Stitching News August 2018

Dates for your diary:

The West Country quilt Show runs on the dates below. Click on the website to see what is happening. http://www./

Thursday 30th August 2018                       
Friday 31st August 2018
Saturday 1st September 2018
10.00am – 4.30pm

September 4th – 8th 2018  “chainREACTION” by Textile Maids; a group of ten contemporary textile artists based in Cornwall.jane

This is their third exhibition and incorporates aspects of textile art inspired by their own personal responses to a linked chain of words. The eclectic mix of techniques, from mixed media, patchwork, hand and machine embroidery and handmade felt, has resulted in a show of exciting and diverse contemporary textiles.

10am to 5pm Free admission; The Spring Gallery, The Poly, 24 Church Street, Falmouth. Cornwall. TR11 3EG      Contact 01326 319461

There will be a second opportunity to view this exhibition from October 10th-October 16th 2018, 10am to 4pm.  Free admission. The Blanchminster Room, Bude Castle, The Wharf, Bude. Cornwall. EX 23 8LGContact 01288 357300    N.B. Bude Castle has full disabled access.


What have I written about this month…?

  • The upcoming charity workshop
  • My visit to the NEC
  • Sashiko with a difference, and the making of a gorgeous book cover

Firstly I would like to say a huge thank you to those of you who sent me scrap fabric. Such generous selections of fabrics arrived. It was exciting receiving and opening up the packages. To date, I have put together over 80 packs, each one containing at least the equivalent of 1/4 metre. I have sorted and colour coordinated the fabric and tried to make each package interesting. After all, we usually think that other peoples choices are, much more acceptable than our own! I probably have enough fabric for at least another 100! It will be an ongoing project, but be assured all money received will be donated to charity.

Tuesday September 11th is our Charity workshop day at Cowslip Workshops, in the Big Barn. This year we are supporting Cornwall Air Ambulance and the Albanian Sewing project that Rob and I have been supporting for many years now. All money raised, including every penny of the workshop fees, will be split 50/50 between the two charities. We are so grateful to Jo, that we are able to use the facility of the barn again. I know we shall have a great day. If you are visiting Cowslip on that day, then please feel free to come in and see what everyone is doing. We shall have a good sales table; think Christmas presents!  Indeed we have lovely little “treats” with items for sale from £2 upwards….

We have delicious little scrap bags, tiffles, teddies and tote bags, as well as zip bag containers, delightful stitched postcards,  books with fabric covers, hand dyed threads, and so much more.


I am also selling four new small patterns, which would make ideal gifts. These contain method sheets with step by step instructions, and coloured photographs where appropriate. We shall have finished samples to illustrate the patterns.  Prices vary according to how much preparation and colour printing has gone into each package but they will be between £4.75 and £7.50.

We shall also have an “inspiration table”, and a raffle.

I shan’t be putting these new patterns on the Craftsy site, but will just sell them myself. It is very time consuming putting them together, so I am not “going into production” so to speak, but will aim to have a just a few available at a time.

After the workshop day my focus on stitching is going to change for a while. I want to get back to working on my house “series” which has taken a back seat recently. The ideas are developing, but the action has been temporarily halted!

I am also very keen to get on with making some clothes! More of that later.


I took some photos around the garden the other day, one of which was of shadows on the stones around our pond.

I edited the photo, isolating one section, DSC00889 (3)(below). I love the “cracked”, indigo/batik feel of the result, and it would be nice to explore this further too.

Not sure how, but I may do some collage, and paint exploration and then see what happens.

Sometimes, quite serendipitous results may occur, suggesting a totally fresh approach.




It was a beautiful day as we set off to visit the Festival of Quilts. As soon as we entered the NEC we were caught up in bustle and excitement. I instantly saw old friends, and briefly chatted, but we were all ready to make the most of the day.

There was a huge amount to see; such a diversity of technique; subject matter; size; colour palette; etc. etc….and it was good to see that range and depth. Exhibitions are only possible because quilters enter their quilts and stand up there willing to be counted!

Below are a few of my favourites. I thought there were some delightful hexagon quilts this year. I have just shown sections of the a very few quilts so that more detail shows.

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I particularly liked the range of blacks veering towards grey that was in the background of this quilt, and I loved the border. It was vibrant and and also beautifully accomplished.




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The very long thin hanging, on the left, hung from a wooden spool. It was made entirely of hexagons, some areas with the front face showing and some with the reverse side of the hexagons showing, as the close up view next to it illustrates. It is very hard to explain but it was very textural and from that point of view interesting. I loved the tiny hexagons and the interesting surface.



















The quilt below showed a fantastic use of hexagons and some wonderful tiny quilting detail as well

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The winning miniature quilt was simply outstanding, and has been photographed in many articles but my next favourite in this category was the one I photographed below:


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I thought the use of colour was beautiful, and the accomplishment of the exquisitely pieced narrow strips around many of the triangles was suberb. It held my attention for some minutes, as my eyes wandered over the surface.

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It was the quilting detail in the quilt above that caught my eye, not that the focus of the design wasn’t exquisitely executed!  Below I have shown detail of the quilting and when looking at that photograph in detail too, one can perhaps surmise how the whole design of the quilt has been constructed….


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Generally, my thoughts were that machine quilting was dominant this year. I do hope that hand quilting does not fade out from the big quilting shows. There is a totally different quality about a hand quilted piece of work; as well as a wonderful tradition to uphold and maintain.

I have always been inspired by the Japanese quilts, and this time was no exception; intricacy, tiny piecing, exciting indigo fabrics…it was a veritable feast for the eyes!


Finally the photo below shows me kneeling down by the side of my quilt, “Glimpses”, in the quilt art section;

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The exhibition seemed to be much more spread out and as such rather disjointed at times. Lots of walking to find all the quilts! This year I certainly felt my age, as I definitely needed more rests during the day!!

It was inspirational as well as thought provoking. As always, there were many quilts that I felt merited some acknowledgement, but had none, but it was a privelege to be able to see them.  I am well aware that I only saw a small section of the whole exhibition, but it was lovely to be there. I haven’t mentioned the numerous exciting individual exhibitions, but, again, accounts of these have been documented in many ways already, and will be in forthcoming magazine publications, as well. My visit was just for the one day, which in my book, is better than not at all!

I have been itching to be more proactive making my own clothes, but also slightly reluctant! When I was very much younger I made all my own clothes, not giving it another thought. I suppose my shape was different, fabric and patterns  were much cheaper and where we lived in Yorkshire I was always able to buy remnants for a real bargain.  Lets face it, these days good fabric is not cheap, and as such I feel nervous about starting and wasting it! Patterns are also horrendously expensive, and I don’t have the expertise to make alterations confidently.

Just before I left the Festival of Quilts I discovered the “Sewmesomething” stall and had a fascinating talk with the owners.

This company run pattern cutting courses, which is just what I need!  I was thrilled to find them and inspired by the conversation I had with Claire who told me all about it, and what I could expect to learn and achieve over the weekend  As a result I have booked a two day pattern cutting course September 8th and 9th. Their business is near Stratford on Avon….not exactly around the corner from me!   Oh dear! I shall have to go away again for a couple of days!

I am excited and really looking forward to it. More in the next newsletter!

Recently I met a friend, Boot (affectionately nicknamed by her family when she was young….and the name has continued forever!). She had been very diligently stitching for months, and presented me with a wonderful selection of stitched items she had made and wished to donate for our charity sales table.

One of the items was this absolutely gorgeous book with the stunning stitched cover, worked in a Sashiko variation. I was and still am mesmerised by the wonderful effect. The photo below shows the front cover. The fabrics she has used are a linen and cotton mix. She has used a perle thread, number 8 for stitching.

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In the second photo, which is the back cover, you can see that the fabric is of the same design but a slightly different colour palette, and Boot has also stitched a variation of the above Sashiko design

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The spine is in another fabric again which Boot has left plain. But the trouble she has gone to after piecing it to the front and back covers is commendable. She has couched a fine cord over the joins, but not only that! She has worked from the base of the spine to the top, then lifted the loose ends of the two cords over the top of the spine to the inside of the book, and the long length of these, finished with beads, now function as page markers. Inspired!!

I love the way that Boot has fixed the cover in place, by sewing a short length of a corded ribbon to the inside of the cover flaps and the inside of the main covers. shown in the small photo below.

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The ribbon sits at the inside edge of the flap. (Not too easy to identify, in the photo, because of the colour of the hard back covers which are also red!) This is done at all four internal corners, allowing the hard cover of the book to slide into place, and be firmly secured.

It is so refreshing to see Sashiko worked onto a patterned background fabric, with coloured threads. I am inspired. I wouldn’t have thought of that.

I am thrilled with the book, and have put a good donation into the charity funds, because I am buying the book. O.K. I am pulling rank here, but wouldn’t you? I will be using it as a rolling workbook! The whole project is so inspirational. I can’t wait to do some of the Sashiko myself. I am planning already!

Thank you so much Boot, for giving us all such a lot to consider, inspire and learn from. If you would like to understand more about the traditional sashiko stich and how to work it, click on blog below, which is fascinating and informative:


Happy stitching