Tuesday, 31 December 2013


After many years of storage in my wardrobe...my daughters college and degree coursework got sorted while she was down for a few days for Christmas... It's whittled down considerably leaving a big pile for burning and tipping. I resisted sorting through it with the idea of chopping and collaging photos, sketches and handwriting and did as she asked...tipped it. Amongst the unwanted bits were some photocopies...not sure if they are ink jet or toner printed. I had unused paper from the back of unwanted sketchbooks...so I wet the pictures and placed them between two pages and left to dry out a bit and repeated until photocopy fell to pieces. I thought the ink would make interesting, indistinct marks on the paper and so would be useful as a background for drawing over or collaging or layering up with acetate masks...next year! (they were ink-jet prints, forgot toner prints need spirits)

Sunday, 8 December 2013

wallpaper samples and an empty bedroom

The local Scrap Store got these wallpaper samples....the old brain started ticking......there was something I had always wanted to do........and if I didn't like it....it would have cost me virtually nothing and I could strip it off and and do it in the normal boring way.....lol

As I had started a dolls house club some years ago I had collected wallpaper with a small enough design to be used in 1/12 scale.....I  used some of that as well.... I can now part with  the rest off it and clear a space in my house full of crafty stuff.
It was these frames that set me off....
Not one of the sheets had a complete one......
cut out and reassembled
pasted on the wall

This is a wall in the bedroom I am decorating for occasional guests to use...and for me to use as a winter sitting room. Any season it is the warmest room in the house....in summer it is sweltering!
I have always wanted to do this.....I was going to put magazine adverts on as well......Another wall is done differently......but again with wallpaper samples....the other two wall are painted with paint from Scrap Store. I am grinning from ear to ear....waiting for someone to come down to give their verdict......lol

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

not got a Gelli pad/plate

I wonder what people wished they HAD bought when they get home from a show....
I wish I'd bought a Gelli pad thingy at the Knitting and Stitching at Harrogate at the weekend.......
So while the plasterer was here making a ceiling look new.....I emptied a few boxes of "stuff"with a view to throw away half of the contents...( I can hear you laughing Lyn...) I found a tube of black paint, a plastic ring binder file holder, a reel of 2" sticky tape......and a wooden coffee stirrer.... so I had a play.....I spread the paint with the stirrer onto the plastic file and pulled a few mono prints and then thought I'd leave the paint on the plastic to dry to use in layering up on the scanner......While I drank my coffee...I spotted the tape.....and waited  impatiently for the paint to dry........and then pulled these with the tape.....what fun !! The plastic was almost clean, the tape had lifted most of the dried paint off !

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Matthew's castle

Mathews mum was ill and his dad working away with work....and he had to build a castle for a school project....so I volunteered ! He had drawn a wonderful picture of a castle ....copied from a picture at school. We based the model on his drawing....and he won first prize with it...well done Matthew !

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

crochet blankets

the previously posted... charity blanket, another charity shop find 9-7-13,
and another...while I was in the mood... wool from my stash... This is much bigger, the large squares are about a foot square.
I went wrong with one of the four small square blocks....I'm not a perfectionist...I  am not taking it out to correct it...it can stay that way...My youngest son has got his eye on this one... wonder how long it will be until someone notices the mistake...lol

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Science and Goddesses combined.

Helen Cowans, artist, tutor and lecturer was the speaker at EYES today (and the tutor at tomorrows workshop.) Just type in her name on google and all sorts pops up.
An engaging speaker, keeping our interest all the time. When going to university she had to chose between art and science and so she trained as a scientist. When magnifying her work she often saw textile opportunities ....she showed us the plaque on teeth, magnified and translated into stitch. On her blog she has a folder of science subjects in textiles. She had a love of the cups and rings engraved into the stones in the wilds of Northumbria and the prehistoric goddess shape all of which she translated into textiles. Her dissertation has been serialised on... historyofembroidery.blogspot  Look up her blog to see more of her work....www.textilegoddess.blogspot.com   web site www.helencowans.co.uk where you can see close ups of her work and her gowns.
To some she is known as the tower lady....landscapes, seascapes, gothic style and some vintage style. the small ones on the bottom right are the workshop for tomorrow.The towers were featured in a magazine.
they are quite sculptural using a variety of techniques.
this is a large piece, pieced, shaded velvet leaves at the bottom, hand dyed fabric with goddess shapes.

combined goddess and tree of life figures...a small patchwork piece from the outside part of a large hanging which was difficult to photograph to do justice to it.
there were several of these goddess shapes, this one all hand embroidered the flowers all done in minute bullion stitch. the influence of the stone markings on the piece on the right.
variation of the moon goddess and tree of life.
Helen also is influenced by all thing Indian and in particular.... Kantha, a form of quilting using  the running stitch ..I think this is a landscape with a weathered fence.........
please do look her blogs

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Agatha Christie and Art Deco History Wardrobe

The East Yorkshire Embroidery Society had Lucy Adlington of The History Wardrobe as a speaker and it was so wonderful that we wanted her back again. (check her out www.historywardrobe.com )The first of The History Wardrobe talks we heard was the Titanic. Lucy was brilliant as a lady in First Class comparing and contrasting her experience with a 3rd class passenger.
Some of the members of the Embroidery Society are members of St Mary's Church Cottingham and the fund raisers there decided to raise funds by having Lucy come give one of her talks. The Fabulous Fifties (see post 9-9-12) dresses and accessories filled the stage and Lucy again had us all in stitches.
The church again arranged a fund raiser....Agatha Christie and Art Deco.....
The presentation mixed facts about Agatha's life before writing her novels and how she came to write them with authentic clothes from the period and how Agatha used clothing as clues in her books....bring to life people in the story and especially to unmask the murderer. Using a literary list of does and do's and don'ts to help writers write a crime novel Lucy showed how Agatha broke most of them.... Lucy presented several character types that Agatha uses in her novels and changes clothes to present them. The "Bright Young Thing" usually female....The commandeering, officious "Committee Lady" and so on. The character types and their traits, props used in murders and which novel they were from ...etc were woven into the presentation seamlessly.
The dress on the right is shapeless...until worn and it hangs beautifully....decorated with ribbon, woven where it crosses at the dropped waist line. This was worn with a coat again trimmed with ribbon and looked stunning on. The large pockets were placed across the sides of the coat. When worn it gave a slightly masculine, almost air of military look. It was a fashion created at the time of the Zeppelin Raids of the Great War......massive pockets to fill with essentials in a raid.....Lucy wore this dress and coat with a dark hat jammed on her head, brown framed spectacles and sensible shoes...and strode on the stage purposefully...the epitome of ......the committee lady.....the woman who got things done.......
                                                    the pocket
                                                     the sleeve

The bright young thing.....wore Charleston Dresses with beaded panels 
All these dresses are see through and have to be worn with a slip for modesty and to highlight the dress. This one has a fine silk under slip with Japanese chrysanthemums pattern which highlights the Oriental interest of the times.
this dress was cut on the bias, exquisitely sewn...handkerchief points and lots of covered buttons
one of the murders was committed by getting the victim to swallow hat dye "by mistake" for some restorative cordial they normally kept on the bedside table....The straw hat above has been home dyed  

The wonderful thing is that all the artifacts that Lucy brings....... can be handled !
In the suitcase is a tucked and folded Jennie Rayment style colourful bag. draped across the top is a sequined top.Below, magazines with the latest fashions...send for the patterns....and a pair of embroidered shoes.

The good news is that EYES has engaged Lucy for another of her presentations in our next seasons list of speakers... Yeh !
So between St Mary's Church Cottingham and EYES .....if they book a presentation each year....I will have over 5 more years worth to look forward to !!
It is really more of a one woman show presenting the lives of woman through clothes with a factual and comedic delivery....well worth travelling to see.

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

yet another bellycast and snow people

inspite of having weeks to go, this baby turned up a few days after her cast was done...mum and baby
doing fine.
Whilst I had the ModRoc out I had a go at covering bottles which looked like the making of Christmassy people, for the Nativity or carol singers or jolly snowmen (or women) Asda's fruit juices, washing up liquid bottles a HP sauce bottle and a Mars drink. All of them have ball pool heads. (cheaper than polystyrene or spun cotton/paper especially when working with large numbers of participants )
Rolled up bubble wrap make arms. Either just the ends to make them flexible for inserting into cosy jackets or full "snow" arms .
When they are dressed I'll pop back and put a picture on here.......now to clean up the mess !!

Sunday, 25 August 2013

apple tree and bugs

When we moved to this house in the early 80s the children loved the big garden but it lacked the apple tree to climb in. They wanted us to plant one.We explained that it took years to grow big enough for them to climb in, and by that time they would be too big to want to climb it, but they still wanted us to plant an apple tree....We decided on a dwarf tree so that they could at least pick the apples easily. With all the peculiar weather over the last few years the disease spread quickly and I decided it had to come down. The garden look so much bigger without the tree.....it's amazing the difference. The birds, especially the tits and the robin loved the tree but since the disease spread even they lost interest in it.
It was 7/8 feet across and about 14 feet high. We did it in stages, burning the leaves, twigs and small branches as we went...

after this...the chainsaw...all that is left is a stump...big enough NOT to be a trip hazzard....and an irritating reminder to dig out the roots...lol

This red bug is not a regular ladybird shape, has no spots and descended on the these Lilly's as they were at the end of their flowering and they rapidly died off.....Having to keep a close eye on my Japanese Acers as some bug is loving the moist humid conditions and it leaves white fluffy powdery deposits. I tried some specialist bug stuff but now am using methylated spirits on a cotton bud to wipe it off...any ideas ?

Saturday, 3 August 2013

Close Knit The Art of the Gansey

I was invited to the opening of Close Knit The Art of the Gansey at the Hull Maritime Museum. Close Knit is a collaboration between the touring Moray Firth Gansey Project and the Hull School of Art and Design.
Above is a free knitting pattern for a Gansey which comes with the book on the exhibition Fishing for Ganseys. (only £3.99) A flyer and the invitation postcard. A leaflet, Traditional Ganseys, from flamboroughmarine who offer a mail order service for authenic Gansey knitting kits.
 www.ganseys.co.uk   www.flamboroughmarine co.uk 
The moray firth project started out to record the patterns and stories of the local ganseys, the origins of the gansey. The link with the herring girls who followed the herring shoals. The meaning of the patterns and so on. There are a number of Scottish ganseys on display all clearly labelled.
I was very interested in the East Coast ganseys, I remember Bridlington, Scarborough, Flamborough fishermen wearing them. This white version of the Humber Gansey shows up much better than the navy blue. The Humber star is particular to this region, its origin lost in time but may have something to do with the Methodist Bethal. A number of eastcoast fishing communities traditional gansey patterns were on display and all the different patterns explained. Some of these were knitted by local volunteers who maybe didn't realise what they had agreed to take on ! So finely knitted, they are a real labour of love. It also gave a mention to the fact that rivermen who sailed the river Humber taking cargo inland also wore the Humber gansey or a version of it.

each gansey has a label with all the stitches used . Marriage lines, hearts,fishing net, God's eye, harbour steps,rope,anchors, tree of life, flags, lobster claw,hoof and so on. Folk lore has it that these ganseys developed local patterns so that drowned sailors could be more easily recognised. But apparently there is no hard historical evidence for this.

knitting sheaths or whiska 
Some work by Di Gilpin an internationally known knitwear designer and fan of the gansey was on show.
Alongside the Scottish ganseys and the eastcoast ganseys was the Hull School of Art and Design collaboration where the student took inspiration from the patterns within the ganseys and produced apparel and millinery which made a very interesting display. Spare Hands sang sea shanties lending a great atmosphere to the evening. 
It is certainly well worth a visit or two or three.