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A few years ago at Harrogate I saw some really stunning, original embroidery in the graduate showcase and was really pleased to see the work of Caren Garfen back again, this time with her own exhibition.
Caren’s work is called ‘She was cooking something up’ and is based around a kitchen installation. It takes the theme of women’s lives and their relationship with food, dieting and body image. Not only is it technically amazing, all of this is hand stitching on screen printed backgrounds, but so creative and powerful.
Apologies as my images are all a bit yellow due to the show lighting.
I was lucky enough to be able to talk to Caren and tell her how much I loved her work.
There are some more detailed pictures (in better light) at this show link.
Her website also gives more details of her work and there is a really interesting interview with Caren at this link on the Textile Artist web site. I particularly like the way her work links modern stitching with the history of women’s work and needlework.
As someone who is really interested in the history of needlework it is fascinating the way that women’s lives were often influenced heavily by their skills with a needle in terms of employment, readiness for marriage, social activities etc and this work makes us think through stitching about our lives and current pressures on them.
No longer do we have to be proficient needlewomen to clothe our families, or ‘make do and mend’ to help the war effort, or have 12 quilt tops ready before we get married but for many of us needlecrafts and knitting are still very central to our lives.
It always fascinates me as someone who has crafted all her life that knitting, quilting, embroidery and sewing are now popular like never before (and often on prime time TV), not because we have to do it but because we want to do it and the ‘handmade home’ is now once again valued over mass production.
The fact that the internet (the original idea of linking computers was to protect data in the event of war) is such as resource for us all (not just women but mainly women) to share ideas, encourage each other and to often enable us to sell our work is fantastic.
My life would definitely by so much poorer without my bloggy ‘imaginary friends’ as my kids call them. So on that note thanks for visiting and have a nice week ahead!
How I love Saturdays :-) back to back cups of tea and a bit of blogging to share with you the joy that was Harrogate Knitting and Stitching, followed by more actual stitching.
And tomorrow will be more of the same! Ellie and Kerry have gone to Harrogate today and I am sure they will have a fab time as well.
I have not visited for a few years, partly due to not actually needing any more fabric (probably ever) but definitely being good in the run up to moving house and trying to use up what I have got in the last two years.
However this year Sharon and Helen from knitting group also wanted to go.We had a lovely day and also helped with restraining each other’s spending which was soooo hard.
It was fun to shop with people who have very different tastes.I am so drawn to anything medieval whereas Helen loves flowery prints and Sharon bought bright solids for her latest art gallery bunting.
The exhibition halls were full and there was much more gorgeous fabric than in previous years, as well as the lovely wool and stitching stalls and the exhibitions itself.
Our first purchases were actually from Simply Solids (got to support our local business) where I bought some mini charm packs similar to those I got from them on their opening day.
Then I found some fat quarters of the Moda Printemps that I had used from one of those mini charms packs for the hexagons so bought a couple of these to use as backing.
They are going to become toilet bags this afternoon for Christmas presents and will look lovely with some co-ordinating solids – such pretty designs!
As always Sue from Springwood House Designs had some beautiful Robert Kaufman Christmas fabrics so I bought these to add to the stash plus the sliver one for flower brooch making.
I was also very tempted by a wonderful Robert Kaufman tree panel and after seeing it on a few stalls finally gave in and bought one.
Apologies for the creases but you can see from the detail photos what a wonderful piece it is – more like a work of art than just fabric.
This will not be finished for this year, it needs lots of time lavished on it – hand quilting and maybe some seed beads as well.
I also picked up some bargain back issues of a few magazines, I do love reading craft mags even if I will never have time to make any of the things in them!
Also came across a bargain bin for fabric on one of the stalls – most of these were £1 each :-) I am trying to break away from just medieval and could not resist the bright elephant print second from right.
The exhibitions are always a delight – these pictures were from the graduate showcases – the first knitter is a Huddersfield student which is very nice to see.
I loved this Hobbit themed set – look at Smaug the dragon!
And these would make amazing gifts for dog owners.
I have some more work to show you but will do that in another post as this one is getting a bit long!
Hope you have enjoyed your virtual tour and thanks for visiting. Now off to use up some of this stuff lol!
How did I get to this ripe old age without discovering the joys of hexis or mini charm packs?
I suppose previously I thought that I had enough fabric to play with and didn’t need to buy themed collections but since I discovered the joys of English paper piecing (and my addiction to hexagons) they have come in really useful being just the right size for the creation of endless hexi flowers.
I have put them to good use though. I could cheerfully just sit here making hexi flowers and watching Netflix while it rains but feel I need to be purposeful in what I do ;-)
So I have made a couple of aprons as Christmas gifts with the mini charm packs I bought from The Quilt Cabin in Hebden Bridge.
I added little patched pockets as a contrast to the hexagons.
These will go with some mini baking sets that I discovered on that trip as well. They are for the smaller cousins in the family (previous recipients of rabbits).
I have made lots of flowers out of a Moda mini charm pack from Simply Solids.
This is from the Moda Printemps fabric range which is lovely and very good value at £4 per pack.
That has made all these and enough for one other that I need to add some of my solid stash to. I think these will be turned into make-up bags for other Christmas presents.
I have also been using the mini charm packs for patchwork to make a wash bag for another relative. I used up most of the squares in this pack but added some plain ones from stash rather than the flower patterned ones as I wanted to personalise the bag.
Elan has an Israeli name and so does not get much personalised stuff so thought I would try out my applique skills. Since I couldn’t find any letters the right size I also drew these myself and am pleased with the way they have turned out. Just need to line the bag and add the drawstring this evening.
All of the above flowers have been made with 1 inch hexis but I am also doing some more work with the tiny 1 cm ones. This is from stash fabric and will be a pincushion – am intending to make a matching needlebook, again for a Christmas present.
Since this is my year of patchwork and quilting I am going to spend a lot of my time thinking of ways to use up the hexis. Thankfully I have Pinterest and the whole of the world-wide web to help me ;-)
I may just buy a few more charm packs at my visit to the Harrogate Knitting and Stitching show – which is exactly a month today !!!!! Not that I am at all excited.
Hope you are all well and happy and have had a good weekend, I am off to Spain on Friday so will be back in a couple of weeks. Take care and thanks for visiting.
There has been great excitement here in the village this week as we are being used as a film set again, this time for a movie, ‘A Monster Calls’ , with Liam Neeson (who will be playing a tree apparently so won’t be doing any live filming) and Sigourney Weaver who will!
The village and the surrounding countryside has already featured in lots of things, most notably, ‘Last of the Summer Wine’, and ,’Where the Heart is’, and we had Micheal Palin spotted here not long ago while he was filming a ghost story at the vicarage.
However the most exciting thing apart from star spotting is that one of the village shops has been given a make over, this is usually one of our local charity shops and has a very plain window similar to its neighbour that you can just see a bit of on the left of this picture.
But look at that gorgeousness! All that lovely stock. Sadly it is going to have to be turned back after the filming but everyone in the village loves it and wishes it could stay.
We will have some themed shops this weekend though as it is the Jazz Festival and I helped my friend Sharon make bunting with some of the music themed fabric that she bought from the Quilt Cabin in Hebden Bridge a few weeks ago.
It is in the window of her art gallery ‘Enjoy Art’ which will hopefully be busy with lots of visitors to the festival.
I was perusing the charity shops this weekend and not only did I get some more great bargains (a new top for Xmas and some knee-length leather winter boots for the princely sum of £5.45 in total) but also this gorgeous piece of vintage embroidery.
I have taken a couple of close-ups of things we see a lot of round here – is raining again today :-(
And something that has not been seen in Marsden yet however given our role as a film venue who knows what might happen in the future!
No date but I would estimate 1930s – 50s by the style of it. Stitched on linen in cross stitch it says at the top, ‘Teach me please my ABCs’, so I imagine it was for a child’s room and will be going up in my craft room this afternoon.
It is too nice to cut up and was only an amazing £2.80. I do love charity shops :-)
Have made great progress with the hexis for the aprons, they are appliqued to the backing fabric just waiting for a machining session to be sewn together and am working on some more hexi love with the mini charm packs from Simply Solids today.
Will update at the weekend if time allows, I am running the box office for the Jazz Festival again all weekend and am hoping to see a couple of events including one of my favourite vocalists Ruby Wood with her new band The Sugar Sisters who are headlining on Saturday night.
See you soon and thanks for visiting!
Hope you are having a fun weekend, I am having a very lovely textilicious one and have just returned with my friend Sharon from visiting a new quilt shop that has opened up in the next but one village from us!
There has been great excitement at our knitting group waiting for this shop to open as it is a real live shop with classes and fabric and everything owned by Justine and Lisa from Simply Solids.
Look at this loveliness with all of the displays of cushions and quilts as well as the beautiful fabric and a cosy sitting area. Plus they have a Gamill quilting machine that I think they will be renting time on (if I ever learn to machine quilt).
There was far more fabric than just the displays in the middle of the table, a whole wall of bolts that in my excitement I forgot to photograph!
And it is only a short bus ride away, and they are doing sit and sew groups in the evening :-) I am very happy about this as I did really enjoy going to a quilting group before I moved but that one is quite a long way from where I live now whereas this one will be on the way home.Fits in fantastically with my desire to do more quilting this coming year!
I have been buying from their online shop for a while now and had previously subscribed to their solids stash club. They also have lots of lovely prints as well in the shop and are going to offer classes so it is all very good. If you live near Huddersfield go and check our their website for class details.
I did of course buy a little something from them (it would have been very rude not to!) and the first things I will show you are these little mini charm packs.
I have not had charm packs before I bought the one a few weeks ago but like how it gets you to use different fabric that you would not maybe have looked at. Just playing around with one of the sets while I was taking pictures I put together this which also features one of the fantastic lacy zips I bought from them – so pretty!
I spent this morning using the previous charm pack to make these two hexi sets for some more of the children’s aprons that I am making as Christmas presents which will be using up more of my solids stash.
The very loveliest thing though was a fantastic goodie bag!
Not only is it a fab bag and that is such a true saying but there were lots of goodies inside. Look at all this stuff, free fabric and thread and hexi papers (Sharon is going to start doing hexis once she has finished her current bunting project).
Also have bought (and subscribed to the first 3 issues for £5) to Quilt Now magazine which they had for sale.
Will leave you with the fruits of my week’s work - not much stitching time due to having a very lovely new group of teacher trainees starting but have managed 3 more flower brooches.
Sharon gave me the idea of making rounded petals by just folding the circle of fabric in half rather than in quarters. All of this fabric comes from stash and the pale pink and pink/brown flower patterns are from 2 charity shop blouses that I repurposed.
Now for a lovely evening of stitching, wine and lighting the candles, nights are drawing in but I have my fabric love to keep me warm :-)
Don’t forget to ‘like’ my giveaway post, I will be drawing the winner tomorrow. Thanks for visiting.
Well this is unbelievably my 400th post so I thought I would celebrate by inviting you to like this post and I will pick a winner who will receive their choice of handmade small from anything they have seen on my site.
It could be a pincushion, brooch, scissor keep, needlebook, Christmas ornament, pouch, compact case, phone or kindle case etc. Please click like and then I will choose one person and contact them and ask what sort of fabric colours you would like for the gift. I will pick a winner in 2 weeks – on Sunday 5th Oct.
We have had a busy weekend sewing – Jamie, Ellie and Kerry have been here and we have been making shifts and coifs for the girls and a tabard to go over Jamie’s new armour (due next year).
This is a work in progress but you get the general idea, it is made of wool and will be lined with red linen.
It won’t have the pleat in as we were just working on length. This picture shows Jamie hard at work making the pattern for the dagging on the white part of the tabard which involved drawing round a wineglass!
Kerry had also made a new head-dress – a coronet, she is very talented and creates the most wonderful stuff out of very everyday materials and ‘found’ jewellery.
I have been making more flower brooches - the one below from a charity shop broderie anglaise skirt that I have also used for phone covers etc. and these other ones from stash fabric.
Ellie brought me a present as well – the best sort – vintage fabric, look at this beautiful lace that someone had given her to go to a good home! I think I shall add it to the things I am going to use for the bee quilt inspired cushion I mentioned a couple of posts ago.
Term starts next week and I have a submission due for my doctorate (which I have written but may need more work) so I am going to be doing very little else but work for the next few weeks.
I have saved lots of the lovely National Trust textile pictures to post about while production slows down here at Maison Ryan ;-)
Thanks as always for visiting and don’t forget to click like!
Am having a lovely relaxing Sunday making more brooches so thought I would show you the product of my labours. Yesterday I had a busy day, housework and general fettling and a very nice (if a little damp) walk with Ted, my friend’s dog.
We went picking blackberries, I am of course better than Ted at this as he doesn’t have opposable thumbs but he is very friendly companion and I am now getting to chat with lots of the dog owners of my village!
The blackberries went into the first of this season’s crumbles with some mango and plums from my fruit and veg box delivery that I get weekly from the local deli and very delicious it is too.
Here are two more brooches. I have adapted the design to use 6 petals so that I can have different colour combinations.
This one above is made from some of the fabric I bought from the quilt shop in Hebden Bridge, the darker fabric is part of the Downton Abbey range and is the Dowager’s Paisley in Purple.
The cream one I don’t have a name for, it has a very pretty print on the background so I am making two more of these as Xmas pressies as I think they work well together. Cotton Patch has a good range of Downtown Abbey fabrics in metre lengths or fat quarters and charm packs.
This one is made with Liberty Tana Lawn in Mark Paisley, the teal and blue colourway and is the fabric that came with my brooch kit from Teazle. This online fabric site Alice Caroline has lots of Tana Lawn in different sized pieces.
Last weekend I met a very nice lady at Caldicot called Helen who makes the most gorgeous beaded jewellery. I bought these two beautiful designs from her, I think they look just as good on the back as the front and think they would look great on a medieval pouch or head-dress.
Her design company is called Bristol Beadery and she has an Etsy shop where she also sells lots of bracelets etc. Lovely ideas for presents.
I have just discovered the joys of Netflix on my laptop ( a little late I know ) but have been watching back to back episodes of my favourite Supernatural series.
I had just finished Season 8 yesterday when Netflix suggested that I might like to watch Orange is the New Black and I am now hooked, fantastic series and one I can very much relate to as every year I have trainee teachers who work in prisons.
So I will be mainly on the sofa for the rest of the day surrounded by my craft materials and essential tea of course.
My daughter Ellie has a blog about her work for the National Trust called a View from my Attic - maybe I should call mine a view from my sofa since I do spend a lot of time here crafting ;-)
A little note about links in my blog, I am not sponsored or paid in any way for the links that I put, just that lots of times people have asked me where I get things that I use so I always put links in to sources for material and patterns etc to help others find stuff.
Have a lovely rest of the weekend and thanks for visiting.
I went for a little visit to the town of Hebden Bridge the other day with my friend Sharon. It is a very pretty place, similar to Marsden with a river and a canal.
We hadn’t really planned what to do as were just going for a tootle but imagine our delight at finding this as one of the first shops we came across!
We had to go in of course (it would have been rude not to) and a while later left with all of this lovely stuff. They also do classes and online sales and this is their web site.
Most of this will become Xmas presents so it is guilt free fabric ;-) and I was very pleased to get some more of the Makower sewing print range for my gifts.
I was most impressed with this little mini cake – 40 pieces of fabric for only £3, they are about 2 inches square so will make lovely hexis for pincushions and aprons.
Then a little further on down the street we found this lovely wool and haberdashery shop. They must have known we were coming :-) Love the cross stitch opening hours sign.
I bought ribbon and self covering buttons for a project I will mention later in this post. And there were some very cute teddy buttons.
We went to the local WI this week as they were having a demonstration on how to make a brooch from Liberty fabric. The session was run by Julie from a local handmade company Teazle and we all made very cute little flowers.
I bought a kit to make another with some beautiful Liberty paisley and have adapted the design to make Xmas ornaments.The flower looked a little like a poinsettia so I thought it would be nice hanging from a tree.
I have made Suffolk Puffs (or Yo - Yos) for the first time for the centre of the flower. I made 2 of different sizes and layered them to cover up the centre hole.
I am still enjoying my hexagons, as well as using them for Xmas ornaments I am making some little pincushions for my friend Sue’s charity stall.
The one on the left is made from the hexi needlecase freebie fabric from my Love Patchwork and Quilting magazine and the one on the right is fabric from two charity shop blouses.
I love the little flowers on this fabric and think that the broderie anglaise flowers on the white fabric look really pretty against the dark pink which is Kona solids from my stash.
I am aiming to do some more brooches, pincushions and ornaments over this weekend as I would like to have all my hand-made ornaments finished before term starts in two weeks if possible.
Hope you have a nice relaxing and crafty weekend planned. Thanks for visiting.
Just thought I would do an update on my work yesterday and share with you a tutorial for my latest Xmas ornament. I had a very lovely day - unfortunately today is wet as well so I will just have to carry on sitting making more ornaments, how sad ;-)
I would love to design and make full-time but in the mean time am happy with the little bits I get to do.
This is my third original Xmas ornament design, tutorials for the crazy patchwork Xmas tree and information on the Crazy patchwork Xmas heart can be found at these links. None of these are earthshatteringly different from other things you can find on the web but are all my own work.
I have never done anything with hexagons before and have quite frankly considered English Paper Piecing a bit of a faff but I am very much enjoying this.
My inspiration came from two free gifts from my Love Quilting and Patchwork magazines. I started sewing the hexi pincushion last week on the train and I really liked it.
I do enjoy small-scale work and as friends have always told me these are very portable projects. The free pre-cut papers will come in very handy as well!
Here are the two I finished yesterday and below is a step by step guide for those of you who might like to have a go yourselves.
The ornament is made from 2 sizes of hexagon – 2 inch for the main body of the ornament and 1 cm for each of the hexagons in the ‘flower’. Please note that hexagons are sized by the length of each side (something that I found a bit confusing to start with) and you can happily mix metric and imperial measurements.
If you want to save yourself the trouble of drawing round a template here are links for free printables from the Snippets and Blabbery blog and some free printable hexagon graph paper in different sizes and you can also buy pre-cut papers from many sources including these from Quilt Direct.
There are also lots of pre-cut (and even pre-stitched onto papers) fabric on Ebay if you really want to save time, for me half of the fun is choosing the fabric though.
I used material from my small (ahem) stock of Xmas fabric but this design would work well from charm packs and scraps from other quilting.
Step 1 – Cut out 2 of the larger 2 inch hexagons from your backing fabric, I have used plain for the front and patterned for the back.
Step 2 – Cut out 7 of the smaller 1 cm hexagons – I used 3 different fabrics from the same ranges for each of my designs. You need a bigger seam allowance than you might think for folding over, I use 0.5 cm.
The small size of the hexagons makes it great for fussy cutting elements out of larger designs but you may have to watch the orientation of the hexagons when you stitch them together if the design had a ‘right way up’.
Fussy cutting means choosing a part of the design rather than just cutting out of the general fabric, it does mean you get more waste but the effect is good.
Step 3 – Sew the smaller hexagons onto your paper hexagons folding the seams over as you go. Use a contrasting thread then it is easier to unpick when you take the papers out. There is an excellent step by step tutorial on making a hexagon flower at Pretty by Hand’s blog here which shows how to stitch the pieces together.
Step 4 – Arrange the 7 hexagons into a flower shape and sew all the seams together using small stitches. If you are using a plain centre fabric the same as the backing then you could just have a ring of 6 hexagons but I liked the stability of the flower shape. Iron at this point to help secure seams for the next stage.
Step 5 – Remove the stitches and then the hexagon backing paper pieces carefully. I use my unpicker for this bit, you can re-use the papers if you are careful. I did then tack the outer 3 edges of each hexagon (those that are not sewn to anything), this makes the next step easier.
Step 6 – Applique your hexagon flower to one of the large backing hexagons using small stitches in a matching thread colour – if you have multiple colours in your flower go for a match to your backing fabric.
Step 7 – Put the appliqued front hexagon and your backing hexagon right sides together and stitch all the way round – I used hand stitching with a running stitch then went back to fill in the gaps but you could machine stitch.
Step 8 – Turn ornament to show right sides – poking the corners with scissor ends or a pencil help to ensure sharp corners.
Step 9 – Stuff the ornament – I use polyester toy filling for all my work available from craft shops or places like this on Ebay.
Step 10 – Turn the raw edges of the open side over, pin and sew. I have made this the top edge on my ornaments as however careful you are it never looks the same as all the other edges and the ribbon hides some of this.
Step 11 – Sew through the middle of the centre hexagon with some tiny stitches pulling tight to create a hollow in the centre – stitch a small button, bead or embellishment there.
Step 12 – Attach a ribbon to the back of the ornament, I have also added a bead to cover up the stitching.
If you want more hexagon inspiration go and have a look at this Pinterest page that I found the other evening – I particularly love the designs from the Broderie blog featured on that page though it would take centuries for me to complete anything like her quilts.
And look at this for hexi love – this was from the same Pinterest page, not sure who it was from originally but look at that stash!
I am aiming to make 10 of these ornaments for this year’s friends and family seasonal gifts so am going to be having an enjoyable and productive Autumn.
Happy ornament making and thanks for visiting.
Hello there, hope you are having a nice weekend, am about to go out to an open garden afternoon here in the village but before I do wanted to share some of the Tudor costume we have seen recently as Ellie and I had a little trip out to Nostell Priory this week.
Ellie has been there before for a training course (she gets to go to some fab venues for her staff development!) and wanted to go back as a visitor.
The house dates from the 1800s but the family were related to Tudor notables including Elizabeth Woodville and so there were quite a few portraits of costume that were brilliant to see.
This blackwork jacket belonged to a Duchess and the detail on the painting was very good.
The best thing was just before we left which was this amazing portrait of Thomas More (he who sadly failed in his attempts to get Henry 8th his divorce from Catherine of Aragon) and his family.
There was such brilliant detail in the pictures of the costumes so I took some close up shots for me and for my friend Kat who makes such fantastic Tudor costume as well as medieval period things.
The blackwork embroidery on this shift is very detailed and there also appears to be similar embroidery on the edge of the dress.
It was interesting to see that two of the sisters had shared two of the fabrics, using it alternately for sleeves and bodice.
I have some very good news to share with you as well as Ellie is going to be staying at Hardwick permanently – her contract which was due to run out next March has been extended and she will be there for there for the foreseeable future :-) We are all very pleased not least Kerry as she was going to miss her cinema buddy!
One of the things that I keep meaning to post about is the National Trust Collections web site that details all of their artefacts, Ellie uses this a lot for her blog so you may find it useful if you are interested in more detail about their collections.
Will be back later with some more textile loveliness from Nostell, meanwhile take care and thanks for visiting.