Monday, 23 November 2015


Saturday was the Thames Valley Contemporary Textiles meeting. We had Karen Parry from John James needles come to speak. Not boring at all. She was very interesting.

And then we got to shop needles now that we knew more about them.

Very popular!
The company that owns John James needles has been going for centuries! and supplies needles for a large variety of companies and uses. from mattress needles 20in long to size 15 'beading needles' used in the medical industry for things like open heart surgery (with a couple extra refined steps of course).
We were given an envelope with info, a pack of needles and an unusual one!
Not sure if each pack held the same or not. But I am looking forward to seeing what I can do with a weaving needle! I might even use it for weaving!

Sunday, 22 November 2015

And the bead keeps going on...15-21 Nov

Week 47 - November 2015








Saturday, 21 November 2015

Something on Saturday

On Thursday my microwave started making explosion sounds near the light.

On Friday the Thoughtful Man came home with this!
Much bigger and more gadgety...of course.

Friday, 20 November 2015

Wax paper

Thanks for the comments about the Kamlaika inspired stitch project.

Celia asked about the wax paper. It is like you get on a roll from Reynolds. I am not sure where you get it here.

I brought mine back from America years and years ago to use for projects with kids. We used to sandwich leaves between and press. Lovely to hang in the window or for a craft about Autumn. But I never did many projects with it. So, I am looking forward to using it here.

(It is also wonderful to use to wax a back garden play slide so you go down faster!)

Jeannne asked if I was making a parka or a piece inspired by it. I don't intend to recreate a kamlaika. I want to focus on the importance of the seams. So sewing pleats and seams in a length of it. I am thinking long and puddled on the floor sort of thing.


Today I have also been tracing the refugees for placing on the other piece that got stalled from a few weeks ago.

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Worn Threads

I have finally found some time to begin sampling for the Thames Valley Contemporary Textiles exhibition Worn Threads. The items are due in January, but this Saturday we are having a session where we are showing ideas and thinking about aspects we might develop. So, as the Co-Ordinator, I wanted to have something out of my head into a sample.

The idea is to take a garment as inspiration for a new piece. This could be one worn by you or sentimental to you, but it does not have to be. So, I thought this was time for something I have had in my head for a long time.

Over 10 years ago we went to visit my sister in Alaska. I never got to see the photos I took, because my SD card got full and my husband downloaded them to his computer...where they have been ever since! But at last this week I got him to transfer them for me.

Which was a bit sad in some ways. My son warned me that the camera I had then was not as good quality, so the photos might be pretty rubbish.
Most are okay, but the ones I took in low light of museums or behind glass at the airport are not very good.

I was Very Impressed by the 'gut parkas' made by the indigenous people. Your original waterproof jacket. Kamleika is a seal gut parka and the word comes from the Chukchi people. The Unangan name for the gut parka/rain coat is chagtalisax. Alutiiq word is kanaglluk.
One of the airport photos is tolerable. So, I hope it will do.

I did a bit more research about them - one of my favourite parts of making work is the research - and got more of an idea of how they were made.
I liked the translucency and had thought to use something like silk organza - following on from some of my other transparent type work. But I thought the fabric was not really related in any way.
I thought maybe lutrador/spun woven material. But when I was rummaging in my storage of spun woven types, I found a piece of wax paper I had tried using for something else.
Ah Ha!
Besides the fact that I really already have a project in mind for the spun woven fabrics at some point, the wax paper is more translucent and has the added benefit of being waterproof already!

So, I have been making some sample seams. In my research, I found some ideas on how they were actually stitched.

Here are some of the threads I am trying out; including bleached and unbleached fine linen, hemp, and twine.
I will probably do some more explaining when I begin the making. I don't intend to do a reconstruction, just work with the wax paper and concentrate on seams made in a similar way to the ones on the waterproof parkas.

Not sure at this point if I will add any kind of decoration. Still thinking.

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Bangle 16

I have been trying to steadily work on this last bangle for a Christmas present, but I am finally finished.
That is most of the ladies in my family sorted with beaded bangles. Most of them done last year.
I am going to switch gears to something that is less intensive and takes up less space for laying out all the beads selected.

Monday, 16 November 2015

And the bead keeps going on...8-14 Nov

Week 46 - November 2015

Very busy weekend, but caught up today.








Sunday, 15 November 2015

to Peace

For hope...
flowers in November

For courage and resilience
Our prayers are with Paris and the whole of France
May you begin to find even small comforts in these early days of grief.

Monday, 9 November 2015

another sample

So, having got my head around understanding drawn patterns for beading, I decided to go back to basics. Meaning, what I know about beading comes from sewing beads onto fabric and then taking that further to sewing onto things.

Thus, I have been watching a few how-to-videos. And, from what I saw, I then got out the beginner beading instruction book from the Beadworker's Guild.

And first up - Ladder stitch.

Which is exactly what I was looking for. Something that doesn't take ages. Something that then can become trim for fantastical garments.
This one, is just 3 beads across and is now about 8 inches long. As this sample was more about learning, I haven't worked out how much I can do within, say, 15 minutes. But I have enough thread to carry it on a bit more, so I will test timings when I get to that point.

This particular one is pretty simple, but there are ways of making it more complex and ways to add interesting edges along the sides. I can do that when I add it to a gown or after it is made.

What I do need to work out is how to keep the rows tight to each other. But I guess that will come with practice and perhaps with using beads with less 'character'!

Sunday, 8 November 2015

And the bead keeps going on...1-7 Nov

Week 45 - November 2015

The last of this type of 'fabric booklet'. Completing the 6 main colours of the colour wheel with yellow.








Saturday, 7 November 2015

Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday to the Thoughtful Man!

I spent most of the day trying to do a caramel layer cake from one of his Bake Off cookbooks. So, as you can see it has been reduced to 2 layers. The icing was 'marbled' rather than feathered and we have loads of the salted caramel icing left. But oh well!
A Certain Young Man fried the steaks. and did the teas and coffees after dinner. And we had to just about tie the Thoughtful Man down to the table to have the cake brought to be blown out because he was washing up or something! "Please will you sit down so we can do the cake thing?"

But he can go back to being the baker after this. Or I can stop trying to be a bake off type and just make normal cakes.

Thursday, 5 November 2015

Flat chenille

Today I took Ramshackle Tower up to Henley for the upcoming Structures exhibition.

I have continued the sample of the flat chenille stitch. I have my head round the pattern now - pretty much. I had only gone wrong on the last row of what I showed the other day. So I re-did that row and carried on.
I had already added in a new length of thread and hadn't too many of the glistening beads left, so I decided this 10cm/4in was long enough for a sample project. This took about 1/2 tube of beads (like from Bead Merchant). I had already used some of that tube on something else, so that is why I chose it for a sample

When I went to Lady Sew and Sew in Henley, I wanted to look for a brown to use on future Ramshackle pieces. and lo and behold they were having a sale! So, I thought I would look round the sale first. And there, in the Extra Wide pile was a mottled brown piece just a tad longer than I had planned to buy in normal width and for around the same money!
And being extra wide, it is more than double the width of normal! So, that was meant to be. It is more of a chocolate colour...actually written on the end of the fabric! Mottled doesn't matter because it is the underneath layer anyway.

Tuesday, 3 November 2015


Trialling a possible bead project. Something called Flat Chenille stitch (why?), which came into my inbox from Bead Daily the other day.

Okay, I chose it because it was the first bead instruction drawing set I could figure out. But this took all evening.
So, a good weekly project, not a daily one.
In trying to get my head round the destructions, I have already added an extra bead at either end on one row, but it works. When I finally figured that was what I had done, I decided to stick with it. But I have drawn the extra beads onto the pattern so I don't get confused when I come back to it.

I do think I will stick with it, because it might help me get my head round more of the drawn patterns...
Or will drive me back to creating my own!

Also stitched the sleeve onto Ramshackle Tower to take up to Henley before the end of the week.

Monday, 2 November 2015

Stitch on it - 14-17

I am taking part in Take a Stitch Tuesday from Sharon Boggon's blog. Taking up the challenge to do something more with a stich, I am embroidering these stitches onto paper.

These first 2, Satin and Stem stitch have never been stitches I got on well with.
Satin Stitch including Diagonal Satin Stitch
But with the whole day at K+S, I managed to get the satin stitch better and better. Being done on paper, I did it stab stitch and not across the back. I didn't think the paper would hold up to the tension.

Stem Stitch
The Stem stitch was a little easier on paper, so I was able to get my head round how to do it well. I gave myself the challenge of going round curves. I didn't have a shape in mind, just went there. so when I got round the curve part, I decided to go straight round three sides and then realise to turn it sideways looked a bit like a C.
For most of these stitches I just freely stitch until I am happy with placement or until I start seeing a shape and then working to make it better.

French Knot
A variety of French Knots to create a free look to the shape.

Wheatear stitch