All posts by helenc3

EYES meet over the Internet

EYES Thoughts Sheila F.

November 14th, second Saturday in the month, it must be EYES this afternoon. But we’re in lockdown again, we need to stay at home as much as possible. So thank you Val W and Sarah S, for there was an EYES meeting after all. I’m lucky, I have access to a laptop or an iPad, and the Zoom app is free. Sarah had emailed us beforehand giving us an ID and a passcode. I was worried but actually it was straightforward. I was quite early logging in so saw Sarah invite many familiar faces – forty-five in fact including Margaret Booker from Norfolk. Eventually my laptop settled on four faces and mine across the top of the screen leaving room for the main speaker. We were all muted by Sarah ( a seemingly easy task! ) and then Val welcomed us to EYES via Zoom.

Jayne G spoke first and gave us a talk on making Christmas cards, actually one design but many variations. What a difference a bit of calico makes or a different colour or pattern. It looked great upside down too. Actually, at it’s simplest level I could make a card with my 5 year old grand-daughter then maybe move on myself to something grander one day – or maybe not! Jayne will know when she gets her Christmas card from me this year. A simple but necessary tip from Jayne – photograph your completed work then you have the pattern for next year. Thank- you Jayne.

Annette spoke next and tried to answer the question “What did you do during Covid Grandma”? and added David Hockney’s A Bigger Splash as a subtitle. She was away on a cruise when it all began so came back with Christ the Redeemer, black-necked swans, South American mountains and the sea in her head ready for a quilt. She had taken two lovely hand-made bags with her so it was good to see those unpacked. Her next job was more urgent but not quite so lovely – like many of us Annette set to work making face masks for family and friends and then scrubs for use in hospital. ( I think she’s still looking for Giant Bradley to model the prototype. ) Then there were a few things to finish off: some embroidery, a kit bought in Harrogate and then the quilt, a wonderful reminder of her cruise. Thank-you Annette.

Val W was next with her Cheeky Robin. Seemingly easy to make from three squares of felt and help from grandchildren, this robin could be made more elaborate by adding legs before stuffing or even a flap/tail to make it a mobile phone/tablet stand. Again a different colour and a comb and we had an Easter chick.           Thank -you Val.

Val’s cheeky Robin from Gail Lawther book of bird’s .
Chicken phone stand from Debbie Shore You Tube video

Sarah Perkins concluded our talks by giving us a good use for that jelly roll we’ve all got somewhere.

Sarah moved in to her windmill home only to find floor to ceiling pipes in the sitting room. Box them in, was the obvious answer, but how? She started by hanging a long length of white muslin-type fabric over the pipes. Then Sarah started some pulled thread work and some embroidery stiches but she was hardly making much impact on such a length of fabric. Then followed a stump work windmill, beautifully embroidered sails, a wall, flowers and a hint of the sea in the background, but still only a third of the hanging was embellished. A history lesson and a timeline followed and the bottom third of the hanging was complete. Then the jelly roll was remembered – beautiful colours and a picture in itself as it cascaded from mill to timeline. Finally a very handsome  stump work millerwas added. Apparently it took Sarah nearly four years to complete her masterpiece but most of that was thinking time – we all know that feeling.                                                    Thank- you Sarah.

So, there you have it – my recollections and views on the EYES meeting of November 14th. I think you’ll more from the photographs that the contributors will be putting on the website but I urge you to join us next time on December 12th. It is fun and you never know what you might learn.

As Sheila said, December; Jenny Rayment, January Ann Brooks , February Handmade, Alison Larkin, March Angie Hughes. Details to follow.

T shirt quilt, Phone cushions and Flamingo Bingo!

Barbara B.

Making this quilt really tested maths and sewing skills to achieve the finished size required as the shirts were all different sizes . Also mixing woven  and thin  knitted fabrics  was challenging.

Phone holders


Two toilet bags and two iPhone stands and one iPad stand I have produced during lockdown.

Flamingo Bingo!

Jayne G

When asked what she would like for her 8th birthday, my granddaughter requested “something knitted by Nana”. Now, as flattered as I am by this (and I’m sure there will come a time when it won’t be ‘cool’ to have anything made by Nana) my first thought was “What can I knit for a child who has lately become decidedly fussy about what she wears?” Then I remembered that I have the book ‘ Knitted animal scarves, mitts and socks by Fiona Goble’. It’s a lovely book with lots of very cute patterns to suit children of all ages, and there on pages 88 and 89 I found the perfect idea!

Let me explain – all the classes at my granddaughter’s school have names taken from nature, so she has been a caterpillar, a lion, a zebra and is now a flamingo. Bingo! If she’s half as happy with her scarf as I am, I will be more than pleased 🙂

Liz Almond October 2020: From Canterbury, through Africa, Europe and Asia via Zoom

Blackwork with Liz Arnold

Saturday 10th October and around a dozen EYES members joined Liz for our first ever ZOOM meeting. In fact our first EYES meeting since lockdown in March 2020.

For myself taking part was a new experience I have watched many ‘webinairs’ on Covid during the past months and so felt confident with the actual process of joining the meeting. For this to work we would be at the mercy of good and reliable Internet and I think perhaps a few were nervous about the logisitics of joining in. We had the very capable Sarah S. guiding us through and helping the meeting to run smoothly, a minor hiccup as Liz’s technology wouldn’t behave did not detract from a very enjoyable and informative talk from her.

Liz talked of her personal experiences of the wonderful and intricate Islamic art which embellishes the Mosques she has visited in Saudi Arabia and India. Taking the floral designs and symmetry of the decorations Liz designs individual pieces of Blackwork Embroidery. She divides the type of decoration into three different groupings, Calligraphy, Geometry and Arabesque, the calligraphy being the writings and sacred scripts. Liz uses the combination of the Geometric and Arabesque as the basis for her work.

Liz talked more generally about Blackwork and it’s place in English history telling us that ‘The Wife of Bath’ in Chaucer’s Canterbury tales had a Blackwork collar, whilst in paintings by Holbein Elizabeth 1 can be seen wearing clothing embellished with Blackwork.

A thoroughly enjoyable and interesting talk from Liz, to see more of her work and a direct link to her Blackwork click on the link attached to her name at the top of this blog.

In the likely event that we will be unable to meet at our usual venue for some time we look forward to further ZOOM meetings to bring EYES back to it’s members.

September October 2020

Keeping in touch during Covid times. Val W.

Christmas place mats

Jenny Rayments Scrappy Zappy Doo for my granddaughters 13th birthday. 

She spent lockdown re designing her room.

We also baked together,  I have created a recipe book and written in all the recipes we used .I have made a quilted envelope to keep it safe.

Maureen; “I found this free pattern online but had to adapt it to suit the yarn which was bought from Emma at Knit One Stitch One.”

Crochet Top for her granddaughter.
Not embroidery but crochet, a Dreamcatcher

Hilary G A cushion for a Ruby Wedding gift and an experimental piece.

Quilt as you go hanging; Sunflowers 9 ways. Experimenting with different forms of patchwork and quilting.

Huguette’s Cat Blanket and Quilts

“Here are two bits I made for donating to Caring for Cats since I have run out of thick yarn to do cat nests. The reversible quilt for a cat (19 x 23″)  is made with scraps of flannel and the crocheted granny squares baby blankets (32 x 35″) of leftovers of mostly acrylic DK yarn. I’m working on several Linus quilts but as usual, they are just tops so far.”

UFOs completed, Pugin the Peacock, and masterclasses undertaken.

Susan B.

I have been experimenting with vegetable dyeing. The cotton bags are the results of different batches of onion skin dye, with wax resist. The old T-shirt is avocado stone dye.
It is a pretty pink but I have not had time to judge whether it is a stable colour. The recipe was to carefully wash avocado stones and a cleaned avocado skin, black when ripe, not the green variety. Heat these slowly in a pan of water, or the resulting colour will be brown. Then the length of time dipped in the brew will affect the shade. Hang up to dry on a plastic hanger.

Susan has also completed her crosstitch based on work by Rachel Ruysch.

Sarah P Banner and Peacock Firescreen

Pugin the peacock:

I saw a beautiful glass peacock firescreen while out on a coach trip with our local ladies group. I loved it, but it was far too small and delicate for my fireplace, and very expensive. On the same trip, we saw an exhibition which included a group project, where everyone makes part of the picture in different techniques. It got me thinking that I could combine those two ideas. Apart from the peacock blue felt, he was made from various scraps. Each feather uses a different technique. It took a while to think of enough ideas, as the only stiffening I used was pelmet Vilene and dowelling. Many of the ideas I saw relied on the feather pointing downwards, which wouldn’t work. There’s knitting, patchwork, quilting, drawn thread work, crewel embroidery, ribbon weaving, needle lace, felting, machine embroidery, and even a bit of fair trade raffia.  You wouldn’t believe how many people have asked me why I don’t call him Penelope. Because he is a peacock. Ah.  

The banner:

My living room is the ground floor of a windmill. The previous owners decided they needed an extra bathroom on the top floor, so the pipes for that, and the central heating, meander untidily up the wall. Everyone said they needed boxing in, but we left it until all the work that might need access to those pipes had been done. Given that the inside of an industrial building from 1798 is far from smooth, the wall is curved, and it slopes inward at about 85 degrees, boxing it in sounds to me like an expensive job, which is never going to lie flat against the wall, and would look boring. So there must be a better way. This banner starts with a picture of the mill when it still had its sails, and then has a timeline showing local relevant events, and the names of the millers and the owners, as far as I have been able to trace them. Some of my dates are the nearest I have got so far, but when the scale is a decade to the width of a jelly roll strip, historical accuracy is a luxury. I filled the spaces on the timeline with relevant embroidery. The section at the bottom is a compromise. It looked silly with just the “raw” hessian, but I wasn’t going to put much effort into it, as it is mainly behind furniture. I filled it in with some windmill related machine patchwork with leftover strips, and some drawn thread work at the bottom. I liked the idea of using hessian, as this room was where the flour was put into the sacks (although not with this loosely woven Hobbycraft stuff!). 

Val W Folded Circles

These pieces are from an NEC Jenny Rayment Masterclass

Helen M Japanese Folded Patchwork

Helen made this for her sister’s Ruby Wedding Anniversary the reverse has a button closure, detailed in the slideshow below.

Hilary G “Quilting is keeping me sane”.

Hilary has sent in details of two quilts worked on during the pandemic. She has quilted sunflowers on the section below, “I appear to be obsessed with them at the moment”.

Muriel Milo’s Jumper

Sunday July 26th Masks and More

Hi. I hope you are all well and sewing.

I finally finished my Kantha stitch bobbin roll and I am pleased how it has turned out. 

It was a challenge how to join the squares to make a length to roll round the bobbin. I managed using 3 very large press studs which I found among my stash!

This is a bobbin from a woolen mill and a great way to enjoy the bobbin and the sewing.

I enjoy the slow stitching. I find it relaxing and, for once, not having to be too precise with my stitching. Elizabeth PB.

Elizabeth also added the photos below of badges which will be used when EYES once more returns under the ‘new normal’. Hopefully in the not too distant future.

The badges were created and stitched by Elizabeth’s able assistant Sam.

Quarantine returns for some and Masks required.

As from Friday 24th July masks were mandated, in England , to be worn in indoor settings, particularly shops.

Masks are part of the whole spectrum of measures we can all take to help stop the spread of Covid 19. WHO have issued guidelines as to the fabrics and style of the best fabric face masks and I have had a go at making some under these guidelines.

3 layer fabric mask as recommended by WHO

The pattern I have found most useful is the Jesse Killion PDF design . These are multi sized masks patterns, one can print off the individual pattern that corresponds to ones own facial measurements.

The method of construction and further details can be found on The Fabric Patch You Tube site.

Personally I found ear loops pinged off at the most inconvenient moment,( friends tell me of lost hearing aids during this process! ) and ties around the back of my head would be too difficult for me to work . I have therefore stitched two bands of elastic on the back enabling me to put on and take off the mask with minimum touching of my face or mask.

We have seen the pictures of discarded disposable masks let’s make these reusable, washable masks.

Sunday July 12th


Dorothy has completed a black and white quilt a special request from her son.

Out of the Chrysalis emerged a beautiful butterfly………

If you are passing Hilary’s house look out for this beautiful butterfly before it flits away.

One block of Japanese style quilting started as a bed quilt ended being repurposed as a table runner. Hilary G.

Are you interested in an EYES Christmas Workshop

We have the opportunity to put on an EYES Christmas workshop (Members Only). This would be undertaken at our usual venue of the D&J club and under strict Covid 19 guidelines. Places are even more limited due to the unusual circumstances at present. Please contact Brenda asap for further details.

Independence Day 2020 !!

Val W.

I have found crocheting relaxing in lockdown. I had wool left after making the family of mice (below) and used it up on the snowman ring. My first Christmas 2020 item.

Deb’s dog comfort blanket and dress made with fabric bought at the NEC a year ago.


I had a good stash of yarn at the beginning of lockdown so got going in the evening while watching telly: 10 cat nests (+ I double sided cat mat and one knee rug) are the result. Two nests are already reserved and the rest will slowly be “decanted” to the Caring for Cats charity shop in Beverley now that it has re-opened.

My other project is clearing out my sewing room (ongoing!)

Diane B

I recently completed this appliqué collage as a wall hanging for my young grandsons. It’s using a’ lunar eclipse’ design by Roxana Pallett from Hannah’s Room, then I’ve overlaid silhouettes. The background is mainly batiks and I’ve free motioned on top of the moon and background.

Margaret W

I hadn’t quite completed this before Christmas – various problems arose, etc – but it was the first UFO that I finished during lockdown!  It is a June Tailor kit where the batting is printed with the design and you sew the backing, batting and top together at the same time, sewing along the printed lines.  I bought the kit – which doesn’t include the fabric – at the Festival of Quilts last year.

Annette : A finished UFO.