2019 courses

•January 17, 2019 • Leave a Comment

long course over three days at Nottingham lakeside arts, wool laid and couched work.


two different long course at the AShmolean museum, one is gargoyles in laid and couched work (although I won’t make you do a gargoyle if you don’t want to, we’re taking a loose interpretation, you can do a portrait of your husband if you think we’ll be able to tell the difference) the other is opus anglicanum, which we’re calling angels and demons, but again, loose interpretations and all that

days are in May, July, and October.



online tickets aren’t avaoilable for the Ashmolean courses until the 28th of January, but it if email or phone Jude Barratt at the museum she should be able to sort you out

theres also a one day opus taster at the IMc in leeds, which will be less of a “work on something that pleases you” and more of a “here, you’re doing this small project I chose because we’ve only got four hours”. Leeds uni seem to have a new website though, and I can’t find anything, but I think it is open to non-delegates if you contact the IMC office

If you’re interested

•January 15, 2019 • 7 Comments

I started a facebook group for pre1500 embroidery.

Service here will continue with weekly posts as per normal, and I’ll link to those over there. The Facebook group is in no way meant to replace this blog, but I have reasons to want to diversify a bit – mysterious secret reasons which will be illuminated in due course

I’m going to try and get the ball rolling over there by starting at the beginning of my blog archive and highlighting something every day until I run out, so if you fancy a few blasts from the past it might be fun


( think that’s the right link)

organ no longer pending

•January 13, 2019 • 2 Comments

except he says it isn’t big enough – typical boy!

And the harpist finally got his hat.

One last christmas presents post

•January 6, 2019 • 2 Comments

Normal service will resume next week, honest

Gareth’s sister, Caz, runs a guesthouse in Windermere. It’s called rockside, and it’s very nice if you fancy visiting. It being Windermere, there’s a lot of Beatrix Potter around, so I made Caz a couple of potter blouses for Christmas, also one for her partner, Martin.

There was a very plain one with gorgeous vintage buttons.

and a motley one made from all the potter scraps leftover from previous blouses made for Caz, and Shirts for a couple of other people.

Any and all further potter shirts will have carrot buttons, because the other kind are too hard to get.

Gareth got a dinosaur shirt, largely due to the hissy fit he threw in summer when he had to go see “JUrassic World” without a dinosaur shirt to wear.

And I made two of these, because when I told John I was making gareth a shirt that had star constellations that looked like kitties, he demanded to ahve one, too, so I had to go and order more fabric. (John like to take his telescope out to the moors and stare at stars)

There’s still a large pile of buttonless shirts in my sewing room. The pre-chirstmas shirtmaking binge resulted in shirts for Gareth for birthday, valentines and easter, as well as christmas and birthday shirts for Martin, my dad, peter and John.

Technically I don’t really need to buy any fabric next year…

Christmas present to me.

•December 28, 2018 • 6 Comments

Normally I have a day out in London at this time of year, but I was feeling a bit too knackered.

Then Sartor had some silk I liked and I decided to spend my train fare on that instead. They only had two and a half metres, I think as a sample for a new venture – it’s silk lampasette, c14th, with proper metal gilt threads instead of the cheap lurex they normally use, plus it’s handloom woven and fair trade.

Consequently it was a bit more expensive than usual, but I got 70cm, enough for sleeves, a purse, and the top part of a new henin. I ordered it on christmas eve, and wasn’t expecting it to come today because the website says they’re closed until the 6th of January – it’s a family company though, so I expect someone got sick of spending quality time with the family and decided to go to work for a few hours.

I’m goign to use it with this butter yellow wool that I’ve had stashed for ages, and make a new c15th kirtle. Probably not this year though, because I want to get my Elizabeth Woodwille black dress that I’ve made the jewels for, and I need a new c13th frock for Evesham as well. Two frocks in one year is about my limit.

Until then I will just pet it.

penguin coat.

•December 27, 2018 • 15 Comments

Last year in December I went to the Jethro Tull christmas concert in Durham cathedral with all four parents. A conversation ensued which ended with me telling my mother to shut up.

Me- Janet, would you wear a Christmas coat. Not as loud as mine and Mums, but a bit more subtle?

Janet – I think so

Me – because I had this idea for a snow scene one with some pale blue wool I’ve got, with penguins or maybe polar bears, but I look terrible in pale blue, and so does mum.

Janet – ooh…

Mum – (interupting) I do look terrible in pale blue, but I look great in a very dark blue.

me – I know, that’s why I’m asking Janet

mum -But I’m just saying I could wear it, if you made it with dark blue, and it would be like the North Pole at night

me  – I’m not planning to make the north pole at night, mother, I have pale blue fabric

mum -but I’d love a dark blue coat

this continued for quite some time Until I end up yelling – Mother, I’ve made you two coats, I’m asking if Janet would like one, shut the hell up!

Anyway, I made Janet, my stepmum, a penguin coat, because she looks nice in pale blue.

it’s wool melton applique with chain stitched snowflakes, and it took me three days. Had to draft a whole new pattern because Janet is much more petite than me and mum. When I say draft a pattern I mean I measured Janet and sort of eyeballed cutting the wool until it looked about right.

better shot of the front, taken on the dummy. The little sparklies don’t show up very well in the pics. Bonds in Farsley have had them in all year, little squares of flat aurora borealis preciosa crystals, and I’d been looking at them and wondering what I could do with them. Then I started this project and rushed out to buy some.

The front penguins are pockets.

Janet has been wearing it in Scotland. dad says scotland approves

I have another coat to make, but it will be the christmas after next, because I’m spending the next 18 months on a big important project that I can’t yet blog about.


I almost forgot to post this week – here, have some presents

•December 23, 2018 • 4 Comments

busy, busy, busy!

I made my stepdad, Peter, a mermaid sequin shirt. The colour seemed appropriate because he married my mum wearing pink and silver.

Gareth thinks it’s horrid, but that Peter will love it. I did check with him that he’s like it, and he was well up for it, he was even slightly disappointed to get a winnie the pooh shirt for his birthday because he was expecting this. There was also a black and silver one that was a bit of a trail run.

I was surprised how heavy it is, and it hangs quite stiffly – mostly because I bound the inner seams to prevent chafing. When I motted the idea to Peter my mum stepped in and vetoed it, saying that it would be scratchy, but I think really she didn’t want anyone stealing her crown as queen of sequins.

But I made mum this, which has no sequins.

This was my cheapest christmas present of the year, being made entirely from my rag bag. It has no repeats other than where I got to the end of a row and cut a panel in half, it has a total of 153 different prints (including minions, which will piss her off if she ever notices then, because she has summarily dismissed them as “stupid” without ever bothering to watch a despicable me film) and wieghs a kilo and a half. She may well have to strengthen the elastic or replace it with a waistband, but I didn’t have her measurements and it seemed rude to ask, so…

Also, I treid out that thing where you do pleats with a fork, you have to modify a cheap fork a bit (I hoiked one out fo the picnic basket) but it works really well.

Mum’s present didn’t really fit in a box, and I didn’t fancy trying to wrap it without, so I made a bag from scraps of mermaid fabric.

She got very excited when she saw the bag, so at least she likes one part of her present. which gave me a stashbusting idea

and I made a few more for awkward shaped things. Re useable!

I also made this for my mum, but then when she came for lunch last Sunday she was already wearing two Christmas tree pendants at once, both of which were three times the size of this one(my mum miseheard the classic advice about looking at your outfit and removing an accesory before leaving the house, and instead adds a couple more to be on the safe side). I realised it was far too subtle for her so I’m giving it to someone else.

It’s backset glass with a garnet – the star moves.

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