Back in July 2020 I made a piece of crazy patchwork
Chopped it up and sent the pieces off to 15 members of the group Stitched Together – a splinter group from The Stitchbook Collective, made up of people who would like to work collabratively on pieces of textile art.
The aim is to make some pieces in a relaxed and enjoyable way and then to exhibit them to raise money for both national and local mental health charities.
I sent a little bit of sari-waste ribbon with each piece. This did not have to be used but some did.
It seems like a miracle to see how all those 2″ squares have been transformed
I have had permission from all participants to share our work on my blog.
It was so exciting to open each envelope and discover a beautiful gem inside.
The eye suggested Egypt to me and the nearest I had to a parchment background was some reused teabags that I had sewn together in layers and painted with Gesso.
I painted it a pale sandy colour and started to arrange the pieces.
Each time I thought I had arrived at an arrangement I liked, I left it overnight and then in the morning realised something needed to change. I tacked the squares down and undid and rearranged them 4 times before I was satisfied.
Here they all are now sewn into place and ready for some surface stitching to complete the piece.
If you are wondering what has happened to the Wild Green Twinches, I will be working on them when I have finished this piece.
Who knew when we got our first box of goodies in September 2019 how important this project was going to be for keeping us busy, creative and connected.
Each month for 12 months we recieved a kit through our letter box, and even though we had paid for it, many of us felt like it was a present arriving through the ether to cheer us up – happy post!
We chatted via our Facebook group, encouraging and inspiring one another
We were initially working towards exhibiting the books at the Harrogate Knitting and Stitching Show. This was cancelled, but we kept on stitching – the cancellation gave some of us the much needed time to finish the project.
I get very excited at the beginning of a project. I loved the feeling as inspiration flooded in with each new box – but then I go off at a tangent and make a multitude of my own experiments and lose focus.
I am so good at NOT finishing things – anyone else out there like me?
I wonder if I ever would have pushed myself to complete it if it hadn’t been for Helen’s flexibility and gentle encouragement to get me over the finish line.
The covers done and the book bound together with bead spacers – it sat there – it did not feel finished – bizarrely, it did not feel mine.
It was a huge effort for me to focus on the covers, make them to Helen’s specific instructions and get the book exhibition-ready. The front cover has tabs on it so that it can be displayed for exhibition. The effort to get the covers made took away some of the joy, so it had to sit in a corner for a while.
Seeing other finished books online and a few text messages with Cathy (thank you Cathy!) gave me the kick of enthusiasm I needed – out came the beads, the stamps and the paint brush
and here it is – Exhibition-ready!
AND £3,344.00 has been raised by Helen and the purchasers of her kits for the mental health charity, MIND.
Feel good project all round.
You can see other posts about this book by typing Stitchbook into the SEARCH box and here is a video of the finished book.
A HUGE thank you to Helen Birmingham for this project and to the other members of THE STITCHBOOK COLLECTIVE community.
The Stitchbook Collective, organised by Helen Birmingham of Untangled Threads couldn’t have happened at a better time. Each month a box of delights pops through my letterbox and new little textile project is born, full of learning, peaceful stitching and an opportuity to share it with the others in the Collective.
If you are looking for a small slow stitching project, I can highly recommend Helen’s kits, which come with full tutorials and all the materials needed to produce a piece of textile art.
May’s box of goodies was all about Kunin Felt and playing around with candles and heating the felt to form flowers or other shapes that took your fancy.
I was a bit stumped to start with and could not work out a design I wanted to create, so I turned to Pinterest and found this post which inspired my design.
I laid out some pieces of shiny cord included in the kit an added my own Sari waste cord which I got from YarnYarn, and couched them onto the black backing felt.
and gradually built up the design.
A fun month with bright colours and playing with fire, fabulous!
Have you been playing with textiles this month, or maybe you have some archive posts about textiles you would like to share. Just pop a link in the comments, I would love to see them.
Textile Tuesday happens on the first Tuesday of each month.
A friend’s birthday was approaching and I knew she would appreciate the recyle/reuse ethos behind this meme, so I went to my vast collection of bits of crochet I have made as experiments with either pattern or colour.
I have a similar collection of art experiments with acrylic paint on paper, so I chose one of these for the basis of the card
Folding the card into 3, I tried out a couple of ideas
I decided to use the flower which is the centre of the Amanzi block, I lined up all the ends and marked the positions of the holes I wanted to make in the card
sitting it atop a ball of yarn to pierce the needle through
Then I sewed the threads through and tied them at the back
The present was some handmade soap I had bought in St Davids, Pembrokeshire, from the force of nature that is Julia Horton-Mansfield who owns the Really Wild Soap Company.
After weeks of wet and gloomy, we had the most glorious weather for the Summer Solstice
The honeysuckle grows on a fence outside my bedroom window – can you imagine the heady wafts of scent on a warm solstice evening ………. deeeeeee-lissshhhhhh-usss
I have mixed it with the froth of Lady’s Mantle for a Solstice celebration
They are in a heavy ceramic circular candle holder with a trough (there must be a better word?) around for flowers. I bought this many years ago in Glastonbury and it has been the centre piece for many a meditation gathering and Solstice celebration in my past life in hippyland.
I do hope you enjoyed the Solstice in your neck of the woods.
Oh how I am delighting in my Long Border filling out, gradually hiding more soil.
(you can see the beginnings of the creation of this border and how it looked a couple of months ago in this post)
Next door are doing some renovations, there will be a fence eventually between the concrete posts, and then that bit of the border will be north facing and in shade. I will move some hostas there when the time is right.
Did you spy a Hot Princess?
Cathy! She is flowering and she is Hot! This is my lovely birthday gift from Cathy when I went to see her last November. Cathy knows I love Hot Pink and this thoughtful gift is just perfect!
Just before I go I MUST show you some of my poppies – which have been so much enjoyed by me, my neighbours and most importantly, the bees!
Marigolds, bronze fennel and argyranthemums in a goblet, all from my new long border
The story of my BIG DIG:
I moved to this house in March 2007 and since then I have been battling with the border on the north side of the drive
When I arrived it was neatly clipped (and very dull) as you can see below – so not me!An old field hedge, it was full of brambles, ivy and hawthorn inter-planted with laurel, lonicera, a ghastly variegated bamboo and the whole lot was plagued with never-ending bindweed.
I started to clear out the bramble, ivy and hawthorn but it was hard going
The border gets very wet in the winter. I’m not one for clipped hedges so I planted a contorted willow I’d grown from a cutting, hoping it would enjoy the spot and soak up some of the water. I slashed and burned the baddies and let the laurels grow tall.
Oh boy, how those laurels love to grow! They were always needing to be cut back.
I loved how the willow arched over the drive and knew it was Spring when I saw it with the Amalanchier against a blue sky.
The photo above was taken in April 2018 when I noticed that the willow was showing signs of distress. The leaves were fewer than usual and once formed shrivelled and went brown. I hoped it was a temporary blip.
I battled on against the bamboo which got into everything and was coming up through next door’s paving. Horrid stuff! I could not see how I would ever get rid of it.
Enough was enough – it all had to GO!
The demolition squad came in and with the help of a hired stump grinder, I love a good gadget, and my son-in-law’s tractor and trailer they cleared the border within a day.
I wanted to save the willow, and was in denial about the state of it, but you can see how poorly it was. This was in June when it should have been in full leaf.
Gazing at the border from the road, I was thrilled with the amount of garden I had to play with …
– not so thrilled with how the tractor had damaged the drive though, hey- ho!
We were in the middle of a heat-wave but I was determined to dig through every grain of soil to remove any bits or bramble, bamboo and bindweed, before putting in precious plants.
What a job! I knew that no-one else would be as thorough as me, or as determined, so I carried on, digging in 30 minute bursts intertwined with some sitting down with a crochet hook.
Sadly, I realised, the willow was past hope. Amazing to think it had grown that tall from a twig in about 10 years. A guy in the village offered to chop it down for me in July – he looked a bit precarious up that ladder, but he did the job
And then there was the mighty stump to get rid of, my kind and wonderful neighbour decided it was his mission to rid me of the deceased willow stump
he laboured for days with beads of sweat sprouting like a fountain from his forehead, but eventually it was out!
Everyone who passed made helpful suggestions about what I could do about the winter flooding, crates were mentioned and all sorts of other ideas but all solutions came with a heafty price tag. I left the hole to monitor the water level and kept on digging and sifting through the rest of the soil.
The hole started filling up with water in October and by November it just sat there for weeks.
My solution was to build up the soil to take plants away from the water level and choose plants that can cope with these conditions. The RHS site is helpful: Wet and Dry Soils.
And now after all that digging and delving I have the joy of planting.
As suggested by the RHS: Geums, stacchys, hardy geraniums and persicaria were ordered from Dorset Perennials
Some plants came from the local market and some were transplanted from other parts of the garden ……… and look at it now! (filmed on 8.May)
I feel very proud of myself!
If the plants get through the winter I will think about planting a crab apple next spring.
The border includes Dianthus Carthusianorum a pink perennial with scented and edible flowers which I have grown from seed I collected from a friend’s garden. Happy Days! The flowers are in bud right now but I’m hoping they will appear in a future ‘Vase on Monday’.
I’m learning all sorts of new terms through Instagram hashtags. I had no idea that arranging things like this had a name – it is called ‘Flat Lay’ apparently. I have done this ever since I was a kid – I just love arranging things, now I have a proper grown-up name for it.
Do you remember this post when I showed you what I had just bought from the online shop – Hobbycraft, and asked if you had any idea what I was going to do with them?
Oh I have had SO much FUN with these fabric flowers ….. they created magic and transported me into another world……..
…. First I made myself a headband using the long wire stem of one of the big yellow Gerberas. The flower was sticking straight up as if it was growing out of my ear – well that just had me rolling about laughing, especially when friends and family joined in and tried it on – we got the giggles and could not recover til our sides ached.
Why didn’t I take photos??? Just too busy laughing I suppose.
Then I calmed down and started to make a headdress… I just wound flowers (with wire stems) round the makeshift headband – it seemed to work.
This is me trying to take a photo with my new iPhone – I am not finding all this new technology easy and miss my little old cheap and easy Nokia….
….. and again
far too serious!
All this was in preparation for my birthday weekend (last weekend)….
much more to come ………. hundreds of photos to sort through ……….. i did have the most wonderful time ……. it wouldn’t have been everybody’s idea of the BEST birthday weekend…… but …..for a newly 65 year old Wild Daffodil it was just PERFECT!!!!!
another headband …… who is this one for??????
Can you guess?
My post is not about Yarny things in the making, but if you want to have a good old natter about all things yarny, pop on over to Cathy’s weekly Knit and Natter Friday – always a joy.
My garden has slipped way down the list of priorities this year and I don’t have many flowers growing at the moment. Yesterday was the first day for ages that circumstances aligned for me to be able to spend the whole day tackling the jungle it has become. As I cut back, slashed and weeded, I saved the few flowers I found and plonked them in jam jars hoping to be able to make up a vase for today ….
I looked at this sorry collection and realised something was needed for added value.
So I lay one of my paintings-in-progress on the floor and then I drifted off into a very happy place playing with petals and leaves
Click on the photos if you would like to see them larger.
The centre is the beginning of a crochet mandala in cotton called ‘Sol’ by
The words are a quote I have adapted from the book ‘Conversations With God’ Book 2 by Neale Donald Walsch, the quote is “a woman hears the melody of flowers in the wind”, but I wanted to change it so that everyone could relate to it.
Little Miss M (5) was here a few days ago, she loves to have music playing – her favourite at the moment is ‘500 miles’ by the Proclaimers, she says she wants to walk 500 miles with me – now there’s an ambition! We were both dancing to the song and she looked out at the wind blowing through the plants in the garden and said,
Erigeron or Fleabane, neither are names pretty enough to describe this little gem of a daisy that grows on my patio, interwoven with what I think is a type of campanula. Both seed themselves liberally and I love them together.
The vase is a pot I bought in Florence, Italy in 1987 when I went there with my Dad. We had a wonderful time together, I have such happy memories of that long weekend .
It was Father’s Day here in the UK yesterday and he has been much in my thoughts. He died in 1998 and would have been 96 this year. He worked hard and played hard, loved a party, had a huge sense of fun and was never happier than when playing with his Grandchildren.
Teamed here with another of the textile pieces I’m working on
Title: “You are my happy”
I have to have several on the go at the same time. I seem to need to be able to have a rest from each colour combination in order to see each piece of work afresh.
Cathy, of Rambling in the Garden, has been inspired by Christina, of My Hesperides Garden this week and is celebrating blogging friendship with a vase full of beautiful white flowers from her garden – which in turn has inspired my vase.
This little white jug has Tiarella Sky Rocket, a self seeded white lavender, saxifrage and erigeron.
The props are some crocheted daisies ready to adorn a blanket for Miss E. I started this way back in April last year, doing the many squares for the border has halted the process, but it is her birthday coming up and I really want to finish the blanket in time.
Here it is without a border
and here is the border in progress with daisies arranged by Miss E
40 squares and 12 daisies and so many ends to sew in!
I am also creating a pattern for the blanket so that if I ever did want to make one again (?!) I will have the instructions to hand. This will be available as a free pattern for anyone else who would like to give it a go.
White flowers are my favourite and despite the heavy rain this morning I managed to find some in the garden for another vase
In the vase on the left there is feverfew, astrantia, and a perennial white wallflower with a gorgeous scent, especially at dusk.
The vases are sitting amongst the pot plants: a white orchid,
and Streptocarpus Myfanwy
Do pop on over to see Cathy’s vase and all the others that come pouring in from all over the world always lifting a Monday with beauty.
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