Monthly Archives: January 2015

Old School Dinosaurs

I’m  busy working on a commission at the moment so I thought I’d share its development.

Sketchfor KH commissiomn

The idea is that it captures themes in the work of the commissioner – so there is a link to the seemingly random composition of space rockets and dinosaurs! There’s more detail to be added but I find that I get so far with the paper prep’ and then have to dive in with the fabric and threads.

I’ve been working through the layers in the design, so the background sky is hand dyed fabric mounted on Pelmet Vilene to give support. I worked the stylised sun and the building separately before applying them to the background – I do this because it can be tricky working through several layers of vilene and also, if mistakes are made, I only have to redo that element – not the whole piece!

So here’s a close up of one side showing a dinosaur emerging from behind the building – I stitched the spikes and scale details before adding it to the background

Dinosaur detail


I’ve also put some thought into trying to make the scene work, despite the disparate elements. So the rocket shoots up

into space with Rainforest trees between it and the dinosaur, this gives a bit of depth to the scene – I hope!

I’ve been using the beautiful Bernina to do the stitching – it’s coping well with the layers!

CAD imagery

However, I’m working on these two creatures with the Super Galaxie- translating my sketches into Computer Aided Embroidery. First draft- they came out too small, so I’ll rescale them and try again – I think the dense stitching and shinier Madeira threads make them seem quite jewel like.

I’m thinking that the metal gate, roughly sketched on the design, will be done on vanishing fabric. It’s quite large but I’ve done pier railings this way before…

I’ll post about progress in a few days!








Town Planning

I’ve started a new series this week, look at the shops and houses where I live and recreating them in appliqué & stitch…
The first one finished started out with a quick sketch like this


Then I’ve been gathering materials – some of my hand dyed fabrics and lovely Oliver Twist threads, pelmet vilene and wire.


The wire got wrapped in thread using that Bernina😄 it’s such a good machine to work with- though I did have to swap to a jeans needle for some of the thicker sections, such as the attic window. Might have been better to do that separately and then apply but you learn through doing;) I got it this far and decided it needed to be more animated, it looks a bit lonesome like this…


So that meant a pigeon had to be added- I hope you’ll agree it looks much livelier like this…


I used a sort of hacked French knot to fix the pigeon to the wire and, pleasingly, the finished effects look like the pigeons feet!
Now this ones complete (& in my Etsy shop😉) I think it needs a local cafe as a neighbour- there’s a few (!) to choose from around here – a great excuse to grab my sketchbook and go sample them!

Calpol and cuddles interrupt work!

Oh Blue Monday, a bug is rampaging round here. Both kids poorly with high temps so I’ve been dispensing medicine and working around them today.
Which means nothing much has happened…but as the weather here is awful – please let’s have some PROPER snow!- it was nice to stay in and snuggle up.

I did manage to convert some sketches for CAD embroidery


This one’s going on a new set of badges


These guys are going into a commission I’m working on at the moment but they need to be resized, and I think the little toucan could do with a few more colours on his beak. However it’s going to have to wait because now the big CAD machine has decided it needs a service – probably just attention seeking because my head has been turned by

I think I’ll be playing nurse again tomorrow so hand stitching and sketching will be on the agenda tomorrow…

Further Adventures with Sewing Machines…

Well! So there I was the proud owner of one Bernina Minimatic…and now
I’ m in machine/ménage a trois! Let me explain…

Anyone ‘stitchy’ around here probably knows about this place but I’ve just found it today – North East Sewing Machines

It’s an Aladdin’s Cave of retro, vintage and modern sewing machines, all serviced and ready to go – from Singers to Brothers and yes, Berninas.
Just look at this Italian number- perfect for stitching those Madmen Frocks!


Or this Adlerette – never heard of that make before but look at those curves!


I spent ages looking and trying before coming back with this one…now I really must get back to selling work not emptying the kitty!


And best of all, the shop services and repairs all these machines too!
It is a great place and if you happen to need a bit of DIY stuff, they sell all sorts!

Beautiful Bernina

Oh oh oh I think I’m in love with a sewing machine 😀
Today I became the proud owner of a Bernina 807! I used to use these at school and college a loooong time ago. They are truly fabulous machines – sturdy and straight forward.

It’s all coming back to me… The simplicity of changing feet and dropping the feed teeth. The lovely sound of the motor, definitely more of a purr!

I’ll be sneaking up to my attic workroom to take it through its paces…now I just need to think of a name…Bertie…Barbara… Bernie…Betsie??


This is what it looks like..too dark to photograph mine just now. I’ll take some action shots in daylight 😉

Freestyle Embroidery Workshops

LoveTextiles July 2013 - 14

I will be running a short course of three evening workshops later this month – very excited to be holding the workshops at the lovely Heaton Perk Cafe in Heaton

The course will go through different ways to use freestyle machine embroidery – we’ll learn how to write with a sewing machine! We’ll have some fun experimenting and the Cafe is staying open late just for us!
Over a series of three workshops on Wednesday evenings
– 6.30 to 8.30pm –
We’ll explore the techniques needed to get started with freestyle machine embroidery.
We will learn how to set up the sewing machine, use different stitches and threads, work with and without an embroidery hoop and combine machine embroidery with appliqué. By the end of the course we’ll be writing with the sewing machine and creating unique textile artworks.

Using applique and FME to write!

Using applique and FME to write!