Battered and bashed and a lump in the throat.

Sorting some bits earlier I came across this


An old tin. Battered and bashed, but I knew what it contained. I lifted the lid


Sure enough the bits and pieces were neatly stashed inside – and there on top was the last piece of work, incomplete. It was the handy collection that my mother took with her when she travelled – so that she would always have something to keep her hands busy. I was prepared – but it still brought a lump to my throat – especially as the thread on top was one of my hand-dyes. I can remember the last time she took it on holiday – with us, to Wales. She opened and closed the tin, but couldn’t remember what she had to do with the things inside.

015The inscription on the bottom of the tin intrigued me, I’m not old enough to remember the name, but I think I’ve heard it mentioned somewhere in the dim and distant past. Looking online there are a few photographs – and also this little bit of history.

Sorry, I have to go and wipe my eyes.

Did you miss it?

Just a quick post today to encourage you to read yesterday’s if you haven’t already done so! If you are in London you must make a point of visiting the Mall Galleries. You will see textiles as you have never seen them before! I had a wonderful time today, in spite of the rain. Here are just a couple of pictures to give you a flavour – you will have to visit to see the rest, and it would be such a shame to miss it!

I hope you will tell me if you visit.

Strike while the iron is hot.

Actually, there isn’t any ironing involved for me at this stage, but when it comes to preparation it’s just a question of getting on with it. So, instead of just talking about the new project I’ve actually started it.

The first stage is to work on the back. Yes, the BACK! Why? Well that will become apparent as I get a little further down the road, in the meantime, this will be the back



It’s a piece of wrinkled and crinkled cotton, a very fine cotton, and the texture is as a result of the dyeing process. At the moment it’s just as I want it. It won’t stay that way for ever, you will see how it changes way down the line.

So, the first stage is to tack it to another piece of cotton – one that’s slightly heavier.



This shows how fine the cotton is – it only has to be tacked around the edge at the moment – and I’m almost half way! If I get any further I’ll show you, but not tomorrow, because that is Wordless Wednesday ;)

I love ironing


Did that get your attention? Did you think ‘That woman must be crazy!’ Well, let me put you straight – I don’t love ALL ironing!

Yesterday I spent my lunchtime doing something that I do love, though.

July 2013 022


What a mess! However, there is so much pleasure in the conversion!

First I ironed a selection dyed using one technique

dye 2


and then a few more which were the result of another

dye 1


The colours aren’t as vibrant as they are in real life, but I don’t have time to adjust in Photoshop.


Meanwhile, back at the ranch….

Did you miss me? Now be honest. You didn’t even know that I was away, did you? Well, for the last few days I have been staying just outside Cambridge while we attended a Textile Show at Cottenham.  Now in its twelfth year Textiles in Focus has gone from strength to strength, and it’s lovely to return to see old and new faces and catch up with friends.

We left home on Thursday to head for the M25. To those of you that live outside the UK I should explain that this is the orbital motorway around London. I has been billed as the largest car park in Europe, so travel along it is often unpredictable if there is an accident or other problem.



The photograph above, and those below, were all taken from a moving car, so the quality isn’t exceptional! I should point out, I wasn’t driving….

Thankfully the journey was easy. The startling thing was the lack of traffic, hence the photographs. Very few lorries, everyone driving at a suitable speed, and roadworks that caused no problems whatsoever! Our trip along the M25 and M11 was soon over and the scenery changed as we moved onto the local roads.

The countryside is much flatter than at home, but pretty nonetheless. Two hours later, on the dot, as it were, we arrived at the venue


It always takes a while to get things ready, and I have to admit that we had had enough before we were properly finished, so the final preparations were left until Friday morning


By the time we actually left to travel to our hotel the sun was setting.



This quick shot was also ‘stolen’ as we drove along. We found the hotel with ease, and then, after changing, it was off for a Valentine’s dinner.



Another bad picture to finish. It was, however, a beautiful rose!

Today’s 100

I’ve been thinking a lot about design. I have an exhibition coming up, and, of course, lots of teaching, so I’m always on the look out for ways of showing things. We’ve had a very wet few days, no floods, but there is a fair bit of water around on our local (within walking distance) nature reserve, and also along the canal. I went for a walk along the latter today, and have to say it was a very informative walk. I managed to count out 4 separate sections of 100, so I have some ‘in the bag’ for future posts. I’m looking at them with a view to using them in textiles, but you may be able to use them for other crafts too.

My alternative title for this post would be ‘behind bars’, and that doesn’t signify that I’ve misbehaved, the reason will become obvious quite soon. This first picture shows the road bridge at the start of my walk. The path to the right is currently blocked as there is a lot of work going on. It was difficult to take a picture of the whole area, so you will have to put it together bit by bit. All those pipes are connected to pumps which are removing the water from under the bridge. Note the angular lines, the perspective of the bridge, all of these are easy to translate into a design.

Now you can see the level of the water a little more clearly. Sludgy colours, browns, green, greys and a touch of blue with mustard at the bottom. The strong lines lend themselves to patchwork. The colours could be interpreted in the same technique, with artistic licence you could move them around a little, but it would all work.

When this barrier was inflated I’m presuming that the engineers hadn’t expected so much rain. You can see that the water level on the left is very close to the top. The blue is temporary, but a bit of a blot on the landscape. it is however, a contrast to the copper which is just in vision, also on the left.

This above, and the previous two pictures, are all elements of the same photograph. Blue greys, blue, silver, cool colours warmed with a flash of copper and yellow.

Greens, yellow, gold, copper and blue. The reflections suggest stitching, maybe some seeding, running stitches….. And look closely. Reflections. Different shades and tones. Just what an artist needs!

The water from under the bridge is being pumped back into the canal. Every now and then it pushes out a little burst which causes lovely ripples in the water. These would be wonderful reproduced in machine stitches. Analagous colours, hilighted with silver.

And there is that copper again! The blue/green of the plant on the right is a good foil for that. More stitching patterns in the water. Do you get a feel of what I am doing?

The ducks are just there for good measure! This is really a colour study. Find threads of the same shades and wrap them around a card. It’s a permanent keepsake while the day is fresh in the memory. You can even try to wrap a proportionate amount, but this isn’t easy.

This view shows a strong foreground. This could be portrayed with applique or hand stitching. The patches of light in the sky are echoed in the reflections, the copper on the right is also on the left in the bottom corner. Strong verticals at the top are echoes of the foreground. There are some really strong design elements here.

Horizontal and vertical lines. Reflections, foreground, contrast, analagous, break the picture down and you can almost make it fit into any format. I love the strong uprights at the top and the echoes of them reflected in the water. The grass at the bottom just helps to soften the edge.

And here endeth the first 100! You can see the bridge on the left in the middle, and the puddles show how wet it was overnight. Fortunately one of the householders is well prepared. The boat is there for all eventualities – rain or shine! I hope you enjoyed the stroll with me. It’s surprising what you can see if you actually look, and even if this 100 doesn’t result in a work of art many of the elements will remain with me and be present in others. I hope you will take part and go on a walk of 100 steps. You don’t need to break it down in the way that I have, just show us what you find. More details are here, but don’t forget to return and leave your link for this week here in the comments below.

Enjoy you walk, and I look forward to coming with you……

Weekly Photo Challenge – thankful

The weekly photo challenge is ‘up’! All the information is here if you would like to join in.

The theme is ‘Thankful’.

This textile hanging was commissioned for Amnesty International. It depicts a prisoner of conscience.The artist is Jane Lemon. Whether or not I have a conscience is not the subject of this post, but the fact that I have freedom. I am SO thankful for freedom.

Some related posts:

Special Photo Challenge – Inspiration

Unpredictibly, WordPress threw in an extra photo challenge. What inspires you to blog? Well, if you know my blog you probably know that I have more than one, so this post is really to explain why I have so many, and to hopefully give you just a little insight into what makes me ‘tick’. I don’t often post pictures of myself here, so make the most of these! The next might be a long while coming!!!

Many of my blogs relate to my teaching. I teach adults a variety of textile subjects ranging from the embellisher (a needlefelting machine) to dyeing

with not so swift passes through journalling, and various stitching techniques. These have resulted in a constant hunt for inspiration, and as I find it I photograph it!

Somehow I find myself in all sorts of strange and unexpected places when I do all this

I’ve met some wonderful people, each one an inspiration in themselves.

Home and family are very important too, from the oldest family member to the youngest

I enjoy my time with them, and whether at home or away there is always something to blog about somewhere.

Similarly, meeting up with friends and colleagues brings back memories, and I’ve shared many of them on this blog and on others.

Blogging inspiration can be found anywhere if you look, if it seems mundane, just try to add a touch of humour to the post. Even something like a meal with friends or family can result in an unexpected post.

I believe that surroundings should be your main source of inspiration, so to this end I recently began to investigate an area in close detail. The first few results can be found here. Maybe you would like to join me? To paraphrase Piccasso: ‘Inspiration comes, but it has to find you working.’

That’s why I have so many working blogs!

Check out this link too to find out more about some of the other hundreds (thousands?) of WordPress bloggers: and the following to find some related articles


You remember that it was in the post?

It was a food package to a(n almost) starving student!

Arrival was a little delayed due to the Royal Mail, but all was delivered safely today.


Just for fun

I sent this too

Mounted and ready for hanging on a student wall! Bright, cheerful, and a chicken.

A chicken?!

Well, why not? :lol: