Wednesday 25 March 2015

Spring Knitting & Stitching Show at Olympia, London

Modern Empress - Eleanor Newton

Here's a quick whizz round the Spring Knitting & Stitching Show currently on at Olympia, London.  Those shortlisted by the National Fashion Textiles Exhibition were on display (16-19 year old students studying fashion & textiles were eligible to enter).  See my 2 favourites above & below ...

Reptiles & Birds - Kate Lynch

Then there was TOFT's #crochetjungle designed to inspire and teach adults and children to crochet and raise money for Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity and Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospice ...

And of course the knitted farm, knitted by members of the public...

There were some fabulous World War One Commemorative Quilts by London Quilters.

In Memory of Harry Alexander McKillop - Lyn Fry

Detritus of War - Maggie Paykel

Marlene Cohen

and some amazing quilts by members of the Quilters' Guild in the Inspirations exhibition.  This one was fantastic ...

Barge in the Mist - Marian Hall

Marian even had the image of it made into a jigsaw for her mum - now there's a cool idea. You can find her blog here

And I learnt how to knit a square on the diagonal too with Terry Harper ...

In between all that I managed to take a look round all the stalls and found these that especially took my fancy ...

Textile Garden,  Silkindian, Mrs Moon, Sheep on Mars, Sew Me SomethingThe Maker's Atelier, Hannah Bass

Monday 23 March 2015

Chris Gray at City of York Embroiderers' Guild

Afghan Bodice - richly embroidered 

This month Chris Gray came to talk to us to share her inspiration and work.  Chris is inspired by the textiles of Central Asia and Eastern Europe with their rich symbolism and fantastic detail.  She brought some amazing world textiles for us to see and handle.

Child's Hat
Blanket from India/Pakistan area made from collar and cuff edges
Detail from a door banner

Shisha mirrors are used to ward off the evil eye and cowrie shells are fertility symbols.  Chris likes the idea of work being more than just decorative and uses symbolism in her own richly decorated pieces.

Decorative scroll pouches - Chris Gray
Decorations - Chris Gray
120 hours stitching to make this triptych - Chris Gray
Beautiful patterns (detail) - Chris Gray

Chris says, "You don't have to visit (a place) in person to interact with other cultures and allow influences to enrich our lives and what we do."  Thanks for the inspiration, Chris. 

Thursday 19 March 2015

Yarnstorming the Fulford & Fishergate WI

Yarnstorming, yarnbombing, graffiti knitting, fibrestorming, guerilla knitting or whatever you want to call it - that's what was on the agenda at the Fulford & Fishergate WI this week. 

They had very kindly asked me along to talk to them about yarnbombing and wanted to try out some of the techniques used.

They all had a go at finger knitting and arm knitting

and got to hear about my yarnbombing adventures.  Hope I've inspired them to join in with our Poppies in the Park Installation in Rowntree Park, York later this year!

A lovely evening and great tea and biscuits - thank you Fulford & Fishergate WI!

Tuesday 17 March 2015

Fabric Bowls

I belong to a textile group called Nest of Makers - who are a very friendly bunch.  We get together and sometimes we do our own thing and sometimes we have a skill sharing session.  At our last meeting Heather Chalkley showed us how to make fabric bowls.  I've only ever made these using hand stitching before and that was very time consuming.  Heather showed us how to make them using a sewing machine and we made rapid progress.

Fabric ripped into strips and ironed - it's good to have more than one fabric

You need fabric + matching thread, polypropylene rope, a sewing machine, some pins and a small bulldog clip.

Polypropylene rope

Then away you go ...

Sewing in progress!
You can see how much rope is needed for one bowl!

By the end of the day there were some lovely bowls ready for use!

After our lovely bowling day I went home enthusiastic to make more.  I decided I would use neutral fabric and stitch with neutral cotton thread and dye them.  So that's what I did.  After dyeing them all over, I then inverted the bowls in a shallow dye bath to get a contrasting colour on the rim.

An undyed bowl

Finished bowls

Here's what I learnt ...

It's quicker to use patterned fabric to get a colourful result and you don't need that much!

If you put a wet inverted bowl in the dye bath you get a rim that is just the area covered by the dye bath.

If you put the inverted bowl in dry the dye rises much further up the bowl but you get a nice shading effect ..

If you don't like the colour you have some scope to change it

Blue with green

Becomes blue with black!
and it can be quite addictive ...

Lots of bowls

The printed fabric bowls have gone to new homes and after some more dyeing this is what I've ended up with in the dyed bowls line ... 

In the end I made 8 bowls and used about 50m of rope.  Hold on to your washing lines - they may not be safe with me about!

Monday 9 March 2015

A Day with Mandy James at Hope & Elvis

Did a fab workshop with Mandy James aka Daisy Moons Sewing Days at Hope & Elvis recently.  Mandy uses vintage papers, fabrics and haberdashery to produce her collages.  If you haven't seen Mandy's work then take a look here ...

After inspiration overload, Mandy talked us through various techniques with tips and demos.  Then we were let loose to raid the supplies provided by the lovely Louise Presley from Hope & Elvis ...

Vintage papers and a working typewriter to use

Vintage fabrics galore

and together with our pack of goodies from Mandy we set about producing our own vintage pieces ...

Templates, papers etc.

Hard at work

The results were great ...




A really lovely day with a lot of lovely people.  Can't wait to visit Hope & Elvis again!  (Check out the workshops on offer!)