Saturday, 9 February 2019

Boro Beginnings - more serendipity

I have been wanting to try 'boro style' stitching - hoping to create textured backgrounds from fragments of cloth, on which to create stitched designs. I hoped to produce bags, notebook covers, needlebooks etc - all entirely hand-stitched. I have experienced a temporary change in stitching direction since my last post! I have fractured my right wrist - a slip in the snow whilst out for my daily walk and photo session. I think I have some lovely snowy images but an unwelcome legacy!

I am very grateful to the team on duty at my local A&E who managed a successful manipulation of the fracture and enabled me to avoid surgery. The fracture clinic staff have also been brilliant. A young nurse, who completed the 'half plaster' for me, earned a sideways 'pointed stare' from a senior colleague for commenting on how beautiful the colours and patterns of the bruising round my elbow are. I wasn't offended in the least - I would be very happy to create a paint effect or marbling pattern resembling the bit I can see of the 'natural art work'.

So single-handed, left-handed stitching for a right-handed sewer! I have at least 6 weeks to perfect the technique! I managed to secure a panel of fabric to the webbing on a tapestry frame - my tacking good enough to achieve a reasonable tension. I found I can iron fabric one handed, struggled to pin scraps in place - coaxing my injured hand to help me, and so began stitching. A needle held upright in a ball of thread - light from the window behind the eye of the needle, was threaded - after several attempts. I need to work from both sides of the frame. I can place the entry of the stitch (with increasing accuracy), I then need to draw the thread through and stab the return of the stitch back from the wrong side. A slow process but one in which I am increasingly able to achieve a pleasant and very triumphal rhythm. I am using fairly long lengths of thread in an attempt to reduce the very frustrating re-threading of the needle!

I tend to be very 'finnicky' with my normal right-handed work. I hoped for something a little more 'rustic' from this form of darning. It turns out that 'rustic' is an affect which my left hand manages brilliantly!! I am gradually becoming more precise in my stitching but hope not to become too accomplished! The background produced will then be embellished to form a bag for my own use. I have no intention of allowing the embellishment to hide much of the irregular stitching of which I am so ridiculously proud!

Tuesday, 29 January 2019

A New Year and a new beginning for some old textiles

I am increasingly drawn to re-purposing textiles. I am learning, adapting and, perhaps, improving, as I go along. I love to use changes in colour and texture. 

Some while ago, I had a wonderful session with some vintage laces and my silk paints. I was aiming for 'gentle' colours so I added quite a lot of water to my mixed paints. I was thrilled with the muted pastel colours that resulted. The lace became very wet whilst working and I deliberately encouraged the colours to blend one into the next. I also painted some tapes, bias binding, ribbon and coiled lengths of thread and yarn (cotton and wool).

A little serendipity always adds just a little magic. I hate wasting anything - dilute paints included, so I placed the lace on top of various fabric scraps - some damask, a cotton sheet, and a fragment of drawn-thread work. A second layer of sheeting was under everything. The paint flowed through the lace, tapes and thread and created wonderful patches of coordinating colour on the fabrics underneath. The top layers were quite well covered. I deliberately added 'splodges' of paint to spread across any blank areas. The bottom layer achieved an effect of 'splodges of colour' on the original vintage background. Some of the lace fragments were really very wet - so much so that I was able to use them to 'print' a shadow of the lace onto plain sheeting. 

I now have great riches - vintage lace, threads, tape, ribbon, binding and fabrics in gentle coordinating colours. The image shows the beginnings of two projects. I have added some lovely vintage cotton thread, in pale blue, which had been sun-bleached at one end of the skeins - more serendipity as the thread is now shaded beautifully.

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Hay-on-Wye and a patchwork vase

We were on our way home from a weekend in Cardiff, visiting our student daughter, and we stopped off at Hay-on Wye for a couple of hours. After business hours on a Sunday, the town was quite quiet and we were able to potter around taking a few photos.

Renowned for its book shops, Hay is very pretty. This shop front is beautiful!

We found a lovely antiques emporium and I bought a table runner to add to my collection of vintage linens for re-purposing.


This vase represents my latest recycling project (click the image below to visit its Folksy shop shelf):

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Boston, birds and a wood mouse

The final episode of our Lincolnshire meander. Our very pretty campsite was just a few miles from Boston which we visited on the way. We were, initially, a little disappointed with the town. It was expensive to park our 'van', the market was large but not the sort of traders we prefer and the Tourist Information Office was in the museum which was 'closed for a private function' - on a Saturday morning! We had wanted to visit the museum, housed in the old Guildhall, had intended to consult Tourist Information for other points of interest, and the adjacent Fydell House was closed for the same function. Not very welcoming we felt!

We photographed the river and 'docks' from which the famous boats left for America (unfortunately low tide so more mud than water - not Boston's fault this time!), Saint Botolph's Church Tower, known as 'the Stump', and looked at the old merchant's houses and warehouses on the quayside. After a flash of inspiration we asked the way to the library. At this point, Boston redeemed itself since the library was still open (now mid Saturday afternoon when many would have closed at lunch time), a very helpful librarian (embarrassed to hear of the closed Tourist Information office), gave us a street map and suggested a visit to the Maud Foster Windmill, even suggesting a pleasant route to walk. The windmill was a wonderful place to visit - although to those of us with a gluten-free diet a little too 'floury'. There was a strong breeze, the sails were rattling round, the miller was very informative, the view was wonderful (between sails that is) and we very much enjoyed our visit. My husband is still enjoying the piza bases which he makes with semolina flour purchased from the mill shop!

After a restful night at the campsite, we trundled off again in the van to RSPB Frampton Marsh - the Lincolnshire side of the wash. I was a little uncertain if I would enjoy the trip. I can recognise our garden birds and those on our local hillsides, but wading birds are a bit of an unknown to me. It was a brilliant day out - aided by glorious weather. The volunteers staffing the visitor centre were knowledgeable and very patient even though I clearly knew very little. A visiting crane seemed to have created a commotion - its arrival heralded by texts from further along the coast. It was greeted by a long-lens, tripod carrying crowd. We felt very inferior and left them to it. The crane clearly tried to avoid them too and we had a lovely view as it flew over back to the Wash - sadly, my slow reactions and basic camera left me without a photo - although I did feel a little smug when some lens-laden twitchers struggled up the dyke to ask if we knew which way it had gone since they had missed it. The reserve is being grazed by my favourite cows - a small group of Belted Galloways so I couldn't resist a photo or two. There were many wildflowers for my stitching inspiration files too!

As we walked back to the car park, we saw a small furry bundle on the very hot road. It was a tiny woodmouse, very hot and I feared dehydrated - it seemed barely able to move. Keeping a watch for approaching vehicles I poured a little puddle of water in front of it and splashed a drop onto its nose. It revived enough to have a few sips from the puddle. I repeated the exercise and it drank more. Cute though it was I had no intention of being nipped - I remember the strawberry eating jaws of a similar cute beastie from a year or two earlier at home (images on facebook here). I broke a stalk from the verge seeking to use it to administer a gentle nudge back towards the verge. The mouse came to life enough to nibble the end of the stalk and, when I seemed to be about to remove it, clamped his teeth on tightly and held on whilst I lifted him to the relative safety of the verge. He was very tiny and still seemed intent on trying to cross the road - I shooed him back a few times. We left him with a supply of cut stalks and the hope that he might survive. I fear he was in quite a hostile, predator rich environment but I did my best!


PS. Two of the fabric bowls featured in progress on my work table - see earlier post, now finished:

Friday, 14 July 2017

Fabric Bowls

Patchwork bowls using vintage and upcycled fabrics and incorporating embroidered vintage linens. This bowl recently sold from LynwoodcraftsRecycled at Folksy.

The purchaser was kind enough to take the time to send me a lovely feedback email and this has spurred me on to make more:

This first one is taking shape well:


Monday, 10 July 2017

Sutton on Sea and beyond

Our campsite, for two nights, was at Mablethorpe. We preferred the adjoining, and very much quieter, Sutton on Sea - a seaside village which also serves the local community - with a lovely wool shop ( I bought some green crochet thread) and an excellent hardware shop (from which I bought a sachet of red fabric dye). We also enjoyed a potter around an extremely heavily stocked antique shop. It was a little difficult to view all the items but I bought a length of hand-made lace.

We are accustomed to the Welsh coast with all its features, both on the coastline itself and a little in-land - but still visible from the beach. The complete 'flatness' of the Lincolnshire coast, the very necessary sea defences obscuring any glimpse of any inland features which there might have been, created views which were beautiful for the scale of open sea and sand.


I have been busy felting and stitching some keyrings from upcycled fabric for LynwoodcraftsRecycled. This is the first to be listed:

This little camper van will be completed shortly:


My daughter and her boyfriend visited us last weekend. They brought me some beautiful flowers and I recorded them for future stitching inspiration:


My final post from our Lincolnshire meander will be Boston and Spalding.


PS I have now finished the campervan keyring:

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Aldford and Louth

The first two images are of Aldford, I really haven't done the town justice at all - I thought I had taken more photos. There is a really pretty market square, a lovely craft gallery and a working windmill. We visited on market day which was lovely but busy - it was a little difficult composing shots without traders vans and close up shoppers! In addition, Alford Manor House, boasting an enormous thatched roof, looked lovely - unfortunately, we didn't have time to visit, since we were stopping on the way to a new campsite at Louth. I did find time to pop into a lovely wool shop which provided the following. The blue yarn is being used in a blanket whilst the multi sock yarn provided the background to one of the brooches and a bookmark in earlier posts.

The remaining images above are of Louth. Another, somewhat larger market town, and yes, once again, we had timed our visit for market day. I was thrilled to find two stalls offering gluten and dairy free goodies and stocked up on savoury breads, cakes, pies ...... Yum!! It was a baking hot day and we had walked down from the campsite (only about 20 mins), with the obvious consequence that our purchase laden return was up - a little more than 20 mins was required although it had been worth it. The views which greeted us from the campsite on our return ( with the addition of a tiny bunny):

The rabbit was very tiny. There were several that hopped out to see us. Unfortunately, the campsite cat knew they were there and I spent the entire evening on watch and shooing him away when he came stalking in the hedgerow.

Among my purchases in Louth was this felting needle mat:

I have been putting it to very enjoyable use as the following images show! More news on these items soon!


P.S. The first two brooches from yesterday's work in progress are finished and about to be listed!