About Me

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Catton, Northumberland, United Kingdom
I love all kinds of stitching and enjoy learning, experimenting with and sharing new techniques. Married with 3 children, 2 daughters and a son, a dog and four cats, I also get involved with my daughters 3 horses.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Holiday Stitching

The long awaited holiday has finally arrived and I set off tomorrow so this will be the last post for a while. I have finally decided on what stitching to take with me after much dithering. I didn't want to take something complex and then find that I didn't have what I needed to work it and as I have been accused of packing my whole wardrobe I didn't think I could add my workroom as well! So to keep it to a minimum I have packed a Montmellick design (which I finished drawing out last night) as that only needs 3 weights of white thread and a blackwork chart by Calico Crossroads - 'Purrfect Pitch' - which as you can probably guess features cats, as again it doesn't need much in the way of supplies and I think will be relaxing to stitch. The pic shows what it should look like when it is done. I have already stitched two of these designs and thought it would be nice to do some more and then frame them all alike and display them together. There are lots and lots to choose from so I might have a problem making my mind up. If you are interested you can see them all at www.calicocrossroads.com.

Sunday, 1 November 2009


Today the weather has been atrocious but I have been lucky enough to spend the day stitching at an EG Branch workshop and, even better, have actually finished a small (5" x 5") panel of machine embroidery. Even more amazing I actually like it (amazing because I always feel I could do better than I do) although there are lots of things I would do differently if I did it again.
It is stitched on calico and the background is painted with silk paints and then has small snippets of net, organza and 'glitz' bonded on with bonding powder before the hedge and grasses were stitched using machine rayons. The thistle heads were then painted on in acrylic paint (using a cocktail stitck) before being stitched over. I'm so glad it won't be another UFO - will have to look for a frame for it when I return from holiday.

Friday, 23 October 2009

Challenge up-date and new work

I hope you are all doing better than I am with the HEN stitches. I'm ashamed to admit that I am falling behind with them but I have completed two pieces of work this past month which is quite good for me. The first is 'The Little Mermaid' a piece of raised embroidery which continues the fairy tale theme I have been exploring and the second is the result of a weekend course with Angela Madden, a machine quilted celtic design. Pics above. I have also been writing an on-line course for a small ribbon embroidery, Fuchsia Pot, which will be available on HEN shortly, have created a new Montmellick design for a workshop and kit (just need to stitch it) and made some progress with a doll challenge. I didn't realise how much I had done until I started writing this. Perhaps I should stop feeling guilty but I still need to finish Fiona's quilt - maybe this week. I'm beginning to regret deciding to make it two sided. Just need a few more hours in the day or a friendly elf to do the housework, cooking etc........

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Algerian Eye Stitch

I made a start on my challenge for half an hour last night and it did make me take a fresh look at Algerian Eye - here it is so far. I've worked the stitches freely on calico rather than working it as a canvas or counted thread stitch as is more usual. I'm tempted now to explore the patterns made by working just part of the star............oh dear what have I started!!

Monday, 21 September 2009

Stitch Challenge

Do you find that you tend to use a small number of stitches that you are comfortable with and forget the huge variety that you could use? I know I do and also that I don't always explore and stretch familiar stitches enough. On the Hand Embroidery Network Blog, Sarah is featuring a different stitch each day with instructions for working it. I have decided to challenge myself to try and work a small sample of each stitch each day using different weights of one colour of thread and aiming to try and use it creatively. E.g perhaps to work it diagonally, or haphazardly, or meandering, etc. If you fancy having a go leave a comment to let me know and from time to time post a link to your blog and photos so we can see how you are getting on. If doing a stitch a day is too much perhaps aim for one or two a week? Anyone interested? Today's featured stitch is Algerian Eye and there is a link to the blog on the right.

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Quilt Exhibition

If anyone reading this is a fan of art quilts then I can recommend an exhibition I visited yesterday at Pebbles Art Gallery in Allendale. It is by the 'It Happens' textile group, called Influences and was a beautifully presented display of fabulouse art quilts together with some exciting textile figures (art dolls). I understand that it is this groups first exhibition and I would encourage you to visit if you are in the area. It is on until 30th September and if you need any extra encouragement, the cafe at Pebbles does fabulous cakes!

Fiona's Quilt

At last, here is the promised photo of Fiona's quilt. This was started, over two years ago, after a visit to the Knitting and Stitching Show when she bought a book called A Quilters Ark by Margaret Rolfe and persuaded me to make her a quilt featuring animal blocks. The ones in the book are foundation pieced but that is not one of my favourite techniques so I have done them my own way using freezer paper. The blocks are not all the same size so it took me a little while to decide how to link them and also a while to find a fabric that went with them all. That is always the problem when you let quilts 'evolve' isn't it? Anyway, the top is now finished except for a final border and I am anxious that as she is now 16 she may not want a quilt featuring cute animals for much longer. As I do not want it to end up in cupboard (or the cat's basket!) I have decided to make it reversible and so far have done 4 blocks (it will need 20) using a twisted log cabin block. Each block features 33 different fabrics so it is great for using up small amounts and fat quarters. I am aiming to get it finished in the next two weeks. Each block takes about an hour so I should manage it - only 16 to go!

Does anyone else buy too many fat quarters? I can't resist those beautiful colour themed packs and glorious feature fabrics but then find a problem using them as I never have enough of one fabric. I must resolve to buy half metres instead!!

Tuesday, 15 September 2009


I've just noticed how long it is since my last post - and am ashamed! Lots of excuses. Holiday, trip to London to a Prom concert (daughter singing in choir so very proud) master class work and some stitching too. I have been working hard on my daughters quilt and the front is almost complete (will post pic tomorrow) and have started a new piece on an underwater theme - lots of 3D work and fabric manipulation - and also have a new textile figure on the go for a challenge. More tomorrow.

Saturday, 18 July 2009

Master Class

This week I have signed up for the embroidery masterclass with Stitchbusiness. It is distance learning but with four mentor days each year providing tutor and peer support. The first brief is mark making and drawing with aim being to create 'a working sketchbook filled with inspiring, inventive, imaginative ideas - a work of art in itself for reference and using' - gulp!! I have spent a couple of days thinking and looking at various books and today have finally put pencil and paint to paper. I've decided to start with circles and blue and have surprised myself by finishing two pages already and coming up with lots more ideas as well. I found a book I bought ages ago called 'Make your Mark' by Margaret Peot really useful and inspiring. It has lots of ideas and techniques for making marks with drawing not being mentioned until page 156 which suits me as I do not find drawing easy.

I have done some stitching as well, having finished a cloth figure, Pixie. Here is a photo of her and another cloth figure I finished recently. Don't be too critical - I'm a cloth figure beginner!

Friday, 3 July 2009

Hartlepool EG Branch Exhibition

I visited Hartlepool Branch of the Embroiderers Guild Exhibition a last month and spend a very enjoyable afternoon admiring the fantastic work and chatting to fellow embroiderers. Some of the exhibits had been started at two workshops I delivered for them last year and the year before and it was brilliant to see the completed work. These photos are of two stumpwork figures, both worked from my basic pattern, but each having developed her own attitude and both quite different from my original.

Monday, 29 June 2009


Hi Everyone, this is my first attempt at 'blogging' so I may well just be talking to myself but if there is anyone out there I hope you will find something interesting/useful/amusing/informative here from time to time and that you will leave your comments and let me know what you think.

I took this photo of funghi growing on an old log a week or two ago and played around with it in Paint Shop Pro, thinking it might provide inspiration for a new embroidery. I haven't started anything yet but I like the images. Somehow ended up with this kalidescope - its amazing what a few clicks in the 'transform' menu can produce!