Monday, 21 May 2012


I am very excited because my sister who lives in Alaska is coming for a couple weeks! It has even prompted me to take all the curtains down and wash them!

okay stop laughing!

These have been wanting the hem put back up for I don't know how long.

Off to teach in a moment and then up early in the morning to collect her. 20 hours!!!! Well, more if you count the time from her house and waiting for the first flight. Poor girl. She will be shattered. nevermind their time is 9 hours behind ours.

We will be doing a bit of the touristy thing... and she will get in on some of the Queen's Jubilee events as well. Some by telly of course, but then you can see better and find out alot of the background.

Okay, back to getting things ready for college.

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Bags from Jeans

On Monday, I taught a workshop on how to make a Reusable Bag from Recycled Jeans. The theme of the Adult Learner's week was Being Green. Or something similar.

Okay, to me this is not rocket science. But anyway. So I was surprised that this was a new idea for the students.

Here is the completed bag.

and an option with lace trim.

Here are a few of the in progress bags being made.
What was interesting was trying to work out the best plan for jeans that weren't straightforward.

This bag needed an extra base at the bottom. The original jeans were fairly big so without the base, everything would have fallen out each time you set the bag down.

These jeans had belonged to the lady's daughter. So to cut across the crutch would have made something rather small. So, we worked out how to open up the legs and sew them together front and back first, before sewing across the bottom. The jeans had a gathered band at the bottom of the legs, so those made handles that were a bit smaller yet still worked.

One of the other ladies had never used a sewing machine. But she hand sews and does crafts, so she had some idea of how fabric works at least. So, it is not the easiest thing to begin on a machine sewing denim! But she did very well. I had to get her over the seam sections once or twice, but for the most part she just had to be shown a bit of stitching and she was off!
I told her if she does take a beginner sewing class don't use this class as an example of doing it right. We were using the chop, chop, sew, sew method - with rulers for those who felt they needed some control. A bit of make it up as you go along. Well, for me, that is the best way when you are recycling a garment. It is not going to fit the rules in the first place, so you may as well forget them when you start. Much less frustration!!

So they all went off with bags finished or nearly finished. and several started thinking what else they could do with some of their old clothes! Oh, and most of them collected a bit of lace trim to fancy up their bags as well!

Friday, 18 May 2012

TVCT day with Alysn Midgelow-Marsden

Last Saturday, The Thames Valley Contemporary Textiles group had out May meeting. We had the priviledge of having Alysn Midgelow-Marsden talk to us about her journey as an artist. We saw some of her amazing work with metal mesh and metal shim, and also some of the wedding gowns she has designed for clients over the years.

Alysn also runs the Beetroot Tree Gallery in Derbyshire. You can see more of her work and check out what else is going on at the Beetroot Tree Gallery website.

Not so easy to get photos of the slides, but here is one of the wedding dresses for which she won a prize at the National Patchwork Championships back when it was at Ascot. I remember being in awe of this!
And another gown she made.
with the accompanying sketchbook. And a wonderful lamp made from copper mesh and shim.
In the afternoon, she taught a workshop on Impressive Metal. We all had little kits with some dyed velvet, scrim, a handful of beads and a piece of copper to work.
Here are some of the pieces the members are working on.

And a photo of mine in progress.
I have had extra teaching and other time comsuming things going on since, so I haven't got further than simply putting things temporarily in place.

From the feedback, it sounds like everyone enjoyed the day!

Friday, 11 May 2012

Waistcoat - 2

Here are a few photos of the finished waistcoat. At the last I thought the fluttery silk at the front was a bit too fluttery. Then my eye was drawn to a piece I have hanging in my studio with turquoise shell beads. I realised that would finish it off fine! And if I ever decide I want it fastening, rather than edge to edge, I can use the shells as a base for working a fastening out.

Front display
Back display - more like the true colour of the embroidered fabric.
Front worn - mirror photo
Side worn - mirror photo
Close up of beads

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Waistcoat - 1

This was supposed to be posted yesterday, so I have reset the date. I am making something for the one yard wonder challenge on Pattern Review.

I made a short waistcoat of the emboidered fabric. I didn't use all of the 1 yard I had. I think the fabric gives the look of eyelet and I have been saving it in the stash for a long time. I don't remember who gave it to me. It was just a shade too much on the green side of turquoise for me.

Here is a photo in progress with the layers of silk that flutter a bit like a butterfly. I have also added some to the sleeves, making a little wider shoulder cap.

I decided that the scraps of silk organza which I dyed with Easter egg dyes were just the right thing to trim the front of the waistcoat and also bring a more blue turquoise near my face. It will be a way of smartening up a cool strappy top this summer...I hope.

Friday, 4 May 2012


Today a young man we have known forever was married. He was born a few months before our son was.

I was privileged to be able to go. Very cold outside. They had some lovely music during the wedding. Like chamber music - several interesting string numbers including an unusual unique instrument, also a lovely guitar solo during the signing of the register.

Here are a few of the photos of the new couple and some of the family.
Congratulations Luke and Natalie!

I missed getting one of the 2 brothers.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

At Lady Sew and Sew

A few photos of the fantastical wearable art at Lady Sew and Sew's warehouse in Henley. They have transformed some of the workshop area into a bit of a gallery.
Midnight Dance by Moonlight looks really good next to one of Kate Findlay's pieces from her series about the Hadron Collidor. There is actually a scene on the inside of the coat, but it is a choice between that and the 'Silver Shoon' for what to show off.

Epic Quest of the Last Dragoness ended up slightly more round to the left than these photos show so it could be seen from the centre of the room.
I tried to pin the coat open to show the dragon. But it sort of means the dummy covered by a creamy white on white polyester looks a bit odd. I stuck the 'gauntlets on to the sides so it wasn't such a bare white "what is this doing here?" sort of a look.
It does mean the 'book spine' sleeve and the back of the coat can be seen better though, especially in the newer position.

I am really grateful for another chance to get these ladies out of the wardrobe and show them off. I have been asked to tell you that Lady Sew and Sew are on Facebook. I don't know how to discover all this, not being on Facebook myself, but those of you who know will know what to do!

Here are further details I was sent...
We are thrilled to be running Venue 13 of the Henley Arts Trail and to be the lead sponsor of the overall event. We have recently started marketing our achievements and promotions on facebook. If you are on facebook, please do 'like' us to keep up to date with our progress. If you are not on it yourself, you may want to tell you friends we are using facebook to promote the exhibition as we may well be featuring your work !

Wednesday, 2 May 2012


Yesterday I was getting Epic Quest of the Last Dragoness and Midnight Dance by Midnight ready for exhibiting. I have been invited to display them at Lady Sew and Sew at their place in Henley for the Henley Arts Trail.

Because I keep them in garment bags in a fairly full wardrobe, they do end up with a few creases and need a bit of freshening up. A couple years ago I was given a proper steamer which is very useful for this. They are so big and voluminous. They also are made of fancy fabrics and covered with embellishments. So, a bit difficult to wrangle over an ironing board. However, the hosepipe for the steam does get kinks in it when you move the steam head down lower to the hem. This means the steam stops working! I heard about some bridal shops who have a hook in the ceiling so they can work on the lower sections.

At dinner I asked my dear Husband if he thought you could drill into the beam in my studio. I explained that I thought that if I could get a hook in there, I would have less trouble for the hem sections. and in nearly the blink of an eye...

I have a hook in the ceiling! Works fine!
So, I have to lift the hangers up to the hook with a stick that has blue tack on the end...due to my lack of height! But oh well. The hose only reaches up to chest level on the garments, but I can hang them on the steamer pole to do that part.

So, I am off today to get them on display.

If you are in this area at the weekend you should go see the Art in Henley!

May Bank Holiday Weekend
Saturday 5th May - Monday 7th May 2012

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

April TV Offcuts

I posted about the blue wool skirt with silver threads the other day. Actually, I got the handstiching done on it before the TV Offcuts meeting anyway.
Here is what the blue-silver skirt looks like. (The ever popular photo in a mirror trick.)

So what I did do at the meeting was to start a bit of altering on some of the skirt waistbands that are getting too big. I didn't get a photo. but actually there was alot of altering and mending going on during the day.

Mavis sandwiched up a quilt she will quilt for the Linus Project charity.

And she is also mending a well loved crazy quilt for a friend. It means a lot of unpicking.

Gabrielle was adding some bright stitches to the collar of a cardigan. She had another project previously, but I didn't catch that one.

Gill C was replacing buttons.

Juliet was mending you do. :)

Lyn was (shock!) chopping up some of her own weaving to make cloths because the colour in some of the thread she used kept running.

Gill G was constructing something interesting, and Anne had something interesting as well. But both of them left before I went round with the camera.

At times there was much conversation, but later on it was pretty quiet...heads down working. It struck me - yes I could have done the same thing at home, but not with the same feeling of companionship that we have there. They are a really special group of friends.