Cober Hill residential 2021

After many months of eerie tranquillity Cober Hill was treated to the giddy sight of 22 ladies and their tutor greeting each other for our grand (and much anticipated) residential weekend. A scene not unlike a genteel version of St Trinian’s classic, but for ladies ‘of a certain age’ without the gymslips.

Karen Lane was guiding us through her Art Quilt weekend. Karen is a felting and textile artist from Lincolnshire. Our inspiration for the weekend was based on some beautiful pieces created by Karen, herself inspired by David Hockney’s Tall Trees.

After designing our pieces, we set to work painting our background colours, including Inktense blocks and crayons, transfer paints and acrylic paints. Machine and hand sewing and embroidery completed our pieces.

As usual, the variety of responses to our brief was amazing. Ladies created their own, very personal, works of art, employing a stunning array of colours, textures and techniques.

Karen looked after us with infinite care – giving us patient and friendly advice, as well as sharing lots of new techniques and top tips.

Maggie took care of our every need and ensured we had every comfort – including a delicious afternoon tea. (Just in case we became peckish between the usual ample meals provided by Cober Hill catering.)

It’s been a funny old year and a bit, so it is with huge gratitude we thank Maggie, Karen and the staff of Cober Hill.

This pdf has some pictures of the weekend, and this is the post about it on Karen’s blog.

Alison Wake June 2021: Stitched Landscapes

As has become our custom on zoom, we had a “warm up” act while everyone logged into the meeting. Chair Val surpassed herself today by using power point to display work from various residential workshops from 1989 to 2018.  We spent a lovely time reminiscing about past tutors and venues.  Our first ever residential was organised by Doreen Spencer at Grantley Hall and the tutor was Jenny Barson, a very talented machine embroiderer.  There were  more visits to Grantley for box making with Bridget Rylands, and silk painting with Mary Day.  Marjorie  Siboldi managed to run off several poppy pictures, which she framed and sold to people on a different course, whilst the rest of us were still deciding which colours to use.  Other tutors at Grantley were Jean Littlejohn,  and Jennie Rayment.  When the hall was taken over we tried a non residential weekend at Newland High School with Pam Watts.  We had a skilled tutor and great food but the camaraderie was missing.

Next came several visits to Horncastle College.  The venue had a really good workroom with plenty of natural light, and the food was outstanding.  However the bedrooms were in need of refurbishment and didn’t pass government requirements.  Linda Westerman, Tracy Frankland and Anja Townrow were our tutors.  All experts in their own field.

Sneaton Castle near Whitby had wonderful views and gardens, and a huge collection of Mouseman furniture.  The bedrooms were purpose built for schoolgirls and a bit cramped.  Paddy Killer and Linda Westerman were our  tutors.

Wentworth Castle Northern College became our next venue.  Lovely rooms, but the voucher system for food left us bewildered.  Beadwork ,Friendly Plastic, and Poker Work with Organza were our very varied subjects.  The weather caused many problems on the Kathleen Laurel Sage weekend and we arrived late, some of us dripping wet from leaving the car to seek directions (who  knew there were two Wentworth  mansions).  After a busy weekend Andrew Gibb helped many of us with seized brakes to rock our cars free. Caroline Cockcroft  had to confess to her husband that his brand new car had a wrecked engine.

Then on to Cober Hill, our current venue.  It ticks all of our boxes and our tutors Linda Westerman, Karen Lane , Gail Lawther,  and Josie Storey have all been inspirational. Here’s hoping that 2021 will prove equally as good next month.

Our main speaker this month was Alison Wake

Alison is a member of the Peak District Artisans.  She is inspired by the natural and industrial landscapes of Derbyshire.  We were taken through a collection of photographs in varying seasons. The colours were fantastic, as were the miniature scenes she created from them.  Her work is hand stitched in wool, dyed locally.  She usually buys variegated skeins in 4ply (sock yarn) so that a continuous line of long and short stitch can be created without change of thread.  The waterfalls have a sparkle of silver and look very realistic.  Alison was very generous with her tips about construction and framing.  If you did not join the zoom meeting do have a look at her website, Cognissart.  I had no idea that Derbyshire was such a beautiful county as I have only ever seen it in rain and fog.  Some of her work is currently in the shop at The Rope Walk in Barton on Humber.  Opening Days  Wednesday – Sunday

Goodbye to Eyelets

Eyelets (the junior branch of EYES) ran for 34 years until the covid pandemic of 2020 made it unviable & the decision was made to close it down.

The group was started in 1986 when a group of mums who belonged to EYES at the time decided that a holiday sewing club would benefit all concerned. Initially Jenny Barson, a local textile artist who specialised in delivering workshops to schools, was asked to run a two day session in the autumn half term of 1986. 22 children attended and with the help of mums and EYES members produced some exciting fabric collages.

Prices were set at £1 membership with a £1 meeting fee, a charge that hardly altered throughout the group’s existence!

Following the success of this session a committee was formed & meetings arranged for the three half term holidays & once during the Easter holiday.  Help was forthcoming from EYES members in developing ideas and delivering interesting sessions which attracted children & grandchildren of EYES members. Once the group started contributing to the bi-annual EYES exhibition, children with no link to EYES became involved. A competition was launched to produce the logo which continued to be used regularly on correspondence and to advertise the group.

For the 10th anniversary of the group, Jenny was invited back to teach the children during a whole day session. The children worked independently to produce a wide range of items that together formed an ‘under the sea’ display and the attending children were all given a commemorative china thimble. The ‘under the sea’ display was ultimately exhibited at the EYES exhibition which by now was held over a few days at Beverley Minster. 

The way the children had worked so independently encouraged the leaders to add in a Christmas workshop where the children worked on a carousel of activities.  Thus the format that continued into 2020 was born.  The regular holiday workshops encouraged the children to produce an individual piece of work that could be taken home at the end of the meeting, with occasionally a group project added in to make an interesting display at the bi-annual EYES exhibition.

One Sunday or Saturday at the end of November/beginning of December was set aside for a shorter Christmas workshop, where the children could make any number of items and would proudly go home with a bag full of Christmas ornaments and small gifts. The highlight was always Lillian’s card for which there was always a queue to complete.

The price for these workshops was kept low by additional support from EYES and from the Eyelets sales table. Any left over kits from the workshop would be sold at the end of the meeting and this gradually developed into a larger project run mainly by Marjorie & Vera who developed their own simple kits.

Appeals to EYES members for anything needed always resulted in generous donations which continued to be used and often inspired future activities.  The leaders prided themselves on giving the children a simple idea which they would then develop with surprising variety and individualism.

In the mid-nineties it was recognised that some of the older members would benefit from more challenge so a secondary group was set up (that became known as Highlights). They met monthly and chose their own project.  Patchwork & quilting became the most popular with the first group making a quilt which was ultimately raffled for ‘Children in need’ and exhibited at the Harrogate quilt show.

Subsequently other group quilts were made and exhibited at Harrogate and at the Birmingham Quilt show with some degree of success.  Many of these quilts were designed to be hung as a whole but could be separated into individual works of art that the children could keep.

In 2012 the group exhibited at Birmingham individually with Molly winning a First prize:

All through its existence Eyelets continued to produce work for the regular EYES exhibitions with a competition always being developed for children attending the exhibition to become involved with.

Over the years hundreds of children attended the workshops which regularly hosted more than 20 children and the organisers prided themselves on very rarely repeating an activity. Activities ranged from fine stitching to weaving with chunky yarns, fabric painting & tie dying to wet felting, patchwork & quilting to soft toy making.  Hopefully some of those children have developed a lifelong interest in fabric crafts.

Hilary Goldsmith (Founder and chairperson of Eyelets 1986-2020)

Hilary Spilsby May 2021: Lucy Boston – Patchwork of the crosses

Val Wright (Chair) opened this month’s meeting with some encouraging news. The Exhibition Sub Committee have secured the use of Cottingham’s Civic Hall for next year’s exhibition, which will run from Friday, 29th April until the 2nd of May, 2022. Val explained how this venue provides great opportunities, in terms of a large, open and ‘blank’ space, which will allow for a separate sales area and a space to enjoy refreshments. The Sub Committee also are hopeful that there will be space for a demonstration area. The Exhibition Committee will design the exhibition. Val said that help would be needed for displaying items, stewarding and providing refreshments. In the meantime, Val asked that we take stock of all the projects we have completed throughout the last year, with a view to putting them forward for the exhibition. She reminded us of her lockdown challenge – Close To Our Hearts. This is a 3-D project, 5” x7” in size, depicting anything that has especially touched us during lockdown.

Lynn Benson spoke to us next, introducing a challenge for a Society Display for the exhibition. Lynn’s challenge is to create a piece to fit in an embroidery hoop. The hoop can be any size and Hilary Goldsmith told us that there are plenty of hoops available in the EYELETS stash. Lynn wants us to be experimental with this piece, using any fabric or thread or stitching technique. She is asking us to just ‘go for it’ to produce a piece about anything that inspires you.

Lynn had a little time to show us a couple of hats she has made, each one exuberant, with an abundance of feathers and a 3-D one, which can be worn at any angle!

Jacky Ward Lomax: From Drawing to Quilt

Jacky’s background is in sculpture and she is a self-taught quilter. Jacky explained that the leap from sculpture to sewing and needlecraft was a stretch, although, as a teenager, she would draft her own patterns and make her own outfits.

Jacky began her talk for us by explaining that her inspiration comes from a range of sources, including; images from ones own imagination, research from the computer, books and photos, and tracing images from birthday cards and such like.

Jacky showed us a beautiful selection of pieces and explained how the process worked – from inspiration to end result.

The first piece Jacky showed us was a wall hanging of a pine tree, inspired by a dream. Jacky explained how she draws a grid over her initial drawing so that she can adapt the image to the size she wants. This done, she can choose an array of fabrics and threads and get to work.

We were treated to a vibrant and colourful wall hanging that Jacky created for a friend, celebrating the joy of singing. A Tibetan singing bowl with flowers produced a joyous piece of work.

Jacky is a regular visitor to our sales table, keeping her stash topped up, and even the most unpromising fabrics clearly gain a new lease of life in Jacky’s skilled hands. We enjoyed a Klimt inspired wall hanging of Burton Bushes in Beverley, with spindly, stylised trunks and stylised flower patterns in gorgeous hues.

Other pieces were inspired by Jacky’s visit to Pearson Park, with its exquisite displays of flowers and a birthday card with a graceful trio of horses cantering along the beach.

Jacky’s work is clearly inspired by the world around us with all its colour, texture and joy. Her final piece for us was a bright and very beautiful sunflower!

You can download Jacky’s PowerPoint presentation here:

Hilary Spilsby: Lucy Boston – Patchwork of the crosses

For the final part of our afternoon, Val introduced us to Hilary Spilsby.

Hilary was seated in front of a spectacular quilt which was inspired by the work of an extraordinary woman, Lucy Boston, 1892-1990. Hilary spoke of Lucy’s background as the child of Wesleyan parents and, during The Great war, as a nurse in a French military hospital. She later became the author of the Green Knowe series of children’s books. During the ’30s, we learned that Lucy returned to Essex, after studying painting in Vienna, and set up home in Hemingford Grey. It was here that Lucy started to create quilts of great detail and eclectic in mix.

Hilary was so inspired by Lucy’s work, that she bought the patterns and paper pieces needed to create her own Boston Quilt. Amazingly, the quilt is made up from only two shapes – 24 honeycombs, framed by 1” squares!

Hilary explained that she wanted to make her quilt for her wedding anniversary. She showed us how playing with colour and shade, each square can look completely different. Hilary uses fat quarters and regular metres of fabric for in between. Antique sheets, which aren’t so stiff, are used for the background. Always ready to explore, Hilary has honed her ‘fussy cutting’ technique, selecting tiny images and motifs and cutting them out to insert into her designs to add another layer of delight!

Hilary spent three years on her quilt, taking it on her Anniversary Cruise to Iceland.

Many ladies were interested and, probably relieved, to learn that Hilary leaves her tacking in when making quilts!

You can download Hilary’s presentation here:

An inspiring afternoon, delivered by inspirational women, was enjoyed by all.

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