Wednesday, 28 October 2009

I'm a bag lady

I've been working on the bag lady challenge for our charity Christmas party. This is a very exclusive affair which started off as a City & Guilds Christmas party, then became a party for all those who studied C&G at our tiny hall in Christchurch, Dorset. This is why it is exclusive as we won't move to a bigger venue and there are always disappointed people who can't get in. The hall is an ordinary village hall but it is right on the estuary of the rivers Stour and Avon and the views are fabulous. It's a wonder we ever got any work done.

We have a speaker (who we manage to persuade to take a pittance in fees), some excellent traders, a competition, raffle etc. but best of all is the lunch. Everyone brings a dish and they all give their all in the making of it. We choose a local charity, this year it is the Youth Cancer Trust who have a hotel near us for teenage sufferers and they give them such a good time. They have too many requests so need to extend and we hope we can help a little.

So, it's the best of all worlds - a great party for a good cause. This year's challenge is to make a bag. (I do hope the term bag lady isn't too non PC for you. My grandchildren told me yesterday that they are not allowed to use the term 'brainstorming' any more as it is not fair to the metally ill.) We were given a pattern - a rectangle of paper which has to be turned ingto a bag. We can add or subtract bits and do anything we like to embellish it. Sue Chapman, our speaker, will have the terrible job of judging it on the day. Here is the pattern.

Here are my ingredients.

Some straps and the background - felt, with Kim T's wonderful dots ironed on.

I love these straps - here is a close up.

What will it be? I shall show you after the party on December 5th but the clue is octopus.

We also have to make gift boxes which we will sell. This is the shape.

Some of the group have made loads but I haven't made one yet. I shall do it at the weekend - honestly girls, I will.

Tuesday, 20 October 2009


Heather - you and me both, when it comes to messy demos. Both Carol and Lynda looked immaculate. I just lived in my pinny at Ally Pally.

One for Aussie Jo - this is the Alice Kettle piece I fell in love with. It will be so exciting if you come over here and you must come to the K&S. Pity it's not next year.

Hi Genie and Jac - hope you've found the free classes at I do enjoy the Yahoo group, especially when the pics start coming in.

Softsculpt - in the States try Meinke Toy or

Oh Blomman - what a shame. Do come and see us next year when I'll be one of the exhibitors.

I just been for some R&R at Urchfont Manor College. I belong to a group that meet there - we don't have a dedicated tutor but take it in turns to present ideas to the group. This time we did silk paper, which we all grumbled about - been there, done that etc. But when we got going we had such a good time and everyone had lovely pieces. I discovered new things to do with Carrier Rods - first setting them in a thin layer of silk.

Then I painted it when it was dry - needs ironing but you get the idea.


I then discovered that the silk half-bricks sold by Oliver Twists (wonderful colours) were hollow. Can't really tell here -my pics are not great today - pushed for time.


I pushed a piece of polythene into the middle and wet the rest with wallpaper paste. It turned into a bag - eventually. It took ages to dry, but I can't wait to stitch into it.



The weekend was lovely and I made myself stay in bed longer than my usual 6am and the food, of course, was great.


I feel so much better now and that's just as well as ....Ta Da..... the boy is back. He's spent the summer with my daughter as we were away so much. He seems so glad to be home but I'm afraid that Stevens is under the sofa looking fed-up.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

The Show

Back from Ally Pally. It was so good to see you all and put names to faces. Sorry you couldn't make the show, Heather. Here's a tiny flavour - lots more in my review for December WoW.

Sorry but I only do London, JP. Next year Wessex Textiles, the group I exhibit with, have one of the group exhibition slots so I might make it up north for that. If I manage to get any work done!

Have been working flat out since we got back - mostly admin but also putting the final touches to the free distance learning classes that go with the Stitches, Straps and Layers book. Carol and Lynda have classes with their Stitching the Textured Surface book too and I am setting up a new, joint Yahoo group for all the classes. Should be great fun and I hope to see you all there.

I've found a new way of combining the Model Magic/Model Soft compound with fabric. Such fun. That will be one of my lessons on the course.

The show was super - the exhibitions, especially were wonderful. Sensory overload with so much good stuff.

Cindy Hickok's made me laugh so much. Such witty ideas. I love all these 'people' rushing in the door and the cardboard cut-outs of Cindy and Doyle were an inspired touch. Here's a special one for the Brits - a cup of tea.
One of the stitched pieces made me howl - it was a study of Lautrec's prostitutes - all portrayed with colourful pies and the title was 'Tarts'.


Alice Kettle's collaboration with Alex McErlain and Helen Falcey was a real talking point. I love this jug, scratched into by Alice. She was showing some amazong head studies but they were glazed and not good for photos. Alice has promised to send me photos so I will include them in the review.


We did well with the book selling and Carol and Lynda drew crowds with their demos from their book. It was such fun watching them - here is Carol in action. They really made the show for me.


Must rush away now - more on the show later in the week.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Come to the Knitting and Stitching Show

Phew! It's manic here. Trying to pack for the K&S but life keeps getting in the way. Exciting news is that, on Friday, Lynda Monk and Carol McFee will be on the stand (TGE6) demonstrating techniques from their book ‘Stitching the Textured Surface’. This will happen at 11.30 and 2.30. More on that later.

Jo - What luck to get a bursary. We heard from Jae that the book was going well in Oz and it has certainly done well here.

Smudge's return can't come too soon Heather, as our next door neighbour's son has come home to live (like lots of other kids in this recession) and brought his three cats with him. They are lovely (just out of the kitten stage, but still playful) but they love our garden and have terrorised Stevens. One of them tried to come in the catflap and, due to Steve repelling all boarders, it has now broken. It was set into the double glazed doors and was very expensive. Stevens now spends her time with just her head sticking out of the remains, waiting until the coast is clear for a quick pee.

Ann, thanks for the copyright info. Will look into that later.

Back to the show. I always demo on the stand and this year I am working on techniques for one of the online classes that are free with the Stitches, Straps and Layers book (details on It's going to be based on extending the ideas in my Digital Humanity piece. Detail below.



This uses such exciting items as black rubbish bags, tomato puree tubes, Model Soft and, of course, water-soluble paper. The secret is in the glazes. Here is 'one I prepared earlier', waiting to be enhanced at the show. Not a good pic - had to use flash as no time to play with lights.

The work is based on the Beowulf story of the monster Grendel and his mum, using imagery from the Lewis chess set. My drawings of Grendel make him look fierce but his angry parent keeps turning out looking mumsy. The last drawing even had eyelashes! I'm working on it.

I hope to make a couple of finished pieces at the show, so do come and see us.

Off to make the bed for the cat sitter. Her last visit this year - hooray. I love to be home-based and there is nothing like going away to make you appreciate it.