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 – http://www.totftm.org!

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!  https://textilesandstitch.co.uk/savernake-embroidery-2/

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.  https://www.themakeroom.uk/

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 rosalindlomas21@gmail.com.  My aim is to post monthly to coincide with our meeting so the last date for October blog will be Friday 2 October.  


Poo, Poisons, Science & Serendipity – Dr Susan Kay Williams

Our February speaker was Dr Susan Kay Williams, Chief Executive of the Royal School of Needlework, who kindly returned to Lockeridge to give the second part of a talk about colour which she started in July 2018.

This talk Susan entitled Poo, Poison, Science and Serendipity and I am sure I was not the only one to be intrigued by what was to come.   She is a great collector of fabric and thread sample books and we found it fascinating to see how her research over the years has shown the development of both natural and synthetic dyes.  I never realised that guano was collected and used to make a yellow dye and that green, which was made with arsenic, became very popular in the early 1800s.  This material put the weaver, the maker and the wearer at risk and we were shown a sketch published in 1861 by Punch which was entitled the Arsenic Waltz.    

Credit – A skeleton gentleman at a ball asks a skeleton lady to dance; representing the effect of arsenical dyes and pigments in clothing and accessories. Wood engraving, 1862. Credit: Wellcome CollectionCC BY 

In the early 19C Michel Chevreul, a French Scientist, did research into colour. Initially his colour wheel showed 72 colours but he went on to explore an even wider range of hues ranging from loud to soft. A chemist, William Perkin, was attempting to find synthetics quinine. He did not find that but discover the first synthetic colour, later named mauve. This colour became a favourite of both Queen Victoria and Empress Eugene.
​Credit: Image below taken from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michel_Eug%C3%A8ne_Chevreul
​​Susan concluded her talk by bringing us up to date by talking about the invention of procion dyes and the production of synthetic indigo for making denim. She showed us colourful images of dresses from the catwalks of Mary Quant to those worn by Diana Ross and interior designers like Sonia Delaunay.
​Credit: Image below taken from Dr Susan Kay Williams’ presentation
Dr Susan Kay Williams has written a book entitled “Colour in Textiles” which is available on Amazon

​Report by Ros

Pamela Smith – January 2020


​Pamela’s interest in Russia started at a young age when her father worked in London near to the Russian Shop and bought home books and artefacts as presents.  She went on to learn Russian history at A Level and in 1973 her husband was posted to Moscow for 6 months.  At this time she was doing a 4 year City & Guilds Course and had the fortune to meet the Textile curator of the Museum in Moscow.  Pamela introduced her to art quilts which started in Russia about this time.

​The first evidence of metal thread work was found in Russia about 1592 and Pamela showed us a photograph of the Stroganov family shroud (below).  Similar work was being done in England at this time.  In the 17th C the aristocracy wore long beards, flowing gowns and coats but overnight this changed at the time of Peter the Great.  Beards were shaved off, the old style was banned  and western court dress was worn.  Merchants’ wives continued to wear traditional dresses made of silk and exotic imported materials.  Embellishments were worn on the end of plaits but when a lady married she hid her hair away.   Examples of textiles fortunately survived the Russian revolution where as a lot of paintings did not.   The blue court dress below was worn by the last Tsarina, Alexandra Fyodorovna.  It was made by the Atelier of Olga Bulbenkova in the late 19th-early 20th C
​In 1903 a ball was suggested for pre and post revolution costumes and Pamela showed us photographs of the wonderful variety of outfits which were worn.  
​Nowadays gold work is now mainly found in the church costume.  Torzhok, a town between St Petersburg and Moscow is full of monasteries and a school of  gold embroidery.  Girls are taught the basics of reading, writing and arithmetic and then they continue to the embroidery school.  Below are some examples of items Pamela bought at the school and on her travels in Russia.
Thank you Pamela for a most interesting talk about a subject I knew little about!

​Report and photos by Ros

Christmas Lunch with Lt Col Neil Stace

Our Christmas “bring and share” lunch is always an enjoyable event and this year joint chair Clare Russell and Ann Smith started by presenting Kay Francis with some flowers as a thank you for her many years of service on the committee.  



​After lunch our surprise speaker was Lt Col Neil Stace who was a runner up in the 2015 series of the BBC Great British Sewing Bee.

As a bit of fun, Neil and a friend joined the sewing group at Primary School and his interest in stitch developed from there.  He talked about various tours of duty in Afghanistan, Bosnia, Northern Ireland and explained that there was always down time which had to be filled which is why he included a sewing machine along with his kit.  Neil sees himself as a soldier who sews and an engineer who does not need a pattern which is why he designed and made a wedding dress for his female driver in Bosnia. Another story that I particularly found interesting was during his second round of duty in Afghanistan in 2010 he had the challenge of re-introducing cottage industries to the local ladies which had to be done discretely through an interpreter.  It was so successful that after a couple of months the ladies had set up stalls in the market selling their crafts.

It was Neil’s wife who completed the application form for the Great British Sewing Bee and he had to go through a number of interviews and challenges before being accepted onto the reality TV programme. He showed us a little girl’s smocked dress, a boys waistcoat (made during children’s week), a ladies corset and a wonderful kilt which he often wears.  
Several of our members contributed to the Flags of Thanks challenge which Neil organised recently.  People were asked to make a 12 inch square of gratitude to the Armed Force Community.  About 1000 flags were made and displayed St Thomas Church in Salisbury in June 2019.  Eventually Neil wants to stitch these squares together to make in quilts, sleeping bags and ponchos for war veterans and he had a number of the squares and quilts on display.
Whether it be modifying backpacks in Afghanistan, repairing cuddly animals during tours of duty, making costumes for musicals, modifying clothes for Skiing for the Disabled or making bags with local primary school children, Neil’s sewing skills were there for all to see.  All through his talk Neil emphasised the importance he finds in relaxing and de-stressing through stitching and knitting and he talked about sharing his skills with others both in the military and on civvy-street.  He reminded us that soldiers during the Crimea, the First and Second Wars had done the same.

Thank you Neil for sharing these amazing stories and opening our eyes to a side of our craft  that most of us knew nothing about.

Thank you to Vernice for sharing the photo she took of Neil in Salisbury earlier this year and to Lindsay for her “Salvador Dali” photo of our Christmas lunch table!
Report and photos by Ros

Anne Hellyer – “Set the Town Alight” workshop – November 2019


A few years ago I saw Anne Hellyer’s work displayed at the West of England Quilting and Textile Show at the UWE (University of the West of England) in Bristol so when I had the opportunity to go on a two day workshop I was keen to put my name down.  

​Anne’s distinctive “Painting the Town” designs incorporate hand painted textiles and free machine embroidery.
We started the day by choosing a design, winter townscape, snowy townscape or an individual choice.   The hand painted fabric is ironed onto a background and then starts the fun of adding the doors, windows, plants and trees.  Finally a backing is added and ribbons to enable you stand your finished work up with a night light in the centre.   
Anne was extremely generous sharing her ideas and techniques and the two days of stitch, stitch, stitching went so quickly.   The end results were so individual with each person choosing different coloured fabrics and adding their own special ideas including Rosemary’s super black cat. 



Thank you Anne for a great workshop.

Anne’s kits can be bought on her website:   http://www.paintingthetown.org.uk/
Please note – all the designs are Anne’s copyright

Report and photos by Ros

Liz Brooke Ward – November 2019

Liz Brooke Ward was the speaker for our November meeting.  I first saw Liz’s work many years ago at Art In Action so I was interested to meet the artist herself, to hear her story and to see a wonderful selection of her work.
​Liz explained that many years ago she chose rocks and stones as her topic for a City and Guilds course.  During this time she also became interested in lichens and, although she has diversified considerably, Liz is well known for her circle in square designs using lichens as inspiration.  Liz handed round a wonderful selection of her work and it was interesting to see her lichen design created using different techniques and materials.  They included applique and reverse applique, free machine embroidery, hand stitched French knots, hand dyed fabrics, varying colour combinations  and multi media.  
Liz enjoys poetry and regularly includes text in her work.  She loves experimenting with fonts and her son has created a font for her in the shape of a leaf.

In 2006 Liz was awarded the Charles Henry Foyle award for Stitched Textiles.  Her work was entitled “On to the Eastward” and was her interpretation of a maelstrom.  
​Liz gives talks, has had articles printed in various publications, has been an artist in residence at Nature in Art and has exhibited her work at the Festival of Quilts and around the country. She is a member of the Contemporary Quilters Guild and showed us examples of a monthly challenge to create a journal quilt.
Thank you Liz for a wonderfully enthusiastic talk and for generously sharing your techniques.

Report and photos by Ros

Nikki Vesey Williams – October 2019

Nikki is a talented artist in so many disciplines and the Guild is fortunate to have her as a member.  We could not be anything but inspired by the breadth of her passions and skills, she in turn is inspired by artists such as Van Gogh, Klimt, Monet, Gaudi, Lautrec, the pre Raphaelites, and nature, history, birds and colour.  Nikki showed us an amazing array of her work of embroidery, enamelling, silver-smithing, stained glass, furniture painting, upholstery and needle felting. 

​In amongst all this Nikki’s uses recycled materials to dazzling effect in her multi media works such as her crown made for this year’s entry to the Madeira Competition.  Last year she was competition winner with her beautifully imagined ‘Mary Poppins’ carpet bag.  She is rightly proud of her ability to recycle and reuse.
​Nikki seems to be able to turn her artistic talent to almost anything as well as doing her bit to save the planet.  Thank you from the members of the Guild for giving us a glimpse into the amazing world of Nikki Vesey Williams.
Thank you Amanda R for your report and the photos. 

​I was so very sorry to have missed your talk Nikki, another time!  Ros

Jennifer Hughes workshop – September 2019

The day after Jennifer’s talk to the branch she kindly led a workshop entitled “Inspired by Chinese Ethnic Embroidery”.  This was a hand stitch workshop using folded pieces of fabric which were stitched into the form of a bird, fish or animal.

To start the day Jennifer showed us some samples which she and her friends had worked especially for this workshop.

Jennifer had also prepared outline shapes to act as a guide for our design.  
During the day Jennifer demonstrated a number of different stitches which were included on the traditional Chinese embroidery – pulling stitch, various forms of chain stitch and she showed us how to make a flat braid which was often used to outline the design.
We left at the end of the day with some lovely samples, well under way and knowledge of some great stitches which were new to a number of us.
Thank you Jennifer for a most enjoyable day.

Report by Ros
​Photos by Ros and Jennifer