Category Archives: textiles

Scrap Happy Wild Wool

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.

Joining Kate for Scrap Happy July

Scrap Happy Wrapping

The blanket I gave to my neice as a wedding present needed a large cardboard box for wrapping.

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.

Furoshiki style.

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 then tucked in some fabric flowers that I had left over from making my Frida Kahlo headband

I loved the way it turned out.

Scrap Happy Bookcover

Some progress has been made on the book cover started last month.

It has fabric from old clothes and curtains, some from the 1970s.

The white lacy daisy is from a dress I had when I was 17, the stars are from holey old jeans that Miss E (14) has grown out of. I love them sitting close to each other in this piece.

This project is a lot of fun.

The inspiration comes from “The Magpie’s Nest”

a course by Aimee Irel Bishop

I have started another, which I have made in a different way.

This time, instead of cutting slits in the base fabric, I have laid strips on top of a piece of fabric to act as the ‘warp’. I tacked then down along the top edge and started weaving.

There is more to do.

Joining Kate and her happy band of Scrap Happy contributors.

Scrap Happy: Textile Book Cover

Joining Kate and her band of Happy Scrappers

This is going to be a bookcover.

The black and white ticking is from some old kitchen curtains circa 1989.

I am using some bits of rust dyed fabric that weren’t beautifully rust-marked, and other bits and pieces. I have yet to weave in a lot more scrappiness.

The book cover method is one being taught in a online course I am following called ‘The Magpie’s Nest’, on Jean Oliver’s ‘Creativity is Calling’ website.

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.

You can see lots of examples from this course on Instagram #themagpiesnestworkshop

Mothers Day Exhibition

It is Mothers Day here in the UK.

Helen Birmingham of Untangled Threads is having an online Mothers Day exhibition.

There are some very moving pieces in the exhibition and well worth a look.

These are the two pieces of work I entered

‘Why Cross?’

I had a difficult relationship with my Mother, which improved when I had children. She was a lovely Granny (Mamgu) to them.

My second piece:

‘Secrets and Lies’

If you would like to read the story behind the pieces, please go to the online exhibition:

MOTHERING SUNDAY ONLINE EXHIBITION

 

❤ May your day be happy 

Mend it Monday

Mrs Snail of The Snail of Happiness runs a regular feature called ‘Mend-it-Monday’. Mrs. Snail is the queen of mending and has all sorts of tips, ideas and gadgets to help her on her mission to use and re-use things as long she can.

She is a constant inspiration to me and is even in the early stages of opening a shop to store all sorts of pre-loved items and tools for mending and re-purposing.

I saw this exhibit at Harrogate and thought it would fit right in on this Mend-it-Monday.

It was laid out on the floor, each detail fascinating.

Mending as art – love it!

Knitting and Stitching Show: Quilts

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.

detail

The next three are smaller quilted wall hangings

 

Jiaxi Li

I wonder  if this sculpture is a candidate for Silly Saturday.

Is it silly, clever, fun, crazy?

Knitted Sculpture by Jiaxi Li

One of the exhibits at the Harrogate Knitting and Stitching Show.

I love the idea and the colours and can only imagine how much experimentation went into working out how to create a self-supporting knitted sculpture of the fireplace. I hope it finds the right home.

I am certainly interested in seeing more work by this artist.

You can see more of her work here and on Instagram.

Harrogate Knitting and Stitching Show 2021

Phew! Now all that Christmas malarkey is done and dusted, I can tell you more about my fabulous trip to the Harrogate Knitting and Stitching Show 2021.

The photo above is of Helen Birmingham’s Stitchbook Collective gallery Stand. I was honoured and delighted to have been a volunteer helper on the Stand.

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.

It was such a wonderful event to be part of.

More to come in another post.

 

The Knitting and Stitching Show

Yikes! It is taking me an age to sort out all the photos.

Whilst I am going through them all I thought you might like to see what I bought when I was there.

I spotted this stand on the first day

and took a photo so that I would not forget to go back … so on the last day I did and..TaDah!

I got this beauty – it is a bit too long for me, so I might be brave enough to cut it off, up to the pockets, or I might not.

The beauty of it is, it is reversible and so there is a whole new colourway for me to play with.

Elizabeth Gash is delightful. She makes the knitwear. She had run out of leaflets, so I took a photo of her last one

 

Green Twinchies

First an apology. Especially to those of you who were enthusiastic about the Green Twinchies and sent me your wonderfully decorated squares.

I have finished the Blue Twinchie collaborative piece and will show you that in another post.

When I turned to these Green Twinchies, they just would not come together in a design that felt right, so I set them aside waiting for inspiration to strike.

Amanda had sent one with a see through ‘window’ and that made me think about making something 3D so that light could filter through.

and because of the earthy colours, I wondered about putting them in a grid and use my bug hotel as an inspiration…… but after several attempts nothing sang to me.

Right now I am part of another collaborative project based on a woodland theme. We are working on hessian, and I am loving it. I have found some old camouflage off cuts in my stash.

Something is stirring and I think I might be going into the woods with the Green Twinchies.

So be assured they have not been forgotten.

If you have any thoughts or ideas about where this might lead, I will be delighted to hear them.

Ethical Socks?

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

The bad:

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!

So

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)

Inspired by Japanese Boro

I am a member of The Stitchbook Collective

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 love all things Japanese, and was lucky enough to go on a textile tour to Japan in 2015 We went to a museum with wonderful Boro displays and ever since I have wanted to create something looking like this, and now here was a fantastic opportunity.

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.

We are all hoping that the Knitting and Stitching Show will go ahead this year and our Stichbooks and the Kimono will be on display.

Joining in with Kate and her Happy Scrappers for Scrap Happy Day.

WOWbook7

It is very exciting to see one’s name in print and even more exciting to know that this blog has provided a spark of inspiration for a fellow blogger.

Amanda of ‘View From Our Hill’ contacted me about the balls I had covered with teabags. See my post here.

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.

You can find previous editions on their website, and they can also be bought as PDFs.

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.

Squares Together

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.

Magic happened!

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.

The Stitchbook – Ta Dah!

I signed up for this project in May 2019

150 of us joined Helen Birmingham’s STITCHBOOK COLLECTIVE and the journey began.

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.

Scrap Happy Baubles

I follow a Facebook Group called Stitch Meditations and one of the Moderators, Anne Marie Desauliniers, posted a picture of one of her embroidered orbs on Instagram which set me off on a mini obsession. I have two big bags of plastic garden playballs, so I used them as the base,

covering them with fabric scraps and then using yarn made of Silk waste from the manufacture of saris, from Yarn Yarn  to hang them up with.

This tied in with another recent obsession with re-using teabags

 

I sewed a strip of 4 together and then wrapped it round the ball,  sewing ends together. Then did the same with another strip. All the edges were then sewn down.

 

 

 

 

Some have gone to my grandchildren for them to paint and decorate (mainly because they find it so funny that Granny sits sewing teabags together)

and the rest are sitting in a bowl waiting for more inspiration to strike

Joining in with Kate and her happy band of  Scrappers.

KateGun, TittiHeléneEvaSue, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, Jill, Claire, Jan,
Moira, Sandra (me)LindaChrisNancy, Alys, Kerry, Claire,
Jean, Jon, HayleyDawn, Gwen, Connie, Bekki,
Sue L, Sunny, Kjerstin, Vera, Nanette and Ann

In a Vase on Monday: Happy Birthday

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.

When my daughter was born, I was reading a beautiful book about Native American practices: Voices of Our Ancestors. by Dhyani Ywahoo.

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.

Joining in with Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for In a Vase on Monday.

Textile Tuesday: Wild Twinchies

I just love seeing those little envelopes pop through my letterbox. If you want to know more about this project see this post.

These are just arranged randomly at the moment.

Aren’t they yummy! An Autumnal theme is developing methinks.

Only two more to come and then I can start playing around with how to bring them all together.

Thank you so much to all who have joined in

Life is a bit hectic here right now – all good but it is keeping me away from blogging – I am looking forward to it all calming down soon.

Textiles: Collage Squares

Yet another Scrap Happy post!

Making fabric collage squares for the Twinchie projects was such a fun way to upcycle some of my fabric scraps, I carried on making them

The first ones were 10″ squares, but I realised that 12 ” squares are much more versatile

You can divide them into 2″, 3″, 4″ or 6″ squares.

The squares actually measure 13″ to allow for the squares to be cut just slightly over the these measurements to allow for a little bit of trimming if necessary.

They can also be divided into different sized rectangles or strips

I love making these, even though they take longer than you’d think to get the placement satisfactory. When I have a pile of about 50 I might put some in my Etsy shop just to see if anyone would want to buy them as starting points for their own projects.

If you fancy one – just send me a message via the Contact Me page.

Once all of the Twinchies are back and I have completed a piece of textile art with them, the plan is for these squares to be used in more collaborative textile art projects. Watch this space!

PS. For WordPress users – is the new format driving you crazy? Arrgghhhh!