Grange over Sands

Last week I taught a 5 day residential class at Grange over Sands, it is something I started many years ago. I had previously met a few of the ladies before so am always a little nervous before hand, worried that I have packed all that I need and it always feels a huge responsibility.

I always enjoy the landscape surrounding the centre however the weather this year was rather wet and windy.

It is always spectacular and so different from Yorkshire. The skies always seem so big.

Here is a photo taken one morning – it got better but I was in the swimming pool.



On Thursday afternoon some of us went on the train to Arnside and Kate and I walked along towards Silverdale and then over the Knott back to Arnside.

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We started the week by taking photos of the surrounding landscape and making textiles inspired by it, either realistic machine stitched embroideries or abstract small quilts. We have screen printed, block printed, silk painted, machine stitched and lots more.

We have learnt new IT skills by sharing our skills, thanks to Rebecca.



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Here are just a few pictures

We had so much fun and lots of lots of laughter!

I hope I have taught the girls a lot and they feel inspired to keep taking photos, drawing and they have increased confidence with their stitching.

I feel priveleged to have spent a few days with some exceptional women who have been dealt in life a whole load of problems and through their love of textiles have found friendship and fun.

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Lets hope next week is as good!





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Scarborough didn’t look so good in the rain this morning but I always enjoy seeing the colourful beach huts, and the sea.

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I bought a new book this week

Polish Embroidery

The illustrations are amazing.

I hope to go to Poland sometime to look at the embroidery in the museum in Warsaw.

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I have done lots of teaching this week and also lots of admin – getting ready for exhibitions in the Spring.

I have an exhibition at Midsomer Quilting near Bath at the end of March. I will be at the Prague Patchwork meeting in April and then Quilt Expo in Beaujolais in April. More details to come another time.

New Quilts



No time to write much.

I have been busy trying to finish a few quilts that I started ages ago. These are my South African women, made using schweschwe fabric.

There are 11 of them and they are all 30cm x 60cm

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IMG_1646There was supposed to be 12 of them but I painted the background of one of them and it didn’t look right.

I also finished my Breton Jumper Quilt, and ended up making 2.

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Now what’s next.




Packing for a week’s teaching always takes me ages, and I am sure I take more than I need. I left last Monday with a case that probably weighed 35 kilos- full of teaching things, books, kits and cards. I hoped I would be ok but putting it on the escalator for the Eurostar proved tricky and I did need some help, with the guy muttering “What have you got in here?”

I travelled via London as I wanted to see the Fabric of India exhibition at the V and A. It is a fabulous exhibition (no photos allowed) and has some stunning and beautifully made pieces of Indian textiles and embroidery. It really is worth going to see.

I then went on to to Aldgate to have a walk along the road where all the African fabric shops are. I just had to buy some wax fabric – it will be great for the backs of quilts.

The guy in the shop sold it to me as printed in Holland! I asked where and of course he didn’t know.

I arrived into Brussels and then took a train to Liege and then another to the border town of Vise where i just had to pay 3 euros to get to Maastricht. So if you are coming next year – it is easy!

The weather was beautiful so instead of going straight to the Hotel I put my luggage in a locker and had a walk around the centre of the town.

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The new venue seemed a bit confusing as it is on several different levels and I think it took me a few days to find my way around.

On Wednesday morning all the quilts were being hung so in the afternoon I borrowed a bike and went out to explore some of the local area. I cycled to Valkenburg and to Gulpen. Lovely towns and beautiful scenery – not like the Holland I know – it was hilly!


I saw this in a window

The show opened on Thursday morning but I didn’t really get a chance to see the quilts until Sunday and even then I don’t think I saw all of them

Here are the International Threads quilts and the Stitched Quilts on show.

Sorry Jane – yours were the only ones that were horizontal and they were displayed off the photos I took

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There were lots of people looking at them and they were very much admired.

The change from all day teaching to 1 hour classes has been a great success and I had large classes as you can see. There were ladies from Israel, Spain, Holland, Germany, Luxembourg, Italy, France and the UK on the classes.

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Here are some of the quilts I saw and liked

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We have many discussions about the quilts and it is always interesting to see which ones we all like best – we don’t always agree

These shows are exhausting but I love doing them. The atmosphere is great, I make lots of new friends and meet up with friends from all over the World.

Here are just some of them ( some photos are missing)

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We had a quickly organised SAQA meeting with members from about 10 different countries


After the show I went on to Brussels to teach a group of women there


and then had a day in Brussels at the Comic strip museum and the Horta House

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I love what the curator has written about this guy. I think I need to write something like this about my work and my textiles.

Now I need to research more about his work


I love the Tintin drawings but was a bit disappointed with the murals



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No photos allowed in the Horta House

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And of course bought some Belgium chocolate


and resisted buying some fabric at one of the best fabric shops I have ever been to

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This is the remnant section – translates “the fleas of the dog”


and to an art shop

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The weather was fabulous and the autumn colours spectacular

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A brilliant fun week!

It feels good when my textiles research all comes together so that I work out where pieces were made.

I recently bought an old book at a book sale. I always love the old books although this one is not so old. There was a project in the book that interested me.



It wasn’t to do the project but the inspiration for the project was a piece of textiles that the author said was probably Eastern European. I realised that I had a piece similar so I searched for it and found it.



Whilst on holiday in Portugal I bought a t towel and look at the patterns


So my apron was made in Portugal. I photographed it to put on my blog and there on the screen I saw the words Viana embroidered in the waistband. I had never noticed this before.

Last week i was in the textiles museum at Viana and bought the book with all the designs in.



I searched through some of my old textiles and found a table cloth I bought many years ago in a charity shop and this was probably made in Portugal as well.

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I hope to be able to find the time to make a piece of work inspired by these pieces and from my holiday photos.

Whilst at Anne and Steve’s they showed me an apron that they had bought in Portugal. It was not old but typical of the region


Here is mine that I found whilst looking for my other pieces. Mine was bought in a charity shop here in the UK.IMG_1431

I have made a couple of Journal Quilts this week

This is September’s based on the photos that I took in a builder’s yard in Germany. These are stitched samples that I intend to use for my teaching of the Design class that i am running at Hebden Bridge


Here is October’s based on the photos I took in Portugal


Before I went on holiday I made this table runner using flowers cut with my Sizzix Big Shot and then fused on to a piece of Indian Cotton and machine quilted.

I am sure this would make a fun workshop.








Anyone who reads my blog will know that I travel a lot for my teaching – sometimes my trips, just hard work, others, I meet some fabulous people and manage to have a bit of a holiday as well. My husband stays at home “there’s no better place than Yorkshire” but we have just a weeks holiday. I did a little research and found the cheapest flight I could get was to Portugal so we went from Porto to Lisbon with hand luggage only travelling by train. The plan was to have a textiles free week!

He didnt know it but thanks to my friends Ann and Steve I did a bit of research before hand and found out there was a Costume Museum in the North of Portugal. There is another in Lisbon which i didnt get to.

I have so many photos of tiles – I must make a blue and white quilt sometime. I loved the bottom of the walls where the tiler had some spare and they are just a miss match of tiles that dont fit.



I went to the Tile museum in Lisbon and took stacks of photos here are just a few of the many photos I have

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This is one of the photos I took in a contemporary gallery. Quilts?


Porto in the sunshine was beautiful, and as usual I took masses of photos

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And an early sunrise


Other images around Porto

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Coffee and cake at the Majestic Cafe in Porto

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We made a trip north to the market at Barcelos the home of the famous cockerel

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There was an exhibition in the pottery museum by Antonio Vasconcelos Lapa


and a photo exhibition with some fabulous photos of women carrying pots

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then on to Viana Do Castelo to the costume museum

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and a trip on the venicular railway to see the church at the top of the hill

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I had booked a night at the “Venice of Portugal” Averio and then on to the coast to see the stripy houses

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The rain arrived but it didnt spoil our visit to Coimbra, and gave some spectacular clouds and colours

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Here are some images of Lisbon – just look at the colour of the sky

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Unfortunately the weather was not brilliant at Sintra but a fabulous trip and so much inspiration for Journal Quilts etc

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I spent last weekend in the Geneva area teaching and visiting my friend Chantal

I taught a machine stitching class with Chantal translating. IMG_1950 IMG_1942

Followed by a lovely evening with raclette and aperertif


We went to visit the Ethnographic museum in Geneva and I took masses of photos but I left my camera at Chantal’s so they are still in France.

We met up with Elizabeth and a long lunch in the sunshine


And a walk along the lake

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Next day we met up with Caroline and had the day walking and talking. it is so good to have friends all over the World


Just look at the views of Mont Blanc in the background! We then went to a bizarre Cow fighting festival – lots more photos but sadly they are on my camera – I do love this guys hat


Back home and I have been teaching this week at the Quilt Cabin a design class and a stitching class

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It was good to teach design again – it seems ages since I have taught just paper and paint classes.

The Quilt Cabin has some of my work up on display

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And the new kit is available from their website


The weather has been fabulous and I have been out walking and cycling

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I always like it when students send me pictures of their finished pieces

Here is Amsterdam by Joke


I have very little chance to do any of my own work this week but have been working on the teaching samples for the Spring Knitting and Stitching show in London. they need to appeal to the younger audience who like things to make for their home. Hope they will be ok?

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A had a walk in Hebden Bridge today and took these photos – given me some good ideas for my design class

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I have an exhibition planned for next March at Midsomer Quilting near Bath

It will be a joint exhibition with Sheena Norquay and I think it will be called

Is it really 40 years?

We are going to include some of our first quilts plus our most recent ones.

This is a long post but I guess I fit a lot into a week!