Janet Haigh : Her Work

Textiles: ideas, drawing, design, stitching….


Drawing Vintage Fabrics


first drawing of the day – the eye of the dragon

I have been invited to deliver 3 day drawing classes at the Bristol Drawing School based at the Royal West of England Academy. I was asked to work with my collections of vintage embroidered textiles which include Chinese embroidered robes, Japanese kimono and Indian/Pakistani children’s  clothing and tent hangings.. first I brought in the Chinese robes…


starting to draw the threadbare theatrical Chinese Dragon robe

the old tattered, ripped and worn fabrics never fail to inspire students; each class is different – although my teaching methods remain basically the same: – take care to tell the truth about what you are seeing, pay close attention to the making processes and most of all the colour.


the sensitive drawing slowly evolves

As we start to draw using only dry media – pastels, crayon and pencils –  getting the colour correct is always tricky, but I try to get students to develop a colour quality rather than to try to copy the real colours…this teaches awareness of atmospheric colour.



another study of the same fabric – aiming to describe how it is stitched; not painted printed or stencilled…

I gave these students an hour to develop their first studies… they seemed to be engaged immediately – always surprising who picks what to draw. Unfortunately I have a very bad grasp of names – I could describe each student’s appearance perfectly  by looking at their individual drawings but names evade me for this first week – my apologies to all.


starting out….



trying to get that elusive faded grey/ brown silk ground colour















The silk theatrical costume of a dragon is really in a sorry state now but the colours are subtle, faded and very beautiful. The wild cardboard eyes of the dragon still command attention and trying to capture the quality of the threadbare silk really tests the students. For a totally opposite colour experience, the  choice for those who like bold colour is the red and blue silk court skirt…


starting out with bold geometric colour blocks

working from more decorative sections of the skirt still produces a strong response.


starting to map out the decoration – in reality a tiny hand stitched red binding on a yellow silk applique


getting to grips with the colour of the yellow silk









using the coloured paper grounds with the pastels makes it possible to give an impression of the nuanced colours of the faded and friable silks – blending the colors to achieve the exact shade is difficult but rewarding – and you learn a lot about colour mixing and trying to keep everything clean…



1 hour into the drawing, it takes time to build up this quality of colour in pastels.

The soft grey-blue padded jacket, embroidered with wisteria blossoms, brought out everyone best attention to stitch…and although the colour proved  illusive, many lovely studies were made from it.


drawing the meandering blossom on the padded and embroidered jacket


this simple tentative sketch captures the quality of the meandering blossom stalks



well the colour is way off – but what an interesting series of marks to try to capture the nuanced and subtle effect of the silk embroidery












We ended the morning with a short critical discussion about the work achieved  in the first hours of the morning. In the afternoon session everyone chose different pieces to work with. I had more or less dictated the scope of first drawings (detail, detail, detail) now the students could choose how they wished to interpret the fabrics. The grey silk jacket still held its appeal.


wriggly line drawing trying to capture the crepe silk and hand stitched appliqued braid.


detail of the fastenings and braiding of the silk jacket












detail of the the hem of a large embroidered court robe with resplendent dragon

it is always interesting to see different interpretations of the same subject…the drawings below probably say more about the artists than the robe.


careful but lively study of the embroidered sea.


flamboyant cloud interpretation from the robe above










careful gradation of colours to describe the embroidered flower

My own black modern Chinese embroidered jacket has resulted in these 2 different interpretations…however in the drawing below, the student told us that she had not drawn anything for more than 20 years – so as far as I am concerned this study is a major achievement – for bravery – but had it been on black it would have been even more striking…


strong drawing of a tiny frogged fastening – a very brave and successful start after 20 years of not drawing!

when studying textiles it is often difficult not to get engrossed by the garment they constitute – here are 2 images of drawing the same skirt – the first is about the skirt, the second about the textile and the fabric manipulation.


getting engrossed in the bands of stripes made by a shibori technique on a hand woven hemp, Chinese skirt.



more attention to the detail of the dying technique shown in the second study











the following drawing is totally different in its approach – the whole folded cloth has become a world of its own..


this large undulating drawing reminded me of a surreal landscape – fabrics as fold.

who would have guessed it is a study from a wrapped and folded silk skirt…but oh the colours!


how innovative to fold an old silk skirt and make a colour study .


and last of all this simple line drawing of a white hand embroidered black jacket – each line describing the direction of the stitch. How wonderful it would be to see this extended for a whole wall full!


simple linear drawing – a tiny detail from a Chinese embroidered landscaped jacket.

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Kantha Club


Susi Bancroft stitching her suspended large Kantha piece in Heart Space Studios

Autumn is here and the new term started for Kantha Club – run by Susi Bancroft for Heart Space Studios. We all wanted to swap summer experiences and stories and show what we had been up to – or not!


Kay at the back of the Kantha sheet – the light shining though the colour was lovely, showing up the rows of stitches.

Susi had embarked on a very large piece ( I meanwhile had put my first attempt at a large piece aside). She had dyed the fabric in Turmeric and Tea to get this very subtle yellow. She finds it easier to hold the needle at the eye end to keep the cloth steady – so each stitch requires 2 hands on the needle, standing to work on such a large-scale fabric she says ” I am surrounded by beautiful colour with the light behind you, like being cocooned in colour ”


closed hand with thumb kept into palm = the narrow band


wide open hand = the wide band of stitches

Explaining how she made decisions for spacing the stitching bands by using simple hand measurements she said “I used the fact that I couldn’t see the whole cloth working so close up so the hand spans were the measurement I adopted”


hand spans for the gaps between stitching lines

to enable her to keep stitching rhythmically while standing up, she threaded several needles at a time in different colours, using each as she felt that she wanted them – relying on her instinct for the colour striations, she enjoyed  the feeling of  the fabric being “just being out of my reach’ whilst she worked.

Kay Swancutt showed us some dying samples that she had stitched , she had exhibited these recently at Nature in Art and used many natural materials to make the different patterns and colours


samples of natural dyed fabrics by Kay Swancutt


more of Kay’s experimental samples

Steph Wooster brought several examples of her earlier drawn textile work that she has now worked with a kantha stitched ground…these were  also exhibited at Nature in Art and I feel that they could lead to even more intricate background stitched patterns – I am thinking animal skin patterns, leaves, grass..


Steph Wooster’s Biro drawing of animals from the Bristol Museum, augmented with ripples of stitching

I particularly like the combination of the stark elegant drawings and the tone on tone rippled grounds.


Biro drawing of animals and kantha stitched ground – Steph Wooster

she also brought a new piece fabric that she wanted some feedback from us – it was a parachute silk sheet, very old and damaged,


choosing coloured threads to mend the fragile silk sheet

she wanted to mend it – we suggested she start with the weakest area.


carefully searching for the weakest points ot start to mend using Kantha as a technique

Meanwhile Naomi Clarke has been having fun just using Kantha technique to stitch the patterned cloth and also appliqueing it to the tie- dyed ground – as a technique this could really be developed to make lively fabrics


Naomi Clarke’s Kantha applique

I had started another project in the break – a quilt based on a painting by Alfred Stockham, an old friend and ex colleague, it is a small painting that had always called to me to be made as a patchwork…

alf quilt

oil painting by Alfred Stockham

starting in the top right hand corner I ripped some pieces of shot cottons into squares and strips and stitched them down onto a red cotton ground…the coours of the threads made for the nuance of his dragged brush marks


starting the squares of painting patchwork


completed square of kantha stitched patchwork







during the last few hectic weeks of launching my book it has been a relief to get back to simply stitching these square transitions from paint to cloth

I am interested to see how each square is in itself a small complete composition

JH5b  JH6b










I am fascinated by this work but it may take some time to get finished


the start of the first row of patches for the painting quilt.


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Best in Show – Ally Pally


Alexander Palace – the Knitting & Stitching Show entrance

And so to Ally Pally for the annual Knitting & Stitching show, attentive readers of this blog will realise that this is where Heart Space Studios headed to advertise our new book at the invitation of The Cotton Patch, the home of all things patchwork and quilting in Birmingham. For a week I worked at this amazing show – and looking at textiles for so long, I now feel well able to select my personal ‘ Best in Show’ awards to several outstanding exhibitions and commercial stands.

fish 5

Kate’s Place blackboard

In no particular order – ” Kate’s Plaice the Stitchmongers’ ” was by far the most amusing, the concept or rather – to use a literary term – “the conceit” was completely thought through, it was highly technically proficient  and the most entertaining piece of textile work that I have ever seen at this event.

fish stand

the fish stall

The installation was designed specially for the Knitting and Stitching show by Kate Jenkins, Everything on the stand was completely in keeping with the joke…from the dressed shop assistants that like all good fishmongers knew their subject inside out and wanted to share their delight and knowledge with you, to the stunning array of ‘ seafood’ on offer…


detail of the central fish counter

below are the details of the counter of fish, the use of material and the shapes and colour are perfectly chosen – you really did want to order and eat what was on offer…..









For those, like me, who prefer their fish cooked and served, rather than making the dish themselves, the fish platters definitely looked good enough to eat.

fish dinner

fish and seafood supper


tabasco and oysters















the hand written sign below, perfectly in keeping with the whole fish shop ethic, was written to deter a fellow exhibitor, an embroiderer, who pawed the little sequined morsels as they were being arranged, and was extremely rude when he was asked to stop! This is such an unusual occurance  – stall holders being rude to anyone, let alone one another that I feel it deserves reporting.

touch fish

thee sparkly lobster and the necessary notice!

Among the exhibition, chosen from recent graduates by the Embroiderer’s Guild, was this enigmatic large photographic  hand embroidered panel by Susana Borobia, part of an small body of work called ” Awaken Threads…this spoke ro me on lots of levels – it reminds me of my own work developed through a fascination with White Work techniques and the difficult transition from cloth or fibre to other materials…here is it managed elegantly and artlessly.

susan borobia

stitched photographic print by Susana Borobia





SB detail.

Detail of the stitched white work on the photograph
















Ihave to admit that I chose to ignore  the notice not to take photographs; it was early in the morning, I couldn’t find the student to ask and thought that she may prefer it to appear on this blog than me to ignore her work.  I have had this problem of no photography before …but it is a odd embargo now in the age of instant imagery and social media and who can possibly copy this ??????…that’s my excuse anyway.

robert ely

Robert G Ely, the perfect example of ‘ if you’ve got it flaunt it ‘  wearing his woven silk braces and bow tie

It is difficult to show a range of different work in such a small space as a booth in the fair – but here Robert Ely has managed to do exactly that – he shows his woven ribbon design work, such as braces and book marks  with his more art based weavings of sea and landscapes – the ribbon dimensions are shared but the colour depth and small scale pointilism is also evident in both sets of work – seen below are the 2 types of work on display


woven ribbon seascape – by Robert G Elybelow are the 2 types of woven work that Robert was exhibiting


braces, book marks and other finely woven sauciness.


















the seascapes exhibited made me think that he must live near me on the Severn Estuary, in fact these images are taken from much further down the estuary at Devon, Start Point.

god's river RE

this image I mistook for my local headland and lighthouse, Battery Point in Portishead, Somerset in fact it is form further down the estuary in Devon

what everyone goes to these fairs of is to stock up their stash! So 2 specialists who always show wonderful collection of the real things…first my old favourite importer of real Japanese fabrics, Euro Japan Links, a Japanese husband and English wife team who have been in business for years- long before their was a fashion in Japanese fabrics; their pieces of fabric neatly folded into colour co-ordinated  ranges never fail to fascinate me.

Jl 3

Japanese patchwork cottons


Japanese kimono prints

My other favourite company exhibiting and selling mainly tribal Chinese fabrics and clothing is Slow Loris. I  have written about this marvelous collection for sale before but do so again as Martin Conlon the owner is a fund of knowledge and is really enthusiastic to tell you the stories behind the garments. There always new things to see – well old new things.

slow lorris

The Slow Loris stand of ethnic Chinese /Tibetan textiles

The other exhibition I liked for its sense of space and calm and truly sumptuous colour was ‘The Other’ coloured work by Vivienne Prideaux paired with the white and neutral work of Amanda J Clayton. They made a handsome area of beautiful controlled textile hangings and panels. I thought that these these glowing panels by Vivienne Prideaux were just so desirable, the depth of texture and range of nuanced colour that this artist builds up with her various tie dyed and gilded grounds is so inspiring – makes me yearn to return to my own studio again.


small dyed panel by Vivien Prodeaux

prideaux 1

shibori dyed and gilded panel – Vivienne Prideaux



prideaux 3



















the neutral and range of white fabrics shown by Amanda J Clayton were perfect partners


Shifting sheets of fabrics installation in “The Other” exhibition.


So enough of what I like – what about my exhibit…i was given a space on The Cotton Patch stand, to show and sell my new book, Little Ribbon Patchwork and Applique – comprising designs based on Kaffe Fassett’s ribbon collection for Renaissance Ribbons

several people helped me to set up and run the stand during the week …


Setting up the stand with Cotton Patch ‘s Nik Sewell sorting out the Kaffe Fassett books and Jane- Matie Mahy organising the Heart Space section

several people helped to run the stand with me for the 5 days of the show….


Ilaria Padovani form Heart Space Studios demonstrating how to make a ribbon yo yo on the stand


Susan Berry who had the idea of the book in the first place

The Ribbon beads have proved to be most popular things we show how to make in the book, see the next post down!


Stuart from the Sewing Bee programme and Jane- Marie Mahy  with the ribbon beads – sort of says it all really!


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Making Ribbon Beads

deb's bead

One wonderful wrapped ribbon beaded bead by Debbie Cripps

And so to Bath, to launch the Heart Space Studio book, ‘Little Ribbon Patchwork and Applique’ at the American Museum, with a workshop in the morning to show how to make ribbon beads. I made these originally as a way of using up all the small ends of Jaquard ribbons made by the American company Renaissance Ribbons left over from the other projects in the book – but  also to show off the wonderful floating threads that form on the backs of the ribbons.

ribbon pack

contents of a ribbon pack given to each student for the workshop

As the workshop was conducted for just the morning before the launch, we had only 3 hours to make beads, and knowing that choosing the ribbons and felts takes a long time, decision decisions….we had made packs of small pieces of ribbon and the felt strips – enough for 12 beads, added tiny glass beads for embellishing and some gold thread for wrapping and stitching, plus a small wooden skewer on which to assemble the beads. Each student was first asked to choose a package.


wrapping the scrap of Jaquard Ribbon wrong side outermost around the felt.

start bead

wrapping the felt to make the bead base







constructing the beads is easy peasy – if you can stitch neatly, I showed how to make 3 simple beads with variations.


three beads wrapped and stitched in gold thread and different ribbons

everyone  quickly got wrapping and sewing and inventing different colours and patterns, fascinating to watch so many variations happen at the first ever class I have given in this technique.


colour co-ordinating beads with clothes

stitch bead

stitching the ribbons to the felted bead – a blur of activity!










just simple plain coloured thread cross stitch when repeated looks lovely..

naomi's bead

embroidered bead by Naomi Clarke

when all the ribbon beads are strung together with glass beads onto an elastic cord the effect is simply lovely.


Naomi's bracelet

the finished necklace by Naomi Clarke

After this came the launch party,  so we all made our way to the Gallery.

Earlier in the week, we had designed and re-packaged the basic Renaissance Ribbon packs that the gallery had in stock to sell with the books,

making USM packs

in the heart space studio making fresh sets of ribbon packs

we were really pleased with the effect….


our packs of ribbons displayed next to the new book in the gallery shop

lots of other people joined us for the launch…the heart Space tutors and friends all enjoyed a good time together

photo 3

rare picture of me with my friends – I’m the one with the ribbon bead necklace

photo 2

colourful Heart Space gals busy chatting together






All in all it was a good day, and lots of other guests have blogged it as well, most notably, Rosemary Murphy on  one of her blogs for September 2015  http://storiesinwood.blogspot.co.uk/


So that’s the Launch sorted,  what next?

new ribbonsNIK

new ribbon version of front cover embroidery for Knitting and Stitching Show

new design ally pally

new design for Cotton Patch stand F27, at Knitting & Stitching show at the Ally Pally, London










I have been invited to the Knitting and Stitching show in London by Nik Sewell the owner of The Cotton Patch to demonstrate how to make several  simple projects from the book on their stand, F27.  And to sell the books as well as lots of Renaissance Ribbons and Kaffe Fassett’s lovely shot cottons that are used throughout the book. So I am now busy developing new combinations as shown above.








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It’s a Tough Job – But Someone Has To Do It

boysie window

how much is that doggie in the window?

We are launching the new book, Little Ribbon Patchwork and Applique, on Tuesday 15th September at the American Museum, near Bath. Things are a tad hectic here, even my old dog Boysie is getting in on the act posing in the Heart Space Studio window for the Ribbon book display….and all of us who are working hard on this part of the publicity keep laughing and saying to one another – “it’s a tough job…….”

Meanwhile other people have been posing in this window – all in my efforts to publicise the book

window model

model Patricia Yaker Ekall looking resplendent in studio window

But to start at the beginning, the books have finally arrived in the building, boxes and boxes of them.


first box of books from printers

We have a small UK edition and are selling copies at various book and craft shops and galleries and of course at Heart Space Studios. The first opportunity to advertise came in the form of a photo-shoot for local press featuring the neighbouring businesses in Coldharbour Road, organised by Sue Fyfe-Williams. To make the best use of the fashion models on offer, we made masses of ribbon beads – I mean masses….


assembling the earring

angel beads

our guardian angel bedecked with ribbon beads











and One Solitary Earring……

So when we saw our model Patricia, in a lovely tailored jacket by The House of Sheldon Hall, with her severe hair by SK109 – we just knew that the combination would make spectacular images

modle &mother

Patricia and her mother Clare, in Heart Space club room waiting for the camera

But first make- up and lighting checks…

make-up from Jenny Davies


lighting from Photographer










and then…..


Ta Dah!

the most amazing thing about these beads is that they are made of all the left-overs of ribbon scraps from the other projects in the book – and they are the most popular item in it – we have sold out our launch Making Ribbon Beads workshop at The American Museum , but of course we are running them later this year at Heart Space.

But that’s not all – off we went this week to mount a display for the launch at the museum. Jane- Marie Mahy, Ilaria Padovani (2 of our amazing  volunteers) and I arrived at the very cool and elegant Gallery Shop.

museum shop

gallery Shop at the American Museum in Britain

what would our hotch – potch of brilliantly coloured Kaffe Fassett inspired projects look like here?


detail of Kaffe’s Corner

We needn’t have worried – perfect colour co-ordination with Kaffe’s section of the shop…..was it Ruskin who said that only the noblest minds concerned themselves with colour?


Ilaria pressing the aprons


Jane- Marie arranging the projects













eventually everything was in place


detail of the shelves with Ribbon Book projects displayed

and then the gals took piccies….colour co-ordinated or what?



now all that is left to do is make the ribbon packs for the Museum to sell alongside the books; sort out the bead workshop materials and pack, get some workshop leaflets printed, organise guests to get into museum with the invitation, bring extra blue tack just in case…oh and turn up on the day in time for the launch itself……….




Little Ribbon Patchwork and Applique: the Story behind the Book


opening the package of the advance copied of Heart Space Studios’ first book

Here it is, my very first look at the proper printed books – Heart Space Studios’  Little Ribbon Patchwork and Applique,  inspired by and featuring Kaffe Fassett’s wonderful ribbons. And this is the English edition, and it is published by Heart Space Studios…But oh the hopes and fears were in equal measure when I saw that neat white package of the first 10 advanced copies of the book…


all the angst and problems of getting the UK cover perfectly coloured have paid off

Originally the book was commissioned by the American publishers, Taunton Press ( and uses American terms and measurement – bliss – I was educated using inches and yards) and then I was offered the opportunity of producing a small UK edition and this is it. And as a consequence I have spent a large proportion of the last 9 months working on this and other publications involving Kaffe Fassett’s ribbons and fabrics……

first ribbons

the 5 original reels of ribbon I designed with

I was first asked, by Susan Berry, a book producer concentrating on textile crafts (whom I have worked with for many years) if I had any design ideas for using the beautiful Jacquard ribbons designed by of Kaffe Fassett and produced by Renaissance Ribbons. Susan advised me to see them at his exhibition at the American Museum in Britain, that took place in 2014. Then I was sent a few reels of ribbons to ‘play’ with and this is what I came up with in the first few days….

yo yos

single and double ribbon yo-yos

I have a vintage – quilt hanging on my studio door and I immediately thought that this system may translate to the ribbons; so I just cut some random lengths and using running stitch gathered them up to form these pretty circles…some worked and some didn’t  – see above; but it is a designers task to make them all work beautifully – so lots of samples later I made this, below, which I intended to grow into a huge throw or curtain.

yoyo curtain small

yo-yo hanging – sadly this failed to make it into the book – it proved too complicated to show how to stitch together simply….

Then of course I thought of crazy patchwork, and this eventually became the heart-shaped cushion on the back of the UK edition cover

hand emb copy

crazy patchwork with ribbons hand embroidered into position between the patches of shot cottons

of ribbon with the loose yo yo’s, easy -peasy as these ribbons have been designed to work together – a rich mix but what else would you expect from Kaffe Fassett?

original design - KF ribbons PW

ribbon and yo-yo strips – first ideas

I just took lots of photographs as I researched, and sent them off with rough ideas for a book of small patchworks made of ribbon and plain fabrics – but the journey from playing with ideas to a finished book has been long and let’s say  problematical –  ideas are always easy for me to come up with, making them work for inclusion into a “how to do it” book is not easy at all.

ribbon samples

new ribbon combinations

sample ribbons2

getting the new ribbons into colour combinations – here are the brights















The first thing I realised was that I needed to put some other ribbons and fabrics with these intensely patterned Jaquard ribbons. So I included the Grosgrains, or Petershams,  fine ribbed ribbons that come in many sizes and colours, Renaissance Ribbons have many different versions – and they duly sent me some and more of the new ribbons from their Kaffe Fassett range; and then I needed a ribbon that could be used to tone with the 2 brights – I chose my old favourites – tartans. Tartan ribbons are universally available now on-line, and they conform to the clan colours so I felt sure that most buyers of the book could get hold of them easily. But then which fabrics to use for the patchworks particularly the crazies?


my stash of shot cottons selected to tone with the ribbons toning ribbons

I am a fabric hoarder, like most textile designers, and I found some small pieces of ‘shot’ cottons – the warp and the weft of the fabrics are different shades or even different colours from one another so the woven fabrics are subtle colours and so more easily used with other materials; and by chance who were these shot cottons designed by? Kaffe Fassett. So that was an easy decision as well and I sent off to The Cotton Patch, (who have the best user – friendly, on-line ordering fabrics service) for more samples of these lovely fabrics. I started designing approximately 20 different samples of ribbon patchworks and appliques.

But I fist made myself some new fabrics – out of the ribbons themselves….

more ribbons Nov

designing ribbon combinations for ribbon fabric

crazy ribbon fabric

trying out different ribbon fabrics for crazy patchworks









what I needed to realise is that when you are making your own ideas for a book, it is important to be able to demonstrate by using photographs, drawings, diagrams and words how someone else, who has not got your knowledge and may even be a complete beginner, can easily follow the instructions …a lot of lovely ideas and more complicated designs got thrown out in this process.

But here are some examples of 20 samples that made it, from first ideas, through to illustrations of the steps involved and finally the 20 projects that I made with the samples. There are 4 types of patchwork and applique techniques in the boon, strips – see below, crazy, squares and yo-yo’s.

heart ribbon start

putting several ribbons together onto my work top, trying to make up a new ribbon fabric

heart mask

designing another variation of ribbon stripes for a heart shape applique













from the work table to the finished book in one bound!

ribbon illo

illustration to make the ribbon fabrics

heart bag

page from the book to show the heart shaped applique















and eventually this design turns up on the contents page as well….

open book1

content page of finished book completed with the same Ribbon Fabric

the yo yo designs quick and fun to make and design with, within the book they come single, embroidered….

hat band illo

hat band yo yo with button stitching ribbons


small yo yo patch

embroidered double yo yo square patchwork











halved and giant.

yo yos band

half yo yo bands


large yo yo

and one very very big yo yo.












in fact I could have written another book about making and decorating with yo-yos


project section of the book – with lots of different things to make

I could write for days about the book and all that it contains – but then why would anyone buy it? As I write I am waiting for the large consignment of books to arrive from the printers….it is a small edition but I have plans to advertise it, it is being launched on September 15th at the American Museum in Britain, well it is full of the American Kaffe Fassett’s ribbon designs… and for this I am giving a special bead – making workshop. ( more of which in a  later post )Then the book is being sold with special packs of ribbons and fabrics on the Cotton Patch stand at the Knitting and Stitching Show in October; but meanwhile we have a lovely display in the shop window of Heart Space Studios, devised by our style guru, Jane- Marie Mahy, please see below and I have devised a whole set of classes to complement the book – go to http://www.heartspacestudios.co.uk/workshops/ribbon-patchwork-hearts-half-day-class/. for more information. And eventually we will be selling the new book on our website – watch this space


photo 3[1] copy

Heart Space Studio window display by Jane-Marie Mahy












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Almost Shaun the Sheep

sean sheep

Shaun the Sheep plays it cool.

stitching post

Paula and I hand stitch the knitting onto the lamppost

Shaun the Sheep – the popular cartoon character from Aardman Studios, Bristol’s world famous animation company is being celebrated with a series of decorated sheep statues being deposited in a trail throughout Bristol (and London). The local high street community, including Heart Space Studios, has sponsored a sheep sculpture and he arrives in the first week of July….meanwhile Heart Space have decided to welcome him with a knitted yarn bombed lamppost and bunting.


Paula New stands beside her creation – the knitted sheep lamppost


We recycled an old length of knitted bunting by giving it a really good wash and then Paula made lots of crocheted flowers which I stitched into place to liven it up; we are really pleased with our efforts and all our neighbours are delighted to see our new bunting, they keep photographing it…..the local children come and hug the lower area of the lamppost and we made this particular design as all proceeds for Shawn go to the Bristol Children’s Hospital


recycled knitted bunting

So to add to the funds we once again, by popular request, ran a children’s workshop this time to decorate bags….Paula also helped out with this – I kept well out of the way, just occasionally took the photographs….it looked very  lively in the main studio..


patterns, fabric, felts, buttons and beads all ready to for the children to decorate the sheep bags

we had provided sheep patterns for the sheep, prepared fabrics with bondaweb, found buttons beads, eyes and all kinds of stuff to play with.


all sorts of stuff neatly laid out for decorating

as soon as the children – boys and girls – arrived they started to trace around our specially drawn templates, and using special fibre pens coloured,

draw2     draw1








stitched and appliqued…..stitch1 Mothers helped as well – with the pressing,

mums iron

everyone joins in the making session.

we also had boys making their own characterful versions of sheep …..

shep draw7

get those blue eyes!!!!

sheep 6

now that’s what I call a pig ready for a party!

choices, choices choices….the children’s imagination knew no bounds when it came to decorating the simple drawn outline.













after refreshments – provided by Ilaria and her mother, who was visiting from Italy,


the table full of wonderful hand made cakes and biscuits from Ilaria and her mother..

the bags were finished finished

and everyone had to be photographed as they left the studios.

fini1     fin7

















we had lots of happy people leaving with their own very personalised bags….


fin3    fin4















and we raised money for the charity as well.fin2



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