Friday, 25 November 2011

Knitting and Stitching Show @ Harrogate

It didn’t snow! No fog or rain! Unusually lucky for the annual pilgrimage to the Knitting and Stitching Show in Harrogate. I’ll never understand why the most northerly of the shows is the latest in the year, but we got away with it this time.

So, into the labyrinth… five big halls to explore, and the ways between them don’t seem to get any less confusing with practise. Eventually realised I’d managed to miss one corner, a supplier I knew was in there somewhere, but too exhausted to fight my way back through the crowds by then. HIC

The highlights, as ever, were the Textile Gallery and the Graduate Showcase. The Textile Study Group had a polished exhibition, “Individual and Collective”, each member showing a picture of an artwork that inspired them beside their own work. But the catalogue didn’t mention these, or even include many of the works on show – I think it must’ve had to be produced too far in advance? (Know the problem, gg)

I really liked minimally stitched pieces by Pat Clayton (coast/shoreline) and Joan Lamb (dusky East Africa sky and grasses) in the Textile Expressions exhibition. Beautifully done, very evocative; sadly I can’t find any websites for them or their group.

Ten Plus Textiles also had an impressive show for their 20th anniversary year, and I surprised myself by picking woven, not stitched, pieces as my favourites - Jane White’s painted warp. Guess what… no pics.

In the Graduate Showcase, I was delighted to see some of Diana Barrett’s degree work – I know her as a machine embroidery star, making stunning vessels and unique intensely stitched wall pieces, but she’s really branched out for her BA. Here she also had long hangings with limited areas of stitch or even none. Beautiful laser cut patterns in off-white fabric, well of course I’d love those, I always go for pieces that cast lovely shadows. Congratulations on your First, Diana, well deserved. FloralBeerCans_Melanie-Kay_blog

The other new graduate who excited me was Melanie Kay, with her stitched beer cans. She had lampshades and reconstructed embroidered cans but what really worked for me were the lacy pieces, heavily perforated with lots of punched holes. She has pics out on the web so I don’t think she’ll mind if I show one here. (I don’t take photos at these shows, it seems wrong to put pictures of other people’s work on the web if they haven’t done so themselves.)


What did I bring home? Not a lot really… it’s one of those rules, I’m always between projects when the show rolls round and then the following week I’ll be desperate for supplies I could have got so easily if I’d known. Some Razzle threads to try on the machine bobbin, dyed scrims to use on the embellisher, some green rubbery stuff to make print blocks (those starlings maybe?), the new Jan Beaney and Jean Littlejohn book (Stitch Rhythms & Patterns), lots of cards. But mostly – inspiration, a renewed determination to try harder with my own work!

Sunday, 20 November 2011



Isn’t that a wonderful word for a wonderful phenomenon?

This week we took a quick trip to Leighton Moss RSPB reserve to catch the spectacular sight of up to 100,000 starlings swirling over the reed beds before finally settling down to roost. It’s one of the great sights of autumn/winter in the UK, catch it if you can! This site lists some of the best places.

The constantly changing patterns painted in 3D across the sky are just stunning, different everFlock5y time.    

So now I’m wondering, is it possible to capture the spirit of this in stitch? I’ve had quite a few attempts at flocks of birds, using shadows to add another layer, but for these massive flocks it’d need to be on a completely different scale. Hmm… thousands of tiny black dots… not ideal for machine embroidery!  

(one of my Flock pieces)

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Textilia III exhibition

Our latest show is now on at the Signature Gallery, Kendal, until the end of the year.


There’s an amazing variety of textile art, from framed pieces to jewellery and accessories. You can see machine and hand embroidery, felting, rag rugging, handmade books and mixed media. Something for everyone and lots of great Christmas gifts.


This is one of my pieces that’s included – Botanica 3. Unfortunately the gallery lighting doesn’t show it at its best, it’s meant to cast shadows as in this photo. The little motifs are made using a Flower Stitcher attachment and suspended on fine wire.

More photos on the group website here. The hanging team did a great job in tricky circumstances – the walls of this old building are far from straight, so you’ll have to excuse the slightly drunken appearance of some pieces; they’d look MUCH better on YOUR walls! 

Friday, 4 November 2011

Sample Diary–October

You won’t be surprised to hear that I got a bit behind with this month! But I’ve caught up now.



Week 40 – Graphene.  New “wonder material”, a lattice of carbon atoms one atom thick.

Free machine embroidery on dissolvable fabric, with hand sewn beads.





Week 41 – T-Pylon. New design for electricity pylons.

Hand stitch on painted canvas.







Week 42 – Balloon seller in Kabul.

Bonded and machine stitched sheers.








Week 43 – Advert. for Audi winter tyres.

Strips of felt decorated with auto machine embroidery pattern; eight-strand braiding.