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.

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Long time no blog

How time flies and this past month has gone faster than most.  I have spent quite a bit of it adding content to my new website.  I think it is much easier to use than the old DIY version and also much better looking - thanks to Ryan at Livelyminds who did a wonderful job on the design and has been wonderfully patient with all my queries.
I haven't spent the whole month on the computer.  I had a very enjoyable few days in Glasgow which weren't long enough to see all that that very interesting city had to offer and I have also managed to finish a few UFO's and start thinking about a new series of work.  Only thinking mind you................  more about this later.
If you would like to have a look at the new website, the address remains the same http://patashton-smith.co.uk/ Do please let me know what you think about it and if I can do anything to improve it.  Thanks.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

A day of delights

 Yesterday I was at the Oriental Museum, Durham with the Embroiderers Guild volunteers who help with conservation of the textiles there.  We were cleaning, assessing and recording a box of full of interesting embroideries and I took some pics of my favourites for you to see here.

These details are from an embroidered collar and I was taken not just with the exquisite silk shading but also with the expressions on the characters faces.

The collar above has been damaged and is only a fragment but the embroidery is so fine and detailed I could look at it forever.  You really need a magnifying glass to appreciate all the delicate detail.

The panel to the left is appliqued in silk but each figure and flower is padded, raising it from the background.  I love its vibrant colours and the expressions on the ladies faces.  Needless to say the stitching is perfect too.

I finished the day at Chris de Burgh's concert at the Sage, Gateshead.  A fantastic evening with songs old and new and a great atmosphere.

Monday, 10 October 2011

Embroidery Days

The last few days I have been totally immersed in stitch and there is more to come.  Saturday was our EG meeting.  The morning was spent starting an embroidered postcard for the Olympic Postcard project.  Hexham's country is Croatia and I am doing an interpretation of a Croatian postage stamp in raised embroidery.  The afternoon was a very interesting talk by Linda Westerman who followed it with a dayschool on Sunday which I really enjoyed.  It also resulted in another piece to finish - this time in goldwork worked onto a background of torn fabric strips and scraps of lace etc.  My starting point was this photo which I took at Olympia.  I will post some 'in progress' pics shortly.  Linda was an excellent tutor and I also have lots of ideas simmering for more pieces - just need lots of time........
Today I have been to Huddersfield to talk to the EG Branch about Raised Embroidery.  It wasn't the best weather for driving and not the easiest place to get to from here but the warm welcome I received made up for it and I had a lovely afternoon.
Tomorrow I am off to the the Oriental Museum in Durham for some more stitching.  I am so lucky to be doing what I enjoy - I've hardly noticed the  miserable weather we are having.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Autumn or is Summer just late this year?

The hay is cut and baled and yesterday I was picking Sloes ready to make Sloe Gin, so Autumn has officially arrived for me.  Autumn is also the theme for the next Postcard Swaperoo and I am planning to get started on my cards today (amongst lots of other things as usual.......)  The weather is more like summer here at the moment and we are promised 25 c for the next couple of days.  We'd better make the most it though as rumour has it the snow will come in October this year!  I suppose anything is possible with our erratic weather.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Postcard Swaperoo

I've just joined this swap - encouraged by Sheila at Sheila Embroidery Rambles.  Here is the beautiful card I received yesterday from Sheila and here is my effort

The brief was to keep it simple so I had fun playing with some papers that I had decorated some time ago and combining them together with acrylic medium, ink and Goldfinger.

Do come and join us - details here

Saturday, 23 July 2011

A Special Day and some new work

Allendale Forge Studios held its official opening last Thursday when HRH Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex came to visit.  It was a lovely day - here are a few of us waiting to be presented.

It was very busy in the run up to the opening as we all wanted to have our pitches well stocked and looking good.  I have just started a new series of locally inspired pictures which are developments of the technique I described a couple of months ago.

These are approx A4 size but I Have decided I like this technique enough to try some larger pieces now.  I really love using the fibres to build up landscapes - so much easier blending them than mixing paint!  These two and a seascape are for sale in the Forge shop.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

It's official - Quilting is good for you!

Thanks to chittle chattle for sharing this link  http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2002862/Why-quilting-uniquely-good-us.html#comments which confirms what we dedicated quilters, embroiderers etc have known all along.  Our art/craft or whatever we want to call it is good for us.

Here is my latest attempt.  I'm surrounded by the most wonderful landscape but often find it difficult to capture it in fabric.  This piece uses simple raw edge piecing and free machine embroidery to try and capture the feel of a dusky evening view.

I got a nice surprise when I looked at the back.  Seeing  the quilting in black and white has set me thinking about a winter version.  Before I get to that though I have others to finish - why is it always more tempting to start something new than to finish what is on the go?

Monday, 20 June 2011

Print and Stitch and a new use for the Aga

Visiting the local art shop with my daughter in search of paper for her I came across a printing material that was new to me.  It is a type of lino but much softer than the usual and finer and texture so that a more delicate line is possible.  I decided to cut a similar design in both of them so that I could compare them and  here are the results.  The picture below right shows the two blocks.I usually struggle to cut the traditional lino and find it a faff to keep heating it up but I had a brain wave this time and decided to do the cutting by the Aga.  I put the block on top of the hot plate from time to time and had no difficulty at all.  Why has it taken me so long to think of this?I also made a small flower block in the new lino and  after printing this with fabric paint and over painting it with silk paints I then machine stitched it and made two ATC's.

For some reason Google is refusing to put the photos where I want them and in the wrong order so apologies if this post looks rather odd.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Quilts at Belsay

I spent yesterday at Belsay Hall, Northumberland, helping to steward the exhibition of quilts which has been put on by Region 15 E of The Quilters Guild.  It was lovely meeting fellow stitchers and talking about the quilts and other items on display.  From traditional to contemporary there really is something for everyone to enjoy.  If these pictures whet your appetite the exhibition is on until Sunday 22nd May.

I didn't put my bed quilt in tothe exhibition for as you can see below Jack the Border Terrier would miss it!

Thursday, 14 April 2011

A Day to myself

Yesterday I had the whole day to myself - well apart from all the animals.  Once they had been walked, fed etc I settled down to play.  Since reading an article by Erin  Partridge in Cloth Paper Scissors Magazine which described combining a drawing on artists vellum with felt and stitch I had fancied trying something similiar albeit in my own way.  Erin used overdyed commercial felt with hand needle felted accents as a background.  I decided to use transfer paints to create an impression of a landscape on white felt.

This is the felt after ironing the transfer painted paper onto it.

The next step was to embellish wool tops and felt fibres to create my landscape.  This came out of my head but was inspired by the wonderful landscape here in Allendale.

I drew the sheep on artists vellum using a permanent drawing pen
The next step was to cut him out and apply him to the background with Acrylic Medium

I also tried two more using images of moorland birds

I think I like the birds best but they all need some stitching to finish them.  These are approx A4 size but I think I will also try some larger ones as I really enjoyed building up the landscapes with the fibres and also being able to get really fine detailed drawings.   All I need now is another free day............

Friday, 1 April 2011

Pins and Needles 2011

For the first time I have a stand at a needlecraft show!  It has been very hectic getting it all organised but Pins and  Needles yesterday was great fun.  I really enjoyed meeting so many interesting stitchers and chatting to old and new friends -  and there are still two more days to go!  If you are at the show do pop by and say hello.

Monday, 7 February 2011

Web Page goes live!

I've not posted in a while because I have been busy creating a website.  I thought all of the work would be in creating the content but that was only the start.  I won't bore you with the details but by virture of reading many help files and forums and the patience of my son I now have a web page.  If you would like to take a look the address is http://www.patashton-smith.co.uk/   I'd really appreciate any feedback anyone would like to give.  There are still a few things to sort out - the photos on one page have jumped for example but hopefully the teething problems will soon be sorted and I can get back to stitching.

Sunday, 9 January 2011


Here are two ATC's I have just completed.  If you would like to know more about ATC's, how these were worked or the North East EG ATC Swap please visit the blog here.

Once promised task finished.  I have spent today tacking a quilt together.  The top has been pieced by another Quilters Guild member who has kindly donated it for the raffle in aid of the Air Ambulance organised for the Pins & Needles Needlecraft Show in March - details here - and I am quilting it. 
I have decided to do it by hand - just the thing for these cold winter evenings but I will have to be organised to make sure it is finished in time.  I am looking forward to the show.  I am teaching some workshops and will have a stand there so if you visit the show do come along and say hello.

I still have to start my sketchbook for the challenge.  The theme for January is 'Highly Prized' which I found hard to get my head round at first but now I suspect I will not have time to draw all the things that could come under that category.  I hope to get started this week but our dog Oscar has to have an operation to remove a tumour tomorrow so all will depend on how much nursing he needs afterwards.  Apparently he will have to wear a collar to stop him licking the wound.  Last time he had one he had it off in 5 minutes..........  We are all worried and hoping that it is benign but I don't suppose we will know for a few days. 

Monday, 3 January 2011

New Year - New Start

Happy New Year Everyone - I hope 2011 sees all your dreams come true!  Thankyou for sticking with this somewhat spasmodic blog - I plan for it to be more regular during 2011. 

Of course this is the time of year for plans and resolutions and one of mine is always to be more organised, better prepared etc.  In fact I usually am fairly well organised but then life seems to just happen and complicate things.  I'm sure it is probably the same for most of you too.

One of the things I plan to do more of in 2011 is use my sketch book more and to get in the habit I have decided to take up the Sketchbook Challenge - more details on the right.  Hopefully by declaring this publically I will keep it up so if you do not see any evidence of it here please leave me a comment and berate me.

I also plan to make some ATC's for swaping.  As co-ordinator of the Embroiderers' Guild ATC Swap I should at least post some myself so I hope to have the first two up here by the end of the week.

Well, I think that is enough rash promises for now.  Until tomorrow..........