Tuesday, 31 December 2013


Dear Maids, I thought you might like to see the xmas sewing I have been working on… I decided to make everyone in my family a patchwork or appliqué cushion - and here are the results. So now I've done some proper patchwork, and learnt a lot doing it.

Happy New Year and all that! see you in a few weeks, Chris

Tuesday, 24 December 2013


The theory behind this was the lack of building land, and the trend for flats and apartments.
I haven't decided which.

Now I'm off for a hot mince pie and some mulled wine.
Have a Very Merry Christmas Everyone and a Happy New Year.

Friday, 15 November 2013


I just had to share this.
It was actually started two years ago.
and has spent most of the time since waiting for me to finish the quilting.

Another UFO off my list.

Thursday, 7 November 2013


I had suggested this venue after having read about the wonderful mineral collection housed there.
Imagine my disappointment to find that this display was not disabled friendly.
However, this was soon forgotten when I went into the "Egyptian Room" which was packed full of inspiration, and I came home with my head buzzing with ideas of hieroglyphics, urns and especially a mummified cat......... (I think I need to get out more)




 Mummified Cat

The wrappings on the cat reminded me of the "Log Cabin" quilting pattern. I decided to use Used Tea Bags as they are the perfect colour to represent the mummified bandages.  They are quite delicate to work with so after sewing them together I gave them several layers of acrylic wax.  Which made them stronger and gave them a leathery finish.

I rusted some silk for the base fabric for the hieroglyphics, which I transferred using an inkjet print on a OHP and some fabric medium.

The urns (close up)

 For the urns I scraped some gesso onto - what was a previous hand dyed failure - I then sprayed this with black ink and sprinkled with salt.  This gave the perfect texture.  I machine appliquéd them on to some hand painted open weave fabric.

All I had to do was some quilting and foiling to finish it all off.

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

'Decay' Challenge...

Here are a few of the finished pieces for our 'Decay' Challenge.

'Decay' challenge
It's always interesting seeing and chatting about how ideas come together, from decaying forest floor, rust and crumbling walls, to discuss, experiment and challenge ourselves to try new methods.

We have some good news to share with you.....a few of us will be venturing off soon to check out a possible exhibition venue for next year, we're all very excited and we'll keep you posted.

Our next challenge will be 'Architectural Structures'.

Bye for now

Tuesday, 1 October 2013



There is a never ending cycle of leaves, twigs and bark falling to the floor of the forest. Layer after Layer, after Layer. Gradually breaking down and decaying. Until finally becoming a rich and fertile humus which enriches and feeds the earth and new life.

I really enjoyed doing this challenge because I was able to use lots of techniques, some I had not used before.
Techniques included:
Rubbing Plates, Home made Stencils, Hand Painting,
Painted Bondaweb, Lutradur, Tyvek and Paper.
Hand dyed scrim.
Expandapaint which I had not used before.
Machine quilting.
and I  Embellish with hand embroidery, beads and foil.

This is a close-up of some of the details.


I used a poem from D H Lawrence

all finished

DECAY: completed at last

Hello maids!

Thanks for the feedback on the sample pieces I had made in preparation for working on my "decay" project... following your encouragement I decided to use what I had already had - and this is the final outcome. I broke four machine needles while making it, so I think I better invest in some jeans needles if I am going to carry on making work like this!

It was inspired by an old rusting fishing boat that I photographed on the Scillies in July, so I have also include two of those shots.

I enjoyed our time at the Truro Museum, I have been inspired by some amazing old ceramics that included plant textures - there was even teapot in the shape of a cauliflower! So I think I'm going to explore using some of these natural textures and translating them into quilted textures. Something quiet and formal for a change.

See you all soon, chris

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Museum Trip - London Edition!

Having become an associate member since moving up to London last month, and with Mum here visiting (so both of us missing this weeks meet up at Royal Cornwall Museum, we took it upon ourselves to do our own museum trip!

We headed to the Natural History Museum and found our way to the top of floor of the earth section - Eli was fairly intrigued by all the crystals and precious gems, I think he liked the sparkles!  I have already decided what I am going to do for this project, (after I have started and finished Decay of course!!) it's going to be inspired by the crystals and Bjork - I'll explain more once its made!

Mum took lots of photos today, but these are my favourite (and the ones I took!), unfortunately I can't remember what they all were and didn't photo the labels!!

I just loved how nature can create such geometric shapes!

I really liked the veins running through this opal block, it reminded me of a textile technique, which of course I can't quite remember either!

Ok, so this wasn't taken in the Natural History Museum, but in the V&A, they have a new light installation in the foyer.  I only noticed it when we were leaving and didn't really have the time to find out who or what it is.  It is almost a shame that its been positioned in the foyer.  I didn't notice it on the way in because I was busy getting my bag ready for a search and then on the way out you're encouraged not to block the entrance...  It does however, mean that I will have to go back and explore again!  Shame.

I hope that the Cornish trip was as successful as our day!

- Becca

Friday, 13 September 2013

Trebah Gardens

It has been a little while since I have written on the Blog, mainly because we have been busy with family visits during the Summer.  So anyway here I am.  We have had a couple lovely days out with the 'Maids', our first as you will know was to Trebah Gardens, and the second was to Cardinham Woods, Bodmin, which was meant to be for a coffee and ended up, for some of us, lunch as well.  We can all highly recommend the Woods Cafe for both!!

I thought you may like to see a few of the 'Texture' challenge pieces.  We all have such different ideas and it is always lovely to 'Show & Tell' and get to understand the source of our inspirations.  And also how some challenges come easy and how other are a bit more tricky! 
I have finished my Trebah Challenge and have cleverly called it 'Trebah Gardens'!!! I found this challenge a struggle, because although it is beautiful at Trebah, it was difficult for me to see how I could portray my feelings.  I took a beautiful photo of my Grandson Eli tucking into cake and thought that I may use that, but eventually decided against it (may be I will re-visit at a later stage), and I ended up using the Gunera leaf.
Trebah Gardens
Each leaf is cut out of either fabric, paper, Tyvek, scrim, Lutrador or vanishing fabric, and layered up onto of a photocopy of the map, which I covered in PVA.  The quilting in the lines from the map with a few of the key words included.  I have also added the label to the front, but scattered across the piece.

I think I need to move away from Green for 'Decay' and although I haven't started it yet I do know what I want to do!

I will be away visiting Rebecca (who although has moved is still a member and will be taking part in our monthly challenges) for our next meeting, so we will be popping into the Natural History Museum instead of Royal Cornwall Museum to get inspiration.

Thank you for reading.


Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Decay challenge...

Hello everyone,

A while ago we had some building work done, after they finished I found three pieces of metal that had peeled off their cement mixer. With such lovely rusted markings I couldn't bring myself to throw them away, so I pinned them to my wall hoping to use as inspiration at some point.

If you haven't already realised I'm a big fan of anything old or rusty and I wanted my Decay piece to be colourful, making these peelings an ideal subject.

The next photo shows the section I used, as you can see some beautiful colours.

Here's my interpretation......

'Oxidized Decay' 
Hand dyed fabrics and scrim, rusted fabric, net, raw edge appliqué, free machine quilting, embellished with french knots and seed stitching.

Hope you enjoyed, back soon

Saturday, 31 August 2013

'Trebah Grove'

Here's some sketch book work for my Trebah challenge, starting with a mind map and a history time-line...

mind map and time-line
mixed media and stitched samples...

sketch book work
my finished piece...

'Trebah Grove'
Painted and printed background fabric, used tea bags, cording, free machine stitching and free machine raw edge appliqué.

Thanks for reading

Monday, 26 August 2013

Double up on Trebah

Hello there once again. I haven't posted for a while - life outside Textile Maids has intervened but here I am with a pair of Trebahs!
I really enjoyed the day out and the things that made most impression on me were the bamboos, the reflection in the pond water and the paths. This quite surprised me as I do not really admire bamboos in a domestic garden situation at all but I really liked the patterns and the amazing variety of greens (and black). The reflection in the water is, I am sure, quite self explanatory and the paths meandering all over the place made really great patterns too.
The bamboo piece is a weaving using mainly bamboo yarn with a bit of black knitting yarn thrown in.


My second piece was based on the colours of Trebah and the many paths there. I tore up some fabric I had dyed at Di Wells workshop last month into strips and layered them to represent the changing colours. The yellow of course is the beach, blue the sea and pond and the many greens are the variety of vegetation. I stitched the paths with a variegated thread - hand and machine to finish. I wanted to keep it quite simple so have not embellished it further. I really like it especially the lovely effect of the dyeing.

paths and patterns   

There you go.
Thanks for looking


Saturday, 24 August 2013

Another piece completed!

Dear all.

Hope you are all having fun in the sun?

I have had another reasonably focussed week and made some progress on my "revival" piece.

This is called "Spring Revival in a Cornish Hedge"... or something like that!

Hope you enjoy seeing something finished by me at last. I will bring it along together with my Trebah piece with me when we meet next week

Looking forward to seeing you all, chris

Monday, 12 August 2013

Hello Girls,

Hope you had fun at the big quilting festival, those of you who went up to Birmingham?

I have at last had some time to focus on my textiles work and wanted to show you the Trebah picture that I have been doing as ( for a change)  I am quite satisfied with it. It might be finished... I'm not sure what more to do, as I don't want to risk spoiling it!

I think this is the first piece where I have managed to incorporate some of the layered techniques that I learnt on my Beyond Patchwork course (... thanks Sue & Carolyn!)

See you all at the end of the month when I hope to have finished some more of my "backlog"!


Sunday, 21 July 2013

'Undulating Texture'

Throughout our challenges I've been working into my sketch book and accumulated a variety of design options, so I'm going to re-visit previous subjects with our new challenges when possible.

For our 'Textures' challenge I chose to work from a drawing I made for my Abstract Armchair project.

drawing from the fabric design
I decided to used a technique I sampled a while back. It involves weaving a drawn image with painted papers. Then re-drawing the lines and shapes within the weave openings. This drawing is then repeated with free machine quilting.
previous sample
To give me more stitch choices, I added texture lines from the original fabric design to the background area of the drawing.

design work
I created the weave below using the cut off trimmings. I  laid the strips onto hand dyed fabric and scrim, with chiffon and foils and fused to a felt background. I've then used this piece to draw thumb nail sketches for future design inspiration.

sketch book work
On my final piece I added hand dyed scrim while stitching with coloured threads to create more texture. The drawn pattern was quilted with black thread. Once the quilting was finished I used trapunto to raise some of the plain areas.

'Undulating Texture'
Thanks for reading

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

"Washed - up"

The challenge for June was "Textures" as you already know, and although this seemed like an easy title, I did take a little while to get to grips with it, but eventually I did.   

A few years ago at college I had used a photo of the debris that is washed up on the beach and left behind with the tide, and started working on a small wall-hanging.  I never really felt that it was finished, although I had given it a name and pretended that I was happy with it!

The starting place
 So I decided to use this "un-finished" piece for the Textures challenge.  I chopped into it and added some plain calico to depict more of the sand.  I then batted it up again and quilted into it.

Chopped into!
  I was still not totally happy with it, and remembered the day when we had gone to the beach and it had been covered by foam, so I painted the whole piece with emulsion paint and while the paint was still wet I sprinkled sand over it, to add more texture. 
Re-named and finished at last!
 I am now very happy and re named it "Washed-up".

Thank for reading

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

The Queen of Sheba

Hello on a glorious July day - too hot to be outside so here I am writing my blog.
I really, really enjoyed this challenge mainly because I really like weaving. I took a long time to decide on a colour scheme for this month's piece, I was not sure whether to go for a monochrome effect and was leaning towards neutral colours - white, cream; ecru, ivory etc but it happened that I was listening to some really entertaining poetry by Kathleen Jamie called the Queen of Sheba during the day and then that same name was mentioned in my evening reading!. So, it seemed that the Queen of Sheba it must be and colours to suit that exotic lady.
I used quite a fine multi-coloured yarn with a slub for the warp thread on my rigid heddle loom. The weft threads are a mix of different yarns including wool fleece, bamboo tops, bamboo cotton, wool yarn, cotton chenille and paper ribbon.
I have sewn it onto a loose square of yellow cotton attached at the top only and frayed the two sides and bottom to compliment the weaving.

I am pleased with the challenge this month and glad I chose the vibrant colours too.
Thanks for looking

Friday, 28 June 2013


I had recently been to a Jan Tillet workshop discovering the wonders of a 'NEW TO ME' product -
Shrink Polyester - which shrinks with steam, causing the fabric it is sewn onto to pucker.
So this was the perfect opportunity to use some of my samples and ideas in a piece of work, together with sparkly net, organza and some hand dyed fabric which I printed with my wonderful - newly acquired - letter stamps.
Unfortunately the colour is not as lush in the photo as it should be.

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Summer Outing #1

We had a lovely day at Trebah Gardens yesterday. 
 The weather was good and almost like Summer!!  

We met up at 10:00am and had a lovely coffee and slice of cake before moving to the Vinery for our show and tell.
Enjoying the sun outside the Vinery

 The gardens looked beautiful, very fresh and green, with lovely Foxgloves adding a dash of colour here and there, and the walk down to the beach ensured we had sapce for a well deserved lunch!!

We all were busy snapping the views and some of us even took out our paints and did a spot of painting.......not me it has to be said!!  
We now have to put these images into use by designing July's challenge , which of course will be Trebah Gardens.
Trebah Gardens
I am looking forward to seeing what everyone picks out from all the things that we saw to use as there inspiration, and that includes me because at the moment I have no idea!!

Thank for reading.......Carolyn


I found it difficult to settle on a subject for this challenge but in the end decided to
I had this textured painted background which was unfinished and had been abandoned quite a long time ago.
I recalled the theme was intended to be based on patterns on currency.  I was surprised when I actually looked at some money at the intricate patterns, none of which I had noticed before.
My design was inspired by the ammonites, spirals and colours on the English £10 note.

I did some stamping, reverse applique, more painting and then I embellished it with sequins and beads.

I was happy with the finished result.

Monday, 24 June 2013

Dear Textile Maids,

Once again life has taken over from art this month and I have made no progress on any of our themes!

BU the first good news is that my dad had a very successful operation last week and got home just in for his 90th birthday celebrations.

The other good good news is that my sewing skills have had to be applied elsewhere... I made a picture for my dads 90th birthday present...

and stitched him this card.
(Which his next door neighbour looked at and said - "of yes you can buy kits now!"
With my dads health improving I'm looking forward to a quieter few months and catching up with my textile maids projects.
Looking forward to our day at Trebah, fingers crossed for the weather, Chris