Tag Archive | workshops

Twisting Tree demo/tutorial

This one of my favourite teaching things.  The sewing is really straight forward but the effects can be amazing.

It begins with these drawings – with and without foliage.twisted tree drawing

Drawing up is simple – trace through your fabric (lean up against a window for an instant light box)  Fancy pen required? Nope – it will all be sewn over. Lots of detail ?- nah – wriggly lollipop with a bad hair day.



First stitches set the twisting movement throughP1060987 the trunk so no worries about sewing straight – don’t even try. Layers of stitch are built up as the tree’s framework is established. A spot of stabiliser underneath if the fabric pulls may help.





P1060988The canopy starts with organised scribble in a strongly contrasting colour (purple), and extended in a glorious sludge colour.


The stitch pattern is fairly consistent – cross hatched blocks- but varies in scale and density. Top dress with greens of mixed hues, add in sharp colour to lift if needed,  finish off the trunk with contrast tones – I used navy  and a quick twiddly bit of grass to anchor it and it is done!

A good press and…..   ta da……

machine embroidery.freehand machine embroidery sample

This is quite a simple do, yet can be so effective. It is a good learning curve  and can be adapted to all skill levels. I love that the equipment list is basically machine, foot, hoop, pencil. Materials list is also slim,  fabric (  I used a scrap of rust dyed cotton), threads – what ever you want/what ever you have got, and possibly a bit of stitch and tear.


I have been watching craft TV again –  this is available  in four easy instalments of oodles of money,  10% discount for people I like or who have daft cats. Just quote discount code DUNKINGBISCUITS.


Perhaps I should offer it as a kit? Hmm. Need a new packet of biscuits to consider that one.

Self promotion spot-  Last week or so  of the Ripon Great North Art Show

Last but one week of the Knaresborough  exhibition in Art in the Mill.

First week of the Micklegate Art in the Window Trail-  You MUST go into Spelmans bookshop. I had forgotten just how fabulous it is ( think Edwardian woody splendour)


“I Want to be a Tree!”

I have started doing classes on Sundays –  and with working and doing courses at the Viking Loom on Saturdays, this means  my weekends are now harder work than my week!  Have survived and had a good day today doing trees.

I quite like trees, you might have noticed. Todays venture was titled “I  Want to be a Tree”.  They are a fabulous vehicle for teaching this form of freehand sewing. Lots of potential for experimentation with technique, style, texture and colour.  I totally enjoyed myself.  I have polished off the afternoon watching the men’s final  tennis from Paris, and writing the blog, slowly, is the next way of avoiding going out to mow the lawn.



A matter of moments to gather examples, samples and original artwork!


With a wall full of tree-ness we spent the day sketching from sources,  refining approaches and exploring processes.


This one is just short of being finished – a bit more working into the foliage and the trunk filled in and it should be done.

And as for this one…P1170285

June and July I have set aside and making and doing time. Lots of getting out and thinking so approaches and expectations.

But first must mow the lawn……

Applique Day

Had a wonderful day yesterday  hosting a workshop at the loom. I only took medium course chaosshopping bag of stuff and within minutes reduced the massive work table to my usual chaos!!  The purpose of the day was to explore the less ‘conventional’ styles of plonking one piece of fabric on top of another – sorry, positioning with exquisite skill and aesthetic regard.  My main problem is the understanding that my ‘conventional’ and ‘normal’ can be quite extreme for some well brought up souls.



Samples of the ‘neat’ – a safe start point-

And then it got hairier and more aggressive as I shared the  ‘other’

processes.. the ones that use sharp, pointy things, ripping open, stitch and snipping. It is always a bit of a shock to see what a complex of  messy looking  stages go into creating a controlled outcome…  My kind of normal.

I still have places on the next Stitchy Day on April 5th.  Please contact if interested.

Also will be doing a  Sketch to Stitch Day on  a Wednesday  and then the following Sunday in May.  This is a new venture, I can show people techniques but you never really understand a process until you try to bend and stretch  it to your own purposes. The day will start with an optional sketching adventure, then back to my work room and we will work at translating  this into a textile piece. I will be developing my own piece, using wet media as well as fabric and stitch to create a landscape


YOS 2017 Logo bleed_CMYKLarge.jpg



Messy Day and Exhibition


Quite a busy week. Everything is ongoing. At least now the exhibition is up and running. Booked to do a demonstration event on the 5th of March, which is pages away in my diary. I’ll worry about that in a couple of weeks.


These photos were just as they were getting settled in, the installation was causing some concern as it is so open ended, the legs will disappear and some of the banners may dangp1060347le  and entangle the jacket or squirm around the plinth. Still haven’t got used to seeing the Big Beastie and wish that I had made it longer!


The other artist’s work is diverse and so individual that the whole exhibition has a great energy. Comments so far have been very positive!




That is the civilised side of the week. Since then I have made a distressing elephant  and hosted a Messy Day.  That at least was excellent fun, thank you to the ladies who came and were willing to try everything. This was a day spent playing with micro dyeing and kitchen top colouring techniques. p1060349 So also thank you to Mr Teabags, Mr Dylon, and Mr Red Cabbage. Some great results  with lots of ideas to develop further.

The next ‘at Home’ day course is a Stitchy Day exploring and experimenting with freehand machining techniques on the 15th.            Exciting!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Spring must be close!

Beautiful morning! Full of light, frost and very cold noses.p1060337

Spring must be soon – woke to golden sunlight, cheepy birds and an amorous pigeon on a neighbour’s ridge tiles. (Ms Pigeon was having none of it)


And  plans for  kids’ stuff –  Romy  has already put them on the listings!   Let me introduce Raw/reverse/layered Applique Fox, and his friends- Strip Applique and  Fair Isle Jumper Rabbit….

Just quick and fun to do without being too drastic technically. Fair Isle Rabbit  was done without any freemotion  at all, only rows of utility stitching from my machine’s very limited selection.

Not much to show other than these  – exhibition is being mounted in the next couple of days, am half expecting a phone call along the lines of ‘what is it?’ or ‘eh?’. Should pics for next week.

Fitting for Ronald the robe on Monday, trying out sizing and the alternative sleeve treatments – may have pics for next week.

Also Messy Days dyeing  ‘classes’.

And the  big landscape….


Weekend of workshops.

Fabulous couple of days working with positive and enthusiastic people making a monstrous amount of mess and enjoying it! Could not have been better!

ali crop wendy crop sally crop


Concentrating so hard! I did let them out for good behaviour, honest!

The first workshop was really a bit of a ‘do your own thing’ event with as much guidance and advice from me as required.  The tasks ran from Wendy wanting to follow Richard Box’s techniques to produce an image from  her own photo, to experimenting with a mixed media approach of combining freehand machining, paint and staining, with some very brutal applique techniques.. As it was Ladies’  Final Day at Wimbledon we just had to have strawberries.  P1040972 P1040974 P1040975

And Sunday, different venue and different people, same level of engagement and enjoyment.  This was a more structured tutorial of a ‘chop it, stick it, stitch it.’ landscape. We experimented with various methods and  different fabrics. Some were completely new to freehand work  but leapt bravely in at the deep end  – impossible to tell who they were from the outcomes!

So much was achieved  it is hard to believe these ladies have only just begun to explore this kind of work. Well done to all.  Thanks to all for coming and to the ladies who organised and hosted on Sunday.

Bethany 12 07 15 emma 12 07 15 And as for the future – following requests made, the Viking Loom will be holding  an informal ‘club’ dedicated to this style of work (hosted by me) , one afternoon a month. Should be a great opportunity to come along  to get started  with samples and experiments, asking  all of those  awkward questions, or to expand and extend techniques  working on your own outcomes. Could become an exciting place to be!  Email or phone the shop  to express interest and the details will be on their website as soon as they are finalised.- (01904 620587)

cathrine12 07 15 lara 12 07 15

Don’t forget I am making an appearance at the Blossom Street Gallery this Sunday 19th July, 10 -3pm in their ‘Meet the Artist’ event. I will be there cowering in the corner, hiding behind my machine,  hoping that I know the answers to any questions and don’t blush too beetroot! There has to be easier ways of getting tea and cake. Will try to behave.