Monthly Archives: March 2016

My Journey – A Flotilla!


I decided to make all of the boats separately so that I can fit them into the waves as I go along. It has been a very nice change to work on something a little smaller and easier to manipulate! DSCF3370

Who recognises this sail?


A complex design develops

Or this spotty cuddy cabin…



And whilst I’m about it, quite a lot of this one went into the cobble stones …


I hope that you will be able to spot some of your fabrics in the final images but I must admit I haven’t kept a full record of where each colour came from – I’d never get finished!

The fabric pile is shrinking rapidly, most pieces have been used in some way already, but I have been saving lots of blues and greens for the sea itself.

That’ll be next weeks task – when all boats and harbour details are complete!


My Journey – along the jetty

This session has been focusing on cobbles!


This involves fixing tiny scraps of fabric in place and then ‘scribbling’ over the top with a circular stitch, fiddly – but the effect is worth it!

I’ve decided to tease you with only close up shots from now on – so that the Grand Reveal in a few weeks will be more exciting.


The scrap pile is growing larger, I’ve almost finished the buildings – just going back and adding details like the rope hand rail you can see in the first photo.

These two photos show how the harbour wall develops – I chose fabrics that were lilac/grey in colour and worked over them with a pale grey thread first to add texture then two shades of green to give the effect of sea weeds clinging onto the rocky surface. There’s some metal rings to be added too.

Unfortunately stitching the harbour wall was quite a tough job, I decided to call it a day when I broke 3 machine needles in quick succession! I think its all the to -ing and fro-ing!


Wise Birds -Wise Words

Just a quick post on some other work I’ve been doing on Wednesdays. Working with Cancer patients and their families, we’ve been knitting and crocheting owls for a few weeks and now they are all roosting on a papier mache branch looking into the treatment area. Each wise bird carries a messenger bag and in each bag are some wise words, written by staff, patients, family or friends. People can take out the words and read them if they wish – or just enjoy this unique collection of ‘rare breeds’ of owls!


We’ll have to do more woolly projects as we got a lot of yarn donations as we were doing this!

Good Friday outings…

A day away from the sewing machine today…lovely sunshine in Northumberland today.


A trip to Gallery 45 to check on the exhibition – images matching the weather today!

Glorious sunshine all day long, we walked along the shore at Low Newton by the Sea and I was intrigued by these..perfect holes gouged into the rock.


Manmade? I’ll have to investigate.

It’ll be back to the sewing machine tomorrow – maybe this image will filter into the harbour I’ll be stitching


Seahouses 2016


My Journey – Over the rooftops

This week it’s been all about roof tiles!

I like to find different ways to stitch the roof tiles to add interest to the piece. The spiral dyed fabrics have given me a fine palette of slate greys and terracottas to work with. I have used Oliver Twist threads to stitch over the fabrics and add the detail. You might also spot a little ric rac ridge tiling in there too!

So far this week I have stitched 45 buildings including a lighthouse and a windmill! There’s about half a dozen houses and a lifeboat station to add, then its a race down to the ocean!

There’s two weeks stitching time before the pieces have to be at the framers’ so if you don’t hear from me for a while its because I’m busy stitching!

I am sneaking off for a little Good Friday trip to Felton tomorrow though – there’s a week  left to go and see the Coast exhibition at the gorgeous Gallery 45 (featuring some of my work!)  – and there’s also the scrumptious Running Fox Cafe to visit, so as the school holidays have begun I thought we’d have some family time up there.

(I’m hoping the ‘Tidy Up Fairy’ might visit my attic in the meantime – as the stitch speed increases so does the debris!)



One week to go!


See that?? That’s time flying by! Voting started in the Craft & Design Selected Maker Awards at the start of the year and ends on March 31st – that’s next week!

These highly regarded national awards are based on an Online Public Vote for British and Irish Designer Makers – this vote determines a list of 12 makers in six categories including textiles – which is where you’ll find me!

I would be so grateful if you could take a few minutes to show your appreciation of my textiles by voting for me online!

 And here are the HisKidz spiral dye workshop results – sorry I didn’t get to see everyone on Saturday but I hope you like what you see here – the pieces are already finding their way into houses and rooftops!
I’ve nearly done all the buildings now – then it’ll be on to that stormy sea!
See you soon,
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My Journey – building a town

Another busy day stitching – you can tell because the fabric piles aren’t quite so neat and tidy today!


I paid a visit to the local library this week and was delighted to discover a copy of ‘Threads – The Delicate Life of John Craske’ by Julia Blackburn.  The book tells the story of the author’s investigations into the life and work of Craske, crippled by a mysterious illness, he could no longer work as a fisherman/ fishmonger and turned to painting and, later, embroidery. His work was shown in London in the early part of the twentieth century but unlike Alfred Wallis, the painter fisherman of St Ives, he slipped out of view until this book was published last year. Intrigued by his story and by Blackburn’s prose I brought the book home and began to read – one passage caught me up short, it seems to capture some of the meaning I am trying to show in our project – My Journey

‘All these fragile vessels: tossed by waves and sometimes almost engulfed by them, out there in the vastness of the ocean. Some were pinpointed by the angled glare of a lighthouse like the eye of God staring straight at them, others had smoke billowing from their funnels as they tried to  plough a way through a storm. I had the sense at once that it was all true: the tilt of a boat in relation to the swell of the waves and the strength of the wind; the rigging, the billowing of the sails.’

Julia Blackburn Threads Ch 3 pg 11 (published 2015 Jonathan Cape)

I don’t credit myself with a fisherman’s knowledge of boats and I hope our lighthouse will seem more welcoming rather than glaring – but I did feel a connection as I read these words. (You’ll have to wait until I’ve finished the book and returned it to the library if you want to read on!)

I’ve been working on the town and the light house this week. The reason the fabrics are so muddled is because I’ve been searching for pieces to become rooftops – with slate or terracotta tiles, walls – either painted or brick, and stone for the lighthouse. So there’s been a lot of rummaging, ripping and snipping going on!

I haven’t finished working on the lighthouse yet – I’ll go back and add further detail later on – but it has got some neighbours now…


Larger pieces of fabric used to construct the buildings


Checking how these two panels link together

I’d better update the list of fabrics I’ve included so far!

Faye, Gill & Harry, Prathiba, Hannah & Reggie, Murray, Alie, Louise, Rachel & Anna, Emer & Harry , Louise, Sarah W, Louise B, Barathi, Donna J, Bethan, Donna, Caz, Anne & Martha, Louise D, Mel C, Beth, Kemmy & Dilan, Viveka… Plus pieces from the LAB and Heaton Manor sessions – sorry I didn’t stitch your names onto the pieces at the time!

Don’t worry if you’ve not been mentioned – I’ve got a lot of blues and greens saved up for the seas!

I’ll be back soon!




My Journey -green hills and chimney pots


This is what I’ve been working on today – the top section of the third panel and look…! The first buildings are appearing!  I should also mention that yes, I really did need three different pairs of scissors – little silver ones for threads, purple handled ones for cutting papers, black shears for FABRIC ONLY..sorry I didn’t mean to shout but woe betide anyone who uses the fabric shears for anything other than cloth!!

The sky now links across all three panels and so do the green hills. So that meant I could move on to the first buildings (anyone recognise that ruined windmill? I thought we needed a local landmark – and it was fascinating to read about this and the lost ‘Millionaires Row of Heaton !)

A lot of the detail in the triptych will come from the way I lay down the fabric pieces – in the sky, the blues are fairly horizontal, whereas the clouds tend to curve around. The grassy hills have the pieces running in a sort of diagonal curve to show the shape of the hill. The trees are treated a bit more like the clouds, with smaller pieces placed in curved or upright lines to show the form of the trees. I also stitch differently over the different surfaces.

In the first of these three pictures, you can see that I’ve used some zigzag stitches on the grassy area and long straight lines in brown tones on the path.

The middle picture shows the windmill with bushes behind it, the foliage was stitched down first, with looping stitches to represent the leaves and direction of growth, Then I added the windmill structure, using straight stitch to hold down the pieces and a very small zigzag to thicken up the window frame and door arch.  In this ‘first fix’ to use builders’ terms (well, I am adding buildings!) I don’t put in too much detail, just enough to show what each section is. As each panel gets ‘filled in’ with the colour pieces, I will go back and work into them more, using machine and hand stitching to add detail and give a sense of depth – more detail in the foreground.

I need to work more on the path and road in this panel and the left hand one, at the moment I’m thinking that they stick out a little too much, so it looks like road works tomorrow – and the small matter of a lighthouse to construct!

Until the next time…:) ( and I’ll update the list of names as to who’s fabric has been used too!)

Acres of blue sky…

It was such a lovely morning today, so before starting to stitch I went for a walk with a friend in the sunshine (observing blue sky for research😊) Lots of chat, fresh air, exercise and a cappuccino set me up nicely for a day in the attic – and we saw one of these too –  

  a tree creeper doing what it does best!

I had to decide how to work on the three pieces before I started work this morning – would I continue working down the first panel to get all the colours blocked in before adding further stitch detail? Or  should I complete all of the sky across the three sections before continuing to work across all three panels to block in the colours? 

Weighing sense of completion, against colour cohesion, I went for the latter – it would have been terrible to run out of the turquoise pieces I’m using in the sky because I’d used it some where else! 

So, sew 😄 several hours later the sky is all ‘blued’. 

I wouldn’t like to count the number of small patches I’ve ironed and stitched into place today – but I do now have a new stitching technique- the panel is so big I’ve been standing up to machine it! 

I think I made the right choice as this is all that’s left of two particularly ‘sky-ish’ spiral dyed pieces!

I’m off to Gallery 45 in Felton tomorrow for the Meet The Maker event – so if you fancy a trip to the countryside – and some lovely cake😄 come along and say hello!

See you soon!

Recent Work now on display


One of my freelance roles involves working on Arts in Health projects. These three pieces are from one project I’m involved in. These three applique panels show the philosophy of  hospice care. Patients and staff were involved in choosing the colours for the words. They chose words with resonance to themselves and selected a colour for it.

It was quite a task to get them hung! Measuring the gaps, keeping them level AND getting to grips with concealed hanging devices! But we managed it in the end.

The pieces bring a fabulous splash of colour to a busy part of the unit and will be seen by staff, patients and visitors as they move through the building.


Its lovely the way the colours link through to the tall piece further along the corridor created by other artists on the project too.