

Be back soon.




New Ideas

I love flowers in the house all the year round and ususally buy some when doing the grocery shopping, but this year I decided that from 1 June, I would buy no flowers, but instead only use the flowers grown in our garden.

My husband, who loves to garden, made two cut flower areas for me and between us (mainly him) we planted those plants recommended for being good for cut flowers.

My mum-in-law also likes flowers and when we visit I take a vase for her.  My efforts this week are shown below

FLOWERSPerennial sweet peas, yarrow, echinacea, I’ve forgotten the name of the little white bauble flower, but it doesn’t mind being cut and keeps on flowering.  The red leaf is physocarpus, a new foliage plant this year and the colour seems to go well with any cut flower.  Mum in law was chuffed to bits, saying how much she loved the vase as well, which was a gift from my sister in law.

I enjoy thinking up new ways to display flowers and when I was tidying my shed, which I have to do on too frequent an occasion, I found these little glass jars, which I think I intended to put liquid dyes in, but I have not been able to find the right sized cork, so I thought………..

New idea

I think it looks really good, again I’ve used the perennial sweet peas and in between put rosemary and mint herbs.  As the display is quite narrow, it fits quite nicely on a narrow windowsill.

Moving on from flower arranging, earlier in the year I bought a new blouse for summer.  The first time of wearing it I must have dropped something down the front, hadn’t noticed and so the stain, whatever it was, dried and would not come out once washed.  I was determined not to relegate the blouse to my already huge pile of things I use for messy jobs in the shed, so read on.

One of my favourite stitchers is Janet Bolton and early last month, a friend and I attended one of Janet’s workshops, which I thoroughly enjoyed – more about the workshop in another post.  Janet wore a grey twinset and on the front of the jumper were two small round appliqued patches.  I was intrigued to know why they were there, but was too shy to ask, hoping someone else would, which they did.  Janet told us that someone had made her laugh when she was drinking a glass of red wine and she had spilt two drops on what was her favourite jumper, hence the patches.  So this set me thinking, I hope you like the result of my efforts.

Repaired Blouse

I prefer it now than before, loving the uniqueness of it.  I had to add a few embroidery stitches down the front edge as well just for effect.  I think this will become addictive and am on a quest looking for older blouses which could benefit from a few hexagons.

Hope you are enjoying the summer and I’ll be back soon.




More from Ruthin Craft Centre

Ruthin Craft Centre
A few more photos, some of Pauline’s large quilts and some lovely ceramic animal ornaments which were in the next gallery. Hope you enjoy the photos.
Ruthin Craft Centre,
Park Road,
LL15 1BB
Open daily 10am – 5pm admission free with ample parking
A large cafe is open daily too.
Have a look at Pauline’s website for many more photos of her beautiful work.