Wednesday, 20 September 2017

New stock for Kunsthuis

Felt Necklaces

I have been along to Kunsthuis Gallery in Crayke with some new Hippystitch stock.  There are some colourful felt necklaces, a great selection of Liberty print fabric necklaces...

Liberty print fabric necklaces

a variety of button brooches...

Various button brooches

and you might even find some of the new bike bags in green and black - especially suitable if you've just cycled out there!

New green and black bike bags

Kunsthuis is open Wednesdays to Sunday from 11-4pm.  There's plenty of parking if you're going by car, a lovely cafe and a fab gardens.  Why not pop along and check it out?  

Friday, 15 September 2017

Stumpwork with Kay & Michael Dennis

Kay Dennis - Mouse in a Blackberry Bush (Stumpwork)

Recently Kay and Michael Dennis came to talk to the City of York Embroiderers' Guild about Stumpwork.  Stumpwork is a type of raised embroidery, using an array of different materials and embroidery techniques, including needlelace. Stumpwork came to England in the 17th century and was done by teenage girls of the aristocracy.  Then it was known simply as raised embroidery.

Kay learned to embroider as a child and learned stumpwork from Barbara & Roy Hirst.  She has even got her husband, Michael, hooked on the technique.  You can hear Kay talking about stumpwork and Barbara & Roy Hirst here.

Here are some examples of Kay & Michael's work...

Kay Dennis - Toadstools

Kay Dennis - Stumpwork casket showing detail to sides and lid
Michael Dennis - Fantasy Bird

Kay Dennis - Acorn & Berries

The following day, I got a chance to try my hand at some stumpwork at one of their workshops with a seabird theme. 

Kay Dennis - Sea Birds

Kay Dennis - Seabird & Lobster Pots

Kay had some lovely examples of birds at the seaside.   Our aim was a water's edge picture.  We began by painting some puddles onto our calico and then adding some rock shapes in vilene which were stab stitched in place.  Next they were covered in stitch using embroidery threads.  After that we added the body of our seabird.  The body was made up of layers of felt which was then covered in leather...
The beginnings of a stumpwork seabird

Next came a needlelace wing...

Needlelace wing in progress

As you can see it's very much a work in progress.  Lovely to have a go at something I've never tried before.  Thanks Kay and Michael!

Monday, 4 September 2017

Just in at the Ropewalk Craft Gallery, Barton upon Humber

Femmes Fatales Brooches

I have made a delivery to the Ropewalk Craft Gallery in Barton upon Humber to stock them up with Hippystitch goodies. Check out what's new...

Liberty Print Fabric Necklaces

People and Places Brooches + Map Pouches

Knitted Wire Bird Brooches

Vintage Button Bracelets
Coin brooches
Screen Printed Bike Bags

Lino Printed Fish Bags
Button Brooches
There's domino brooches and mermaid brooches and lots more.  Take a trip out there. It's well worth a visit.  The Ropewalk has three exhibition galleries as well as the Craft Gallery and a fab cafe.  It's just across the Humber Bridge in Lincolnshire so why not combine a trip with a walk in the area. The Waters' Edge Visitors Centre and Country Park and the Humber Bridge Country Park are close by too.  Go visit!

Thursday, 31 August 2017

Alice Fox's Findings at The Ropewalk

Alice Fox - Altered Paper

If you can get to The Ropewalk in Barton upon Humber before the end of the weekend (3 September 2017) you can see Alice Fox's Findings exhibition.  I am drawn to Alice's work.  I love the curiousness of it, the imprints, the combination of the found and the added, the stitching, the staining, the texture.  Enough!  Here's a taster...

Alice Fox - Altered Paper

"Findings" references both the action of finding something and the information obtained as the result of an investigation.  Alice collects things on her journeys and through her interactions with those things discovers more about them.  Through gathering, weaving, stitch, and staining her offerings take shape.
Alice Fox- Burnt Wood & Thread

Alice Fox - Wood & Thread
Alice Fox - Thread & Mud

Alice Fox - Stitched Limpets
Alice Fox - Seed & Needle Weaving

Alice Fox - Rust & Tannins

Alice Fox - Plant & Plastic

Do go and visit if you can.  Alice's work is always interesting. And at the Ropewalk, there are also three other galleries, the Ropewalk Museum which tells you all about rope making on the site, car parking and a cafe and it's close to the Humber Bridge.  If you want to spend some time outdoors the Waters' Edge Visitors Centre and Country Park and the Humber Bridge Country Park are close by too.  Go visit!

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

The African Fabric Shop & Maggie Relph


Maggie Relph from the African Fabric Shop came to talk to the City of York Embroiderers' Guild.  She told us about the African artisans she visits and the many techniques they use to produce their fabulously coloured cloths.  Some tie and stitch the fabric before dyeing.  The threads are removed by cutting them with razor blades.  

Tied fabric ready for dyeing

Others use starch as a resist.  Parafin wax is becoming more popular and can either be stamped onto fabric, used with stencils, spattered or painted on with a variety of improvised tools. Alternatively it might be painted all over and then the fabric scrunched up before dyeing.  Stitch resist type designs can be recreated using wax stamped onto the fabric using carved foam stamps.  This is a more cost effective method. The wax is removed by putting the fabric in boiling water followed by cold water then the wax can be picked off.  This may be done several times. 

Indigo is used by some dyers although dark blue commercial dyes that look like indigo are increasingly common. Dye made from the cola nut which produces an orange colour can be used with indigo.

Some patterns may involve three different dye baths.  Some artisans dye using white fabric and others overdye commercially dyed fabric.  Most of the fabric comes from China and often has a damask weave and may incorporate African symbols in the weave.
We had the opportunity to handle many of Maggie's fabric samples as well as some fabulous decorative baskets and buttons and beads too.

Decorative baskets

If you are looking for something out of the ordinary why not check out what the African Fabric Shop has to offer.

Sunday, 20 August 2017

Brilliant Birds Prepare to Migrate!

A selection of Brilliant Birds

The Brilliant Birds Yarnstorm has been enjoyed in Rowntree Park, York. Since then, the birds have flown out and had a bird bath.  They are now preparing to migrate for the winter (or the rest of the summer and autumn etc.)  The #BrilliantBirds are flying into the St Leonard's Hospice Shop at 5, Scarcroft Road, York, YO23 1ND and from Saturday 26 August 2017 will be looking for new homes.  They will be on sale and there are over 500 to choose from.  Let's have a little look at some of them...

St Leonard’s Hospice is an independent charity, providing specialist palliative care and support for local people with life limiting illnesses. Whilst their care is free of charge to patients and their families it is not free to provide.  So, the birds are being sold to raise funds for their services.  

Please go along and #buyabird to support the Hospice.  You could stock up on robins for (dare I say it?) Christmas, make a brilliant birds mobile or bunting, have one perch on a shelf or let one roost on the sofa!  You could even post a picture on social media of your brilliant bird in its new habitat using the hashtags #buyabird and #brilliantbirds

Do spread the word.  We can't do this without you - thanks so much for your support!

Monday, 14 August 2017

How to Wash a Tree in the Bath...

Extreme knitted tree with some very large brilliant birds

You may remember the extreme knitted tree from the Brilliant Birds Installation in Rowntree Park, York.  Once it came down it really needed a wash.  Unfortunately, it wouldn't fit in the washing machine.  However it did fit in the bath...

Tree in the bath

I managed to carry a very heavy, very wet but clean tree from the bathroom and with some assistance got it on the line...

Tree goes on line

It didn't manage to get dry outside and had to spend a week hanging around the house till it was finally dry.  I have to admit it was nice to pack it away when it was dry - it's amazing how much space a soggy tree takes up indoors!

Big birds on the drying rack

The big birds, leaves, finger knitting, flowers and information notices went in the washing machine and dried quite quickly indoors.  Now they have all been tidied away for another time and order at my house is at least on the way to being restored!

If you want to read more about the #BrilliantBirds project click here.  And don't forget, the small birds...

A small selction of the Brilliant Birds

go on sale on Saturday 26 August 2017 at the St Leonard's Hospice Shop, 5 Scarcroft Road, York, YO23 1ND.  Go on, #buyabird and support St Leonard's Hospice - it's a great charity.