Friday 26 February 2010


Today I've delivered the carrier bag dress to a new temporary home...

20 High St, Haddenham, Nr Ely

The Craft of Turning Rubbish into Art
6th March - 4th April 2010

If you get a chance, do go and visit the exhibition. Haddenham Galleries are a lovely place to visit... not just an Art Gallery but also an ethnic gallery, a sculpture garden, a gift shop and a super little tea shop. And if that wasn't enough, Haddenham is also home to Spoilt Rotten Beads which is worth a visit in itself. And of course it is just a stone's throw away from the beautiful city of Ely. What more excuse do you need for a day out?

Monday 22 February 2010

Non stop....

I had a great day at Textiles in Focus on Friday. Two full classes and several little books finished a selection of which are shown below.

Meanwhile I've continued to work on the degree module. My exploration of buttons has moved into exploration of circles in every imaginable form. Combining this with the theme of revealing and concealing, I'm now looking at eyelets and Broderie Anglaise and scaling it up with big holes, revealing prints underneath. I've been happy with the concept but frustrated with my quality of print on the fabric... cotton jersey is not the easiest fabric to work on!

So this weekend has been spent printing and dying and I've finally come up with prints that I like. More subtle in many ways but with much more depth. I would wear these!

Still much more exploration to do with these prints, different colour combinations to explore, some discharge dyeing to try and then of course lots more stitch. Plus plenty more teaching this week, something to deliver for an exhibition and then I'm off for a week of teaching to Jersey two weeks from today... not forgetting catching up with shopping, cooking, cleaning, laundry, dog walking etc etc. Everything feels a little non stop and overwhelming right now so I fear blogging might be low priority for a few weeks. Forgive me if I don't comment, reply to emails etc... I'm here but keeping a low profile. I'll be back with news of the exhibition at the end of the week.

Thursday 18 February 2010

Textiles in Focus

I've been meaning to write this post for weeks but you know how it is... time whizzes by and I realise how useless I am at self promotion.

Tomorrow there will be more little books.
I'm teaching two workshops at
Textiles in Focus

Maybe I'll see some of you there?
Cottenham Village College
Friday 19th, Saturday 20th 10am - 5 pm
Sunday 21st February 10am - 4.30pm
Workshops, Traders, exhibitions.

Tuesday 16 February 2010

Knit one, Purl one and leave for 30 years...

Remember a couple of posts ago I confessed to having knitting on the needles that dated back at least thirty years? I've decided to be brave and share it...

I know it dates back that far because the pattern book was given to me by the ex-wife of my ex-husband (Don't ask... it's complicated) who happened to work for Patricia Roberts at the time and that was in 1979!
This is as much as I ever completed. You wouldn't believe how long one of those rows with all the bobbles took. I actually think it is quite horrendous now... all that horrid itchy mohair. But to be fair mohair was quite trendy at the time.

So a challenge to you blogging friends... what do you have lurking on your needles that dates back to antiquity? Post a picture, link back here and let me know. As for me... am I finishing my "Fruit Machine" sweater? Not so likely...
I've cast on another pair of ripple socks...

And I've been knitting tension squares! This is serious stuff... I never knit tension squares.

But I'm quite determined to knit myself a Marion Foale "Gina" jacket now that Gill has tracked down a pattern for me.

And lest you think all this sitting around knitting is not good for me... fear not. In yesterday's Times I found this little gem...

Which sounds like the perfect excuse for an afternoon of knitting with a bowl of Monda's rice pudding on the side!

Sunday 14 February 2010

Love is in the Air

We had a Young Embroiderers meeting yesterday and the girls were making little books... a handstitched variation of my Little Bonded Books. I made a sample with a Valentine theme to give them some inspiration.

Not that they needed me to inspire them... look at all the wonderful covers they made. There was actually a lot more variation in colour than this but I took the photos with my phone, which I've never attempted before and it seems to have made everything the same colour!

All the girls and all the helpers managed to make a little book to take home for Valentine's Day.

I hope you are having a lovely February 14th!

Wednesday 10 February 2010

Penguins and Pigs

One of the little challenges I've set myself this year is to finish off all those half knitted things that have been abandoned in favour of new projects. There are several of them... including (I'm ashamed to admit) the back of a sweater that has been on the needles at least thirty years. Might even dig it out and show you one day... who knows, it might even be back in fashion one day. Meanwhile I've finished off something started about six months ago.

When my friend Jane gave me this super book of knitted socks I just knew I had to make these zigzag socks... tempting though the penguins are...

I found a suitably stripey yarn (Wendy Happy, I think) and set to work. The first sock was finished in no time and I loved its rippled stripes... but it was just a tad too small. And although the lovely bamboo yarn was very soft it wasn't very stretchy. So the lone sock was consigned to the bottom of the knitting basket and meanwhile several other pairs of socks were made.

But in my effort to finish things off I took pity on the lone sock and have just finished its partner, which has turned out different from the first one in more ways than just the order of its stripes.

But if I don't point out the differences I'm not sure anyone will notice. And despite being a tad too small, with a bit of effort I can get them on! (Yes I know, they are looking rather stretched around the cuff!)

But I'm really quite taken with all the ripples. I might just have to knit another pair... but in a bigger size!

I can't go without mentioning all the lovely parcels received from Pink Cat in Ali's swap that have made this past week so special. Not only did I get the "Chicken and Egg" but also a card making pack, some fun little stickers (I love stickers!) some seeds for Aster and Aquelegia, Rose scented bath salts, Percy Pig sweets and a book, called The Dressmaker which seems very apt given my current degree module... can't wait to read it! Thank you both... it has been a super swap! Better get back to my knitting now...

Sunday 7 February 2010

The Mojo is Back!

Many thanks to those of you who have sent kind thoughts and wishes... and many thanks to dear Jude for pointing out that I am in fact quite insane and the doing the degree is therapy! Many a true word and all that! The accumulating dust, the ironing mountain, the masses of preparation I've to do for work and the various family niggles have been cast aside and I've been indulging in some serious therapy. My current degree module is Embroidery for Fashion which has involved lots and lots of decision making.

First of all I had to decide which seasons I was working towards - so I chose Autumn/Winter 2010/11. Then looking at the various trend predictions I had to chose a colour palette. Well I'm not a muted neutral sort of girl....

Having picked my colours I've played with proportions.

Then another decision... which company/designer would I like to work for? I found this really difficult - Westwood? Versace? Chanel? Galliano?... or perhaps I should think about the High Street chains - Topshop? Monsoon? Miss Selfridge? In the end I picked the Spanish company Desigual whose designs are made for embroidery and print... and bright colours!

And then yet another decision... a research theme. To provide some continuity I picked something I have researched in previous modules - Fastenings with a focus on revealing and concealing and in particular on buttons. And so began days of research in books and on the internet on various aspects of buttons.... including Pearly Kings and Queens...

and Dorset buttons which I think are gorgeous!

And in the evenings when I've been too tired to do any more research I've taught myself how to make Dorset buttons.

And now over the past few days I've begun some design development based on my research, mostly printing on paper...

Looking at repeating circular patterns.

But also putting digital prints onto fabric.

And stitching onto paper.

I'm still a long way from producing a Gina Ferrari collection for Desigual but I don't feel quite so overwhemed as I have for most of January!

Thursday 4 February 2010

Day one

For one reason or another things haven't been easy over the past few weeks. Nothing major in the grand scheme of things but but trying to fit in degree work when I'm already struggling to balance home life with work has made everything feel overwhelming. Add to that a couple of family problems and I'm seriously asking why I'm doing a degree. But this week an excellent and encouraging tutorial has set me back on track and today the arrival of these has lifted my spirits further...

A wonderful parcel of goodies from Pink Cat for our seven days of specialness swap. The idea is one little gift each day... but I really, really want to open them all at once! But I'm being good and have only picked one today... the one that promised "Something fun!"

And look what was inside... A "Which Came First" chicken and egg racing set! Jacob (who desperately needs cheering up) picked the chicken and I picked the egg and off they went...

But that pesky chicken wins every time!

Thank you Pink Cat...It made us both smile today! I wonder what will be in tomorrow's parcel?