Lockdown and finishing UFOs

By Maureen Bromley

During what turned out to be the first lockdown, I decided, after working on various patchwork quilt tops (unfinished), general sewing, and knitting and crochet, that maybe I should maybe get some of the UFOs finished.  So I went through my workroom (not sure I could actually work in there as it could be considered a storeroom). I should finished one or two of the items started many years ago, which transpired to be during the 1970s.   I first thing I thought I should finish was an embroidered tablecloth, with the design preprinted on it, which was about two thirds done.  Over the period of the next few months I worked on it, then put it back in the bag, worked on other things and then finally in November I finished it.   It had one or two light stains on it which have more or less washed out and I am pleased to say we used it on the table on Christmas Day.   The tablecloth was bought for a table we had, but it does fit  the current table diagonally. 

I then found another tablecloth, this time it was pulled thread, a very soft evenweave fabric with a green and white stripe.   Again this was about two thirds done, so I worked on that, in between other things and finished it February this year. This was an original design by me and the notes and diagrams were still with it, along with all the threads.  But I did have to reduce the amount of stitchery on it as I wouldn’t have had enough thread.    This was started even earlier than the other tablecloth, possibly 1970, again it fits our current table diagonally.   It doesn’t photograph particularly well, or maybe my skills as a photographer are lacking, but the photo does give an idea of what it looks like.

Well, I think I was on a bit of a roll here as I found yet another old embroidery in the guise of a cushion cover.   No idea what the fabric is, it is quite narrow, about 24 inches wide with a selvedge each side.   The design is an embroidery transfer which I still have and it was probably about 90% stitched.  Why did I stop? Well I have no idea, but it is finished now and made up into a cushion.

I then had to decide what to do next.   There are several UFOs started on workshops when I was attending classes etc a few years ago, so I pulled out the first one which I had the threads and design with it.   This is a crewel work piece, using mixed threads and was probably about only 10% completed.  I am happy to say this is progressing well and I am enjoying it so I hope to be able to finish it now.    I think it is supposed to be a cushion cover, I may be overrun with cushions, but we will see.  After that there are at least another half dozen pieces to be done, so it may be some time before I start any new projects! Well, unless I am tempted that is!

Maureen B

EYES celebrates 35 Year Anniversary!

IMG_6650
Anniversary cake prepared by Margaret Wright’s daughter Helen

On Saturday 14th October 2017 EYES members celebrated 35 years as a Society.

We were entertained with talks by founder member Muriel through to Helen who described ‘growing up’ with EYES. Each speaker recalled incidents and memories highlighting the importance of the Society in their lives to this day.

Muriel spoke about being at the initial meeting, in 1982, where a group of City and Guilds students from Bishop Burton College were looking for like minded people to start a society with regular meetings.  Muriel brought along samples of intricate smocking and described how the process of gathering the fabric, prior to the embroidery, was greatly improved when the society bought a smocking machine. She also talked about the society having  been involved in the Millennium Tapestry, sections of which are still on display in the James Cook Hospital, Middlesbrough.

Margaret spoke on behalf of four members , Dorothy, Ann, Joyce and Kathy and their shared memories since joining the society in 1991. Their individual skills range from Dorothy dyeing her own fabrics, to Joyce with her traditional styles including hardanger and pulled threadwork. Margaret emphasised how welcoming these four had been on her first residential visit, helping her develop skills and confidence. She showed the audience a machine embroidered picture of a garden arch Ann had completed on one of these courses.

For her talk, Marion recalled her enjoyment of the residential courses run by EYES over the years. She highlighted the social aspect of attending these courses and the regular workshops, as a means of getting to know fellow members. Marion also encouraged members to become involved in the committee.

Jacky introduced herself as a woodcarver and former art teacher. She enjoys the Saturday speakers as they ‘give me permission to try’ and she takes away new ideas every month. Jacky designed and stitched the EYES Shield which is on display at every Saturday meeting.

Maureen spoke of past events and competitions held by EYES bringing with her a pin cushion, made for one of these competitions. She also spoke about the society being involved with collecting silk threads for refugee women in Afghanistan. Another of the competitions resulted in cushions for Dove House, Martin House and the Godfrey Johnson Home .

Helen’s mother, Wendy, was one of the original students who wished to continue with their love of embroidery and encourage others to form a society. Helen recalled attending EYES meetings with her mother and her own developing enthusiasm for the hobby. Helen revisited her time as Chair of EYES talking about Trader’s Fairs trips and outings . Amongst her items Helen had to show were intricately decorated Walnut Purses.

Everyone agreed the afternoon had been most enjoyable and wished the Society a further 35 years.

Below Muriel bringing the afternoon to a close cutting the cake.

IMG_6729

January 2021

Susan B

I attach a picture entitled ‘July’.

It is one of a monthly series.

On the border I have used the names for July in the various languages of the UK and a Roman quote about sailing on the ocean. The main part uses Roman mosaics of sea creatures, with a nod to Asissi work, and the bright colours of modern Mediterranean mosaics to depict the mystery of the deep ocean, which is still a great unknown.

It is very simple. It is cross stitch, English star, and back stitch.

Deb D

Val W opened our January Zoom meeting with a discussion about her love of Colour. Deborah D showed these two colourful pieces hand embroidered with spiritual wording.

Diana

Diana’s sister has embroidered these napkins ready for a 70th birthday celebration. Everyone is hoping they will be able to meet in person for this important date.

Maggie T ‘You did say you wanted colour’

You did say you wanted colour!  This is my version of the Harry Styles jacket (with a lot of alterations)

Angie Hughes April 2021: Creative Ice Breaking

We began our meeting with a warm up session from Hilary Goldsmith on the theme Quilting has kept me sane … Or has it?  She told us about the quilts she has been making in lockdown, and how the sunflower theme led to her “growing” a sunflower plant, which attracted a catepillar, which eventually turned into a butterfly.

Our April speaker on Zoom was Angie Hughes. Her presentation looked at ways of
increasing creativity, particularly when we can’t visit museums, art galleries, and exhibitions.

The first point she made was to get on with it and make a start. The author Philip Pullman goes to his shed and works from 9 – 5 so that when an idea comes, he is ready to use it. But even when you are in your working space, what can you do to get your creative juices going? Ideas include:

  • Look for artists that can inspire, for Angie this included Klimt, Jane Walker and Hundertwasser.
  • Look at pictures in books and magazines. Try picking a section so work on.
  • There are now many opportunities to work with artists via website workshops. Domestika is a good place to learn from artists you wouldn’t normally come into contact with, as tyhe artists live all over the world. There are English subtitles where the artist is not using English for the tuition.
  • Look at specific techniques to experiment with colors and shapes. An area which inspired Angie was using specific areas from fiction or reference books and producing them to create pictures.
  • During lockdown many galleries have been developing their websites. Try a virtual visit to the
  • National Maritime museum, the V&A and many more.
  • Simply gather a variety of materials, including favorite fabrics, transfer foils and bondaweb and try making different shapes and marks.
  • Communities are invaluable for swapping materials and ideals, perhaps developing altered books, travelling books, or simply collaborating on a project.

At the end of the presentation, Angie described the process for using transfer foils – iron bondaweb onto black velvet, remove the paper and apply the transfer foil using an iron to make marks (remembering to apply the foil face up).

Lucy Adlington March 2021: Tea Gowns and Dresses of the 1930s

Lynn B started the meeting with a moving book review of Threads of Life, Clare Hunter, which is about how needle and thread have sustained stitchers throughout the ages, with specific examples of how this has maintained memories and morale throughout difficult and often desperate times.  After such a wonderful review I know I, (Val W) for one, will be searching for and reading this book.

 

You cut a length of thread, knot one end and pull the other end through the eye of a needle you take a piece of fabric and push your needle into one side of the cloth, then pull it out on the other until it reaches the knot. You leave a space. You push your needle back through the fabric and pull it out on the other side. You continue until you have made a line, or a curve, or a wave of stitches. That is all there is: thread, needle, fabric and patterns the thread makes. This is sewing.”

 ‘Threads of Life’ by Clare Hunter who explores embroidery as the chosen method of communication for many great examples of noteworthy people during the course of her writing.

 The book is split into well defined chapters on particular themes which makes it very easy to dip in and out of as the feeling takes you.

Do try it, you won’t be disappointed. There is a copy in our library.

Val then introduced Lucy Adlington of History Wardrobe and her show and tell on Tea Gowns and Tea Time in the 1930’s.  Lucy gave us a splendid talk and showed us some (mostly) original patterns, pieces and garments from throughout that decade and explained how these particular garments reflected their social context and social status during the turbulent decade leading from the relief of peace and settling down after the Great War and the Spanish Flu Epidemic to the build up and commencement of the Second World War http ://www.lucyadlington.com

The garments and patterns reflected the streamlining entering the fashion works following the dominance of the art deco movement.  This was typically epitomised in the use of floaty fabrics such as georgettes and chiffons and the mainstream introduction of artificial fabrics such a rayon.  Feminine floral motifs began to dominate, whether printed or embroidered, and the use of bias cut fabrics to allow swirling skirts and dresses that gently enhanced and projected the gentle, delicate, dainty female form that replaced the rail thin androgynous models of the 1920s – such female forms still strictly controlled through, albeit with bralettes and girdles instead of heavy corsets! 

The talk culminated  in Lucy donning a beautiful original 1930s tea gown of sheerest chiffon over a yellow slip and talking through the differences between day gowns of the time and tea gowns – specially donned for that extra special afternoon tea outing with friends, and how tea dresses were often sheerer, floater and a longer length to day dresses, as if to emphasis the floaty ephemeral female ideal being projected at that time.

Along the way we received some splendid nuggets of information about historical fabrics, and I will take her advice and never use rayon hanky!  (Don’t blow your nose on a rayon hanky as the snot slides straight off!)

The afternoon concluded with Val giving our thanks to Lucy for a wonderful show and tell, and wishing all members a safe and happy month until our next meeting.

A Year Passes EYES Members Still Stitching

Hilary G has a go at Tambour Embroidery following last month’s discussion.

Rachel B

Pat C I’m hoping members would like to see my ‘Lockdown Quilt’, finally finished in February 2021 and now with my son and daughter-in-law.   The main blocks are from a pattern in Today’s Quilter but I had to improvise on the outer border and binding having only scraps of fabric left to work with.  This was the result of having purchased a Stripology ruler and excitedly cutting more 2.5 inch strips than I needed for the pattern.  Happy days!

Alison Larkin February 2021: Jane Austen Embroidery

Serendipity, Austen Embroidery and Lady’s Magazine

Following retirement after 30 years of teaching Alison was able to follow her passion of 18th and 19th century embroidery on a full time basis, without the feelings of guilt many of us experience.

Serendipity stepped in in the form of an embroidery pattern discovered in a back copy of a 19th century magazine, The Lady’s Magazine. This spawned an idea for a book and years of research and collaboration with Jennie Batchelor. During this process, and following another personal interest, Alison discovered Jane Austen was an embroiderer and often referred to this in her novels. Thus developed their book Jane Austen Embroidery.

Alison introduced her talk showing artifacts of Georgian Embroidery she has seen in her own studies this enhanced a very detailed and interesting talk about the techniques and materials used in the time of Jane Austen and Alison’s personal discoveries as she researched the book. Alison’s skill extended beyond the research of the book into designing the front cover with embroidery in the style of the time.

For those interested in purchasing Alison’s book and seeing Alison’s other work click on the link below.

Alison Larkin Embroidery – Historical Embroidery in Full-size and Miniaturehttps://alisonlarkinembroidery.com/

Hearts, Luggage Tabs, Flying Geese and New Arrivals

Ruth : My January sewing finished project. I made 120 flying geese 0.5″x0.75″. The finished square is 14″

Hearts : Jeanne,Sue and Helen

Luggage Tabs and Rolls undertaken following January Zoom meeting.

Elizabeth talks about her ideas and inspiration:

I have been busy making Suffolk puffs the last few days. It’s making me want to make 2 sets of tags as I can’t always decide what colour scheme to use. I have made last weeks button tag but now want to make a Suffolk puff one.

I have used this style a few years ago. I bought a book on Kantha stitch 5 years ago at Knitting and Stitching and made a sweet picture of poppy and seed heads. I was then hooked on the plain stitching method with a hand stitched quilt in mind. (In my dreams for now!)

I then found on Pinterest Jude Hill – Spirit Cloth and was amazed at her work. I think it imprinted on my mind and with my love of Angie Lewin, then, Anne Brookes starting her vintage courses, here I am finding my own style.

Val has described the stitching she used each week of the challenge to date; week1 is white, week 2 hearts,week 3 fabric strips, week 4 flystitch,week 5 fabricstrips,week 6 buttons.

For those who may have been inspired by the above project this is an ongoing exercise on YouTube. Details and link on January EYES post.

Hilary G welcomes a new grandchild.

Anne Brooke January 2021: For the Love of Stitch

Chairman Val began the meeting by welcoming everyone but pointed out how difficult it was to gauge everyone’s reaction so she would love to have feedback and ideas for how to start the meetings. She then asked Elizabeth and Deborah to share some of their thoughts on how to cope with the next few months. Deborah has really embraced colour during lockdown as a way of keeping up her spirits so watch out for pictures of her activities on the website. To quote her “Grey is out, colour is in”. Elizabeth reminded us of the importance of keeping up our standards and dressing up even for zoom calls and she gave us a lovely foretaste of what was to come by sharing projects she had done on Anne’s workshops in the past.

Anne then began her talk with a reminder that she had spoken to us a few years back and she was clearly impressed with the sales table. We will all be plundering that again as soon as we can! She gave a brief resume of how she started her journey, not in textiles but in art and her love of workshops and experimenting with all things new. Sound familiar? But gradually she started incorporating stitching into her collage work and eventually moved into using fabric. Harold the hare was a highlight with layered fabrics and stitching. She stressed the importance of not always having a plan but allowing the piece to grow naturally. This can be risky, but she insisted it is worth playing and giving yourself freedom to experiment. As a lover of all things Poppy I was fascinated by her 3D poppy head but as she pointed out this was a PHD piece (no not a higher level degree but her name for UFOs -Projects Half Done).

Since her last talk to us she has set herself the challenge of learning new stitching techniques. Not necessarily as a finished product but as a sample to be enjoyed in its own right. This is something many of us find challenging, needing to find a purpose for doing something but maybe lockdown has taught us the importance of doing things just for the fun of it and her strips of fabric on bobbins and miniature books certainly gave plenty of opportunity to experiment and explore stitching.

Anne is left-handed and pointed out that it is often difficult to find demonstrations for left- handed people so she feels she is filling a gap in the market with her videos on You tube. In ‘Sewing for the Soul’ and ‘The love of Stich’ she uses scraps of found fabrics as well as hand dyed fabrics and threads to create exquisite little pieces often incorporating buttons, Suffolk puffs, vintage lace and many stitches you may have forgotten you knew. Her website is full of examples and her You Tube videos are extremely easy to access from there and provide small weekly projects.(Just google Anne Brooke Textile artist) She demonstrates fabric books, a book in a tin, tags and circles of friendship all created using stitch.

Anne spoke of being part of a community of people out there who are stitching and enjoying it and I think we can all relate to that. By the end of the talk I certainly agreed with one of her quotes;“My soul has been fed with needle and thread.”

Links to Anne Brooke’s website below.

Anne Brooke’s website

Anne’s website has links to her You Tube #Sew the Soul and other projects plus the opportunity to join a Zoom workshop coming up soon.

Members’ Work

Susan B

I attach a picture entitled ‘July’.

It is one of a monthly series.

On the border I have used the names for July in the various languages of the UK and a Roman quote about sailing on the ocean. The main part uses Roman mosaics of sea creatures, with a nod to Asissi work, and the bright colours of modern Mediterranean mosaics to depict the mystery of the deep ocean, which is still a great unknown.

It is very simple. It is cross stitch, English star, and back stitch.

Deb D

Val W opened our January Zoom meeting with a discussion about her love of Colour. Deborah D showed these two colourful pieces hand embroidered with spiritual wording.

Diana

Diana’s sister has embroidered these napkins ready for a 70th birthday celebration. Everyone is hoping they will be able to meet in person for this important date.

Maggie T ‘You did say you wanted colour’

You did say you wanted colour!  This is my version of the Harry Styles jacket (with a lot of alterations)

Next Zoom meeting Saturday February13th.

Alison Larkin : Serendipity