The beginning of a new year is a great opportunity to take stock and review creative practices.  I know I enjoy creating pieces for exhibition and that I need a deadline to keep me focused so this year I am going to take this a little further and have set myself the goal of completing a journal quilt (for the Quilters guild contempory quilters group) and a travelling book page (for the embroiderers guild). 

Volunteering at Quilters Guild gallery resulted in some more stitch inspiration for me.  I was scheduled in on the quilters guild gallery for the afternoon session so I started by wandering around the exhibition which filled two halls at Olympia, it did feel smaller than the October knit and stitch show but just as much inspiration and ideas have resulted.

A chance meeting resulting in a fun workshop not too far from Stitching Kitchen

I met with Sally at Sutton Stitchers - a group I visit when I can on a Saturday. Sally runs a crafting group in her village called Crafty Natters, there are some tallented stitchers who attend, including another couple of ladies who visit Sutton Stitchers. As this was my largest wet felting class to date i was filled with some intrepedation as running a class with complete strangers is always easier than with those you know!

Imagine my surprise as I enjoyed the tranquillity of the Scottish borders last august and received a phone call from the lovely Jill who organises the Bicester Craft Club - could I come and teach their group needle felting. I explained what my normal class is like and my usual 3 hours and limit to around 8 people, she wondered if I might be able to teach 20 of them to make something within a 2 hour period! Of course I am sure I can work something out I said!

At Stitching Kitchen this year has been all about me developing skills in needle felting. It all started in January when one of my crafty contacts asked for some help for one of their customers, before I knew what had happened I had developed my needle felting skills beyond the 2D of embellishing and adding wispy texture to my textile art. It was needle felting in three dimensions which was required.

Well it happened in September, the very first Stitching Kitchen Hen Party. What a giggle we had too and what a delightful group of girlfriends. About a month before one of the party of 12 called me, could I run a craft session for mixed ability where the group could take away something useful. The obvious choice would be Indian Block Printing, little crafting skill is required and the guests can take away a tote bag and/or a tea towel.

As I am sure you know, I love to stitch and to express myself in fabric and thread but sometimes this can be a lonely craft. When I created Stitching Kitchen a year ago I knew I wanted to create income from my stitching but I was also very clear that I wouldn’t become a solitary being, shut up in my kitchen stitching away. That is the core reason behind the Friday morning social stitch and the workshops – and long may they continue, I love hosting both.

Recently at Stitching Kitchen I was very pleased to be able to run a weaving sampler workshop, simple and effective and fun!  I have been itching to run a weaving workshop at Stitching Kitchen since January when I visited the Hannah Ryggen exhibition.  But these things take a little planning and I needed to brush up my weaving knowledge. Not to mention that I have been busy with needle felting, Indian block printing, and producing my textile art for exhibitions! After creating a few samples and practising my techniques and also acquiring a range of textured yarns it was time to take the plunge!

I picked up a brochure for Bucks art weeks while I took a whistle stop tour of Oxfordshire with my dear friend Ann back in May. I did a quick flick and noticed there were plenty of textile artists exhibiting so definitely worth a trip over the boarder (I reach Bucks within 2 miles of my house so not so far to travel).

Indian block printing on anything which stands still, skirts, tops, bags, tea towels and some fabric destined for a quilt too.  This week has been half term, so a great opportunity to run some daytime workshops while my lovely girls are away camping (poor things it is raining cats and dogs). I have recently acquired a summer skirt which after a few alterations will fit my little one – it is plain white so not idea for an active five year old but as she loves wearing her block printed t-shirt she has agreed that I can block print the skirt for her.

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