Alice Kettle – Christmas 2020

Unfortunately our annual Christmas “bring and share” lunch did not take place this year but we were still able to enjoy a talk by a surprise speaker over Zoom.  Thirty five members took part and two guests, Catherine, Vernice’s friend from the Maidenhead & Windsor branch and my friend, Pascale who was sitting in her workroom in Luxembourg!

What a privilege it was to hear Alice Kettle who is Professor of Textile Art at Manchester Metropolitan University and the current President of the Embroiderers’ Guild. 

Alice Kettle 1 Dec 20

Alice started by telling us all about the wonderful wall hanging she created for the Discovery Centre in Winchester in 2007.  It was so enormous, being 16 x 3 metres she could not lift it and had to stitch it on site with the public watching.  As Professor of Textile Art at Manchester Alice’s work involved research and she chose to explore digital embroidery in order to take embroidery to another level – more details and images:

Alice is one of three sisters and has three daughters and connections with Greece so all feature regularly in her work.  Alice showed us Golden Dawn in which the leader of a Greek political movement was depicted as the Minotaur (image: and another where a dog was the symbol of austerity protests in Greece with three girls in the crowd.  Over the years Alice has been commissioned to create numerous hangings, one of which can be seen at the Lloyds Register Marine Insurance in Southampton.  Entitled “A map to the future”, it measures 8 x 3 metres and shows a world map and the hull of a ship in the Atlantic.  (Image: )

A selection of Alice’s other work can be seen in the gallery area on her website together with details of various projects:

Alice Kettle 2 Dec 2020
Ground hanging from the Thread Bearing Witness Project

In 2017 Alice started an art project which used textiles to learn from, show solidarity with and raise funds for displaced people and refugees.  Details of the project and images of the various activities can be seen on their website (

Three large hangings were created and displayed at the Whitworth Gallery, Sea, Ground and Sky 

Recently Alice has been involved in the Stitch a Tree project with over 11,000 contributions.  Hopefully this will be displayed at the next Knitting & Stitch Show.  Images:

Alice Kettle 2020
Sea hanging from the Thread Bearing Witness Project

In conclusion Alice kindly answered several questions from members and explained her technique of producing a free machined, layered background which she then turned over and stitched the detail and people from the reverse.  She said it was very exciting because she never knew exactly what it looked like until the end. 

We are very grateful to Alice for giving us such a wonderful talk and hopefully she will visit us in the future but in the meantime I do hope you will explore more about her interesting work.


Anne Jackson – Certaine Wytches: Fear, Myth & Magic

It was a milestone for our branch this week when 25 members took part in our first Zoom meeting.  Fortunately everything went like clockwork and Anne Jackson spoke to the group from her home in Devon.   She was born in New York but her father was Scottish so she decided to read Medieval History at St Andrews and has lived in the UK ever since.  After graduating Anne took a post graduate course in Constructed Textiles at Middlesex. 

Anne Jackson ILLUSTRATION 2 Nov 20
SADUCISMUS TRIUMPHATUS: "a very Fair Red-apple" - Apples often appear in historic witch-trial accounts, as poisonous witch's tools, or as love-charms.

Anne’s talk was entitled “Certaine Wytches: Fear, Myth & Magic” and she spoke about her Witchcraft Series which is an ongoing project.  She has exhibited in Latvia, Sweden, Denmark, the USA as well as this country and last year she had a one woman show at Bovey Tracey, Devon.  Anne has always been interested in witches and spends time at exhibitions interacting with the public to hear their stories which often give her more leads to follow.  We were shown images of her wall hangings which tell stories of the Devon Witches, Ursula Kempe, Alice & Febey Hunt, Grace Thomas and Elizabeth Style together with spells and magical symbols.  Anne then went on to explain that she paints a cartoon of her design and this acts as a guide when she creates her knotted tapestry.  There is a useful video on Anne’s website to show the construction and also lots more images and explanations of her work – Home page  construction of tapestries

Thank you Anne for an interesting and thought provoking talk.  Hopefully one day soon we will be able to see your amazing tapestries for ourselves!  Thank you also for kindly allowing us to put these images on our blog.

Anne Jackson ILLUSTRATION Nov 20
CERTAINE WYTCHES - this tapestry commemorates 3 Essex women from the same family who were tried in Chelmsford in 1566
Anne Jackson Symbols Nov 2020
Tempestarii: Storm-raisers
Anne Jackson Zoom Nov 20
Anne giving Zoom talk

We are continuing to share images of members work which I hope everyone will enjoy.  

Message from Clare

Finished piece after the Creative Textile day with Lindsay

Clare 1 Nov 20 rotated

Message from Robina

I don’t seem to be sewing very much these days but I’m enjoying painting and making patterns on paper or fabric. My latest is some free painting onto silk using the Derwent ink /dye sticks . I was inspired by a photo of a bee orchid which grew in the lawn of my grand daughter this year.  For the orchid I used the transfer dyes, but for the rest I used my sketches from our summer garden this year.

Other wise I keep doing butterflies!!

Robina 1 Nov 20

Message from Ros

I am continuing with my Sue Stone course.  It has been a roller coaster of a month because I chose the famous National Geographic Afghan girl, photographed by Steve McCurry as the image for my next challenge.  I spent a good week on this piece and then got cold feet – where did I stand with regard to copyright?  I asked for advice on our FB page and it was suggested that it was better to use your own photographs unless you were prepared not to post the finished work on social media or display it at an exhibition.  After sleeping on the news I decided to unpick it and start again using an image of my own – big learning curve.  

This challenge was quite demanding because we were asked to cover the complete area in stitch.  Here is the little girl I photographed several years ago on the back of her father’s motorbike on the way to school in Gondal, Gujarat.  I was pleased I met the brief but not sure I would want to do this type of project again!

Ros Nov 20

Message from Ann S

These are some small textile fragments – due to be exhibited at Wagon Yard Gallery’s,  Christmas exhibition which is now postponed until December 5th !

Ann S 1 Nov 20

That’s all for this month.  As we start the second lockdown I wish everyone “happy stitching” and we look forward to our amazing Zoom speaker in December – Alice Kettle.


October 2020

I have made the decision to drop the word Covid 19 from the title of our monthly blog.  Whilst this horrid disease is still very much with us, it is time to think of other things and to look forward.

Message from Clare

Work in progress – The Vale of Pewsey

Nearly finished – very Cas Holmes!

Clare 2 Oct 20
Clare 1 Oct 20

Message from Christine H

These are felt pieces, partly made with the embellisher then stitched into, beaded and foiled. Great fun to make but now I have to think of how to use them apart from hat decorations!   Suggestions please!

Ros:  I seem to remember doing a workshop many years ago making something similar.  My suggestion to Christine would be to put a pin on the back and make them into brooches – very acceptable Christmas present!


Christine H Oct 20

Message from Ros

I have just returned from two very relaxing weeks based in Totnes in South Devon.  It was great to get away to have time to dabble with my intense pencils in my sketchbook and to continue with the next chapter of my Sue Stone Course.

If you have ever visited Totnes you may have found the Fashion Museum in the High Street.  Unfortunately it is currently closed but they have put some images from their planned exhibition on their website.  Take a look –!

In this chapter of Stitch your Story we were asked to chose a subject but only use three colours or tones.  With all these exercises it is difficult to know when to stop so I uploaded it to our private course Facebook page and asked others if I should stop at this point or continue to add more stitching for the hair.  The unanimous decision, including a comment from Sue Stone, was to stop.  So useful to ask others.

Can you guess who I have chosen for my subject?

Ros Oct 20

Savernake Embroidery

Hopefully everyone has seen the webpages  dedicated to the Savernake Embroidery project on the website, if not take a look!

In addition to this record on our website we have also created a book.  One copy has been presented to Margaret Heath (left on her doorstep actually!) and the second copy is going to be available for Branch Members to look at and to be displayed at future exhibitions.  Here is a taste of some of the images.

Sav book 7 Oct 20

Message from Lindsay – work in progress

I wanted a piece to put on a wall that faces a window so I knew it would need to be unglazed to avoid reflections.
I have woven sari silk and various strips of fabric through the piece of stretched garden netting to create a linear design.

I am now adding sari yarn, buttons and beads to enrich it.
Lindsay Oct 20

Message from Annie J

Covid 19 wall hanging which says – Lockdown 2020….. a challenge to endure ….. or an opportunity to savour …. textiles kept me busy sane
Annie J 1 Oct 20

Also been doing some Gelli plate printing and printing with wood blocks 

Annie J 2 Oct 20

One of the Textile artist challenges was a journey in textiles but I did a journey in houses instead!  I’ve left space for the next house!   

Annie J 3 Oct 20

Thank you to all members who contributed to this month’s blog.   It’s continued success relies totally on “you” so please email photos of your work to me by the end on October.  

Don’t worry I will put a reminder on our Facebook page 😉


Covid 19 – September 2020

September 2020 blog

September Committee Meeting

Today is 7 September and although we did not meet as a branch we did have a Committee meeting in the car park at Kennet Valley Hall.  

Ann and Clare will be in touch to give you further information about the exciting things we have planned for members.

As you can see we were all seated well apart so much so that I only just managed to get Amanda on the left of the picture and completely cut off Stella.  So sorry, Stella!

Committee meeting Sept 20

A big “thank you” to each Member who contributed to our September Blog.  Ros

Message from Kay F

I’m sending a few pictures of my completed projects, many of which have been incomplete for quite sometime! I’ve also done curtains and cushions.

Having shielded for 5 months I’ve begun going out and about a bit more. When eventually  Guild reopens I hope to be there.
The stitching group we have in the Village,  have had a couple of garden meetings which has been great. There was more catching up than stitching

Message from Clare R 

I bought a nice frame and mount in Marlborough High Street and its setting off a Lockdown embroidery rather well I think .

Clare R Sept 20 rotated

Message from Amanda R

In these covid times I have taken to making greetings cards. My husband Harry loves his allotment so I embroidered a tiny 3d one for him. He was very delighted. Its Co. Pete with shed, bean canes, bonfire, compost bin, weeds and some vegetables! It’s no masterpiece but I had fun inventing and ‘planting’. 

Message from Annie F

I have attached a photo of my latest effort inspired by the lockdown post card challenge which I really enjoyed.   This one is the Potting Shed, a mixture of applique and embroidery on Hessian which seemed a suitably rustic  medium for the subject.  

Annie F Sept 20

Message from Vernice

In the May Covid Blog you showed my unfinished piece from Linda Miller’s workshop. I have now finished the figure but have not yet decided what the background will be.

Vernice Sept 20 rotated

Message from Tase

The pattern is called Heyday Dungarees by Made by Jack’s Mum. Organic washed linen from Higgs & Higgs.  Straight forward to make, didn’t take too long (about 6 hrs ish.  Pattern adjusted to remove 2 ” in length and could do with more.   Used my embroidery machine for the pocket detail.


Message from Hazel P 

During lockdown I was busy making a surprise photo book for my daughter’s 40th birthday in August.
The cover of the book was an image of a thank you card I really loved and so had saved as a pdf.
Originally I thought of making a patchwork folder using fabric off cuts from her childhood dresses – but I didn’t have enough to make it interesting, and couldn’t bear to cut up the only bought dress I still had.
So I sent away to Prinfab in Faversham Kent to have a Fat Quarter printed on medium weight calico.
I decided to make a protective cover for the book, and chose to do padded machine embroidery, but with a smooth enough finish for it to be slotted on a bookshelf.
The added benefit was that it wasn’t obvious at first sight what the present was.
Hazel P 3 Sept 20

Message from Judy J

I belong to the Great Western Embroiderers and before lockdown we had been preparing for an exhibition with Japan as the main theme. We  had a challenge to create a 12inch by 12inch piece of work for this and I  chose to illustrate a koi carp. The fish is gold fabric applique with bead embellishment. The bamboo and ripples are  painted bondaweb which is then cut and ironed on to the background. We hope the exhibition will  go ahead next year as part of Swindon Open Studios.

Judy J Sept 20

Message from Ros

I have been rather busy with the new website this month so unfortunately have not done as much stitching as I would have liked but I did find time to do one sample for my Stitch your Story course –  Hair.  I limited myself this time to the suggested four samples and this has been less challenging but still useful.  

In mid August I went on  a one day workshop to learn how to stitch stretch jersey using an overlocker.  Great fun and I am over the moon with the result and my decision to make the T-shirt long sleeved.  My dear friend Ellen runs her own business teaching dress making classes, workshops or one to one so if anybody is interested do look her up.

I have now started the next module of Stitch your Story so hopefully have something to show you next month.

Message from Ann S

A few images of a piece in progress . Using a variety of image transfer, collage and stitch inspired by boats and sea and cliffs .

Ann S 3 Sept 20

Message  from Maria 

With time on my hands, or so I thought, at the beginning of lockdown I decided to have a go at a hand stitched project (not my forte)! so I started a Noah’s Ark blanket for my new baby grandson – which is still very much a work in progress! All hand stitched applique on polar fleece using blanket stitch, back stitch and straight stitch. Slow going but very therapeutic and so exciting as it comes to life.
Two weeks ago my sister, who is the owner of several sewing machines and a long arm quilting frame, came to visit and suggested we take a trip to Salisbury and take in Franklins while we were there. At this point I should say that my own solitary machine is a 49 year old workhorse. Well, as you may guess, I was not allowed to leave the shop empty handed. Two hours later I was the proud owner of  a Juki NX7. Photograph provided. My husband now thinks his too long trousers, bought 3 years ago, might stand a chance of being turned up! I don’t like to dissolution him!!!
Maria 1 Sept 20
Maria 2 Sept 20

That’s all for this month.  

The feed back this morning from the Committee was that everyone has enjoyed seeing members work in the Blog so this will continue.

Please remember this will only be successful if YOU contribute too!  Please email photos in jpg format (if possible) any time during the month to  My aim is to post monthly to coincide with our meeting so the last date for October blog will be Friday 2 October.  


Covid 19 – August 2020

Covid 19 - August 2020

August already and as I sit in my workroom there is a clear blue sky in front of me.  The weather forecast for the next couple of days is going to be very hot so possibly time to do some stitching in our cool lounge. I do hope you are starting to get out and about again and possibly thinking about a “staycation”.

Our Facebook page has been quite active and I do hope you will consider joining.  See Ann’s last newsletter for details.  It is a closed group so only invited people can join.

Below are photos I have received from members this month.  I am very grateful to them because without their contributions this blog would not happen.

Contribution from Clare R. 
​Inspiration from her garden and “work in progress”.  I wonder who it is! I will be interested to see how this progresses.  Thank you so much Clare

Clare garden rotated
Clare lady rotated

Contribution from Judy J. 
I’ve spent a lot of time in the garden and read a lot more so haven’t done a lot of sewing. 
Despite several attempts, I can’t get the colours right. I’ve been working with my beads and soutache (Russian braid) but I’m not sure how I’m going to use it. It will probably end up as part of a box. I always tell myself not to do something symmetrical as it’s more of a challenge but as you can see, I’ve made it difficult for myself again so progress has been slow.   
Your bead work is amazing Judy, thank you for sharing this!

Judy J 1 Aug

Contribution from Christine H. 
Crazy patchwork with an Indian theme. I have been working on it for some time and enjoyed building it up with a mixture of hand and machine embroidery. Now I have to decide what to do with it! 
Love the colours.  Thank you, Christine!

Christine hill Indian

Contribution from Ann K
​After a 7 month absence from the sewing room I’ve been making up for lost time and having a play.  I’ve also made face masks for me and hubby.  The masks have now been modified to a state where they are wearable in relative comfort!  A friend sent me the Pam Ayres poem which sums it up very well!
I’ve been playing with crazy patchwork – something I’ve not tried before, and this is the result.
I’m planning on doing some Shibori indigo dying next week so have been preparing the fabric and trying different designs.  I’ll post the results afterwards.
We will look forward to that Ann.  Great weather for dying!  Thanks for your contribution.

Ann K Mask
Ann K Pam Ayres Poem
Ann K 1 Aug
Ann K 2 Aug

Contribution from Amanda R
Slightly unusual project just finished, a wigwam for my grandson’s 2nd birthday. It was fun to make. ​
And what a lucky boy to have such a talented Granny – hours of fun ahead.  Thank you Amanda!

Amanda 2 Tent
Amanda 1 Tent

Contribution from me
I am continuing with the light-hearted theme.   No stitch involved but I thought I would share my grandson’s 7th birthday card.  I try and choose their current interest and Minecraft is the order of the day.   More recently I managed to get hold of a pack of Harry Potter fat quarters and oh, wasn’t I flavour of the month!  I would not have been surprised if he had gone to bed with it on.  Pikachu masks are for his brother.

Also as you can see, I am slowly continuing with my Sue Stone course, Stitch your Story and this month I have been concentrating on mouths, lips and teeth.  As with my previous samples, some are better than others but that is how we learn!  As suggested, I have tweaked a couple with Intense pencils, which I adore.

Ros minecraft
Ros masks
Ros mouths2

Contribution from Annie J.
I tried Momigami with Cas Holmes (Sue Stone’s Stitch Club) and used the paper with textiles to produce a landscape ready for stitching to add some texture. May use all 3 together as a triptych or none depends on the final results!
​Thanks Annie.

Annie J 3 Aug rotated
Annie J 2 Aug rotated
Annie J 1 Aug rotated

Contribution from Lindsay
It has been exciting watching the progress of Lindsay’s garden design.  She tells me that the machine embroidery is finally done and now lots of beading and hand embroidery to do, but she needs a break. 
​We are certainly going to have some amazing work for our exhibition next year.
Thank you Lindsay!

Lindsay Aug

Well that’s all for this month.  I hope you enjoy seeing members’ work and I do hope you will consider contributing something for September.  If I could have images emailed to me by the end of August, it would be appreciated.


PS Just received an email from Maria apologising for not sending anything this month.  She is well and just been busy catching up with her family.  Getting her priorities right!!

Covid 19 – July 2020

Covid 19 - July 2020

This is my fourth posting since we had to cancel our Guild meetings back in March so it is great that things are starting to get back to the “new normal”.  What a blessing that most of us have a work/play room and loads of “stuff” to fall back on but why is it that you never have just the colour thread you need?

This last week we had a mini Committee meeting in the grounds of Kennet Valley Hall to discuss future plans.   Shame about the weather – Ann and Clare will be in touch shortly.
Mini meeting

Contribution from Clare R.  Thanks Clare

Clare double
Clare Rain
Clare sea

Contribution from Ann S.  Thanks Ann
​Using the colours of summer, painted onto linen, my postcard is embellished with old stamps from around the world reminding me of exotic holidays of the past, and giving me hope for all the holidays yet to come.  At the moment i will continue to enjoy my holiday in my garden and beautiful Wiltshire!

Ann S postcard2
Ann S x 2 close up

Contribution from Judy J.  Thanks Judy!
​Here are my 2 postcard efforts. In the first one I  tried to depict flowers through a window but I  was not happy with the result so I did a second. This was the result from adding small piles of rock salt to painted silk.

Judy J 2 July
Judy J 1 July

Contribution from Linda W.  Thanks Linda!
If this were a real post card it would read “ Welcome to my world “

Linda W dogs

Contribution from Robina.  Thanks Robina!

Robina front of postcard butterflies
Robina back of postcard

Contribution from Annie J.   Thanks Annie.

This week’s challenge was from Sue Stone. Choose some strips of fabric and weave them to make a background for an embroidered picture.
I used leftover linen and Cornish tartan from hats I made for my in-laws – they sent me a photo so I’ve turned it into my challenge piece.    Annie’s Cornish postcard.

Annie James post card

Contribution from Maria.  Thank you Maria!
My husband and I love everything Greek and have spent  many happy summers there.
We have done much exploring off the beaten track over the years, but what I most love are the half derelict villages with their vegetation ravaged tumble down stone buildings with once ornate doorways and balustrades.

My stitched postcard is based on a photograph of a once magnificent doorway taken by Georges Meis, a well known Greek photographer known for his avant guard depictions of Greek life, buildings and landscape. 

The design was drawn onto and stitched from the reverse side using a heavy floss thread in the bobbin to give depth to the outline. The background fabric comprises pelmet vilene to which white gesso, treasure wax and coloured embossing powder has been has been applied prior to stitching to give the impression of age and weather.

Maria postcard

Contribution from Vernice.  Thank you Vernice!
Block printing and hand stitch

Vernice postcard

Contribution from Annie F.  Thank you Annie
I loved the idea of something postcard sized and had great fun doing it. Mine was inspired by a bug hotel which gave me enormous scope to play with textured threads and stitches on a hessian back ground.

Annie F postcard

Two postcards from me, Ros.   
Memory Lane!  Left is of a photo I took several years ago of a family having a paddle in the Bay of Bengal at Mahabalipuram, India.  Hand stitching.
Right is of the inner courtyard at the Diggi Palace in Jaipur.  We spent a week here when Peter and I went on the Wonderful Workshops several years ago.  Mixture of hand stitch and free machine embroidery. 
Happy times, but I do wonder if we will ever return.

Ros Mahali postcard 2
Ros postcard Diggi 2

Contribution from Liz R-W.  thanks Liz
Hand stitched applique on a scrap of gelli printed fabric rescued from the fabric bin.

Liz postcard 2

Contribution of hostas from Lindsay.  Thank you Lindsay!

Lindsay post card

The following are contributions to the blog but not related to our postcard challenge.  

I must apologise to Ann S as I should have posted this wonderful piece of work last month. R

This is inspired by a holiday in Greece quite a few years ago! The first two images are my collage of paper/fabric and stitch layered. The bottom image is a play on the colours using Photoshop imagery. 


Ann S blue jugs 1
Ann S close up 1
Ann S post card june blog 1

Contribution from Annie F.  Thanks Annie
On the knitting front I am using up all sorts of odds and ends left over from other projects to make a scarf.

I hope everyone is keeping well under the circumstances.

Annie F knit

Contribution from Lindsay.  Thank you Lindsay!
‘My Garden’ is coming along. 
The purple linaria were the next major task after the iris. How I wish I hadn’t put in three!! The stems and leaves take forever 
The flowers are scraps of ‘Silk Route’ hand dyed sari ends stitched with circles and vermicelli in two shades of purple. 
The general idea is shown in the 2nd picture although exact placement of the poppies will come after I have stitched the oxeye daisies.
So still a lot to do but hey, I have all the time in the world. 
I do hope everyone is keeping well. ​

Lindsay 1 July
Lindsay 2 July

Eyes from Ros
The next chapter from my Sue Stone course.   I was only asked to do four – looking back on it I did give myself rather a challenge when but having said that, I have learnt a lot! Some eyes are considerably better than others so don’t look too closely!

Ros eyes

That’s all for this month.  Please keep in touch and if you would like to share photos of some of your work, it would be great to hear from you.


Covid 19 – June 2020

Covid 19 - June 2020

Yet another month passes and there are signs that the lockdown is starting to lift but unfortunately our June and July meetings have been cancelled so here is my third Covid 19 blog posting.

From Ann’s May newsletter
A small challenge for us – postcard!

If like me, you are sometimes finding it hard to concentrate on anything creative, we thought it might be nice to have a very small challenge for us all to start and finish in time for the next blog at the end of June! We are suggesting we make a postcard size piece of art, on any theme you want, flowers, your garden, a holiday – and it can be stitched, embroidered, printed so anything you like.

Once completed – or by 30 June, send Ros ( a picture of your postcard, and then she can do a great display of them on the July blog (to be published 6 July). We will also then have the beginnings of our exhibition for next year!! So we have 4 weeks to do this challenge. 

Below you will see photos and messages from our members this month.

Message from Clare
Thank you Clare, Ros

Hopefully you will be able to walk over those hills very soon.

Clare landscape June

Message from Linda W.  
Thank you Linda, Ros

This is a feeble attempt at bringing the seaside to Wiltshire.  Hey ho hopefully reality will be with us soon .

Linda W seaside

Message from Annie F
Thank you Annie, Ros

Here are my offerings for June.

The shawl is knitted from feather light 4 ply yarn spun and dyed using natural dyes in Shetland and it’s a joy to work with even though some of the dye tends to come off on your fingers as you knit!

I have also finished my climate change challenge piece at last.  Called The Second Flood it’s a mixture of applique, hand and machine embroidery on a cotton fabric and represents a flooded coastal village churchyard.

Annie F 1a June
Annie F 2 June

Message from Lindsay
Thank you Lindsay, Ros.

Well, the downstairs painting is done so I am finally getting started on a piece of work I want to have at the top of my stairs !!

There was an article in the April issue of Be Creative with Workbox on a quilting artist called Emily Taylor.  Very inspiring ideas which I am trying to replicate using flowers from my garden right now. The iris look stunning so they are my starting flowers. I shall also do allium, clematis and Californian poppies.  Maybe some hosta too as I  love those and have quite a few!

Basically, the background is fabric that was  dyed with brusho, in the garden on a sunny day, and then the gravel underneath hosed down afterwards !!  A selection of fabrics were backed with heatbond and then the petals were made from lots of small shapes.
The designs were traced onto baking parchment, working from the back and overlapping each piece slightly so the whole piece can be carefully peeled off.

More blooms to come in the next couple of months!!!

Lindsay 2 June
Lindsay 1 June

Message from Robina
Thank you Robina, Ros

​Dear All,
I’ve been sketching in the garden and making another frock. I don’t think I’ve shown you this one before. I ran out of fabric for the sleeves so I found some plain jersey and painted some floral bits onto paper with the dyes and then ironed them onto my sleeves, before  construction. I’ve also been putting some paintings into repeat and wishing I could get them printed to cover our grotty settee! then seeing the Embroiderers guild sight made me really jealous , thanks for sending all those things to inspire us.

Robina 2 June
Robina 1 June
Robina 3 June

Message from Hazel

Finally got around to using my fabric paints (bought in October) and Stencil (from Santa).

Not sure why I take so long to get going – but enjoying this freehand stitching – keeps me awake in the evenings!

Hazel 1 June
Hazel 2 June
Hazel 3 June

Message from me, Ros

About six years ago I met a girl from Luxembourg at a Distant Stitch Summer School and we have kept in touch, meeting up whenever she came to the UK.  You can imagine my horror when I saw a note on Facebook in March saying Pascale had just been diagnosed with Covid 19.  Each week we waited patiently for news from her family and after 30 days in an artificial coma we heard that she was out of intensive care but not able to walk or talk.  Sian Martin who runs Distant Stitch suggested members might like to make something for Pascale and below is my piece of Indian blitz to cheer her up.  We are now in regular contact via WhatsApp.  She has started a very long road to recovery, first learning to walk aided, then on a frame and finally by herself.  Last week she saw her family for the first time in over two months so you can imagine the scene.  Pascale is considerably younger than me but although she is still very weak, we can still chat about textiles and stitching. 

The braid, Vernice is from “our” haberdashery shop in Jaipur.  Happy memories 🙂

Ros June

Message from Annie J
Thank you so much Annie, Ros

​I have really enjoyed the 7 weeks of challenges with where else could you have workshops with Sue Stone, Cas Holmes, Emily Tull, Richard McVetis, Emily Jo Gibbs, Anne Kelly and Christine Chester. I hope some of you have been joining in too. They have now started a Stitch club which you do have to pay for but you get 3 workshops every month from different textile artists. 

I’ve just finished the first one with Debbie Lyddon and can’t wait for next week. The challenge was to make 3 hand stitched containers for 3 ‘special’ objects. I chose 3 shells from a Cornish beach and have decided to hang my containers on driftwood – quite pleased with the result.

Annie J 1 June
Annie J 2 June
Annie J 3 June

Message from Maria
Thank you Maria.  I think a lot of us have been enjoying Grayson Perry’s programme on a Monday evening.  Can’t believe it is the last one tonight!  Ros

During the last month I have continued to make a few scrubs. The ones shown here were a pretty umbrella and wellie print which I thought would make a rather fetching tabbard  for myself but sadly there was insufficient fabric!

Maria 1 June

A more personal project consisted of making a snuggle bunny for my newly born grandson Zach. It should have been straight forward, and had I followed the instructions probably would have been, but I though I knew better! Nevertheless, he turned out to be rather cute.

Maria 2a June
Maria 2 June

Having seen all the amazing portraits stimulated by the Grayson Perry programme, I thought I might have a go myself as a prequel to an embroidered version. I have always admired the local artist Hashim Akib so followed his portrait ‘how to’ using a photo of my granddaughter (who is 11). Unwittingly it turned out more like my daughter who is 35 years older! But even she would be mortified at the result!!!

Maria 3 June

As the old films used to say, “That’s all folks” and I look forward to hearing from you with your postcard contributions by the end of June.

​Stay safe, keep smiling and happy stitching.  


Covid 19 – May 2020

Covid 19 - May 2020

It is now a month since I last posted on our blog and we are still all locked down.  I have heard from a number of members with contributions for the blog and we now have our own Facebook page which is a private group for our branch members only.  If you would like to join, please search for Marlborough and District Embroiderers’ Guild Branch Group in Facebook, send a request to join and we will let you in!  We currently have 15 members and it is proving great fun.

Here are some messages I have received via email.
Four photos from Clare R .   She tells me that she is having to made do with the limited materials  at present but she is obviously very busy.

The first image was inspired by a mosaic and the centre A bit of Wales -the end of the Lleyn peninsular with Bardsey Island.
Clare R 2 May rotated
Clare R 3 May
Clare R 4 May
Clare R May rotated

Message from Robina.  
Thank you Robina.  Ros

I’ve been doing my own thing, by using lots of remnants which have been left over from lots of projects from the past years.  

I use stencils which I have dawn and cut out, some are just using plain news print paper, as it’s quite strong, while older ones I’ve use a thin plastic which lasts longer. I then use them with transfer dyes onto plain paper, which is then ironed onto the fabric, and then enhanced with other dyes. Altogether I’ve made about eight cushion covers and two hangings.

Robina 1 May
Robina 2 May
Robina 3 May
Robina 4 May

Robina is certainly keeping herself busy as I have now received a second email with the following photographs.

I’ve been painting and photo copying and putting them together. This middle one is a compilation of three sketches, photo copied. The foxgloves I repeated lots of times by photo copying, and then over lapped, and then tweaked with my multi craft knife. The sheep are the same scene repeated.
The floral print is a compilation of my paintings using the transfer dyes and some old stencils of flowers to help with some better detail, then I embroiders odd areas.
The top one is just transfer dyed, but onto bits of fabric which I then pieced together.
Hope every one is enjoying having time to play and staying healthy, which is the main thing.

Robina 5 May
Robina 6 May
Robina 7 May

Message from Linda W
Thank you Linda!  Ros

The Sea horse skeleton was completed in September last year , worked in kid leather and “gold work“ ; the mistletoe done in shadow work (thanks to Vernice for organising the workshop) is part of a series of Christmas cards……. more to follow

Linda W 2
Linda W 1 May

Message from Annie J
Thank you Annie!  Ros

I’ve been busy finishing a few WIP’s – window hangings, quirky birds,  teddy bear and felt bunny.

I’ve also done a felted vase and some rainbow birds for the window.  I tried bookbinding to make some scrap sketchbooks and I’m filling one with embroidery stitches at the moment.  The picture is from the weekly challenges I combined 3 of them to make a picture in memory of my mother who taught me to sew.

Annie J 1 May
Annie J 2 May
Annie J 3 May
Message from Annie F
Thank you Annie.  Ros

Annie tells us this is a house warming present for a friend who has a view of sheep in a field from her new kitchen window. It is done with a mixture of stranded cotton, perle and Appletons crewel wool on felt with a few gorgeous Stef Francis special threads thrown in for good measure and she had fun doing it!
Annie F 1 May

Message from Christine H
Thank you Christine!  Ros

Christine has been spending a lot of time in the garden but the weather is changing shortly so she plans to get into some serious stitching soon.

Christine H 1

Message from me, Ros

As some you you may know the 75th Anniversary of VE Day is on Saturday 9 May.  I was due to attend a celebration at RAF Cosford near Telford organised by friends and families of POWs (prisoners of war) at Stalag VIIIB at Lamsdolf (now Poland).  My father spent 3 years in this camp (one of the biggest in Germany) working in the medical centre and the hospital.   

For the celebration people were invited to prepare displays and in addition to photographs, I made this piece of  embroidery to show my father’s RAF badge and his medals.  Visitors were due to come from Canada, New Zealand, Australia and Europe but unfortunately the event has had to be postponed until 2021.

Ros 1 May

My grandson, Johannes will be 9 on 29 April.  I love making birthday cards for the ones I love.  His current favourite book is about Artemis Fowl, a detective!

Ros 2 May

New Embroiderers Guild challenge

The Embroiderers’ Guild have launched a new challenge.  The inspiration comes from Matthew Kelly’s poem – Reasons to be Thankful

You can get the details below direct from the website ( and go to Members Login.  Deadline 30 June 2020

EG challenge 1
EG challenge 2
EG challenge 3

Message from Ann S.  Thanks Ann!

Is this someone we recognise?  Busy girl!!!

Ann S scrubs
Ann S printing
Ann S blue book

Message from Maria.  Thanks Maria

Another busy girl, well done!

Maria hat
Maria scrubs

Message from Vernice.  Thanks Vernice!

I decided not to start anything new but to try and finish some of the many half finished workshop pieces I have. 

These two pieces are from …. 

Emily Jo Gibbs workshop (June 2017)
Linda Miller workshop (October 2918)

So, one hand stitch and one machine embroidery. 

Vernice 1 May rotated
Vernice 2 May rotated

Well, I think that is all for this month.  It is now Monday 4 May and we should all be meeting up today.  On behalf of Ann, Clare and the rest of the Committee we wish you all the very best and let’s hope we can all meet up again soon.  

Happy stitching and stay safe.


PS Don’t forget to join our Facebook page
PPS Don’t forget to send me photos of your work in case I have to do a June edition of the blog.

Covid 19 – April 2020

It is amazing how all our lives have changed in just a very short period of time.  To try and keep everybody in touch we thought it would be fun to post photographs of what members have been up  to.  They are in no particular order, just as they arrived in my “In Box”.  It would be great to do another one in time for our next meeting which was to be in early May so I look forward to receiving your contributions.  Ros

Clare R has kindly sent a photograph showing her gallery of work.  You have been busy – Thanks Clare!

Clare R 1

Message from Hazel P – thanks Hazel!

Since the lock down I have been continuing to embroider on these off cuts of fabric I bought at the June 2019 meeting – fabric designed and hand printed by that month’s speaker Alison Hulme.

Haven’t worked out what I will do with them yet, maybe make door stops.

I also had a go at making masks, but of course they are not the right fabric.

hazel 1 April
hazel 4 face mask
hazel 3 April 1
hazel 2 April 1

Message from Nikki V W

As you can guess I working on several things at the moment.

I have joined a free online workshop Revival Sketch book course.

American but some British artists  on it they are good I did send details to Vernice to share with  the guild.

Also the South west Region 8 inch Floral hoop deadline extended also the Areofil Competition “Doors “to do!!

Current work  stitched Lima with Hibiscus and finished Parrot.

When this is finished I think I will have a zoo!

I am also painting a Daffodil and Doll still life.

Plus lots of gardening and cooking.

Made potato peel crisps and Chicken Stock!

Nikki 1 April
Nikki 2 panda
Nikki 3 parrot

Message from Lindsay 

I picked this little wooden frame up online from Rainbow Silks. Good fun. 

I’d send a pic of my living room ceiling which I painted today but that would be like watching paint dry 

Walls tomorrow……

So I responded asking for a photo anyway!!!

I wasn’t planning on changing things here so soon but as I can’t get out and about it’s inevitable.  Thankfully the diy stores are still delivering so I have been able to get my supplies 

Being diabetic I’m not going to the supermarket atm, however I have a couple of lovely neighbours  and Linda Wells who lives in Calne too, who are keeping me stocked on groceries.

Everyone is being so lovely.

Lindsay weaving
Lindsay decorating

Message from Amanda R.  Thanks Amanda – really love your files!

I have finally found some concentration to be doing some doodling and as you are looking for items for blog I thought I’d share pics. Its nothing fancy or grand but when you have so much time on your hands I’ve been doing filing of all the papers one accumulates! And to give the ugly files a different look I covered files and boxes in fabric and made free motion embroidery labels for the files! Well it makes a change from looking at ugly files 🙂 

Amanda 2 April 1
Amanda 1 April 1

Message from Judy Joiner

Here is a photo of my completed picture following the lino printing workshop with Louise Nichol.  It was a good day

Judy 1 April

Message from Ann J.  Thank you Ann.  I was amazed by the size you must be very pleased and thrilled with the end result – a real family heirloom. I wonder if it is for your own bed or for a present.

Here’s my finished patchwork, all done by hand, it’s taken 18 months.   I’m using the yellow blanket for wadding (thrifty!) and a cream cotton sheet for the backing. Today I cleared a space and laid out my sandwich to tack it together. Ripped my hand on a pin and bled right across the newly washed backing. I’ve soaked it and hung it out to dry and will do it all over again tomorrow.

Sorry to read you got blood on your quilt Ann.  I saw a similar posting on Facebook the other day and the majority of people responded by suggesting you used your own spit to get the blood off your work – something to do with your enzymes in your spit interacting with your blood .  Sounds a bit gross but obviously works!!!

Ann Johnson 1

Message from me, Ros L

Just before the dreaded “C” word entered our vocabulary in  I decided to enrol on Sue Stone’s course, Stitch your Story.  I had done her previous course, Exploring Textiles and Patterns and had really enjoyed it.  I had told myself that her latest course was not really my thing but in a weak moment I reasoned with myself that it was the same price as a Summer School and what ever happened I was sure to get enjoyment and learn something.  It could not have come at a better time because everything is online and we have to post our work on a Facebook page so it is fun to see everybody else’s interpretation of the challenge.  So folks here are my first efforts.  They are not supposed to be finished pieces – when we have learnt more we can obviously go back so we will see.  At present we are asked not to use images of anyone we know.  The photo of the old gentleman is one I took in Gujarat many years ago – I have always loved it but it was not until I looked closely I realised he only had one tooth :-))))  Hopefully by the time we have another of these postings I will have some more to show you.  PS Sorry I should have ironed them but . . . . . !!!

Ros 1 April
Ros 3 April
Ros 2 April
Ros 4 April

Message from Christine H – thanks Christine!

Christine reminded me that today (Wednesday 1 April) we should have been going to the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford.  I had forgotten!  What a great shame but hopefully we can put it on the calendar for next year.

Christine calls this her “PHD and not the type of thing we usually do”.  Come on Christine, at this time we are allowed to do absolutely anything to keep ourselves sane and I think it is super.

Christine H 1

Email from STITCH

Hi Rosalind _

The latest issue of Stitch is published today: Thursday 26 March 2020. This is to let you know the story of the Savernake embroidery is covered in our letters page. Thank you so much for sharing.

This issue is all about appreciating what’s around us and making the most of it. There’s a whole host of ideas on capturing the beauty and strength of nature in stitch. Plus clever projects that champion left-overs by turning bits you might otherwise throw away into something else altogether. The pages are simply bursting with needle and thread inspiration to keep hand and mind happy. And we all need a good dose of stitching to keep us going!

We have a couple of offers that may be of interest to yourself or your fellow embroiderers. If you don’t already subscribe, you can download a digital copy TODAY by heading to: 
There’s an amazing offer: 3 issues for just £5! With so many shops closed, this might be the easiest way to get a stitching fix for now.

Or you can take advantage of our very special UK subscription deal: 3 issues for £3!
Although this option would start with the next issue.

Keep stitching and keep me posted with your news!


Kat McDonnell
Editor, Stitch Magazine
Tel: 07764 576014

Tanya Batham

A message left on our website

My name is Tanya and I specialise in medieval embroidery.
my work is here
I teach for several museums and galleries, including the Ashmolean in Oxford. Since all classes and events are currently cancelled or postponed, I’ve created a couple of online classes to get us all through the long boring lock down.
One is laid and couched work (bayeux style stitching) in wools, which is suitable for beginners to intermediate, and the other is a more advanced class in opus anglicanum. I’m offering an option to have a kit sent out, or a cheaper option which will be access to the digital media only (useful for stashbusting).
I wondered if this might be something your members would be interested in, and would be very grateful if you would let them know about it.
The shop link is here
and there’s also an opusanglicanum facebook group, which many participants are involved with, and which is open to all who are interested in medieval embrodiery
thank you, Tanya

Message from Annie F.  Thank you Annie!

​I’ve just finished this baby blanket which is done in mitred squares

Annie Fellows quilt 1

Message from Lindsay S regarding our current challenge.  Thanks Lindsay!

Our Planet in Crisis 

From rising sea levels, rising sea temperatures, forest fires, drought, global warming etc.
As before we are using a canvas 50cm x 20cm but they will be displayed horizontally.

By my calculations we will be able to hang 13 in a single row and I am hoping that, with more than 2 dozen pieces, we will be able to have 2 or even 3 rows in the final display.

I feel that this will make as effective and impactive a display as we have had in the past.

And, as before, use any fabric, colour, or method of textile design as you would like.

Below is  my piece illustrating rising sea levels.

Since receiving this email from Lindsay we have heard that the Conference Centre at University of the West of England (UWE) where the West of England Quilting and Textile exhibition is held, has been turned into a hospital for Covid 19 patients so it looks as if you will now have plenty of time to complete your work.

Lindsay Climate

A message from Ann S.  Thanks Ann!

A flash of gold
A combined back ground of distressed painted paper, and layered with a gold embellished fabric. Using stitch, gold paint, rust and a little piece of  painted tyvex. this is inspired by places where buildings are faded/old and yet still beautiful in my eyes. 

Ann S a splash of gold 1

Message from Tase W.  Thanks Tase

​After doing Anne Helleyer’s workshop before Christmas, I decided to do a picture of my son’s house in Old Town, Swindon (his is much more interesting to look at than mine!). I painted the calico with acrylic paints, crumpled them up and left them to dry for a couple of days. Well, in reality they’ve had 4 months to dry because that’s how long it took me to actually do the in project! I painted the lintels above the window and door with acrylic, but constructed the rest as we did in the workshop. Free motion machining secured the layers and added detail. Son is rather pleased with it!

Tase house

Flower pounding is a way of transferring colour from flowers on to cloth, which I then embroider to add dimension. If you’d like to have a go, I’ve recorded a video to show you how

Tase flowers 2
Tase flowers 3

Lino cut workshop with Louise Nichols, further embellished with stitch and felt. We did several prints, so I have plenty more to play with!

Tase lino cut

Well that’s it.  Monday 6 April and the sun is shining here in Corsham.  I just wish I could have been driving over to Lockeridge for the day with you all but, hey ho not to be.  If you have enjoyed reading this please contribute next month. 

Keep safe everyone and keep stitching.  


Louise Nichol – Workshop

Louise Nichol - Lino Printing on Fabric

Louise Nichol workshop 1

Louise first introduced herself as a textile artist and she doesnu2019t class herself as a printmaker.

She talked us through the process which we would be going through on this one day workshop. Today is all about getting the fabric printed with a design that then can be embellished, appliqued, or embroidered to our own unique style to produce an item that can either be used for fashion, accessories or fine art.

She uses a singular linou00a0 block with one colourway print or on a rare occasion a multiblock print of more than one colour combination .

When choosing a design Louise advised that not too much detail is the key to being able to add future applique, embellishments etc,u00a0 so that we are not constricted by fine detail on the fabric or which would be lost if we were to cover up inadvertentlyu00a0 e.g.u00a0 less area for further enhancements with thread, appliqued fabrics etc.u00a0

We measured out a design roughly 6 inch square or similar area in a rectangle as this would be a suitable amount to carve and print in the time available.u00a0


Workshop 2

We then proceeded to carve out the design which was fairly successful on the softcut lino Louise provided u2013 (softer and easier to carve than traditional lino) before making sure that any lines were not too finely carved together as when you print onto fabric sometimes the ink can be transferred to the carved out lines if not thick enough and therefore losingu00a0the detail of the print.u00a0u00a0

Once carving was complete after lunch Louise advised aboutu00a0suitable fabrics to print upon.u00a0

Closely woven fabrics would take the print well but you needu00a0to remember that it is sometimes harder to put a needle through a tightly wovenu00a0fabric and the addition of printed ink on top of the fabric can make sewingu00a0harder still. So a smooth finished fabric such as linen with a looser weave would be ideal or similar cotton fabrics.u00a0

Workshop 4


With regards to which ink to use for printing our fabric it really depended upon whether we would be intending to wash the item after completed. Louise brought 2 different fabric block printing inks with her, a watercolour one which is light fast and suitable for fine art pieces which do not require washing (in fact if you were to wash would be ruined as the ink would be removed) or a Speedball fabric ink which was oil based, which takes longer to dry and needs fixing with an iron (and a piece of parchment paper to protect the iron) but once fixed can be safely washed so is suitable for fashion items.u00a0


Workshop 10
Workshop 9 rotated
Workshop 8

We spent the rest of the afternoon experimenting with theu00a0different inks in a variety of colour ways on a selection of fabrics.u00a0

Louise then advised that to finish off the item , you would back the item with either a lightweight fusible interfacing or a bondaweb sheet and depending upon your use, a lightweight wadding etc before embroidering or appliqueing the item.u00a0


Workshop 7 rotated
Workshop 5
Workshop 6 rotated

Report and photos by Claire T.

Thank you Claire, Ros