Friday, 22 March 2019

Stitchers against Brexit chaos

I'm ready: flat shoes, water bottle, smile, Beuret, stickers, voice.............................

Saturday, 9 March 2019

March, journal quilt, design process

Initial sketch, transferred to tearaway stabiliser. Triangle layout adjusted during transfer.


Auditioning yellow fabrics



Testing out triangle placement



Monday, 18 February 2019

The Lost Words - I am lost in the the wonder of it


The book "The Lost Words" by Jackie Morris and Robert MacFarlane, is a call to arms for us all to act on how we are destroying our environment. I have written before about seeing the lyrical paintings,  and these are on display this year at Nymans in West Sussex until June.

The remarkable thing about this book is how many charitable and artistic endeavours it is inspiring: crowdfunders to get the book in to schools, care homes ; murals for hospices; outdoor theatre for young people; teaching resources for schools ; library projects.

Last Tuesday, I had the privilege to be in the audience in London, at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, for the most recent collaboration, The Lost Words - Spell Songs.

Spell Songs is a collaboration by too many people to name here, but the public face is the group of musicians who have worked with Jackie Morris and Robert MacFarlane to create the most moving music I have heard for a long while.

Describing the book as a "beautiful protest" and " a wee, clenched fist against the destruction of our world" the musicians truly wove spells amongst the members of the audience. Strangers spoke to each other - yes, in London, at a concert! The ushers welcomed everyone with smiles on their faces as they had seen and heard the rehearsals.

Many, many handkerchiefs and tissues were discretely used during this event as the emotional power of words, music, and collaboration came through to the audience. Jackie Morris was on stage, conjuring her otters, on traditional, hand-pressed paper, from Two Rivers Paper,  as the music soared.

Listen to the music here, wonder at it. Read Jackie Morris' blog about the concerts.

Live this day as a guardian of the future of our world.

Monday, 11 February 2019


In an effort to distract myself from the imminent disaster of Brexit, I have returned to shirt making, this time for me. One of the joys of the internet is being able to learn from people that one has never met. After several hours looking at patterns, I decided on The Granville shirt, and having read all of the comments, made the following adjustments:

  • shortened the sleeves by 4cm
  • Shortened the shoulders by 1cm
  • raised the bust dart by 4cm ( wrong decision)
  • took a lot of fabric out of the hips, about 20cm all round in the end - this pattern is for very curvy women
  • did not add the pockets

I followed many tutorials, and stitched test yokes, collars, many, many collar points, cuffs, sleeve plackets, front plackets,  buttonholes and devoured the content on Off The Cuff, a superb sewing blog.

The results?

Sleeve placket


Back yoke


Inner yoke, and collar stand


Front placket


Finished shirt


The fabric was a beautiful voile from Seasalt. They very generously make many of their fabrics available by the metre, even from current ranges.

I like it, I will wear it, I will make another one - all in all a successful make, even although the pattern matching was rather tricky, and I had to cut three sets of collars before I got the orientation of the colour swatches correct!

Sunday, 10 February 2019

February journal, Brexit 2

Brexit 2. Twenty seven circles of graduated shades of yellow, overlapping in to one cohesive circle, with a tea-dyed Union Jack hanging off the bottom, obscured by threads of black and white.

Hand-appliqued circles, trapunto stuffed, with FMQ in blue variegated thread in inner
circle and yellow thread around outside.
It is flat, but my phone camera is acting up in many odd ways. 

This is very different from my original sketch, but the overlapping circles appeared very early on in the construction phase, and they seemed to say more about cooperation than the original, radial design.
If you need to escape from the impending disaster, enter the land of fantasy and go to see Dior, Designed of Dreams. Tickets are available from May, and it is on until July. Photography and sketching are permitted.