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.

Thursday, 29 April 2010

Inspiration strikes in Sunderland!

My husband was working in Sunderland this morning and as I have been wanting to see the exhibition of local textile group Fusion, which is at Sunderland Minster until 14th May, I cadged a lift and spend a most enjoyable morning there.  I visited the Minster first and as I was early I had the church and the exhibition to myself and was really able to spend time appreciating both the beauty and peace of the building and the work displayed.  Here are 3 of my personal favourites.  From left to right -Bede by Melitta Butterall, which is an exquisitely worked goldwork piece, Save our Soles by  Donna Cheshire, and St Mark by Victoria McLeod whose robes are worked very effectively in chain stitch.  After a visit to the Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens, I finished with a stroll in Mowbray Gardens where inspiration struck!  I'm not a fan of the regimental planting that is so often seen in parks but the colours combinations here were amazing and I think could translate into some stunning quilts.  Here are the pics.

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Star Cross Patchwork

I started this at a workshop with Celia Eddy in March and have just finished it this afternoon - part of my blitz on UFO's!  I didn't like it much before I quilted it - I think I should have reversed the fabrics which would have made the stars more prominent - but it has improved with the quilting and I am going to make it into a cushion.  It was constructed from two templates which needed to be very accurately cut.  I haven't been quite accurate enough and some of my stars are a bit wobbly.  I think I prefer rotary cutting and strip piecing.

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Teaser Tuesdays

I came across Teaser Tuesdays on Mogs Blog (link on the right)  and thought it was such a good idea I would feature it here and join in.

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

Grab your current read

Open to a random page

Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page

BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)

Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Here is mine:-
"Marcus folded up beside him and watched, vividly remembering another war-spear whose collar had been the blue grey feathers of a heron.  Esca stood leaning one shoulder against the rowan wood doorpost, watching also."
Page 133 The Eagle of the Ninth by Rosemary Sutcliffe
This is a book I have had since I was a teenager. I suddenly got the urge to read it again and I am enjoying it even more 30+ years later. 
Find more teasers here


I posted some photos of Fiona's quilt last year when it was a WIP.  I actually got it finished a while ago now but didn't get round to photographing it until today so here it is together with the cat that spends a lot of time on it.  Today she is surveying the world from the shed roof but I digress!   The quilt is  two sided which made me think long and hard about how to quilt it particularly as many of my quilting friends thought I should make two separate quilts (but I couldn't face that as I desperately wanted it finished).  In the end I used a varigated thread to machine quilt freestyle leaves on one side but used an invisible thread in the bobbin so the quilting pattern did not interfere with the crazy log cabin on the reverse.  I prefer the reverse (log cabin) but Fiona still likes the animals so we are both happy!  I found the strippy border in a brilliant book called "Sensational Sets & Borders" Rodale's Successful Quilting Library which has lots of excellent ideas for borders.

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Stitching Weekend

I've managed to spend most of this weekend doing what I enjoy best - designing and stitching!  Here is the result - no problems with finding a title for this one.  It could have been "How much further?" or "Are we there yet?" but I finally settled on "Wait for me, Mum?"  All familiar refrains to most mum's I'm sure!  I have used  free machine embroidery for mum's shell, facial details and for the ground and needle lace for mum's legs and the babies shell.  Hope they make you smile!

Friday, 23 April 2010

Just spent the last couple of hours lacing my most recent pieces.  Well, actually lacing two - I got so fed up that I used double sided tape for the last one which is an example for a workshop rather than a 'proper' piece.  It is such a boring job but they always look better for stretching properly.  Here is a photo of the latest offering.  I have used ribbonwork to embellish a photograph that I have transfered to fabric.  For this one, I scanned an old copyright free postcard and enlarged it before printing it onto photo transfer paper.  It was then ironed to transfer the image to calico.  It did stiffen the fabric and transfered a bit patchily but I quite like the aged effect for this piece.  Generally though I prefer to treat my own fabrics with Bubble Jet Set which I find does not alter the handle of the fabric.  This was an experiment but I think I might now dig out some old family photos for this treatment.  Can't think of a title though - any ideas anyone?

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Spring at Last?

Today has been beautiful here so perhaps spring has come at last.  I saw 8 swallows yesterday so maybe summer will not be too far behind.  Thinking of summer, I have just finished this ribbon embroidery inspired by summer fields so thought I would add it here.  It is worked mainly in silk ribbons on painted calico and now just needs mounting.  I think an oval mount will set it off nicely.

Regular visitors may notice that I have added a page to this blog.  Please take a look

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Chinese Embroidery

I've spent today at the Oriental Museum here in Durham amongst some wonderful stitching.  A small group of us from the Durham Branch of the Embroiderers' Guild volunteer at the museum each month and are privilged to see and help to conserve some amazing needlework. This butterfly is from a silk jacket and you can see more pics like this in my picassa album here http://picasaweb.google.co.uk/patashtonsmith/ChineseEmbroidery#
The jacket is currently on display at the museum along with many other treasures.  http://www.dur.ac.uk/oriental.museum/  The museum celebrates its jubilee on May 28th with a special exhibition which will include a fabulous Dragon Robe (right) there are some more photos of this at the link above but it needs to be seen up close to really appreciate the incredible stitching.  Some of the Pekin Knot work is so fine you need a magnifying glass to see the individual knots!  If you are in this part of the world do pay the exhibition a visit just to see this.