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If you are in or around North Lincolnshire on Friday 1st of November there are still places left on my Spectacular Spellbooks workshops at Normanby Hall Country Park.

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The workshops are suitable for anyone, whether adult or child, who is interested in learning two simple bookmaking techniques. First, you’ll make two origami books, each created from a single piece of paper with four basic folds and a cut. We’ll be making a blank ‘spellbook’ to fill with your own ideas…

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…and also one where you can collect and record fascinating facts and superstitions about some ‘magical’ medieval ingredients which I will have on display.

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You will also be able to make a third slightly bigger blank book…

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…with a cover created from random papers and a twig binding that can be decorated with fancy threads, beads etc.

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Then just add your spells!

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I’m providing the materials to make all three books which you take away with you at the end of the session.

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Please note that Park entry also applies, or please display your annual membership.

Places may be booked here. I am really excited about this workshop and looking forward to the ‘awe and wonder’ moment when with one last fold, the origami book suddenly appears in your hands. Never gets old, that one. :o)

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I’ve been asked to run some hour long spellbook making workshops at Normanby Hall Country Park  for Hallowe’en and have had loads of fun designing and making some printable origami books and a blank book with a twig binding. Both types of book are simple enough to be made by even quite small children, but I think the results are good enough to appeal to adults too, so I’ve made it age 6+ to adult. The workshop details can be found here if you’re interested.

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I’ve been making origami books with children for years now and I reckon I can fold and cut one in about ten seconds flat! It’s a real ‘awe and wonder’ moment when you fold the cut sides over and a real book forms under your hands!

I’ve also discovered that I can use Publisher to design a sheet of A4 which when you fold it, the pages come out the right way. So as part of the workshop the participants will make an origami book to gather information about some plants and stones that were considered to have magical properties in the Middle Ages.

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Then another origami book for their own spell book

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And a bigger twig book…

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…with a corkscrew hazel twig that can be decorated for the binding.

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Which can also be decorated and made into a spell book.

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Fingers crossed now that people like the look of the books enough to want to make their own..!

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The stumpwork course I taught at Ashby Link last week went really well, although I do need to be more realistic about the amount of work that the participants can reasonably do in the time allowed – I planned enough for at least two full days!

After learning some raised embroidery stitches and techniques in the morning, I created a little ball topiary design for them to work in the afternoon based on three of them: padded satin stitch, a french knot slip and raised stem band.

The french knots for the leafy part of the topiary were worked separately on a piece of calico in six strands of stranded cotton, partly so it worked up more quickly and partly to get a lovely textured effect. Great place to use up all those odd ends of stranded cotton!

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I used a circle of pelmet vilene to pad it out a little and then drew the calico up round the vilene…

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…before stitching it in place on my main fabric, which just so happens to be a piece of one of the shirts I chopped up for the cuff books workshop last week.

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Then the pot. Satin stitch over a base shape in pelmet vilene.

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The raised stem band rim is worked separately, and just sits on top of the pot. Guideline shape for the padding.

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Long stitch padding with the vertical bars.

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And the stem stitch over the top. Very pleased with the effect!

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Just the stem/trunk to add.

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I used several long satin stitches in stranded silk and then used a single strand of it to couch random threads down with tiny stitches.

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It’s reminded me how much I enjoy raised work and needlelace, so now the end of term is finally in sight, I might start dabbling again.

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I first had the idea for putting a pamphlet stitched booklet inside the cuff of a shirt or jacket about 6 years ago and although I’ve since seen images on the internet, I’m proud to say it was it was an idea I had all by myself!

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It’s a great method for making notebooks to carry around in a bag or pocket as the button (or snap) on the cuff holds the pages closed and you have the length of the cuff to decorate.

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So I was delighted to be asked to teach it as a workshop for Brigg Allsorts group last week.  Men’s shirts, my main source of cuffs, often are patterned in stripes or checks and the patterns are a great set of guidelines for keeping your stitches straight, so I chose a checked one and decided to have a go at some chicken scratch embroidery with cross stitch and rice stitch.

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I also replaced the boring button with one covered in scarlet silk. It’s fascinating how adding even simple stitches can alter your perception of the background design so much.

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One of the early projects on the seven week crazy patchwork course I’m running for North Lincolnshire Adult Education at Ashby Link was to piece three tiny scraps of fabric together with feather stitch and enhance them with stitches to make a crazy patchwork brooch. This is my example. Black and gold silk covered with lace on either side of a scrap of printed Japanese style cotton with a gold coloured metal motif stitched onto it.

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Kantha stitch knocks back the brightness of the print in the middle. Whipped back stitch and threaded chain stitch to the left and bullion roses with stem stitch stems and nested lazy daisy leaves on the right.

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I went for a very closely worked blanket stitch edging as the pieces of silk fabric were fraying very badly. It took a lot longer to finish, but I think the neat effect is worth it.

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One thing about teaching these courses, I have to get things finished to keep up with the learners!

 

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The follow on course from the kantha and boro was boro and sashiko and as well as showing various pieces I’ve stitched over the years, I created a new sample piece for this, illustrating how a piece of boro could start to become sashiko.

First, arranging scraps of kimono fabric and indigo dyed cottons onto a cotton base layer. before tacking them down. The partly stitched piece in the middle is a scrap of unfinished sashiko from a very long time ago (2011 to be exact…).

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Simple running stitch becomes a rectangular spiral.

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The partial sashiko becomes rice stitch and I try my hand at keeping free hand cross stitch regular.

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Putting fabric marks in helped with the cross stitch, but I ended up aligning each row of stitches to the previous row and that worked better.

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The even rows became boxes.

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And a tiny scrap needed some bamboo leaves.

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It’s still not quite finished, but it was a pleasure to sew in that rhythmic, mindful way and I do prefer this type of boro/sashiko to stitching the beautiful but almost ‘paint-by’numbers’ of the intricate sashiko designs you get in kits.

And incidentally, our Fabric Fair was a huge success. Considering this was a relatively niche market in small town North Lincolnshire on a Sunday morning, we had a great turn out with locals and people coming from much further afield. There were some great traders with a wide selection of items and it was really positive to see so many people with a love of textiles gathered together.

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Our March meeting at Scunthorpe Embroiderers’ Guild was Canvaswork Stitch play, led by me. Unfortunately, due to a combination of everything coming on top of each other,  being ill and then completely forgetting about the workshop until about two months before it was due to happen, I wasn’t as well prepared with samples as I would have liked. But I am pleased with what I did manage to stitch.

First sample was the same thread but different stitches.

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The upright cross stitch was a revelation. You would never guess that it was just upright crosses – I just love the interlocking texture it produces.

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Then I worked a sample which was all the same stitch – cushion stitch, but stitched in as many different types of thread as I could. I am particularly pleased with the effect of the chenille (small pale beige rectangle at the bottom), which is such a difficult thread to actually stitch with anywhere else!

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I also had a lovely time running a Ribbon Roses workshop with Selby Embroiderers’ Guild. I had been experimenting with some pelmet vilene based brooches featuring the ribbon roses both with beaded blanket stitch…

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…and also normal blanket stitch edging.

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(The second one ended up as an emergency Mother’s Day card for a friend!!)

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So I decided to turn the design into kits, which went down very well.

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And I even managed to turn my sample/teaching example piece from the workshop into a birthday card.

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And finally another piece of jewellery upcycled with a ribbon rose and beautifully modelled by my little one, who is not so little any more. :o(

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Available as always,  here in my Etsy shop.

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Apologies – March has been mad. Between trying to shake illness and most of my workshops and courses all coming at once, things have been crazy. So, to catch up!

The found objects plastic rings piece I blogged about back in February, came together like a dream. I wanted to use it as a sample piece for a Found Objects Workshop I taught at Hull Embroiderers’ Guild at the end of March. (There is a lovely post about the workshop on their Facebook page.) It was a lot of fun trying out different ways of attaching the rings, including lazy daisy stitch, sheaf stitch and chain stitch.

I finished it as a quiltlet, with a border of strip patchwork, which makes it nice and robust to handle.

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Love the indigo dyed back.

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I also taught a Beaded Oglala Stitch workshop with Brigg Allsorts (a local stitching group) the same week, so after having made a sampler of variants of the stitch…

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…I started another found objects piece I could use with both workshops as it combined Beaded Oglala with found objects. It worked surprisingly well as a method of attaching the vintage key and I’m very pleased with the effect.

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I had a fabulous time teaching the workshop with the ladies in Hull and they produced some lovely work.

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We also had a fantastic workshop ourselves at Scunthorpe Embroiderers’ Guild in February, doing Print to Stitch with Jan Dowson.

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Jan had made us some great kits with paisley shaped printing blocks in them as a main focus…

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…but I had a couple of my own stamps that I wanted to use as well. Medieval tile first.

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Then the paisley. We used acrylic paints and instead of rollering it onto the block, I dabbed random areas of paint to get a mottled effect.

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Jan had also put some pieces of compressed foam into the kits. You can cut them with scissors into any shape and then drop them into water to get a sponge printing block, which is how I got  the over-printed tear drop shapes inside the paisleys.

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Lastly I had a shell stamp from home to play with.

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I love the look of the paint on the stamps…

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…and on the palettes.

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Once we had our printed fabric…

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…time to stitch. The border of the paisleys was a perfect place for Pekinese Stitch. Rayon back stitch for a bit of shine, interlaced with all six strands of a variegated stranded cotton thread.

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I will try harder on here, honestly! It’s all Susan from Stitchery Stories‘ fault – she recommended I got myself onto Instagram and I have been properly sucked in. It is so much quicker when you are busy – or lazy!!

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