Sunday, 30 June 2013


I went to Stitchfest 2013 and confess to coming home with "stuff". The best bit is this

I also bought some dye from Christine, and had bought some little clip on lid pots for the dyes, but she has her own, much better pots as part of the deal, so those little tubs? Perfect for sorting and storing the silk scraps I got from the Art Van Go stall! 

Friday, 21 June 2013


About City and Guilds actually, my appliqué homework, which has been languishing through lack of inspiration. Finally getting somewhere

The thought and the fabric work together, along with a cup of tea of course, and some Rokia Traore in the background

Time to press and tack and stitch!

Saturday, 15 June 2013

A rare treat for Hastings

The only operating Avro Vulcan bomber in the world visited Hastings today. We had the pleasure of watching it from the Sea Front - there was a fine crowd.

You can see the fun here but these are probably my favourite few pics

spectators enjoying the band in the town centre

the pier, still iconic even in decay

dual flight

and off to Rye

The terror in the sink

If you see what I mean :-)

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

were you afraid of elastic bands?

This was a question I nearly managed to ask my daughter today.

I was having a conversation with her about the elements of fragility in my family that were part of "normal" life in the world I grew up in. We all have osteogenesis imperfecta to a greater or lesser degree, inherited from my great grandfather. This can result in desperately brittle bones, from which thankfully I've been spared. However, my childhood (as an only child) was liberally sprinkled with little incidental alarms like

"don't lean over the arm of the chair like that!!! Auntie Connie cracked a rib doing just the same"

"I was just picking a book up Mum!" 

No matter, in an extremely small family, having four "very breakables" in three narrow generations does tend to lead to a particular family sensibility. Living with both my mother and grandmother, and only them, tended to distill this aura of impending calamity - I won't even begin to dwell on the dentist horror stories! So, life was expected to be painful, to involve broken bones in all directions and, for a rather small child, this made elastic bands - yes even the innocuous elastic band (remember the incendiary hot water bottle) a source of some disquiet. Yes, I confess, I was afraid of elastic bands! They might flick you in the eye, slap their nasty, smarting little rubber selves against your fingers, snap with a sudden and alarming twang! I avoided them when at all possible. However, I have to confess to dissolving into giggles before making it through my question to my daughter.

Being afraid of elastic bands is, surely, too ridiculous for words?

Monday, 10 June 2013

some things from my garden

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Some things from the dye pot

The same measure of fabric, dye, salt and mordant (soda ash). I also tried to get an equal level of tied and open fabric in the preparation. I used two types of silk, small bits cut to the same size, one small bit of cotton to be wrapped in the same bundle as the silk, the rest tied or clamped as appropriate. There must be some colour variation from the different types of resist applied, but I think the most marked difference in colour is dictated by the timing of the introduction of soda ash,

Clamped and tied, one two and three

Windows on the moon. Soda introduced with dye

Moon river. Soda introduced after an hour

Moons and Junes Soda introduced after an hour and a half

Taken out after about four hours

The next dye lot will be soda after
Ten minutes
One hour
Three hours

Remove after five hours

Friday, 7 June 2013


I've been very carefully hand stitching these bits together, somehow this bit of silk seemed too tender to subject to the machine. Although it is quite robust fabric, the colours are so gentle, I felt hand work was more appropriate. The effect of this is that you have time to look closely at the fabric, time to feel for what will be the best next step. Also there is the simple pleasure of the feel of the fabric in the hand, and the sounds of the needle and thread as they join piece to piece.

There are two of these feather shapes in the orange fabric, serendipity from the folding and tying process. This bit of silk was wrapped around a narrow piece of plastic tube, then squished together so that it wrinkled around the tube. It's a technique called arashi and was, I believe, an area of special expertise in Arimatsu, Japan, where shibori became an industry from the seventeenth to twentieth centuries.

In the blue silk I used stitch resist on folded cloth, hence the variety of blues and regular spacing of areas of block colour with rippling lines.

I want to take this feather theme and expand on it a bit. Not too much, because I love the delicate colouring of the silks, so I plant to use minimal stitching to bring out what is there already; stitching that will, I hope, draw the eye to what is in the cloth already, not overwhelm it.

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

This or that

Not, I think, this
which  has a very strong vertical In the upper middle which draws the eye away from the top orange stripe and into the blue above
whereas with this, the orange strip is slightly higher, the central stripe gets broken and the eye stops on orange, rather than blue. It's strip has a delicate feather pattern which I want to accentuate with very, very delicate embroidery

I'm hand stitching them rather than machine. I Should really be doing appliqué for my city and guilds, but this home experiment has caught my eye,

And yes, Istanbul was wonderful, I will share some pictures soon, but at the moment I'm more comfortable working with this, which I can use in a soft chair, with comfy cushions.

Something brewing