Last year we made a card for someone we knew, who had been going through a difficult time. Each one of us made a twinchie (two inch square piece of decorated textile). Colour and design was not specified. Many of us were moved to create hearts and we packed a lot of love into that card
The piece of vintage blanket in the middle was there to give a feeling of cosiness – a virtual hug
and created pockets for messages, cards and of course chocolate.
I am sending the sentiment and the hugs to each and every one of you who read this blog – becoming companions in a wonderfully inspiring supportive community.
I spent a few days in Seaton, Devon, near the wetlands, last month.
There are some beautiful walks and tranquil places to sit and ponder
When I saw all that wool on the fence, I just had to gather some
I washed it and then decided to felt some
by making layers of vertical and horizontal strands – about 7 layers
Then adding soapy water, I put the layers between bubble wrap and rolled it this way and that with a rolling pin.
Now to add some rusty bits
using some rust dyed thread
and framing the result in a acrylic box frame
And another one with old rusty sheep wire
I rubbed acrylic wax into the rusty wire to halt the rusting process, but have left these nails to continue to rust into the wool
Felting takes ages and is physical work so I started just to make soft little balls, just rolling them lightly in my hands – this is a work in progresson some corrugated iron. Not sure where it is going yet.
I did not want to buy masses of wrapping paper, especially when I have a massive stash of fabric. I have an old dress of my Mum’s, (my niece’s Granny) so I cut off the skirt and wrapped the box in that.
TheYou Tube clip below shows two pieces of fabric sewn together – I didn’t do that, I just used the one piece – the whole of the skirt. As it was see-through material there was not an obvious right and wrong side.
I discovered this site via Instagram, during lockdown, and have followed a couple of courses. Every so often there are special offers and that is how I came to sign up for The Magpies Nest, which is my favourite so far.
There were masses of wonderful quilts on display at the Harrogate Knitting and Stitching Show. I only had time to do a quick whizz round the Stands in the early morning before the general public arrived. Here are a few that particualrly caught my eye.
The Kimono you can see was being raffled in aid of MIND, a mental health charity and raised over £2,000. The stands to the right of the kimono hold our Stitchbooks there were nearly 100 on display.
We, the members of the inaugural Stitchbook Collective, had started our textile books in 2019, little knowing how important they were to become to us during 2020. You can see details and a video of my book here.
As we neared the end of making our Stitchbooks, I put a message on our Facebook Page asking if there was anyone who would like to work collaboratively on more slow stitching pieces of textile art and 42 members of the Collective said yes! We are a closed group now.
Our aim is to make pieces of textile art to sell or raffle in aid of MIND and other local mental health charities. Our group is called Stitched Together
and Helen very generously invited us to have a table of our work on the stand.
I was there to chat to people about the Stitchbook Collective in general and how our group works in case anyone else was interested in setting up their own group.
That’s me in the face visor and the black T-shirt.
The Stand was very popular and very inspiring to a lot of people.
One of the absolute joys of the day was talking to students about the stitches and techniques. One school have especially asked GCSE students to visit the stand.
and these two girls spent a long time looking at the Stitched Together books and the rest of the stand.
I needed some new black socks and so I Googled ‘ethical socks UK’.
Lots of sites came up.
I hate pairing socks so I only want to buy plain black ones from now on. For ethical reasons I don’t buy from Amazon. This narrowed my choice and I decided on The Sock Shop.
On the same day my Smol laundry detergent arrived by post – another attempt at being green and ethical in my purchases.
SOCKS – The good:
made with bamboo, not cotton
they came in paper packaging
they did not have those hideous plastic paddle tags to hold them together, but were sewn to the card label
They came with plastic hooks
They were made in China (I should have checked this out before I bought them)
They looked black on the website, but they are grey – not terrible, but they feel like school socks!
I wrote to the company and got this reply
Hi Sandra, Thanks for your feedback. We try to make our socks as environmentally friendly as possible and we appreciate your feedback regarding this. I shall pass on this feedback to the relevant department.
Kind regards, Rebecca, SOCKSHOP
You might be tempted to suggest I knit or crochet my own, but making socks has never appealed. I do admire those I see, but I really don’t think I will ever make any.
For those of you who love handknitted socks you might be interested in this site KDD&Co
If you know of any ethical, environmentally friendly, plain black socks that are not made in China please let me know. 🙂
EDIT: A friend has told me about the compnay ‘Cambridge Baby’ and I contacted them. Their socks are made in Germany using organic cotton and wool, I ordered 2 pairs and I am very pleased with them.(no plastic used in the packaging)
After our Stitchbooks were finished we had an opportunity to sign up for Year 2, in which we have been given supplies and video tutorials for more projects.
For one reason and another, my life has reduced the amount of crafty projects and blogging I have been doing over the last year or so. I have not been stitching as much as would have liked to.
However when this latest project arrived from Helen, all other things had to be put aside! A group project to use scraps of denim fabric and Boro-like stitching to create squares of simlar sizes, for Helen to stitch together into a wearable Kimon0 that will be raffled in aid of MIND, the mental health charity.
I absolutely loved doing this stitching so free and relaxing.
Helen sent us the scraps of denim and some threads, but we could also include some of our own. On my trip to Japan I had been given this skein of reject weaving thread at a weaving house we visited. The thread had been dyed by the same process as in this post
I really enjoyed using some thread from Japan in this project, even though it is hard to detect, I know it is there.
I will certainly be buying a Raffle ticket when they go on sale in November.
They had given her some ideas about how to revive some of her Temari Balls, follow the link to see her blog post about them. She told me about the article she was planning to write and asked if it was ok to mention my blog – of course I was delighted to say ‘YES’!
Amanda writes for WOWbooks and her spread appears in this latest edition.
look a little closer
Eeek! Thank you Amanda – so thrilling! What a joy to receive this book in the post.
The book is beautifully produced. I wrote to the publishers to ask permission to post these photos and got such warm and generous replies. The book is satin-like to the touch and full of gorgeous photos, useful information and packed with ideas.
I am really going to enjoy reading the articles and fancy having a go at the ‘Wax and Dammar’ – Dammar is a new word for me – a resin apparently. I have never done any encaustic work before and I am intrigued.
Let me know if you have worked with wax and dammar – I would love to hear any tips you might be able to pass on.
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.
It was my daughter’s birthday last week and I picked some asters and cotoneaster to pop in a jar for her.
The bees are going crazy for those asters but the birds are not eating the cotoneaster berries yet. There is a Mrs Blackbird tucking into some pyracantha berries just outside my kitchen window – so they must ripen earlier.
I used an old doodle book of the children’s to make the birthday card
The book had been filled and discarded so I took out the centre to reuse the neon pink cover
I could easily reuse the holes for sewing in a new centre.
With a bit of neon yellow embroidery thread. My daughter loves a bit of neon!
I came across something called ‘block writing’ on Instagram, so I had to have a go.
A was born at 3.45am and when I got back to the ward, the light of dawn was beginning to glow in the sky. I looked out of the window, feeling so happy and relieved and grateful to have a healthy baby girl, and I saw one bright star, which I now realise must have been Venus. I gave A a Native American name ‘Bright Morning Star’- a secret name – just between her and me.
For her birthday I gave her a rooted fig tree cutting that I bought in the market – hope it grows well and tucked a note in the card for her to go towards her lunchtime meal at The Station Kitchen, West Bay.
I am definitely going to try and take some cuttings from my fig tree next year.
My daughter lives just across the field from me, so I walked up quite early to give her the card.
This was the scene over the village as I walked back – autumn mist in the distance.
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