My John's nice parents brought me a lovely book last year by their friend, Isabel Dibden Wright. She's a lecturer on the Embroidery BA course at Manchester Met and uses textiles beautifully (photo, right). (Interestingly, so does John's PhD supervisor - so he's surrounded by quilting!)
It is inspiring - but I'm still learning how to use all the buttons and bobbles on my sewing machine and I'M SCARED!!! But scared-machinists: take heart! Here is a shop with people who can show us how!
A new colleague at work (hello Charlotte!) is a hardened knitter who has recently started doing patchworking, and she's introduced me to this fab place...which, despite living here for 5 years, and searching avidly for a good fabric shop for about 3 of them, I'd still managed to miss. I must have been too busy looking for fossils in the pavements. Sigh.
It seems pretty wee when you first enter but then...Aladdin would be proud of the room at the back...and there is a classroom downstairs.
Country Threads (2 Pierrepont Place, BA1 1JX; Tel: 01225 480056). There are loads of classes. There is restricted parking but you can unload before you park. Tea and coffee is available but best to bring your own lunch. You can hire a sewing-machine for £1.50/class if you don't want to bring your own. There is a maximum of 12 students/class so everyone benefits from the teacher.
Here is Country Threads' busy schedule:
Christmas Tree Skirt; Val Murray (£20)
Thursday 4th Oct 10.00-16.00
The skirt covers the base and underneath the Christmas tree: based on the diamond log cabin pattern.
Interwoven curved log cabin; Jan Hassard (£25)
Saturday 6th Oct 10.00-15.30
Use of a mix of colours and tones in each log cabin block. (Use of rotary cutting and machine piercing.)
Beginners - come and make a quilt; Jan Prior (£15/day or £25/weekend)
Weekend of 12-13th Oct 10.00-15.30
A simple class for beginners who wish to perfect rotary cutting and machining for a simple quilt top. You can buy their pattern and fabrics there! A day to get you started or the weekend to do the whole project!
Fabric Collage; Janet Bolton (£35)
Thursday 18th Oct 10.00-15.30
Janet is on the Craft Council Selected Index of Makers and her work (right) is in the British Council Collection and the Embroiders Guild Museum. The main emphasis of this day is to encourage students to develop their own ideas working directly with material and very simple techniques. (Hand sewing only.)
Antique Angels; Lois Brooks (£20)
Saturday 20th Oct 10.00-16.00
Make 10 inch angels out of old lace, doilies and linens. Bring the bits and bobs in your fabric stash and get creative!
Machine Quilting; Val Murray (£20)
Saturday 27th Oct 10.00-15.00
Get to grips with machine quilting; straight lines, curves and stippling! Help with techniques such as wadding threads...and help given with any project! (You need to bring your own machine.)
The Versatile Goose; Katharine Guerrier (£25)
Saturday 3rd Nov 10.00-15.30
The goose unit is used often in patchwork blocks (left) and this workshop will help you to piece it precisely and incorporate it into a variety of blocks.
How to make colour work for you; Chris Porter (£27.50)
Wednesday 7th Nov 10.00-15.30/16.00
Learn how to group your fabrics into colour families and add zing to your work!
Yellow Brick Road; Jan Prior (£15, includes pattern)
Saturday 10th Nov 10.00-15.30
Learn to put together a quilt top in a day! (Rotary cutting.)
African Rhythms; Jan Hassard (£27.50)
Saturday 17th Nov 10.00-15.30
Jan's first class in the popular African series. Lots of stunning blocks and techniques to learn!
Patchwork geometric blocks - tradition and beyond; Susan Denton (£90)
Three day class 19-21st Nov 10.00-16.00
The repetition of simple geometric blocks is a form of patchwork familiar to most quiltmakers and one that forms the basis of numerous traditional and contemporary patchwork quilts. Blocks are an easy way of finding effective ways to play with line and colour and inventing new ones. After paper exercises, student will work on an individual piece of work. Techniques will be covered as the arise: but this class is not suitable for absolute beginners!
Eight petals and a pot; Jennie Rayment (£27.50)
Saturday 24th November 10.00-16.00
Sew simple shapes and add machine appliquéd flowers to create this textured 23 x 23'' floral wall-hanging. Class is suitable for all abilities.
Use it up, waste it not; Jan Prior (£15)
Thursday 29th Nov 10.00-16.30
Use up fabric stash. A gentle sewing day!
Bags galore; Val Murray (£20)
Saturday 1st Dec 10.00-15.30
Bag making class
Surprising 4 patch! Judy Mendlessohn (£25)
Tuesday 4th Dec 10.00-15.30
Cut one large piece of patterned fabric and every four patch block comes out differently. Makes a wall-hanging or a small quilt - but will work well on any fabric...
I'm signing up for Jan Prior's 12-13th Oct Beginner's course - hope to see you there!
Wendy Freebourne will be hosting a felting workshop at her house on Sunday 7th October from 13.00-17.00. If you would like to go, please let her know. The cost is £15, plus £3 for materials.
Helen's in the midst of felting madness with this yummily bright yarn (left) from Willow Trading at Glastonbury festival (Willow Trading, 34 Whalley Lane, Uplyme, Lyme Regis, Dorset DT7 3UR; Tel: 01297 443964) and some silvery Rowan Kidsilk Haze.
I've felted my Debbie Bliss Donegal Tweed Chunky for a clutch-purse and it's merrily blocking around my copy of 'The Line of Beauty' by Alan Hollinghurst (which I loved, by the way; if it's not too crinkled after being used as a knitting accessory it will be happily lent out if anyone wants a good read).
Helen been busy crocheting this scarf (Garden Scarf by Michelle Ameron: from Debbie Stoller’s Stitch 'n Bitch Crochet: The Happy Hooker).
Isn't it fab?
We're hooked! Geddit? ;0)
She said it only took her an evening (I'm not optimistic about me being able to match that though...)
Hurrah, hurray, hurrooo!!
It's back up with a vengance: fireproofed and with its eyes set on touring in hotter climes.
A farm in West Cornwall has recruited two unusual security guards to protect its hens from harm. Tremayne Farm, near Camborne, has taken on two Peruvian alpacas - named William and Harry - to keep predators away. Farm manager Giles Greenhough said: "Because of the alpacas' nature, they'll take up the role of becoming guardians of the flock." Farm director Lisa Rowe added: "Alpacas are used extensively in Australia and New Zealand to safeguard sheep." She added: "We know that happy hens lay the tastiest eggs and for that reason, we recruited the alpacas."
A farm in West Cornwall has recruited two unusual security guards to protect its hens from harm.
Tremayne Farm, near Camborne, has taken on two Peruvian alpacas - named William and Harry - to keep predators away. Farm manager Giles Greenhough said: "Because of the alpacas' nature, they'll take up the role of becoming guardians of the flock."
Farm director Lisa Rowe added: "Alpacas are used extensively in Australia and New Zealand to safeguard sheep." She added: "We know that happy hens lay the tastiest eggs and for that reason, we recruited the alpacas."(BBC News, 24/09/07)
Alison Murray has been masterminding this Giant Knitted Gingerbread house to raise money for Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital and North Devon Hospice. Some 500 knitters from across the UK, USA, Canada and Spain sent knitted contributions to the house...but this morning I spotted this threat in the news:
Wool house ‘fire risk’
Fire officers have ordered a knitted house to be taken down after declaring it a fire hazard. The 10ft-by-14ft house was knitted by 500 women from all over the world and was on show at Atlantic Village at Bideford, North Devon, where it has raised £10,000 for charity. Ann Tattersall, who helped to create the house, said: “This is absolutely outrageous and is health and safety gone mad.” (Times, 21/09/07).
POSTSCRIPT 22/09/07: it's been taken down now....and, somehow, you just know that, at Christmas, they'll have a dry, brittle conifer in that shopping complex with flameball-glued, glittery baubles and rubbish blue-crackling fairy-lights surrounded by a sea of madly-flammable crepe paper...dammit.
Mari and I met on Saturday morn at Birmingham New St. station - she had an early start from Bath, especially for a weekend, and I was shaking off a hangover from staying with my lovely ex-flatmate... but there was plenty to wake us up and keep us entertained at the show! We did giggle at the other shows being hosted at the NEC though (like those on the right)... but then, they probably giggled at ours! ;0)
We thought it might have been a little bit more appropriate for ours to have called the 'Stitching and Knitting Show': there seemed to be lots and lots of embroidery stands and not quite as much for the knitters...and there were lots of general crafty stands (lots of paper and glitter for sale (left); looked like Indian spices!)
But what they did have knit-wise was great! Mari and I went a bit mad in this stand and spent most of our pocket money in the first 10 minutes on the most gorgeous Alpaca wool and lots of bits'n'bobs to satiate our new felting obsessions.
I hadn't anticipated that many exhibitors wouldn't welcome photography - in case we steal their ideas I suppose - but I had imagined that I would be able to find them online. So, I'm pretty surprised to see that a large number of the artists don't have an online presence - most peculiar! But I have done my best at tracking people down - if you have better luck please let me know and I'll update these links!
We loved the work by Hélène Soubeyran! She doesn't seem to have a website up and running properly yet - but I'll keep an eye on Google...luckily there was a big arrangement of her work in the foyer and no-one seemed to mine me taking snaps (upper right and left)! She arranges the wools in resin and then takes the block to a marble mason, who saws them into slices. They are wonderful! Some look really like geological strata and fossils (upper right) but in other column the colours are really bright and unorganic (left). I was smitten - wools, a fossily-look and art combined - but, sadly, her prices quickly made me creep quietly away...a small 10x7cm block was £100 and the columns were £3K. Eeeek. But, I suppose the cost of the sectioning of the blocks would cause their price to soar immediately.
Other wonders were Julie Arkell's amazing papier-mache figurines (right): just like being in a fairy-tale book! It reminded me of Ullabenulla's beautiful blog. Many of the little people have knitted accessories... I love this kind of thing - my favourite cafe of all time has to be Hansel und Gretel in Bath, which also has lots of angel, fairy pretty things of this ilk, and it makes me long for Christmas to come..!
Hillu Liebelt makes some lovely tapestries and weaved pieces (left).
I was pleased to see the Lace Guild there too - I've struggled to get the information I've needed from the web...so they were there to answer my random questions.
The Association of Guilds of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers were there too - and a nice lady showed us how to make a drop spindle out of a stick, modelling clay and some CDs. Blue Peter would be proud!
Sandra has this lovely magazine from her travels and there's a lovely pattern in there for a 'Cache-théière potiron' (left): which seems to be a fab pumpkin tea-cosy...
There's only one problem: the pattern's in French! eeek.
Babel Fish can work wonders but this text has lots of abbreviations and it just can't cope - and neither can my rusty A-level French...is there anyone out there able to help, please?? (a hot cup of tea and a sticky bun in return!)
One bottle of wine, one tube of Pringles and a night on this website - we could have ourselves a Pumpkin teacosy!
Wendy tells me that Bakers Dolphin are doing a day trip to the Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace, London, on Thurs 11th or Sat 13th Oct. It leaves from the Hippodrome, Bristol at 09.00 and leaves at 18.30, arriving back at 21.30 in Bristol. It costs £30 (£29 seniors) and this includes entry.
I'm actually going to the one in Birmingham, at the NEC, on Saturday with Mariana if anyone else fancies joining us?
I spent a lovely knitty-afternoon with Sandra today (lovely to have you home, Sandra!) And she's been busy knitting! Look at her lovely Autumnal bag - it's so beautiful! I love the mixture of textures, details and beads...
And look at the lining! Could it be more perfect for the autumnal theme?! Wonderful..!
I need something to immerse myself in anyway this evening: JohnBoy is flicking between the football and rugby so quickly he's likely to induce epilepsy and he's got the cricket through an ear-piece...sigh!
On first sight I thought that it might, one day, be in the realms of possibility for an impatient foot-tapping critter like me...until mum told me an old Belgian lady sold it to my granny and she'd started making it when she was only 15. Wow! And the Belgian's lace work is truly amazing. (We used to live in Belgium and got wonderfully embraced out there by everyone and my brother and I got adopted as grandchildren by a farming couple, Josee and Robert. They have been hugely more instrumental in my life...)
My mum says I can have it in her Will - so I guess I should be hoping I've got a long wait..! ;0)
An hour merrily searching the web can yield more than knitted dinosaurs (hard to believe, but true!): look what beauties I’ve found! Cindy Ferguson creates the most wonderful art from a sharpened blade and a sheet of paper (her lacewing ant lion bug is on the left). And I LOVE her mosquito life-cycle cut out. Another wonderful blend of art and science!
One of my childhood 'keep-yourself-out-of-trouble-for-days' play-activities was to make cards and pictures by cutting out shapes. I remember doing an enormous Tigger out of cutting card (his stripes were tricky!)...but I didn't realise that there's actually a name out there for us like-minded card-snippers (pronounced 'shair-en-shnit-teh' apparently)!
There doesn't seem to be that much information out there (epecially not in the U.K. - but the U.S. is throwing up more sites, but not many there either - incidently, there seems to be a big religious connection...). You can purchase patterns here. In an ideal world, perhaps I should learn to draw first so I don't need to buy a pattern, but - blimey - let's be serious?! I supposed, though, all you really need is a unbroken image/photocopy from a book/the web and away you go..!
So now I'm hooked (as well as trapped in the blind-ending sock-tube of No Return). There's a plethora of paper-cutting information here for any other people who really should be finishing off the projects they've already started...but have eyes too big for their crafting-time-slots.
Isn't Google fab? Throws up all sorts of wonderous things. I've found a lovely knitty West Country blog by Jennifer Thurston. She's knitting some lovely stuff AND has a free pattern to some knitted dinosaurs!! :0)
My partner studies fossil sea urchins (don't ask) and have been trying to secretly knit one: I could have a complete Jurassic diorama if I knit some of these guys too! You can download her dino-pattern here.
When mum mentions that she's cleaning the house, she is usually referring to her doll's house (right). Our lovely and slightly wacky neighbours have a doll's house too: but theirs is a complete replica of their own home! Even down to the number of tiles on the roof and panes in the window... (I kid you not).
And the one on the right is hers for a 2 inch doll.
Lesley's will be exhibiting at the Miniatura Autumn Trade Show and running a Miniature Knitting Workshop in Bruern (Nr Stowe-On-the-Wold), Oxfordshire on the 26th September. You can download the PDF booking form here. And don't forget your 0.75mm needles.