Workshop Information and Accounts 2016 - 2017

20th April 2017

4 Square Mini Workshop - Ruth Dalby

Each member had to pick a piece of paper from 4 different pots - each had a different stitch on it.
We then drew a square (set size) on to our fabric and divided it into 4 smaller squares.
A colour of thread was selected eg green and different thickness /textures of thread were  collected together.

Starting in one of the small squares, at the outside edge, using the thickest thread and one of the stitches 'picked', work approx 4 stitches of different sizes, then move to the next square , use the same thread but a different stitch and repeat the process.

Continue in each of the 4 squares, then select next thickness of thread and repeat the process using the stitch previously used in the square.
Continue until each square is filled, then select a button and sew on in the middle of the large square, outline the original square with stitch as desired.


23 rd February 2017

Free Machine Embroidery Flowers with Clair Muir

Clair brought an large range of machine threads for us to use

The first stage was to create flower pattern pieces and pin on to the washable/disolveable fabric positioned in the hoop.
Having set up the machine for free embroidery we outlined the flower petal pieces and then filled them in making sure the stitches overlapped otherwise when thew fabric was washed the petals would fall apart.

Then the central wire was machined into position(care required to avoid needle damage!) a long piece was required in order to create the flower and its stem.





21st and 22nd April

Creative Surfaces workshop - 1 . 5 days 




19th November 

Mini Workshop

12th November
Workshop -Inspiration Day with Maryke 

15th October

 Mini Workshop with Marianne Grime

'Curly Ribbon Trees'

28th /29th May 

2 Day workshop with Isobel Hall 
(at Adderley Village Hall)

'Working with Cocoon strippings for Medieval book covers and bags'

16th April

Mini workshop with Brenda Scarman

The main technique for this workshop is to use Detached Buttonhole Stitch to fill the petal shapes of the Tudor Rose. This stitch formed the main part of the elaborate shapes found in costumes of the first Elizabethan era, which were highly decorated, and had gold thread and spangles (sequins) applied, making them very colourful. A modern version of a Chatelaine is what has inspired the designs for this workshop

Our challenge was to make the scissor keeper from the chatelaine,creating the rose using chain stitch, detached buttonhole stitch, enhancing the design with sequins and beads and completing the case lining with satin and sewing together.  




26th March 

Full day - 'Book Structure for Embroidery and Textile Artists'
                  with Mary Sleigh     

NB Brick to weight down is also needed

19th February 2015

 ' Wessex Work'  mini workshop with Sue Jones

Margaret Foster (1843-1936) lived in Bath and continued stitching well into her 90’s. She called her creation "stitchery" rather than "embroidery" and it became known as "Wessex Stitchery" because this was the region she resided in. Wessex in Saxon times was the centre of needlework and the art of illumination and Margaret Foster gave names to different patterns, including places of interest and old stories. She made a point of using only British materials in her work. 

Wessex Stitch was a technique that used a limited number of stitches combined in a great variety of patterns to give surprising decorative effects. Margaret loved colour and wasn’t afraid to use it in her designs. (She was not fond of the stamped work being done at that time and so she went her own way)  Also, the backs of her work were not neat as she carried thread across the back between motifs. 

Margaret produced 300 pieces of work for her exhibition in the 1930’s.  At that time she was the only person doing Wessex Stitch. She had a vast knowledge of stitches and techniques like Elizabethan Blackwork and developed her ideas. She even wrote her own catalogue for the exhibition

Little is known of Margaret Foster the person, but thanks to her sister who donated her samples to Gawthorpe Hall; her work is available for all interested stitchers to see.

Having introduced us to the work of Margaret Sue distributed the resource packs containing information about the stitch we were going to focus on, sample fabric  and thread to practice on in order to familiarise ourselves with the technique and a larger piece of fabric to work our design on. Sue had also brought a lovely colourful selection of threads, plus needles and frames for those without.

The workshop was informative and enjoyable but required concentration in order to count threads to ensure the evenness of the stitches and design. Requests were made for a further session using a different stitch of stitches.





15th January 2015

‘Little Silky Pictures’ mini workshop with Trisha James  










20th November

‘Let's Get Knotted’ mini workshop with Val Mackin 

The aim is for everyone to have fun whilst learning to tie a variety of knots. Start with a Carrick knot and make a coaster to ensure understanding of how the knot is formed.
Other knots like the Turks Head, Ocean Mat and Lanyard knot can be tried.














13th November

‘Two Stitches’ workshop with Sylvia Stead 

Sylvia brought in many pieces of her work as well as a selection of threads, ribbon etc together with her collection of stitch samples to give us ideas about how we could vary each stitch and create different effects with it.

Whilst explaining the background to individual pieces of her work, Sylvia identified sources of inspiration and how certain stitches would come to mind as being the right ones to achieve the desired outcomes. This was the case with stab stitch and an image of lava flow from a volcano from which resulted in a more textural raised piece.

This led to our first challenge - Sylvia had made a square consisting of a layer of  cotton, wadding and silk on the top- the aim was to use stab stitch and cord behind the fabric (to give a more raised effect) if desired and experiment exploring the effects of the stitch on the fabric square.

Once we were all happy with the working of the technique Sylvia introduced the idea of using just one stitch eg straight to create designs. For this she showed us different pieces by textile artists and suggested we try either an apple design which she had brought or an idea of our own.

Apple outline
Transfer of outline

Getting started
Thinking about design and threads

Apples showing various stages of working and ways of including shading and texture.

Having completed the designs in one stitch it was time to select another stitch to experiment with in a variety of threads, ribbons and colours. Examples from Sylvia are shown below featuring chain,running, fly and feather stitches.

The samples that follow show various stages of stitch experimentation ranging from those featuring practise of several stitches, variations of one stitch to finished work.

10th July Full day workshop

Inspired by Klimt with Angie Hughes

This was an interesting and enjoyable day – yet the participants were strangely quiet! This was as Carrie said a sign of concentration with all focusing on thinking about design possibilities, learning different techniques, using new materials and applying these in the creation of our ‘pictures’.

Angie interspersed the session with demonstrations and supported us in our experimentation with Transfoil, Hotspots, KK Glue, microglitter, foil from sweet wrappers etc.


Transfoils, glue etc


Examples created by Angie

Discussion with Angie

Can we achieve this?
 Experimentation with new resources

Angie's demonstration piece

Applying Bondaweb
Checking position

Time went quickly - we could have done with longer as only a few managed to try out the machine embroidery stitches that Angie uses in her work. There were plenty of tips like working diagonally from the top to the bottom of the work and not taking your machine foot off the work this meant working from shape to shape outlining and filling in with 'drunken wiggles'. Other ideas were outlining shapes in straight stitch and then working on the reverse of the piece, also to use an open toe embroidery foot so you can see where you are stitching although if the surface is not smooth then a normal closed circle foot is better. Hopefully our memories of what she showed us and the notes supplied will enable us to complete our pieces.

Angie works on reverse of piece

Stitching detail

Our work in progress

Many were heard to mutter – I could try this in my next travelling book. We look forward to seeing many pieces inspired by a variety of Artists and using the processes developed today.

Finished pieces

22nd May Full day workshop    CANCELLED

(Sunflowers with Elizabeth Wall)

17th April 2014 Mini workshop
Needle Felting with Trisha James

27th March 2014 Full day workshop

'Whitework' with Elizabeth Almond 

Our aim completed initial

Selecting desired Initial
Transfer onto fabric
Ready to start white work

Liz demonstrates new stitch
Advice from Liz
Work in progress

Colourful whitework

Beginning of design
whitework initial progressing

Backstitch round outline
Whitework with colour!

Inspiration and future projects!
An example of Whitework

Completed Initials

20th March 2014
Paper Sculpture workshop 

January and February workshops (2014)


November workshop:
Assisi Work – a new approach by Maggie Phillips

Assisi is a technique where the background of a design is sewn, and the front is left void. (It is sometimes known as voided work.)

It has become associated with the Italian town of Assisi but the idea of leaving the design 'void' was common in Italy. 

Traditionally the background is in one colour (usually red, blue or green) and is worked in cross stitch with any outlines done in Holbein stitch. Common motifs include paired birds or animals and also mythical subjects. 

Maggie introduced the Assisi work and we then selected from the range of kits that on display the one we wanted to try. All we required to get started was the ability to follow the planned design and to be able to use Holbein and Cross stitch.

Concentration on both stitching and the plan

Maggie available for help and advice

Examples of kits with the reverse being as neat as the front of the work.







Full day workshop -  Goldwork Embroidery by Sarah Rakestraw of Golden Hinde

This was our opportunity to learn the technique of Or Nou which is creating a design with Jap (the gold thread) and thread (coloured stranded embroidery thread in our case). 

As well as this Sarah had also brought a selection of threads, fabric including silk, cotton, leather, scissors, frames, beads,  books and kits so we could purchase any  additional items required for our workshop or future projects in Goldwork.

Sarah and Sue  had a selection of 4 designs which they use, however the ‘flower' which was surrounded by a circle of gold was complex and time consuming requiring a 2 day workshop, although the others were achievable. The designs were a ‘feather/wing’, a ‘Celtic Bird'  and a ‘Maori Symbol’ and we were encouraged to select based on our interest rather than being guided by factors like simplicity, quickest to develop etc.

Once the design was selected we were provided with a kit which contained a coloured postcard of our design to guide us as we worked, two 5m lengths of Jap(T69) and a selection of embroidery threads of appropriate colours.

Our first task was to transfer the outline of the chosen design on to our selected fabric (silk or linen) using a silver or gold gel pen. The paper with the design on was secured to the back of the fabric in the frame with tape, a light box made it easier to see the outline allowing for accurate transfer, then the paper design was removed, a backing piece of cotton fabric placed under the silk/linen in the frame and then we were ready for the next stage.

Sue showing samples of gold work

Concentration and the opportunity for a break

To insert the ends of the Jap into the fabric we needed to select a crewel /darning needle which had a point and an eye which was sufficiently large to accommodate the thickness of the Jap easily. Two threads of Jap are used at a time but they are inserted through the fabric separately and then couched over with the thread to secure.

Sarah demonstrating one of the gold work techniques

Those who selected the feather/wing design then used the embroidery thread and a couching stitch to hold the two threads of Jap to the surface of the fabric along the outside edge of the design ensuring that the gel pen outline was covered. The other two designs required the Jap to be couched on in a gold coloured or invisible thread which required the application of bee’s wax to ‘stiffen’ the thread.
Good eye sight, concentration and a steady hand was then required to recreate the design using the postcard for guidance as to colour of thread, density of couching, distance each colour was required for etc. 

By the end of the workshop we had learned the techniques required and had made good progress with our selected designs. All we need to do is complete our project and once finished send a picture/ photo for her website gallery. 



 March and April - Linus Quilts


Project Linus was named after the security blanket toting character from the Peanuts comic strip.

Project Linus began in America in 1995 when Karen Loucks saw a newspaper article showing how much a comfort blanket had helped a child cancer victim and decided to organise blankets for her local children’s cancer unit and started spreading the word. Since that time over 4 million blankets and quilts have been delivered worldwide.

Finding out about the project and examples of quilts
Project Linus UK is a volunteer organisation. Which aims to provide a sense of security and comfort to sick and traumatised babies, children and teenagers through the provision of new home made patchwork quilts and knitted/crocheted blankets, and give volunteers across to UK the opportunity to contribute to their local community.

The organisation began in the UK in March 2000 as a result of a quilter’s desire to help children in need. Our volunteers deliver about 2,000 quilts and blankets to sick, disabled or disadvantaged children across the UK each month. 

Quilts and blankets can go to any child who is in need of cheering and comforting. Hospitals, hospices and refuges are popular but if you know of any child or children's organisation that would benefit, please let us know and we will try to help

Examples of quilts and materials to make them
Reverse of quilt

Example of completed quilt

Project Linus can use all sizes and types of quilts as long as they are machine washable, robustly made and do not have any buttons or lacey bits that could get pulled off or snag tiny fingers. 

Over the two workshop sessions (March and April) the members have each made a patchwork quilt for the project. We started with 12 material squares and could select shapes to appliqué on to these, our choices were ‘Kites’, ‘Dogs’, ‘Butterflies’ ‘Yachts’’,’Circles’. 

Starting to sew the shapes onto fabric squares

Once chosen we started to embroider the shapes in position and enhance as required to make them attractive. 

Dogs were a popular choice
Collars enhanced the dogs

Boats were more complicated with 3 parts and the waves

The squares were then sewn together lengthwise in strips of 4 which were then sewn together to form a 3x4 square quilt. 

Squares sewn together and border added
Sewing the squares together into strips

Pressing the edges of border ready to apply the backing fabric

A border was then added all round and pressed in half, wadding and a backing piece were added, the border folded over to encase the edges and the quilting process was ready to start. This would hold the layers firmly together as well as enhancing the quilt. 

Adding the backing and tacking to hold in position prior to quilting

Quilting the border

Quilting along the centre joins using quilting threads

Members worked hard making their quilts for Project Linus in the knowledge that they were helping babies, children and young people by bringing comfort to them.




  March - Lutradur Large Leaf Tea Light Workshop


Cutting out the leaf shapes
Soldering iron used to gain accurate shapes

Drying the decoration on the leaf

Applying decoration to the coloured leaves

Speeding up the drying of colour and decoration

Creating the 3D leaf shape by stitching

Group and finished lights

Finished Leaf Lights

Group and finished lights

Group including Jean the photographer