Monthly Archives: October 2011

New Favourite Book!

A couple of posts ago I wrote briefly about some japanese embroidery techniques which I found quite interesting – when I was in Otley this Saturday snooping around the eight million or so charity shops it seems to be endowed with I came across this book on Chinese folk embroidery and had to get it

It’s full of excellent photographs of examples and has a section at the back explaining the techniques

These animal designs are applique panels designed to decorate skirts

This guy looks a little like AN EXPERT!!!!

I love how naughty this last lion looks

I’m going to read up on some of the history of these pieces as I’m quite inspired by some of the designs, and am getting increasingly interested in embroidery from around the world now. When travelling in Asia I took hundreds of photographs of embroidered traditional Vietnamese clothing which I need to dig out, and I think I also took some in a museum in Borneo which would be equally cool to look back at now.

I have definitely always been interested in the use of animal forms in traditional art. I really want to get some books about North American mythology/art because its SO interesting, especially Inuit art – I’m not quite sure why I’m drawn to it so much but stuff like this is amazing

My other good book purchase that day was The invisible Man by H.G Wells for only 50p! My less successful purchase was that of some aquarium plants which unfortunately blew away in the wind. I was quite upset.

(In another way, the image of some one in Otley browsing the windows of a cup cake shop suddenly being engulfed in Amazon Sword made me quite happy.)

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Filed under China, Textiles, Travel


Web making was a success yesterday! Every one managed to make webs, especially impressed this brown blue and white one that a lady called Cissy made. The giant ball of white wool did get thrown across a table and almost broke a vase at one point, which made me wonder if I should be organising a P.E lesson for these ladies rather than a sedate crafting hour, but if been asked to come back next month anyhow. I’ve had requests for something paint orientated so maybe we could paint Christmas cards or something. Hmm.

On Thursdays for the last couple of weeks I’ve been attending a furniture course in the evenings but it’s half term this week so it’s not on tonight. We’ve been making different joints so far – the dovetail joints are my favourites!

This is my fairly abysmal first attempt at a dovetail and I haven’t really whacked it into place properly yet but I am hoping to improve during the course! I need to think  of a piece of furniture I’d quite like to try to make during the end of the course. A friend of mine sent me a good example of some fun furniture that she saw on  –

HOUSE DESK! This is made by Ninetonine

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Filed under craft, Workshops

Wool web workshop planning and more

Hi! Good news; the decorations I’ve been making are now available to buy from Unexpected Boutique

This week I’ve been making changes to some felt bracelets I made a while ago by embroidering ribs on to them. I think it makes them look a bit more exciting. I might try to adjust the design so it has a metal mount and clasp but I havent quite worked out how to do that yet.

I’m also going over to Normanton in West Yorkshire tomorrow to do a craft hour in a care home. I’ve sort of come up with a Halloween theme – hopefully we will be making wool webs like this one below

They are made quite simply by winding different coloured wool round paper craft straws which I have already attached together.

I’m slightly worried that some of the residents I might be working with might have dexterity issues (I havent met them yet) but we’ll see how it goes.

Good things people have shown me this week:

I Heart Guts – ever wanted a cuddly spleen? Look no further.

Children’s Own Studio – This reminds me of Korean photographer Yeondoo Jung’s project Wonderland

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Tree Army

I think that I gain a certain amount of satisfaction from making lots of things that look very similar.

I’ve just finnished a batch of decorations and am making a start on another. I’ve heard that Testspace in Leeds are thinking of having Christmas craft stalls on Thursdays and weekends during the run up to Christmas, so I think I’m probably going to go into over drive making these within the next couple of weeks! Woo

I felt that the snow flake looked better with silver thread attaching the buttons, so I’ve done that instead

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Little Stabs

Quite a good while ago I was talking to a friend of mine who was running a rag rugging workshop at Project Space Leeds for ReMade – we were looking at a cushion that happened to be present at the time, and as she is currently doing her reasearch on the subject of fashion and textiles she knows a lot about it and mentioned that the decorative embroidery on the surface of the cushion is something called  Sashiko stitch, a japanese form of reinforcing fabric. I have since found out that the name literally translates as “little stabs.”

I think it is really attractive technique – it was originally used in japan to reinforce fisherman’s robes against wear and tear. The cushion in question had the stitches running in many lines adjacent to each other across it which I especially liked , but I can’t find a good example of this on the internet

My friend Alicia uses this stitch to embroider cardboard and in some of her other works

I tried to use this technique along with blanket stitch when decorating a felt flower I made for my sister recently.

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Filed under Brooches, Japan


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This is where I am making the things

Hello there! There are quite a few things I want to write about this week, including and amazing Steampunk Market that we bumped into this weekend at The Left Bank in Hyde Park, Leeds. But for some reason this morning I’ve ended up taking pictures of my work area.

I really like pictures of where creative people work. I think there has actually been a book produced which is dedicated to these sorts of photographs. I stumbled upon PinkBeast‘s blog the other day which has some really nice pictures of her amazing work/ house in it, which reminded me of this sort of thing. I wonder if there is a FLickr group for work areas? There is one for craft booths called “Show Me Your Booths” (ho ho) which I quite like looking at, I think it makes every one’s work a bit more Real or something.

This week I ended up getting rid of a lot of the stuff in my corner of the room, and am now stashing most of my fabric in my bedroom, which makes it all a lot less cluttered, a bit more boring but a lot nicer to work in.  I’ve found that now instead of ending up sewing on my bed, I’m tending to sit down at my desk a lot more.

I’m working on some green stars at the moment which may shortly be appearing on Unexpected Boutique

I used to have loads of bits and bobs stuck onto the wall (postcards and prints) with blu tac but I think as there’s already so much stuff in the room it tended to just look FAR too cluttered and make me feel a bit mental, so I think it’s better this way! A shame, because I love all the postcards, but they’re now stuck on the back of the bathroom door.

This blog post was brought to you with help from 6Music, toast, Kate Bush, cups of tea and incredible rainstorm that is giving me an excellent excuse not to leave the house.


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In a bid to distract my self from my quatre-life crisis and stop my self from screaming at job sites, and because I actually like doing it, I’ve been making orange stars this week. The orange star idea came after my previous purple stars were criticised for being too purple.

To be honest, I think I thought last year at this time that in a years time I would have a lot better idea of what I wanted to do in terms of a career.  I don’t know what gave me that idea.

I do want to have a better go at promoting my textile jobbies, making a better website to sell stuff from and designing more products…. Oh and going to more craft stalls. I just keep distracting my self with community projects and the possibility of doing something to do with conservation…or sustainable design or something.

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