Monday, 2 December 2019

Denise Watts & Kate Whitehead at the Knitting & Stitching Show - Harrogate 2019

Denise Watts - Dressed to Impress
"Fashion can be bought, style must be posssessed." Edna Woolman Chase

I particularly enjoyed the Knitting & Stitching Show at Harrogate this year.  I'm not sure whether it was the fantastic exhibitions, the great workshops, the enticing stalls or the fact that I'd finished my own pre-Christmas events. In fact it was probably all those things.  

Denise Watts - Everything is Rosie

"Be content to stand in the light and let the shadow fall where it will." Mary W Stewart

Anyway this blogpost is about some of those fantastic exhibitions.  I really loved Denise Watts' "The Little Woman" exhibition.  Denise Watts is a bobbin lace artist who through the medium of art dolls, has expressed women's pain throughout history, be it menstruation, childbirth, heartbreak, beauty treatments, having a conforming body shape, being treated as a chattel, or the general frustration of not being treated equally to men.

Denise Watts - Trapped in a Bubble
"Menstrual blood is the only source of blood that is not traumatically induced.  Yet in modern society, this is the most hidden blood, the one so rarely spoken of and almost never seen, except privately by women..." Judy Grahn

The dolls were beautifully made with paper mache heads, arms and legs, fabric bodies and hair made of handmade horsehair bobbin lace.  They were dressed in vintage fabric and lace.  Each doll was also accompanied by an appropriate quote.  You can see some of my favourites in this blogpost.

Denise Watts - She Wanted Curls
"Naturally curly hair is a curse, and don't let anyone ever tell you different."  Mary Ann Shaffer

Kate Whitehead is a textile artist, whose work is a protest against the way textiles are consumed in western society. Through weaving and embroidery, Kate explores the potential of the forgotten, the overlooked and the abandoned. Kate was showing work from her series "Honesty is the best policy" - in honour of her father's life & "Not from the stork".  Kate is an adoptee and in her work "Not from the stork" she explores the journey women make to have a baby and to nuture it in the first weeks of life and to celebrate her mother and father for adopting her and others who adopt and foster.

Kate Whitehead - Honesty is the best policy

Kate Whitehead - Honesty is the best policy

Kate Whitehead - Honesty is the best policy

Kate Whitehead - Not from the stork - Mother & Daughter

Kate Whithead - Not from the stork - Mother
Kate Whitehead - Not from the stork - Daughter

More to come about the Knitting & Stitching Show in the next blogpost!

Sunday, 17 November 2019

Mini Pincushions for the Travelling Stitcher

Mini Pincushions for the Travelling Stitcher

Recently, I had a great find at my local charity shop.  I found a couple of wide hexagonal rings that I thought would make great mini pincushions...

Rings from the local charity shop

I used some FIMO to make bottoms for the rings using the rings as cutters to get the right shape...

FIMO bases

Next I glued the bottoms into the rings - I used UHU glue...

FIMO bases glued into the rings

Then I cut out a circular fabric top using a template.  I wasn't sure whether this would be the right size so I made one in calico to check and it was fine.  Using a running stitch round the fabric circumference I gathered the fabric and stuffed it...

Cardboard template for the fabric top and samples

Here are the finished ones I made using Liberty prints...

Liberty print pincushion tops

I glued these into my pincushion bases. And here are the finished pincushions, all ready for the travelling stitcher...

Mini pinshions ready to use

As not everyone will be able to find some suitable rings or have some FIMO lying around I've written some instructions so you can make your own mini pincushions using bottle tops...

Mini bottle top pincushions

Check out the instructions here or take a look on my How to make... page.

Happy stitching and happy travelling with your mini pincushion!

Sunday, 3 November 2019

York Makers Winter Fair - Saturday 9 November 2019

I'm only doing one fair this winter and it is the York Makers Winter Fair on the Saturday 9 November 2019 from 10:00 to 15:30 at Clements Hall, York.  I'm really looking forward to it.  If you'd like a sneaky peak at some of the items I will have with me take a look.  There'll be some ceramic bird button brooches...

Ceramic Bird Button Brooches

and some anodised aluminium button brooches...

Anodised Aluminium Button Brooches

Check out the knitted tree brooches in a variety of sizes...

Tree Brooches

and the wooden domino brooches...

Wooden Domino Brooches

and, of course, there'll be a large selection of Liberty print fabric necklaces...
Liberty Print Fabric Necklaces

and some Christmas cards involving a bit of upcycling...

and lots more!

There'll also be lots of handmade loveliness from other stallholders:

Art, Prints & Cards:
Art in the Attic
Lin Taylor Art 
Lucy Monkman Illustration
Marco Looks 
Art, Prints & Cards

PQ Soy Wax Candles 

Andrea Cundell 
Catherine Boyne-Whitelegg
Here be Monsteras 

Candles & Ceramics

Deborah Bakes 

Naomi's Stained Glass 

Jo Bagshaw Jewellery Designer and Maker
Judy's Jewels 
Richard Whitelegg 


Turn the Page Design 

Cakes, Glass, Papercraft & Wood

Textiles, Clothes & Vintage Haberdashery: 
Blossom By Helen 
Greenhart and Kind 
Petra Bradley Prints 
What's to be Done With Her
Wonderful Weaselworks

Textiles, Clothes & Vintage Haberdashery

Greenhart and Kind 

If you want to know more about any of the artists & makers, you can find them all on Facebook or check out the York Makers page - where until 6pm on Monday 4 November you've a chance to win a £25 voucher to spend at the fair! 

Hope to see you at the York Makers Winter Fair!

Wednesday, 16 October 2019

Sue Stone at The Ropewalk, Barton upon Humber

Dora & Carmel - Sue Stone
Inspired by a memory from Ina Olohan

Textile artist, Sue Stone has a solo exhibition, Re-Tellings, at The Ropewalk in Barton upon Humber until 20 October 2019.  It's a must see show, and you still have time to pay a visit.  Sue's work typically features a considerable amount of handstitching where she uses a small number of different stitches to maximum effect.  This exhibition also includes her digital prints and iPad drawings too!

Sue Stone Textile Artist

The exhibition is inspired by memories - not just Sue's but others' too.  Members of the public were invited to take part by sharing memories of themselves and their relationships.  These took the form of anecdotes and images...


The common link in this selection is family & friendship...

They shared the knitting of the jumper - Sue Stone
Inspired by a memory from Pamela Richardson

The pictures here represent just a few of the stitched artworks on show...

The Girls Go To London Town - Sue Stone

6 Little Girls - Sue Stone
Inspired by a memory from Tilleke Schwarz

A Family's Life 1 - Sue Stone
Inspired by memories from V Mackman

In addition, there was a pictorial representation of Sue's life story in the form of a portrait for every year of her life so far...

66 a self portrait (part) - Sue Stone

My favourite picture was Dora & Carmel (see top), although it was hard to choose.

As well as the exhibition,  I was also just in time to book onto one of Sue's workshops.  Sue encouraged us to experiment with running stitch. With a palette of three fabric colours, we explored stitching patterns round our chosen applique shapes (and their negative counterparts) using different thread weights and different textured threads.  We also looked at looping, threading and fabric manipulation.  Sue had lots of samples to inspire us.  Here are my samples...

Running stitch with applique & threading


Fabric manipulation

And here's what everyone did...

Workshop participants' samples

I can't wait to to get on with some more samples - thanks, Sue!

Do go and see the exhibition.  The Ropewalk is a great place to visit!

Tuesday, 15 October 2019

Tree Leaves & the Woodland Trust

Tree Leaves Yarnstorm in Rowntree Park, York - Summer 2019

Once the Tree Leaves Yarnstorm installation was taken down, had its visit to the Tree Leaves Laundrette and went online, the trees & leaves were ready for sale to fundraise for the Woodland Trust.  Our first sale was in Rowntree Park, York.  We had fantastic sunshine, a great response and people queing to buy. 

Trees for Sale

Our second sale was at the Trafalgar Bay pub and also brought in some lovely customers.

More Trees & Leaves for Sale

Finally the remaining trees and leaves plus the extreme knitted conifer and the big knitted leaves that were on the tennis court fence were purchased by York Greenways. York Greenways exists to protect and  enhance the ecology of the accessible traffic-free routes from York into the surrounding countryside. Their vision is a network of green corridors leading to places of interest or refreshment, encouraging York’s residents and visitors to explore and value the biodiversity and heritage in and around the city. 

York Greenways are going to reinstall the yarnstorm on the Solar System Greenway - the cycle path that goes from York to Selby.  If you've never cycled or walked along the Solar System Greenway, give it a go - it's a great route.  You don't have to do the full length unless you want to and there's refreshment en route at the Brunswick Organic Nursery and the former Naburn Station or take a side trip to the local village pubs nearby.

Letter from the Woodland Trust

In total, we've raised over £800 for the Woodland Trust.  The Woodland Trust protects and campaigns on behalf of this country’s woods, plants trees, and restores ancient woodland for the benefit of wildlife and people.  Their vision is a UK rich in native woods and trees, for people and wildlife. So I'm sure they'll put the money to good use.

So all that's left to say is a big THANK YOU to everyone who made this happen - we couldn't have done it without you - it's been fab!

The Tree Leaves project was sponsored by the Friends of Rowntree Park, Bettys & Taylors Group & supported by Boyes 

Monday, 16 September 2019

On-line at the Tree Leaves Laundrette

De-stringing the Tree Leaves Yarnstorm

You may remember that we recently took down the Tree Leaves Yarnstorm which had been on display in Rowntree Park this summer....

The Tree Leaves Yarnstorm in Rowntree Park, York - Summer 2019

After de-stringing, the Tree Leaves went in the wash...

The Tree Leaves Laundrette

and then on-line...

ready for the sales to fundraise for the Woodland Trust. Here are the sale dates for your diary...

Saturday 21 September 2019 – Rowntree Park (just below the cafe)
York, YO23 1JU 
10:00 – 15:00

Thursday 26 September 2019 – Trafalgar Bay
7 Nunnery Lane, York, YO23 1AB
19:00 – 21:00
Please spread the word.  We would like to raise as much for the Woodland Trust as possible.  If you'd like to contribute but can't make the sale, there is a donation tin in Rowntree Park Cafe...

Woodland Trust Donation Tin in Rowntree Park Cafe

or you can donate directly to the Woodland Trust here and please mention the Tree Leaves Yarnstorm.

If you want to read more about the project take a look here.  

Hope to see you at the sales soon!