Friday, 31 December 2010


These are the last four Journal Quilts for 2010.  I have been making these now for four years . I like working in this small format as it gives the opportunity to experiment with different techniques and materials.  I am usually playing catch up but I get there in the end.  I always tend to use my own hand dyed fabrics and more often than not I get out the paints.  I wonder what the format will be for next year?  I have been thinking of ways to store all these little quilts and I have decided that I will turn each year into book form.  I love making books and sketchbooks and have already decided that I will get my extensive Family History research into book form.  This is going to be my number one project for 2011.  I have been thinking about it for a long time now and as I have decided to cut back on my 'day job' I shall hopefully have more time.

  This last year has been a very busy year and there have been times when I have been totally exhausted to the point of being im-mobile with all the travelling and packing and unpacking of cars and vans.  This has led me to take stock of my life and to decide that \I need to spend more time doing the things I have previously not had time for!!  I won't be giving up my Antique Textile life entirely, next year's Diary is almost half full already.!  I plan to spend more time on my website and to try to make that work more efficiently.  My plan is to build up a resource for other dealers, designers, textile artists.  The 'vintage' look is still big on the high street and one of the things I enjoy most is touring the fashion stores to see the end results.  One of the areas that fascinates me most is the colour prediction.  Over the last few years I have built up a customer base consisting of designers from all over the world.  I love watching them select articles from my stock and watch the colour palette grow.  Sometimes it amazes me that they have found such a wealth amongst  my stock.  When these things are spread around in various different boxes and containers they are lost but along comes someone with the right 'eye' who quite quickly gathers them all together and makes splendid concoction. This has prompted me to start colour co-ordinated boxes to make things a little easier for my designer customers and also make a pleasing display for my table.Yesterday I went into Debenhams to have a look at the sales, unfortunately I didn't have my camera with me, but I spotted one of these concoctions in the exact colour palette that I have been selling for most of the year.!  Seeing these colours turned into perfectly co-ordinated T-shirts, knitwear, skirts, scarves is to say the least very satisfying and I think one of the perks of the job.!!

On the family front this has been a challenging year for all of us with illnesses, redundancies, divorce, and two trips to Afghanistan for my eldest Grandson.  However, through it all we have remained a united front and managed to get through it stronger and a little wiser.  My daughter faces major surgery on her injured back next year as this is the only option now, hopefully this will be a new start for her once she has recovered.

Yesterday we said Goodbye to an old friend and local character.  I had known him since I was a child growing up in the Town Centre where his parents ran a notorious public house!   He was older than I so we were not playmates or anything like that.  In 1959 he took over the tenancy of a public house of his own and was to stay there for 40 years.  He became the youngest Landlord in the area.  His pub soon became very popular and very busy, he had previously been a merchant seaman and had worked on the local cross channel ferries.  As it was situated quite near to where we live it became our 'local' in the 1970's.  It was at this pub that the craze for New Year's Eve Fancy Dress began, although I never actually saw him dressed up at all!!, maybe a moustache pencilled on his top lip!!!!!   
He had a wicked sense of humour and infectious laugh and will be remembered with much fondness by a lot of people.  He planned his funeral about 3 years ago, with his favourite 'pop' music interspersed with hymns with a sea theme.  The final musical rendition at the Crematorium  being 'Smoke gets in your Eyes' by the Platters. !!
RIP Mickey - Once met never Forgotten .

Thursday, 2 December 2010


Orange with chocolate brown.

Chocolate brown with aquamarine

Orange with aquamarine

Mmmm Yummy!!!!!!!!


This was the view from my window this morning.  We had had snow fall overnight.  Being by the sea the rest of the country seems to get it before us.  As picturesque as it is I hate it.  Everything grinds to a halt and as we live at the top of a very steep hill we are virtually marooned until it decides to thaw.

There has been a lot of talk recently on the CQ yahoo site about snow dyeing and this seemed like an ideal opportunity to have a go.  Below are photographs of the fabrics squashed into colanders, covered with snow and dye poured on top.  These are then left until the snow has melted through the fabric and taken the dye with it.

If the colanders are placed in a container to collect the snow melt dye it can be used again by adding a little salt solution and soda ash solution.  Tomorrow I will take pictures of the fabric results.  If I say it myself they are looking good.


Found my camera at last and these are the pics I took on Monday when I had time.  The day was so busy there was little time to be away from my stand to take pictures. 


The Vintage at the Village Hall at Pamphill on Monday was fabulous.  In spite of the cold weather the hall was packed all day with eager and interested customers.  All due to the hard work done by Elaine and her husband in the organisation and promotion of what was a very successful day. Thank you both very much and we look forward to the next one!!!! I am sorry there are no photographs but my camera has gone missing.  It may be in the depths of my car but I have searched everywhere to no avail.  I have been poorly for a couple of days with some weird sickness bug so have only just missed it.  I felt too bad when I reached home on Monday night to think about a blog post.  The journey was a nightmare, weather being the problem, no snow but dark and frosty.  When I joined the Puddletown By-Pass I found the Police has closed it and we were directed through Puddletown Forest.  This is a lovely drive in the daylight and in Spring time but not in the dark in icy conditions.  They had closed the road all the way to Dorchester because of a four car pile-up.  No-one was badly hurt thank goodness. 
To add insult to injury I have killed my pay-as you-go phone.  After dropping my Blackberry in the Dog's water I have been using this spare one.  A lot of people still have that particular number.  Because of my sickness fuddled brain I had forgotten it was in my dressing gown pocket and this morning I found it when I emptied the washing machine!!!!!!   Hopefully the sim card will be OK.  Having lost all the information and numbers stored on the Blackberry this spare one still had all the information on the sim card.  Looks like an expensive week ahead - new phone and camera - just had a thought - can I claim on my house insurance????????

Saturday, 27 November 2010


These are the fabrics that resulted from the first dye run using Royal Blue Procion MX dye. Thirty fat quarters ranging from very pale blue to full strength royal blue.  Five buckets of dye in the second colour (golden yellow) were prepared and the blue pieces were placed into them in the correct order.

The change happened immediately and then the work began, keeping the fabric moving in the five buckets for twenty minutes.  After all the stirring was over the fabrics were removed, rinsed and washed. The result - 36 fat quarters in a perfectly co-ordinated pallete.  Each one interchangeable with the other.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010


This combination of equipment can mean only one thing in my experience!!
 DYEING.  Today I have been to the first workshop in a series of two for Sequence Overdyeing.  The morning was spent cutting 6 metres of white cotton in to 36 fat quarters and preparing five buckets of salt water to add the dye to.  We also played with paper, paintbrushes and mixed dyes to experiment with colour combinations.  There were eleven of us altogether and we split off into 5 pairs and 1 solo which made a total of 30 buckets of salt water.  The buckets were numbered from 1 to 5.
After lunch we added the dye concentrate to each bucket.  5ml in the first bucket; 15ml in the second; 45 ml in the third; 135 ml in the fourth and 405 ml in the fifth.  Before the fabrics were added to the dye each piece was numbered.  This was a little complicated but necessary for the second stage.

We took our dyed fabrics home in plastic bags still full of dye to be rinsed and washed ready for the next stage next week.  Next week we will prepare the dye baths in the same way with another colour and overdye the fabrics we have dye this week.  I chose to use Royal Blue and Golden Yellow.  Hopefully I will get some lovely sludgy bluey greens to use for sea in the next two projects that are roaming around in my brain,!  I am looking forward to seeing the results of all our dyeing next week.  Another post and pictures then.

Thursday, 28 October 2010

ARDINGLY UPDATE and The Calm before the Storm!!

When we arrived on site Tuesday morning it was still dark - 6 a.m.  and we quickly set to work to prepare the shopping booth for the next couple of days trading by laying ground sheets on the grass and adding a few rugs and door mats as the weather forecast for the next couple of days was not good.  When the sun started to rise the sky was an unbelievable mass of fire.  A lot of shepherds must have been filled with fear and trepidation but I rushed for  my camera!!

Just a few hours later the sky became dark and ominous and it started to rain and continued so for most of the day.  The temperature dropped and the wind got up, but we were as snug as bugs in a rug.

In spite of the weather we had lots of lovely customers who had lots of nice things to say about our cosy little encampment .

We met lots of lovely new customers
 and re-acquainted ourselves with valued old ones. 

We had a great
 time and have booked our space for January next year.   Our next trip away is to Cowslip Workshops for the Christmas Craft Market on 19th and 20th November.

Friday, 22 October 2010


On Monday Linda and I will be loading up the Van ready to travel to Sussex for the Ardingly Antiques and Collectors Fair on Tuesday 26th and Wednesday 27th October.  We will be in Shopping Arcade no. 58.  If you are in the area come and say hello.  We have looked out the thermals and woolly jumpers for standing around in a field for 2 days.  It is not supposed to rain, lets hope they've got it right.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Food for Thought!

Words have always had a profound effect on me even though I am not a great reader.  I was as a child but that changed when I was at Grammar School. I found the books we were set to read in English Lit. difficult to get into and boring most of the time and therefore didn't do my homework !!!  I used to fly by the seat of my pants and read a few paragraphs before class. I found it impossible to make myself spend time reading something that  did not interest me. This has stayed with me to this very day.  I know almost immediately I start reading a book whether or not I am going to finish it.  If it doesn't get me in the first chapter then I can put it down and not pick it up again.  On the other hand if it does get me then I will become totally anti-social and read until it is finished.   This week while reading my local paper and checking out the Birth, Marriages and Deaths colums I was captured by an anonymous entry in the Memoriums column.  Without meaning to be morbid I am writing it here as I am curious to know about the Author.  Was it written by a published author or was it written by just someone with a way with words ........  does anyone know??

"Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth, and danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings; sunward I've climbed and joined in the tumbling mirth of sun-split clouds  -
and done a hundred things you have not dreamed of ........."
Simple words that convey so much feeling.

Friday, 1 October 2010


Early hand made Bodice

Early hand made Bodice
Here are a few things that Natalie and I bought in Auction the other day.  These beautiful things emerged from a box full of tangled textiles.  Too tangled to fully explore for fear of doing some damage.  We knew it held four or five treasures but when it was tipped out and gently sorted my mouth started to open wider and wider.  It did not come cheaply, but was worth every penny.  Some things are on their way to Italy to collectors and the others will be sold the usual way.  The two bodices shown in the pictures are hand made from cotton lawn with a date of 1820/1830.  Every stitch in their construction and embellishment has been done by hand.
Hand printed chintz panel
This panel is a very early hand printed chintz.  I have seen panels like this placed at the centre of a Frame Quilt - now known as a Medallion Quilt.  The panels are placed in the centre and the quilt is built frame by frame by adding a series of squares and triangles along either side with a defining block usually in the same fabric at each corner.  These are my favourite type of quilts.  They are a grand showcase of all the fabulous hand printed fabrics that were available in the early 19th century.  These fabrics were brought here by the East India Shipping Company and were known as 'Indiennes'.  As well as this panel there were also a lot of other pieces of hand printed chintz.  Highly glazed and with a papery feel.  The previous owner had been an accomplished stitcher as many had had small motifs cut from them to be used in Broderie Perse.  Some examples of her work were also in the box.  All of these things are for sale and if anyone reading this is interested in purchasing something then please get in touch with me.  There are more photographs on my Flickr site.  To access these just click on the Flickr badge in the sidebar.  In the meantime there is a lot of work to be done with research and processing these things.  Some things have been sold already but there is a lot left and I shall be adding some to my website

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Journal Quilts

These are the Journal Quilts I have made for May, June, July and August.  The deadline for this stage was 31st August and I just made it.  They are not showing up in chronological order as I can never get the hang of loading photographs in the right order.  In fact they are in reverse order - making the first one August.  I have been doing these little quilts for four years now and sometimes I get stuck for ideas.  When this happens I have a look in my sample boxes for things that I have done when I have had the time to play.  All the materials for these, except for the Lighthouse whoich was made for July, came from these boxes.  August was made with bits and pieces that all had an Indian theme.  I have a lot of wooden Indian printing blocks and when I have the time I go to my shed and play around with things.  I have to say that this is usually when I am thinking about a bigger project and can't seem to manage to come to a decision.  On these occasions I take myself off to the shed and get out the paints and dyes and just paint papers, print scraps of fabric, in fact anything that bears no relation to whatever I should be doing.  I find this is a kind of release and I usually come to my conclusions in this roundabout fashion.
The lighthouse for July was made from a computer printed picture on paper.  The paper was scrunched around until it had broken down and then Bondaweb was ironed on the back and the whole thing ironed on to the backing.  I just did some outline stitching on the lighthouse and house and quilted the sea, which was created by painting Bondaweb with watered down acrylic paint and ironed on to the backing fabric.
For June I used pieces that were left over from a previous quilt  and for May I used the remnants of a lot of painted, dyed and printed tea bag paper that I had left over from my Sketchbook cover projects that I made for Dorset Arts Weeks in May.
My stash of samples and remnants is getting low so before it starts getting cold and the nights draw in I must take myself off to my shed again to play.

Wednesday, 25 August 2010


This exhibition of Embroidered Wedding Blankets from Southern Iraq completely blew my mind.    Each one a work of art.  These embroidered wedding blankets were made by Marsh Arabs up until a few decades ago.  They are completely different from any other textiles from the Middle East and information about these works of art is extremely scarce.  Flowers, animals, human figures, symbols and geometric motifs are embroidered by hand in wool on a hand-woven stitching ground,  Each blanket is unique.  Coming from the land of the legendary Gardens of Eden they are truly awe inspiring and made my heart leap with joy at their beauty.