Thursday, 24 December 2009


Well it looks as though it will be a white Christmas here  on the North West coast– snow for the last 6 days on and off – unheard of and I don’t like it.  It looks lovely but that is all it does for me – I never feel too safe when walking so tend to stay in and just look – a real wimp I’m afraid.  Good job we have plenty of food in for Christmas though we should be in Bury for lunch tomorrow!!!!

A few snowy ‘pics’ from my garden  -  a bit cold to sit here!!


Not many cars about today.


And a Christmas tree for you all from me -



With best wishes.  Sandra.

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Talking Threads - TV Show

I have just picked this up from another Guild blog page and thought you might like this information, if you do not already have it.

Below is the complete listing for the Talking Threads TV Show (on Sky):

Remember, if you don't have Sky you can still watch it for free via the Country Channel TV Website

[ website ] which works similar to the BBC iPlayer or video on demand. You can watch Talking Threads anytime; each episode will be available online from the day it goes out on Sky and will stay there indefinitely.

I know that some of these dates have gone, but as it says they are available indefinitely – haven’t tried yet so can’t confirm this information. (Sandra)

Episode 1- Wednesday 14th Oct 19:00 - Jill Kennedy (Silk painting)
Episode 2- Wednesday 21st Oct 19:00 - Gilda Baron (Landscapes)
Episode 3- Wednesday 28th Oct 19:00 - Di Wells (Quilting on paper)
Episode 4- Wednesday 4th Nov 19:00 - Kim Thittichai (Stitching & melting - Tyvek)
Episode 5- Wednesday 11th Nov 19:00 - Fay Maxwell (Cutting through layers)
Episode 6- Wednesday 18th Nov 19:00 - Linda Miller (Machine embroidery)
Episode 7- Wednesday 25th Nov 19:00 - Myfanwy Hart (Dyeing)
Episode 8- Wednesday 2nd Dec 19:00
Episode 9- Wednesday 9th Dec 19:00
Episode 10- Wednesday 16th Dec 19:00

Each episode will be repeated on Thursday morning (05:30) and again at lunch time (12:00). It is also being shown on Sundays at 12:00.

Monday, 30 November 2009


The monthly colour raffle will be a much brighter and happier looking creature this month - THE CHRISTMAS TREE WORM (ugh!! - sounds awful but he is quite pretty) whose colours are red-orange; gold; white and navy blue. Please bring fabrics, threads, beads, buttons - anything you have, to make this a bumper Christmas prize!!

AND remember there will also be the General Raffle this month, so your purse would be handy too!!!!


We will be having a talk for our Christmas meeting by Liliane Taylor on "My life so far; how I became interested in textiles and some of my inspirations."

Liliane is a college tutor, who also sells her work world wide.

Her style involves using old textiles, (started before this was a popular thing), these she then patches, paints and embroiders.

One of our members who previously attended one of Liliane's talks remembers that "she was really funny, and very entertaining".

Should be a good afternoon so hope to see you all there.

Thursday, 26 November 2009


On Saturday 21st November, 12 members met for a workshop using photographs, postcards, text, fabrics and other bits and pieces, to create a variety of finished pieces.
These ranged from simple pictures, posters and pieces for framing, to family memory books, soft hangings and other small pieces.
As ever Anne had a variety of finished samples which she used as inspiration, and members had brought old family photographs, old letters, lace and postcards. These were used to create some amazing pieces of work, still to be completed of course - some of which are shown below.

Women at work!!

Sue Chisnall working on a Memory Book cover.

A busy afternoon!

Sue Tyldesley's 'Wedding Book'

Donna Eaton's 'Memory panel'.

Caroline Percy's panel.

Blackpool 'Poster' by Tracey Ramsey.

Memory Panel by Angela McLarnon.

'Cats' by Brenda Milligan.

We hope that these and more will be on show at our Open Day in May 2010.

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Sarah Ruaux – Young Embroiderer

Our YE member Sarah, who attends most of our meetings with her mum and grandad, told members in the branch newsletter that she wanted to be a shoe designer when she grows up (she is currently 11 years old) SO Grandad challenged her………………….

With his encouragement and the use of all his tools, she set about making herself a pair of clogs and Grandad assures me that he only advised and watched over her while she worked and did not actually do any of the work himself.

Bits 005a

She carved the wooden base to fit her foot, did all the metal studding and edging around the toes as well as the wonderful metal thread embroidery on leather for the front decorative flap.

Bits 005

At our meeting on the 14th she had just completed this one clog and hoped to get the second one finished to wear to the Knit and Stitch show yesterday.  I do hope she made it and perhaps we can have a picture of her wearing them.

Watch this space – I am sure this young lady will go far.  We may even see her shoes on sale in years to come!!

Saturday 14th November - meeting

There was a good turn out for the Hands-on session about Finishing and Presenting work for exhibition –  intended to help with items being made for display or sale at our Open Day next May.

Sue and Tracey had divided up the afternoon into 3 sessions – the first, run by Sue on small brooches that could be included in the ‘Miners Tommy Tins’ which were demonstrated and started earlier in the year.
The brooches were made in bright colours from wired ribbons, old lace and beads and Sue is shown below wearing on of her creations.  She had  a wide variety of  very attractive pieces available for members to get ideas.

Bits 008a

Tracey led the second session and she had done a lot of research into work done by the Canal Boat women and children, who used embroidery to decorate their own and family clothes.   The work most associated with the canals is the ‘spidersweb’ belts worn for best by the boatmen.
These consisted of three or four rows of spidersweb wheels separated by lines of chain or feather stitching and had two buckles on one end with two straps at the other.  They were worn with the straps at one side of the waist.
To make the work easier, the stitching was done on checked tea towels so that the grid already woven into the fabric could be used by following the lines.  Usually 1 inch squares.
They used soft wool, silk floss or stranded embroidery thread for the stitching and colours were usually arranged to form diagonal stripes along the length of the belt.
When the stitching was finished the sides of the tea towel were neatly turned in and straps were sewn in at each end.

Below is a sample of the stitching worked by Tracey to make her very own belt – a beautiful piece of work following some very thorough research.   About 5 or 6 members got started on this on Saturday so we hope to see lots more pieces – not just belts but purses, bags, needlecases etc.
Tracey told us that she had gone to Preston Market and confused the man who ran a stall selling watch straps who, when she purchased two, couldn’t understand why she didn’t want them fitted to her watches!!!!!   They will never understand us embroiderers will they!

Bits 004a
Next came Monica Selway with a wide variety of items showing many ways of edging and finishing pieces of work, from bags, boxes, books, containers, hangings and many more.   Simple things like small decorative tassels on corners, beads or cords along an edge, folded ribbons etc.  Plus simple methods of displaying even the smallest items to make then attractive – decorated card and fabric backgrounds, presentation boxes etc.

Bits 001a

Saturday, 31 October 2009


The show runs from 19th to 22nd November and if any of you are going you might be interested in another exhibition which is running at the Pump Room Museum (just across the road)

The work is by a Yorkshire textile Artist, Serena Partridge and is based on historical fashion designs which she distorts and manipulates to produce curious garments and accessories. It sounds very interesting so if you can bear to leave the KSS and all those shopping opportunities, as well as the usual exhibition displays for a while, just take a short walk across the road to the Pump Rooms and if you hold onto your KSS ticket you will get in at a reduced entry of £2. Opening hours are 12-4p.m Thursday to Saturday and 2-4p.m on Sunday.

for those of you who intend staying for a few days and feel like a train ride to York, there is a wonderful exhibition of Japanese Sashiko Textiles at the York Art Gallery near the Minster.
Sashiko is a form of stitching that the Japanese used to make their workwear until the middle of the 20th century and I am told by a friend who has already visited, that the fading of the Indigo fabric is quite amazing - can't wait to see it.
For those who are not staying over though, there is no rush, as the exhibition runs until 24th January 2010.

Monday, 26 October 2009

November meeting

November 14th will be a follow up Hands-on session when Sue and Tracey will show a variety of Finishing and Presentation Techniques for the Local Heritage themed workshops previously held on Weaving, Boxes, Postcards and Stencilling.

Remember to bring any pieces you have made – unfinished or finished so that you can get on with some stitching and so that everyone can share their ideas.  Remember this work will be displayed at the Open Day next May.

To see pictures of  what we have done so far – look at our blog pages for 22nd and 30th March; 20th and 22nd April; 26th July and 16th August.
There will be more picture updates later.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

November meeting - Colour Raffle

An ugly looking beast this month - the New Zealand Eagle Rey, but the colours you will be looking for are blue/grey; mauve; brown and orange - good luck.

Young Embroiderers’ De Denne Competition

The competition title this year was "Light".

Now that we no longer have a YE group at Parbold, one of our original members Sarah Ruaux has become an individual member and entered this competition with "Star of Light".

This is what Sarah said, who is a bit off colour with some horrible bug that most of her year has had!

" I made a template for the design by drilling holes in perspex using Grandad's bench drill. Then I drilled the holes into the slate using my template. After a lot of drilling I started to embroider the slate with nice rainbow coloured threads. These were couched onto the slate. The star was made from layers of padded silver and gold fabric and decorated with glass beads. Then at the very end I finished off by writing, in beads, words from the Christmas carol (slightly adapted) : " star of wonder, star of light, star of beauty, burning bright." It took 68 hours to complete.

Grandad (John Clark) took the photograph.

Sarah Ruaux De Denne

John, Sue – his daughter, and Sarah all come to our meetings and it is so nice to see a family that is passing on the tradition of stitch through three generations.

October Meeting with Ruby Porter

Report from meeting 10th October 2009- Ruby Porter – ‘Embroidery in Bangladesh’

As usual Ruby gave a brilliant talk and slide show on her long term project, the rural community in Sreepur Village, Bangladesh. Despite some very harrowing slides of abused girls and the extreme poverty, Ruby managed as always to instil humour and joy into her presentation. She speaks from her heart, therefore managing to convey the warmth that she and her husband have for the project. It was very interesting to see how the refuge and workshops have developed over time, and she told us of her hopes and unfortunately also frustrations for the future.

The girls and children normally live on the premises, but it is the ultimate aim that eventually after learning new skills they can be integrated back into their own communities, and be able to support themselves.

The women and girls make their own paper, straw threads, and embroidered hangings, bags and waistcoats. They also dye threads and hand-weave them into beautiful fabrics for scarves, of which some are embroidered and beaded. Ruby also had some lovely handmade cards for sale. All the proceeds go directly to the Village.

The meeting really inspired our members, and many commentated on what a great talk it had been.

Report by Sue Chisnall – Joint Chairman.

Photographs by John Clark

Sreepur 4

Sreepur 5

Sreepur 3

Friday, 2 October 2009

A.G.M - 2009

Sue and Tracey report that around 30 members attended the meeting. Reports were given on the year's activities with 3 of the monthly meetings/workshops being given by our members Carol Fenlon, Karen Hurrell and Sue Tyldesley and many other interesting speakers and workshop tutors.
The four Local Heritage themed hands-on sessions organised by Sue and Tracey have been a great success and it is hoped that a lot of the work from these sessions will be on show at our proposed Open Day on May 8th 2010.
Our programme for the coming year includes Contemp
orary Felting; Silk Painting and Behind the Scenes at the Harris Museum - Preston.

The Branch were very pleased to be able to send another 32 Rainbow Squares towards the Regional displays ,and those produced last year were displayed at the AGM on a purpose made stand - much admired.
We would like to welcome 2 new members to the committee - Pat Bean and Donna Eaton.

After the business of the AGM Pauline Cogley gave a talk and demonstration of Canal Artwork and members were encouraged to 'have a go'.

Photographs taken by John Clark at the AGM - included some 'Postcards' from the Local Heritage Day. Don't know who they belong to so apologies for not adding names.


On Saturday 10th October Ruby Porter - will be talking about 20 years teaching embroidery in rural Bangladesh and after the talk she will be selling materials and items from Bangladesh in aid of the Sreepur Orphan's Village and Women's Refuge.

See picture below of the Mushroom Coral - mauve, red, orange and yellow.

Wednesday, 30 September 2009


At the beginning of September the Rainbow Squares from all over the North West Region were on showat the Manchester Central exhibition centre – see if you can find yours in the green strips – I have found 2 of mine so I know they are all there.



Thanks to Monica Selway for providing the photographs – unfortunately I could not attend but they look a pretty amazing display to me – well done everyone who took part.

DON’T FORGET – they will be on show again at Quarry Bank Mill 10th and 11th October, together with part of the World’s Longest Embroidery to celebrate the Big Draw event.  Do try to go along.


Sue Tyldesley has sent me this article on her holiday to visit her daughter in Africa – an amazing experience by the sound of it.

Swazi Secrets

Whilst browsing through ’Contact’ magazine , I noticed the Embroiderers’ Guild trip to Swaziland and South Africa.-just where I was heading this summer to visit my daughter.

I mentioned it to her and it turned out that the group the EG were to visit was one her friend has been helping to support! They would be delighted to have a visitor , so with my husband and brother in tow , we arranged to visit.

The group was set up by Kathy who found herself living in Swaziland and liked embroidery. She’s tried to combine pictures of traditional Swazi life with traditional embroidery stitches to create pieces which can be made up into bags, cushions , glasses cases etc. Her office is above ‘Swazi Secrets ‘ another small business which makes soap and beauty products from the nut of the local Maruba tree. We had a trip round that too , having a go at pressing nuts !

Kathy took us out to meet some of the ladies who do the sewing (EG Swazi style !) See below. This took place in a local community room and the children came too -not always assisting the process! Each person involved has to buy a piece of fabric with a picture traced on and some threads (cost about 40p) and then goes away to embroider. When the work is complete they bring it back to the meeting , Kathy checks it and makes a note of it as the ladies get paid when the piece is sold ( each piece is sold with a label on with the name of the embroiderer who did it). It’s been hard work for Kathy teaching the stitches , but the women do some lovely work . It is to a very high standard and the business had been doing well. The recession has hit there like everywhere else though and they’ve a lot of stock at present . They’ve grown to the stage where they employ staff to manage /help with finances and Kathy was feeling a bit anxious.

If you would like to see their work try I’ll bring a bag along to the October meeting for you to see.



Thank you Sue - how wonderful it must have been to see the project ‘in action’ – do contact us if you were one of the EG members on the trip.

Tuesday, 8 September 2009


Hope you have all had good holidays - the weather has not been great so maybe you have had more time to stitch?
I can't be at the next meeting as I have a family wedding to attend, but I have actually been busy sewing for it - a small fabric and paper book to be passed around at the reception for the guests to sign - based on the colours and flowers that have been chosen. Just hope they appreciate 'modern art embroidery' or it might be consigned to a drawer somewhere - let's hope not.

Anyway, to business. This is just to let you know that the new branch programme is now on our branch web page, listing all twelve month's meetings and four full day workshops - all looks very interesting.

The monthly colour raffle is a great tradition in the branch and this year is based on Coral Reefs and their Inhabitants - this month's subject being 'The Leafy Sea Dragon' whose colours are gold, red and white and our Chairmen (yes - there are 2 of them sharing the workload) have suggested that the winner of the basket of goodies, also be given a picture of this 'creature' so that they can perhaps design and make a piece of work using the fabrics and threads that have been donated.
I'm looking forward to seeing how many winners will do this - when and if you do please bring it to a meeting and I will put a picture on the blog. HAVE FUN!!!!!!!!!!!

A picture of this creature is shown below, though the colours are not too clear.

Monday, 17 August 2009

Regional Matters

Rainbow Squares

All the Branches in the Region who are taking part will have their squares displayed at G.Mex, now called Manchester Central, over the weekend of 4 to 6 Sept – do try to get there if you can.

They will also be on display at the National Trust property - Quarry Bank Mill, Styall, Sat 10 and Sun 11th October and will then be returned to Branches at the Regional AGM in Preston.

Regional AGM - Sat Oct 17th, 10.45am.

All members are eligible to attend; the cost to include welcome drink and de luxe sandwich buffet lunch at £13.00.
We are sorry that we are not able to accomodate anyone wanting to bring sandwiches to our venue over the lunch break, but there are several cafe’s nearby.
Lancashire County Hall, Fishergate, Preston,PR1 8XJ is opposite the railway station or car parking is at the rear of the building. Please book via your Branch Treasurer by Oct 7th.

Sunday, 16 August 2009


On Saturday 8th August, we held the last of this series – on Wakes Week Postcards and what a good meeting it was.
Tracey and Sue had really spent a lot of time on researching all types of postcards and had brought in a huge amount of source material for everyone to look at for ideas.

There were books on the subject, Seaside tea towels, actual postcards old and new and two work areas had been organised for members to print, paint and emboss some of the backgrounds and embellishments provided.

The following postcards had been made by Sue and Tracey and we now look forward to many more made by the members.

This picture shows part of the  variety of source material available.

Postcards 008

Two of Tracey’s cards – using a printed ‘picture fabric’ for the central design in the first one and hand painted sandcastles in the other.



Two of Sue’s cards – appliqued beach huts and a painted picture of  a boat and ‘treasure’.



All the work produced from these sessions will be on display at our Open Day next May when many items will be displayed and some will be for sale so come along and see how it all turned out!! More details of this event later.

As soon as I have it, I will publish the branch programme for the coming year and a reminder to members – your membership renewal is due at the September meeting – a slight increase this year to £26 and £6 for Life/Friend and Associate members.

Have a good break and let’s hope the remains of the ‘barbeque summer’ will turn out to be just that.

Hope to see some of you at the Festival of Quilts at the N.E.C – I am going to be there on the 20th and 21st.

Byee  for now.

Monday, 10 August 2009


Just a few more photographs to keep you going over the summer months -  Don’t know who they belong to apart from the last one which is John’s – a real expert in fine stitching and who has obviously done this before!!!006
A good one to start with as it shows how you mark your pattern and start the stitching – worked in silver thread on black  - this will make a lovely finished piece.

One step on – a bit more stitching – filling in the areas with different techniques.

Somebody worked hard on this one – finished I think and showing a variety of techniques filling each area.

John’s piece – the centre design was stared on the workshop day, -he works very quickly.  A box lid I think.

To the members reading this post please let me know if this is your work and I can credit it to the right person – you bring them to meetings for me to photograph for the blog, but almost always there is no name on the back, or even on a piece of paper alongside.  It would be nice to know.

I have to admit to not being able to do Goldwork (along with Beadwork as reported earlier).  Believe me, I have tried – doing 18 samples of all the Goldwork techniques when I took City & Guilds, but I really can’t see well enough to get my couching stitches straight and unobtrusive, and I have to admit to being a bit of a perfectionist – if it is meant to be done in a certain way, that is the way I like it to be done.
SO my samples ended up being presented in a little handmade book in a matching bag, which made them look so much better and nobody noticed the uneven stitching!!

AND – I did it – the bag I produced from my summer school printed fabrics.  I really love these ‘messy’ courses – especially when they produce such exciting fabrics.

P1000181 Front view

P1000183 Back view

Hope to see some more finished pieces from the other members who attended,  later in the year.

Tuesday, 28 July 2009


The annual Regional summer school is always eagerly anticipated at Alston Hall in Longridge near Preston – a very comfortable residential college in lovely grounds with fantastic views across the Ribble Valley.  A central venue for the whole region with 42 members attending from as far afield as Carlisle to South Cheshire.

This year 6 of our members attended the 3 different courses on offer and as usual had a wonderful few days.
4 of us did the Printing Techniques course with Sue Chapman starting on the Thursday evening with dinner and finishing on Sunday with afternoon tea.  
1 member attended the ‘Flower Power’ course with Diane Bates  and 1 member attended the Hand Applique course with Lucy Smethurst.  These courses started on the Friday evening.

Needless to say, the food as usual was excellent – especially now with the new chef – some really great imaginative food.  Anyone would think we only go for the food – we don’t of course but it does help us to be extra creative!!!

Some pictures of work are attached – just hope I have the correct names for  all the pieces, but apologies if not.

sumsch 027
This is the start of a piece of Applique by Monica Selway – you don’t get a lot done very quickly if you want to make a good job of it  as it is such fine intricate work -  so we are looking forward to seeing a finished piece in some months time we hope.

sumsch 029
I think (and sincerely hope) that this piece belongs to Sue Tyldesley who attended the Flower Power course.  She wasn’t in the room when I took it, but I was assured it was hers!

The next pictures show some of the work done on the Printing Course – a tiring few days bent over print screens, cutting print blocks and experimenting with Procion printing.  We all went home with masses of work which will take us some time to turn into finished items I feel.

sumsch 009 
This work was done by Pat Fisher - her designs were based on shapes in the funnel of a cruise ship.

    sumsch 016
These pieces were created by Tracey Ramsey using a series of rubbing blocks to form the patterns.

My prints were on silk and old linen tablecloths which had previously had iron-on transfers applied many years ago by one of my family.   I foolishly promised Sue Chapman that I would make something from them to take to the Quilt Show in August – better get my skates on as I only have 4 weeks. 

Unfortunately Sue Abbott had to leave early so I hope to be able to show some of her pieces later, plus some of our finished work whenever that gets done!!

Sunday, 26 July 2009


This will be the last in the series of themed Hands-on sessions, this one based on SEASIDE POSTCARDS for Wakes Week – Blackpool and surrounding areas – the cards can be funny, cartoon, saucy, pictorial, seaside etc.
Keeping to the finished size of a postcard – they can have painted or printed backgrounds, be appliqued, quilted, machine or hand stitched, using Pelmet Vilene or some other form of stiffening.

Source information and materials will be available on the day.

The history of postcards is a fascinating one – started in Austria in 1869 and in Britain a year later they were at their peak of popularity before the First World War.
These cards are historically significant because they provide an insight into the social history of the world by depicting the fashions of the time, specific events including the First World War and the rise of industrialisation.

If you want to learn more before coming to the August meeting you can look up a lot of information and see a huge variety of cards on the internet.

The colour raffle for this month is AMBER


Pat Bean was another of our members who completed her City & Guilds course at Preston this year and she reports below -

I am originally from Yorkshire where I trained as a Home Economics /  Needlework teacher in Sheffield and moved to this area in 1968 to start work ,
I joined Parbold Embroidererers Guild 4 years ago after attending many short courses in as many  textile related areas as possible.  I realised  however that  I needed to learn some design techniques and so started the C& G courses at Preston  College.
I completed the Diploma in embroidery and textiles this year and my work was displayed in the college exhibition along with  other members of the Parbold Branch.

One of my pieces is an ivy branch with painted silk ruched through and layers of dyed kozo,  manipulated paper, 3D paint and beads.
This particular piece of work was chosen to be shown at the P.A.D. gallery in Preston ( The old post office next to the Harris Museum), which I had never heard of it until a month ago  and then found out that I had also won third prize .
They had displayed it as a mobile rather than the wall hanging  and I actually prefer this idea.     The inspiration for the work came from volcanic formations in New Zealand and the plants that grow in these inhospitable places.  However my garden is usually the main inspiration for my embroidery.
It  is really nice to have completed the course at college and to now have the time to develop the areas that I have really  enjoyed.

The pictures below were provided by Sue Chisnall.

This is Pat’s piece that won her a third prize at the P.A.D. Gallery.

A hat for Ascot perhaps!  Perhaps you could wear it to the next meeting Pat?


As you can see some lovely work from Pat and we now look forward to the first exhibition of the new group the students will be forming called ‘Natural Progression’.
Good luck to them all.