Friday, November 23, 2007

Another quick post

Still no opportunity to upload photographs, I don't know how long I will be online. It is very frustrating to be half way through something and then switched off for no apparent reason. I am hoping that I will have some free time (ha ha) next week and that I can at least solve half of the problem. In the meantime - just words which can be written offline and then just copied and pasted. If only blogger didn't take quite so long to upload pictures I could do the same with those.

However, today I am off to Newport in S Wales to teach a session on the Embellisher at Busy Bees Patchwork. It is a flying vist, and I am looking forward to staying with Sandra of Busy Bees and her husband. I will leave shortly after lunch today, and try to get there in daylight! I am teaching a taster session on the Embellisher, if you are in the neighbourhood I'm sure Sue and Sandra would love to see you at the Craft Workshops at Tredegar House, and maybe I will let you have a peek at what we are doing! I will post pictures when I can.

Tomorrow I must leave as soon as the session is finished as I have to get home to unload, then reload. On Sunday we are off to Urchfont Manor to see Sian Martin and Lynne Horniblow and their respective students. If you ever get the chance to take a course with either of these tutors make sure you grab it. They are both excellent and you will learn a lot.

I may be offline, but I'm not sleeping..........!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Can you help .....

...... to find this quilt? I was given this link by phone today. I hope it works! Maybe you have room for a comment on your blog too.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Hello again

Well, it has been 3 months since my last post, and to say the least those three months have been eventful. However, not in the way I would have wished!

Firstly, I have hardly been able to get online. I'm not sure when the problem started, in fact I don't think I realised that there was a problem at first. I was aware that emails had suddenly become very infrequent, and that I seemed to be switched offline more than I was online, but I just thought it was because people were on holiday, or that the Internet was very busy. However, then I discovered that I couldn't send emails. They would just sit in my outbox, and when I finally discovered this there was a long queue, no notification, they were just quietly waiting for something to happen. This situation is still continuing, we can only send on one of our addresses, sometimes 2. We can receive on these too - but sometimes we can't. Is there any logic? I don't know, but apparently my Firewall is reacting with the ISP and causing problems. The problem now is that I can't stay online long enough to sort it out. I am writing this post in Word, saving it onto DVD and will then put it online, maybe at my son's. If anyone has been trying to get in touch please keep trying - even if you have to resort to leaving a comment below with your email address included. I do want to hear from you, please try again.

Next there was an injury. Now I'm not sure how it happened, I didn't know that I had injured myself. I was aware for some time (from about May) that I had pins and needles in 2 fingers in my right hand (this is my dominant hand). By the end of August the pins and needles had turned to pain, not an ache, a definite pain. It was agony to do anything, writing or stitching (or knitting etc) was nil, at times it became all consuming. Sleep was impossible as it seemed to be worse at night, I was unable to find a resting place and painkillers didn't touch it. A visit to the doc's informed me that I had damaged the nerve on my elbow. Now how on earth could I have done that without knowing? I don't know - but I did. Rest was the answer, and, although the symptoms lessened while we were on holiday, the problem is still there.

You may or may not know that we had a new grandchild during all this. Our daughter-in-law gave birth to our third grandchild in mid-August. He was early, not due until early October, and, although he worried us for a while, is now doing well. I had a lovely long cuddle today, you can imagine how much I enjoyed that.

Next we had the postal strike. What fun that was! The collection service locally was supposed to be working, albeit intermittently. Packages were taken to the Post Office, but took days to arrive which was most frustrating for the recipients. A couple were returned as undeliverable. They must have been sitting around in strange places for a while, they were in quite a state when they were returned, at least the packaging was. Thankfully we had put our return address on the back of the packages - always worth doing. Customers were contacted and the goods were sent on their way again. However, those that had only sent an email address were more difficult to contact - no email as detailed above. Mails from a different address were neatly stacking up in others spam boxes, a lesson learnt in always checking spam, even if it only turned out to be something not required.

We had other dramas too. Other members of the family needed looking after requiring a stay away from home again. We managed to get through several shows without too many mishaps, but phone calls from customers morning noon and night began to make us feel a little like the Windmill Theatre ('We Never Close'). We usually work at weekends, so one customer rang us at 6.30 on a Sunday morning to catch us before we left - please could we post a packet of machine needles to her tomorrow! Phone calls have also been received at 11.30 pm, and not from customers overseas who have miscalculated the time.

Phew! I've got all that off my chest. Now, maybe I can start to make the odd entry or two, adding pictures may be a problem, but I'll face that when I have to.

Oh, and if you want a little light relief you may like to look here.

Friday, November 09, 2007

My absence from blogging has been enforced by internet problems. If anyone has been trying to contact me please will you email

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Festival of Quilts

This is a particularly busy time of the year and I have hardly been here to post anything. If anyone is passing we will be on Stand J22 at the Festival of Quilts at the NEC in Birmingham UK from Thursday until Sunday. Pop by and and say hello.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

A justifiable wrist slap!

I have just had a conversation with a friend who has chastised me for not updating the blog over the last while. Yes, I freely admit that I have been tardy. Life get's in the way, but then maybe I ought to regard this as part of life! I have tried to keep work and 'life' apart as I'm not sure why people really visit a blog. I follow some blogs because they are full of interesting 'arty' stuff, and others because they relate to real life. Those that mix the two don't really grab my attention, especially if the life is the main excuse for not producing art. Of course, you haven't seen much 'art' on this blog anyway, it has mostly been quick ways of using the embellisher. I know that some of you read my life blog, and for those of you that haven't and want to (no obligation) here is the link. (Of course, due to life, I don't update that one every week either!)

I have also had my wrist slapped for forgetting to tell you the name of the fabric I mentioned in an earlier post. It is called Evolon and we sold out of our first delivery within 48 hours of anyone seeing it. More is on the way and will be here in time for Worthing Textile Arts Forum on Saturday 14th July, and we will hopefully have enough left for Ardingly on 21st July. I really like using it. Hopefully you will see some results before too long, but I'm working on a number of items for the Summer School at Missenden Abbey at the beginning of August.

Another giveaway has been announced at Dye-A-Lot. Pop over and take part. The perle 8 can be used on a sewing machine with a topstitch 100 needle, and the perle 5 is lovely for cable stitch, also using the sewing machine.

Lastly, thanks to everyone that left a comment on the last post. I have also had a number of emails and it would appear that the problem is even wider than I at first thought.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Another day, another Exhibition

I don't want you to think we have been idle since my last post. Far from it. This time of year is full of different venues. We have spent a lot of time travelling from place to place, and later today we are off to Eastleigh College for the exhibition at the annexe in Cranbury Road. Open tonight from 6pm - 8pm and again from 10am - 3pm tomorrow, pop along and see what has been going on for the last few months! The exhibitions cover embroidery, quilting, flower arranging and art. They are usually well worth seeing.

On Sunday we are off to Salisbury. St Edmunds Art Centre is the venue, for an exhibtion with Inspire Stitchers. This promises to be worth a visit too. Only open from 10am - 4pm. After that we are hot foot to the car to career off down the road towards Urchfont Manor. I've forgotten what's going on there, too much to take in this week!

The winner has been announced on the Dye a Lot blog pop over and see who has won - and then go back next week for a new little competition. I have had fun reading all the emails from everyone. A total of 72 people took part in the last draw.

I am wanting to have a little moan. It has been brought to my attention that a tutor I know vaguely has developed a list of workshops based solely on other people's work. Apparently the last episode involved a visit to an exhibition where she saw something she fancied. On arriving home she made a complete and apparently fairly exact copy. This is now being offered as a workshop. I'm interested to know what you all think. Any comments? I know that at least 2 workshops are based solely on my book - and another is based on a book by a well known textile artist. Customers have mentioned this to me and complained - I have told them to complain to the tutor in question, but I don't know if they have. I've seen the results of some of the workshops, so know that this is more than just a rumour. I'd like to know what you all think.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

How big?

Yesterday, in my post, I mentioned fabric postcards. These are sent through the mail and are usually 6 inches by 4 inches. I came across this today (scroll down for details and the dimensions). Now that really puts fabric postcards into a different perspective.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Forgive me

Forgive me if I wax lyrical about a fabric that isn't only useful as a background for the embellisher! I am having so much fun with it at the moment that I couldn't resist adding these pictures to the blog.
I am in the process of making some bookwraps, for a workshop I am teaching later this year. It stitches like a dream, by hand and with the machine, and can be used for both the cover and the inner pages.
The first picture shows part of a left over scrap after painting. If only the colours were as vibrant on screen as off.
This one was coloured using a different process. Can you see the angel?
And the name of this mystery fabric? Well, you will have to wait just a little longer to find out, however, if you are at the end of term Exhibition tomorrow evening (Wednesday 20th June) at Fareham College, or at Open Day, Missenden Abbey on Saturday 23rd June, you wll be able to buy some. Winifred Cottage will be at both venues with an exciting sales table.
Just tell them that I sent you LOL
And I can't wait to use it for ATC's and postcards, I know it will work like a dream.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007


I have often used Lutradur as a backing for fibres and fabrics on the embellisher, however I thought you might like to see this layered sample. It has given a lovely scruchy effect, just needs more stitching now!

Monday, June 04, 2007


This is an ATC that is off in the post today. The theme is garden, and the background is hand painted.

The one below is another. I wanted them side by side, but must have uploaded them wrongly!

Friday, June 01, 2007

Blue Inchies

Nine blue inchies on their way to a swap. The background is embellished, the buttons are hand made and those are cross-stitch kisses! I think the cross stitches qualify them for TAST too!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Roseland Mews Studios, Liskeard

Details of workshops in Cornwall - follow the link

Missenden Abbey

If you followed yesterday's link to information about the courses at Missenden Abbey you may like to know that I have updated it with further details.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The Bramble Patch

Full details of this, and also to book, can be linked from here

Husqvarna Studio

Four dayschools have been arranged for Husqvarna Studio. Further details are here. They are each individual workshops, but they will be progressive, so don't be afraid to sign up for all four!

Missenden Abbey

There are several courses arranged between now and summer 2008. You will find more information here.

Grayshott Workshops

These workshops have been running for a while. If you are interested in these there is more information here. There is a break over the summer, more dates for the autumn and there will be more dates soon for 2008.

More information on courses around the country following shortly, including Busy Bees, Newport, Missenden Abbey and Husqvarna Studio.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Help find Madeleine

Bloggers are international. If you can post a picture on you blog someone may read it with important information.
You can find updated information on the BBC website

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Oranges and Lemons

This challenge got me thinking. How could I display oranges and lemons without the inevitable shapes. Read how it was done, then have a go and see what you come up with. Leave a comment below if you do do something. (The theme can be anything you like, the object is to try the technique)

The background is black felt, the squares are orange and yellow felt. These were cut at random and well worked onto the black so that it appeared to be just one fabric. I counted out the letters first, applying just enough squares to complete the phrase, but remembering to add one between each word to act a 'space'.

When turned over the shapes were clearly visible from the back which helped. Now to write the message from the back - working from right to left, and remembering to reverse all letters!

As I hadn't written the letters first I just traced each the right way with my finger and then reversed the action with the needles. Tracing it first made sure that I got the letters the right way round. Some were easier to do than others, especially as the space was quite small.

This exercise took about 20 minutes. It was done freehand, and could have been more neatly done if I had drawn the letters on the back before meshing. Have a go and let me know! Any questions - either leave a comment or send an email.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Go with the flow

On Saturday we were at a Quilt Exhibition (we were actually there on Sunday as well, but this relates to the Saturday). The morning was quiet, and I just happened to have the embellisher with me! Working was obviously a little disjointed as it is difficult to serve, talk, discuss and embellish all at the same time, but the above picture shows the result of pulling apart roving and other fibres and just laying them on a background. There was no real thought to their placing, this 'just happened'. So, if you haven't got the machine out of the box, or if you have but are scared of trying something new. Don't be! Just go for it and 'go with the flow' The above needs more work. It will have hand and machine stitching in the end, and will be a bag - probably. At the moment I too am just going with the flow.

There is another prize draw on the dyeing blog. Don't forget to enter. The prize this time is 2 Yarn Twists. They are worth having - I will be using one to hand stitch on the above.

There is another prize draw on the Dye-a-Lot blog, don't forget to enter.

Friday, April 13, 2007

A bit of fun

I needed a card in a hurry! Out came the embellisher and this is the result.

The background is fibres meshed onto net, added yarns and then reapplied to previously made felt.

The knitting is with Sassa Lynne Coton a Broder

Thursday, April 12, 2007

And now for something completely different

I have a 'thing' about teapots. I think it is the shape. They are comforting, and there is nothing quite like a cup of tea.
This is part of a hanging. It is machine stitched and has nine patches altogether.
Just to let you know that I do sometimes do things other than use the embellisher!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Hearts and Flowers

This was particularly easy to work on. The background and square are woollen blanket, the flowers, pre-felted wool, and the hearts wool/viscose felt. The needles loved the fabric and worked very quickly and easily. Well worth a try. I used the Pfaff again for this challenge.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Enter before it's too late

There are only a couple of days to go before this prize draw will close. It is open to everyone, so have a go if you haven't already done so.

A new bag

I had such an exciting delivery today. I was browsing Etsy last week when I came across this bag. There was something about it that said 'buy me', and so I did. I have to say that it is even more vibrant than in the photograph, and I love it. It's even got a little heart bead over the 'popper fastening.
The best part is that I had already had contact with the maker, so it is from someone I know! I couldn't see any more bags on there today but here is the link to her Etsy store. I'm sure the situation will soon be remedied and there will be more there.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Another stitched sample

The fabric shown in the previous post was such a joy to handle

that I have used small pieces to stitch two more samples. Just tiny

ones, and aimed at My Efforts blog!

Just for good measure!

Well, just to show that I mean business here is a scan of a quick sample of fly stitch. This is also stitched onto an embellished background. French Knots have been added too. The background is scrim with wool and viscose fibres added. I made this sample using the Pfaff 350P.

Take a Stitch Challenge

How silly of me, I have deleted the scan of my stitches from the above before loading it here. However here is the link to find a few stitches on some embellished felt.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007


Published now as a sample of 'Patches', some of you will have seen it before, it is one I use in workshops. I produced it to prove a point.

This has been through the washing machine and the patches still stay fairly secure. There is no stitching anywhere.

Don't forget the offer in the last post, there is only a week to go!

This is the back. It's difficult to see the texture in this photograph, but this too would make a good background for further stitching.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

An offer you can't refuse?

Here is an offer on one of my other blogs.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007


It has been some time since I posted

due to pressure of work!

However, this is my effort for 'trapped'.

Paper flowers are sandwiched between chiffon and sizoflor.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Purple Challenge

Well, maybe this is a slight cheat! However, red and blue do make purple, and I have always said that all interpretations count!
This is the front of a book cover and the sample for the 2 hour workshops at Cottenham. It isn't the best of pictures, but at least gives an idea of what we did. The blue shapes are felt made (on the day) using roving and the red/blue are a combination of fibres and fabric.
Cottenham was an excellent event. If you didn't make it this year make sure you do next.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Textiles in Focus

We are off to the above event for a few days. It is always worth a visit, so if you are in the Cambridge UK area this weekend I can recommend it. If you would like more details there are links here.

Have a look for us at the Winifred Cottage stand. I will be teaching a couple of sessions, but the rest of the time I hope to be demonstrating and signing the book. I look forward to seeing any of you there.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Different Backing

Tearaway backing made from cotton fibres produced and interesting background to try.

In fact I have meshed same to same by tearing pieces from another sheet. The background is coloured with a dilute solution of walnut ink mixed with a few drops of red food colouring. The applied shapes came from a sheet coloured with procion dyes

This is the back of the finished sample. You can see the areas where most meshing has taken place. Too much work will produce holes, but that can be an interesting feature too.

Monday, February 05, 2007

The Spice Challenge

This is not the easiest way to work on scrim. Scrim is a very flimsy material with an open background that easily works into holes. Triangles are easy to distort and a firmer backing would have helped. The points push through the scrim, and it would also have been easier with a different type of felt. I chose hand-dyed wool/viscose felt and this breaks up if worked too hard.
What I am trying to say is that this really was a challenge. I'm glad I did it as I learnt a lot, even though the result looks really simple.
I am teaching a dyeing course at Missenden Abbey at the end of the month. We will also be covering materials that are suitable for use with the 'embellisher' machines. If you would like more details send me an email

Friday, February 02, 2007


I have just run out of time. I am away teaching this weekend, so I won't be able to post this picture until I return. The new challenge will be posted shortly, though.

Friday, January 26, 2007


Take bright emerald fibres, place them on a black background and this is the result.

The base colour is all important when working with a specific colour as it will influence the final result. The flowers were pre-felted on the embelliser, trimmed and refelted as they progressed. I then well embedded them into the piece. It was worked from the side that you see and then a little from the reverse.

This is the reverse and the result for which I was aiming. Much more sublte. I have machine stitched the outline, but more stitching will be added later today as it is a class sample needed for tomorrow! I will post a picture of the finished item after the weekend.

Friday, January 19, 2007


When I set the challenge I was actually being selfish and thinking of myself! I find it very difficult to work in blue, and try as I might nothing seemed right as I worked. You will see that in the end colour won over! You see, BLUE was only the inspiration that got me started!

Friday, January 12, 2007


I call this effort 'Altered Ego'. It isn't really a self portrait, but it looks more like one than the original artwork! Originally designed with torn paper shapes this was put together with layers of hand-dyed felt, partly felted, then cut back and finally meshed together.
Looking forward to seeing what the rest of you have done.

Take a stitch Challenge 2

Another effort for Take a Stitch Tuesday Challenge. I can't put a link in directly to the challenge at the moment because Blogger won't let me, however I will try again later and you can get to it circuitously by clicking on 'Another effort' above.

Watch this space for 'layers', that too will come later

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Worth a look

It is always a pleasure to come across something by accident. I don't often browse through sites, so it was kind of Kjersti to point me to this work by Karin. Lovely colours and thoughtfully produced. I'm sure you will agree.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Take a Stitch Tuesday

As a textile artist there is nothing better than stitching. However family commitments and other obstacles have been in my way for too long. It was for this reason that I decided to join Sharon Boggon's Take a Stitch Tuesday challenge. Of course, because I WANT to stitch doesn't mean that there will be lots of time to do so! Consequently my effort so far is minimal. I have used a perle thread from the Sassa Lynne Serendipity range, (not yet on the website but worth enquiring about) and 14 ct canvas painted with copper fabric paint.

I could have uploaded stitching from a while ago, but this wouldn't have solved my current craving for stitch. I intend to do more, and you can follow my efforts here.

More on the Embellisher later this week. I'm looking forward to that too.

Friday, January 05, 2007

The new challenge

The challenge for this week has just been posted at

How about making a New Year's resolution to take part? Layers is fairly easy, let's face it, a piece of felt with something on top constitutes a couple of layers - so how can we make the most of them? If you are stuck, try this and then work from both the back and the front to see what happens. I look forward to seeing some stunning work.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007


This small sample is just to show you how effective fabric can look when manipulated under a needle-felting machine. Cheap polyester organza was 'embellished' prior to being applied to felt. The surface is much more interesting than before.