Friday, 28 March 2014

Fabric packs

After our day on Tuesday making the packs I  looked out some I bought during our Somerset Arts Week last May.I have taken them out several times and thought how lovely they were ,only to put them away again.Deryll had mentioned the idea of using a pack each to show what they could be used for.I probably should have been doing something else but this was more tempting.

My pack contained,some black felt,some plain yellow fabric,a black and gold tie- dye fabric,tiny black beads and some threads.See photo above.
 I decided to add some wadding,scrim for backing ,black cord and two large beads.
I backed the black fabric with wadding and scrim and used the black sewing cotton to quilt it along the grid lines.Some of the tie-dye shapes were outlined in running stitch with the shiny gold thread
Next I cut the fabric into a large piece and two smaller pieces.The large one was made into a bag,lined with some of the yellow fabric.the smaller pieces were lined with felt and made into a scissors keeper and a needle case.I used the tiny black beads as accents on all three items.

I used the cord to make drawstrings for the bag closure and to attach the needle case and scissors keeper to the bag.The large beads ,found for pence in Oxfam,were used as cord ends.
  The top picture actually shows what is left after making the items.The bag is large enough to hold the two smaller items and still have room for additional threads.
A very satisfying little project for the princely sum of £3.00 ,plus added extras from my stash.

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Industrious !

Heather collected the most amazing range of fabrics,threads ,ribbons and beads.In her quiet ,unassuming way she used to assemble them into creative fabric packs .These were sold at exhibitions.When  she left the group we took possession of her stash.As you can see the fabric filled three tables.

Some of it looks less than useful.

When cut into usable pieces ,ironed and added to they begin to take on a different life.Several of us got together yesterday to attack the mountain of stuff.Jane did sterling service cutting and ironing.

Marilyn packed the resulting creative packs.

Debbie 'primped',adding threads,beads,sequins,ribbons

From this rather large container.We had lots of delighted squeals as she found yet another treasure.

Patricia took three or four fabrics artfully chosen to tone or clash.


and Deryll did the same.

Carol cut the fabrics and has plans for these leavings,nothing was wasted.

Here are the fabrics folded and arranged awaiting 'primping'.

In the process of being 'primped'.

And finally packaged ,labelled and ready to go.

Nine of us managed to produce 130 packs in 5 hours and Heather used to manage 50 all by herself!
We want to give her a VERY BIG THANK-YOU for doing all that work over the years.

If you would like to pick up some of these packs,they really are little bags of lusciousness,then be sure to visit our exhibition.

Sunday, 23 March 2014


Viv 's flower piece is finished ,framed and ready for exhibition.This time she brought  along her inspiration book,this contains sketches,photos,fabric,threads ,colour ways.As you can see below she is beginning to look towards a new piece based on irises.

This is her start at fashioning a background,it may look rather unprepossessing to the unpracticed eye,but just wait and see what Viv can do with it!

Sue had been to the library and picked up a book by Susan Briscoe.She thought she would use up some of the fabrics in her stash.We thought she had been brave to begin her foray into patchwork bag making with this particular design.
Not only are each of the pieces wedge shaped but she had to fit the zip closure into the handle! It is beautifully made and the fabric choice so well matched.She has further embellished with automatic machine stitches.If this is her first attempt then what comes next?

Jenn is still finding more inspiration with fossils.These shapes are knitted from paper yarn and were inspired by sea urchins,she plans to dip some in pulp to see what results.

After looking at 'Drawn to Stitch 'by Gwen Hedley and 'Mark Making 'by Helen Parrot,she revisited her fossils drawings.
Taking a viewfinder she isolated areas of marks and played with different media to capture them.Some will definitely translate well into stich.


Sally had been away so brought us some 'eye candy' from Laos.She had bought some textiles while there,but noted they were not as fine as those she has in her Miao collection.However, there were some interesting edges.

This neck piece looks quite heavy ,but it is hollow.We speculated that the incised decoration was for the Chinese horoscopes ?

Her husband had been drawn to this woven piece which is long and thin and edged with cut silk cocoons.

Then the best treasure of all of Sally's sketchbooks.These really give a flavour of her travels
with her own pen and wash sketches,notes and observations along with inclusions picked up along the way.

Sunday, 16 March 2014

March meeting and a welcome .

This month we welcomed Marilyn and Patricia as full members to the group.They brought along some lovely work.Marilyn's rainbow weavings certainly brightened the rather chilly overcast day.

She had two different versions,this above with the sinuous lines and below the blocks of blue amongst the rainbow colours.

She dyes all her own threads and the colours just sing out.There were several tones to each colour used,such a lot of work before the weaving even begins.

These threads were cut from the loom and are generally discarded,what a waste.We leaped upon them and Deryll gave Marilyn strict instructions to make thread packs in future.They are really lovely quality mercerized cotton with a smooth feel and lovely sheen

Patricia brought along this piece ,below,based upon one of her paintings.It was started in a Jae Maries workshop and features some of Patricia's hand painted fabrics.There is a lot of stitch and even some pieces of photograph.

 If you look closely at this detail shot you can pick out the torn edge of the photo ,used to suggest the surf.

She had also created this felt piece to commemorate a dear friend.What is unusual is the texture,created by dipping in wax ! Instead  of being soft and yielding it is quite stiff.

The tag had been given with a present from her friend and Patricia wanted to use it in the piece.

There was some discussion as to where it would look best,some thought within the piece ,as first photo.Others suggested using the raffia from the wrapping and hanging tag from the piece.Do you have a favourite? Leave a comment and let us know.

Patricia also brought along more'neckpieces'.These really have to be seen to appreciate the variety of fabrics ,beads and stitch used.They are a cross between a scarf and necklace and would enhance any neckline and match any number of tops.

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Diary date

Put this date in your diary,it seems a way in the future ,but it will creep up before you know.We are all preparing exciting new work ,some that you will have glimpses of if you follow the blog.

The fabric packs and other goodies will be available to purchase ,plus if you visit on October 4th you can meet many of us in person.

Quilts,Africa and Buy a Plank !

Liz has been taking a daily walk and using it to fuel her creative ideas.She has been collecting marks we would normally ignore,dismiss or just not see.

Using her Gelli plate she has translated those marks into repeats on a variety of fabrics.They make for some very distinct graphics,with the use of black and white.

There are some positive and negative versions, they create a lively and exciting surface.She has plans for a quilt which should be worth waiting to see.

Talking of quilts,do you remember this from last month's blog post ? It has gone to be auctioned ,you can see it at
You can read all about the reasons behind the project and view the other quilts .If you like what you see you can be in with a chance of owning this ,or any of the other quilts by placing a bid.

P.S...........if you don't know what a GELLI- PLATE is go here and  be amazed !


You may remember this piece of felt ,Kirsten brought it along a few months ago.She was inspired by a still life she had done while at college.The piece had been cut up and rearranged so she did the same with the felt.It has now been stitched and is ready for mounting,probably on a stretcher.Please excuse the angle ,it was me taking the photo,the pieces of felt are actually parallel to the edge.

Next she showed some pieces inspired by scissors.  A large  felt hanging ,above ,made with naturally coloured   wools.She had been along to 'Heartspace' to do a lino printing on fabric course.Liz and Carol did it too,look back a few posts to see their results.

Above you can see the original pen drawing and some of the resulting prints.Kirsten exploited the background by allowing the cut marks to print.

Couldn't resist showing some of her other drawings,the detail is extraordinary.She used a fine pen in sepia,good to see a change from black,sorry can't remember the exact make .

Then a few more of her prints.


Our March meeting found us in a chilly ,overcast Portishead.However the pieces we were treated to were anything but! Above you can see Carol's tablet cover ,designed and made by herself.The decoration is delightful and her stitching,as usual,so very fine.

You may remember her Lino prints from January,she had decided to stitch into them to create some quirky little cards.She had lots to show this month including the butterfly below.Since we saw it last she has added the dandelion.This piece inspired by Opus Anglicanum,a very time consuming technique, but executed exceptionally well.

Carol had also been playing with stitching into metal,and printing from the resulting"block".She also used a markal stick to take a rubbing,on the right,but she was not as pleased with the definition.It looks subtle but the metallic gold catches the light beautifully.

Her piece for "Echoes" at Sidcot school in October is progressing well.She had been dyeing a variety of fabrics and the felt had taken the dye to produce these beautiful subtle pastels,just the right match for her thread.Her hand stitching is just so neat and regular,a real art.

If you have been following the blog you will recognize the next piece .Deryll has now finished it ,the way to frame it was the next decision.We favoured a wider area around the piece to draw the viewer's attention to the 

amount of work and detail to be found within.There is a new piece in the melting pot ,but the colours are being considered ,can't  wait Deryll.

Jane had finished the background stitching of her piece and had begun the time consuming and meticulous stitching of the image.The hoop has to be repositioned many ,many times and then there is the little matter of aligning everything!

You may know that Jane has been involved with Irish dancing ,supporting and encouraging her daughters and making the elaborate costumes.Her piece for "Echoes" will be related to this but in a very different way .

This small sample is a taster of what she intends.It is a thermofax image printed on "silk hankies" then a hand stitched Celtic motif .It has an ethereal and delicate quality quite unlike the dresses she has made.We look forward to seeing this develop.

Even though her daughters are no longer dancing Jane continues to be involved .She has just ventured into Etsy, her shop is Jane At Number 13.Do go and take a look.