Silk Papers Workshop – Val Toombes – May 2019


We started the day with Val Toombes explaining the 4 undyed silks in our packs – mulberry which was white, tussah not as white as mulberry, gum silk, and throw silk which was curly, soft, and shiny.  We made silk sheets by thinly placing the 4 silk layers between 2 layers of bridal net, then wetted with water and after that textile medium.  This was put to dry.


W​e then used a variety of dyed silks placed again between 2 layers of bridal net, wetted as above the put to dry.  Some very interesting and colourful designs were achieved!

In the afternoon we blew up a balloon and after coating it with textile medium we made bowls by placing silks in layers across and around it resembling bad hair day wigs!  We then took these home to dry and pop.
An enjoyable day for everyone!

Report by Diana K and photos by Jackie B

Thank you both for sharing your day with everyone.

Val Toombes – May 2019


Our speaker this month was Val Toombes.  She enjoyed drawing and needlework classes as a teenager and made her own clothes at the age of 12. 

In the early days whilst working aboard, Val’s husband bought her a knitting machine and she went on to design patterns.  In 1992 she did a machine embroidery course at Farnham College where she became a Bernina fan.  She then graduated on to the City & Guilds course at Godalming.

Val’s main interest is silk and she uses it to make paper, scarves, dresses, jackets as well as 3D vessels.  She explained that she learnt to dye 10 different colourways for use in her work and loves strong vibrant colours. 

Val brought along a selection of her work on display mannequins and passed smaller items around the room for members to look at. 
Val enjoys exhibiting her work enters competitions regularly all over the world.  She talked about a recent exciting occasion when her work was chosen to be shown in the World of Wearable Art in Wellington, New Zealand.  Val also mentioned exhibiting at Ramster Hall near Chiddingfold in Surrey.

A group of members will attend a workshop given by Val so watch out for the posting.

Report and photos by Ros

St Fagen’s National Museum of Wales

It was an absolute joy to visit St Fagan’s National Museum of Welsh history just outside Cardiff this month. 

On a beautiful spring day two groups of us were fascinated by textile curator Elen Philips’s inspiring thoughtful guide to some of the special stitched items in the Museum’s collections.  She even took us around the stores and introduced us to a group of embroiderers working on a hanging for the Tudor Merchant’s House, re-erected along with many other buildings from all over Wales.  Elen also introduced us to the concept of museology – a relatively new study of how to present museum items in a variety of thought-provoking ways.

The newly extended and revamped galleries invited participation by visitors and I especially enjoyed the Gweithdy a new building celebrating making in many materials including stitch quilting and clothing. 

A wonderfully rich and inspiring day!

​Report by Clare R

St Fagen’s Castle, gardens & relocated houses
Esgair Moel Woollen Mill – moved to present location in 1950’s.   The current spinner and weaver did his apprenticeship in the mill 30 years ago and now maintains all the equipment and makes woven materials which are sold in the shop. 
1725 Silk damask dress hand embroidered with silver threads.  Owned by Lady Rachel Morgan of Tredegar House.   This dress is currently on display for all visitors to enjoy.
Below is a selection of items shown to us by textile curator, Elen Phillips
Photos thanks to Clare R, Vernice C & Ellen S.

Stitch Day – April 2019

There was a great hive of activity at the April Stitch Day.  A group of members were busy on our long-term branch  project, some were creating Flags of Thanks and others were doing their own work.  Our extensive library is available to all members.  Stitch Day is a great opportunity to chat to like minded friends and spend time doing what we all enjoy most, stitching!
Photos thanks to Vernice C.