An elegant sufficiency

Tuesday, October 31, 2006


Had an afternoon mooching around Cardiff Bay on Saturday, and thought what an amazing design this is. Can see an embroidered wall hanging here...pulled work, needleweaving, a bit of this and a bit of that....another project to imagine!

(It's on the wall of the Pierhead Building or Adeiladwyd y Pierhead, by the way)
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More Dorset Feather Stitch

Dorset Feather Stitch Embroidery

Since Blogger isn't being so cooperative at present, there's just the one photo here and hopefully more will follow in the next entry.

The Dorest Feather Stitch Exhibition at the Dorset County Museum showed the work developed by one woman - Olivia Pass, self-taught embroiderer and founder member of Charmouth WI, whose aim was "to bring a simple skill to country folk".

This picture shows the inspiration for the technique, combining smock patterns with Balkan designs Olivia Pass had seen whilst travelling with her husband. The work exhibited is exquisite and shows what an inspired woman was behind it - the stitches are simple, stylish and very effective and clearly reached a responsive audience at a time when women were ready to discover new opportunities and put some colour back into their life, leaving the drab war years behind them. Much of the work was done by WI members and it was with the support of the WI that Olivia produced a book of designs and Feather Stitchery transfers.

According to the information in the exhibition, boxes of the work were sent to Australia, New Zealand, Canada and South Africa and it would be interesting to find out how the technique developed in those countries - I feel an internet search coming on and wonder if, perhaps, this exhibition might be the inspiration for a revival?

I became interested in the technique as a result of my work with the WI Needlework Archive and think this era of the development of embroidery in England is sadly neglected. What treasures we have overlooked and how important it is to record and conserve these wonderful pieces of work, many of which might still be in use or squirrelled away in our cupboards?
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Saturday, October 28, 2006

Fascinating Exhibition

Today I went here

to go to this exhibition.

Had a really great day and will blog more later (tomorrow) because we have good friends to stay for the weekend and the conversation is just too good to miss out on!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

A little comfort

A while since I blogged for various reasons. Mark's father's died last week, after a long battle with Parkinsons. Though his death was not unexpected, it was nevertheless a huge preoccupation and something to come to terms with in several ways. Although we've led a charmed life, with all four parents there for us until recently, the death of both our fathers in the last two years makes me realise that there's a kind of snowball effect. The events of the last week rolled up with those of June 2004 and at quiet times I found myself in reflective mode.

The funeral, yesterday, was an effective closure and I'm ready to move on, to get on with things and to get busy.

So, what have I been up to? Well, having bought a couple of balls of red alpaca at the Knitting and Stitching show last week, I felt the need to do a little therapeutic knitting. The colour and texture are perfect for that - it's soft and cosy, and I do like a little red here and there! The Smoke Ring I knitted last year was a fun project and rather than tackle a new lace pattern, I thought I'd boost my confidence a bit first by rediscovering this one. I have been amazed at how easily it has come back to me and I find myself hardly referring to the chart at all. Have whizzed through this in no time at all and feel really pleased with my progress. Though I've still got the teeny tiny totes to knit in the next nine weeks (seven down, five to go - notice I'm not using the C word) and Mark's socks are three quarters done, a little change was needed and has worked a treat.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Ally Pally 2

Another discovery at the show was Annie Sherburne's "Eco Annie" collection. Her approach to making good use of what we already have with style was remarkable and whilst I was there, at least, her message was reaching a sympathetic audience. This yarn is made from 50% recycled textiles and 50% new wool and has a satisfying crunchy texture. As with the Massey-Rogers collection, the stylish packaging and eye for detail makes all the difference. Posted by Picasa

Ally Pally

  • A general photo of the Knitting and Stitching show because, for some reason, I took hardly any photographs at all. I think I was overwhelmed by the wealth of possibilities there, for doing more of what I already do, for doing more of what I ought to be doing and for doing things that I've never done and hardly dare try, for fear of having even less time to do the first two!

    I was there on Thursday and Friday, on the Denman College stand, but with plenty of chance to look around. As always, it's great to meet friends and catch up a little, and since I didn't go to the show last year, I felt refreshed for giving it a break.

    My highlights:

  • Meeting Dodger-friend Dale and Ian of The Thread Studio again

  • Meeting Sue and her knitting friends

  • Bumping into Paulene

  • Playing with an Embellisher at Bromley Sewing Machines

  • Restocking with yummy coloured fleece and rayon chainette at The Handweavers studio

  • Chatting to Massey & Rogers about their delightful stand, a haven of restraint and style

  • Discovering a great new "English" yarn in such good colours - Sublime

  • Stalking (or being stalked by?) Sandra Murray

  • Finding out about Thermofax screens from Committed-to-Cloth Claire

  • Enjoying Sarah Lawrence's work and seeing how successful Crafty Notions has become.

  • Observing that at last, we are able to buy high quality yarns and tools to knit with

  • Seeing so many bookstands with a great range of titles (I didn't buy a single one)

  • Reaching the conclusion that, at last, it seems as thought the creative textile market is being driven more by people than by products.

  • and, of course, having fun with friends and being with so many like-minded people!

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Sunday, October 08, 2006

KoolAid Roll Call

From the left:
Grape Illusion
*see below*
Arctic Green Apple
Ice Blue Raspberry Lemonade
Berry Blue
Slammin' Strawberry Kiwi
Soarin' Strawberry Lemonade
Swirlin' Strawberry Starfruit
Pink Lemonade
Blastin' Berry Cherry
Tropical Punch
* this was the result when I'd finished all the packets and thought that the water still looked a little coloured, so I dumped in one final, last piece of felt*

Friday, October 06, 2006

Time for some colour

My goodness, my feet have hardly touched the ground in the last couple of weeks, but finally, I'm getting my head above water and set aside this afternoon for some "me time". I just received the parcel of wool felt I'd ordered some time ago and armed with a bag full of different Kool-aid flavours, I set to and began to dye.

I began by soaking the felt in a bowl of detergent for a while, to wet it thoroughly.

To begin with I used the microwave method. Dissolved a packet of Kool-aid in a small amount of water, added the wet felt, and cooked on high until the water was clear. I soon discovered that it was taking rather longer in the microwave than it normally does on the hob, so I put a kettle on to boil and did the rest in a saucepan. Same procedure - dissolve the powder, dilute with boiling water and add the felt. Stir a little and boil until the water is clear, about 5 mins maximum.

Rinsed in cold water and hung the dyed felt to dry, pegging the empty packet on the felt so that I have a record of which flavour dyed which colour. Interesting to note that the colour of the packet doesn't always indicate the colour of the dye.

And for once, I remembered that using the "invisible" kool-aid wasn't sensible.