Saturday, 25 April 2009


Our usual meeting day will be preceded by an early morning session from 11.30a.m when Sue Chisnall and Tracey Ramsey will have all the Buttie Box patterns and inside ‘trinkets’ samples for you to work with.
Karen Hurrell has said that she will be available for the members who attended her Beading workshop day, if they need help with progressing their work further, or have problems that need to be sorted.
Monica Selway will also be bringing materials, threads, card etc., to make up kits for ‘Rainbow Squares’ which will be sold at Manchester Central in September,  when the Region’s squares go on show.  She needs some help with making up the kits and will be at the meeting from 12.30.

The afternoon meeting - "Indigo - the King of Colours" a talk by Magie Relph.
Quote from Magie's leaflet: "A talk to help you discover the beauty and excitement of Indigo. I'll cover a little bit of the history of this fascinating dye and introduce some of the patterning techniques used around the world."
Magie will also be bringing "The African Fabric Shop" and selling fabric, beads, buttons etc from all over Africa.

I visited her stand at Regional Day today and there was a wonderful array of fabrics and other bits which I’m sure will be of huge interest to you all.  I noticed some lovely Indigo bags – yummy!!
Looks as though we might need to bring our purses, so start saving now!!!!  Just 2 weeks to go.


– 10a.m to 4p.m as usual. We now only have 4 or 5 places left.  Contact Karen Hurrell to book.

You will need to wear old clothes or bring a large apron just in case of ‘drips’ of wax.
Sue will bring the card and all the waxes at a small charge, and will also provide the irons, but you will need to bring some kitchen roll and any card mounts you want to use.
You will also need a variety of scrap fabric pieces in different  weights but not too heavy – calico, polyester, satin, silk etc. – in cream and white (only smallish – no bigger than A3) .

For those who work quickly you can bring your usual hand sewing kit and threads.
Look forward to seeing you then.

Wednesday, 22 April 2009


COALMINING - ‘Buttie Boxes’
The source idea for this session, held last Saturday, was based on coalmining in the North of England – the objective being to make from scratch, or decorate ready made boxes, loosely based on the Buttie Box or Tommy Tin which contained the miner’s lunch and which they carried down the pit .

The true Tommie Tin is shaped like a sardine tin with a handle and very plain.  They were always made from tin to keep out the rats and mice – the shape of the tin with one end rounded off, was to accommodate the inclusion of a raw onion with their usual cheese sandwiches.  It is thought that the onion was used as part of their lunch to take away the taste of the coal dust before eating their sandwiches - providing moisture, but it probably killed the taste of the cheese I would have thought!

The lives of miners, working in dark, dank and dirty tunnels, was very hard, but their hobbies of being outside with their gardens, flowers, vegetables, pigeons replaced these conditions with light and colour.
The idea for making these boxes is to represent the differences between the outsides - being dark, plain and grubby looking and the hidden interiors – colourful, bright and rich with perhaps hidden treasures inside!

Sue Chisnall and Tracey Ramsey, our joint Chairmen had worked very hard on our behalf researching the subject – with Sue even going down an actual mine. Very brave.

They had made a selection of small boxes of various kinds (Sue) and lots of ideas for trinkets to be included (Tracey).
My favourite was the ‘bejewelled felt balls’ – I really fancy those so have been digging out all my wool tops for a marathon felt ball making session!!

Some of Tracey’s jewellery ‘trinkets’ are shown below.

Brooches; key fobs; bracelets etc.

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Beaded brooches – just over 1” – really cute!

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‘On a Roll’ – making felt balls.  Photograph by John Clark.

This Hands-on session was started at our April meeting, so members who were not there don’t have to wait until the May meeting, but can get started on the interior ‘trinkets’ that they would like to include – one of the brooches, bracelets etc., or a collection of  felt balls perhaps!
Box patterns will be available again at the May morning meeting which starts at 11.30a.m.

Monday, 20 April 2009


As our Hands-on Sessions and Day workshop pieces come in to meetings each month for members to see , I am trying to take more photographs and get members names (not easy when they do not put their name on!!) and I plan to show a collection of these from time to time to keep you up to date.

Those shown below were brought to our April meeting and I hope I have got the right name against each photo!!  Apologies if not.

First are pieces from our Encaustic Wax workshop day.

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2 random Encaustic pieces on card by Tracey Ramsey

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Encaustic prints onto fabrics by Karen Hurrell and Kathleen Slinger.

Encaustic on tissue paper by Kathleen Slinger.

Another canal print bag from our Hands-on Local Heritage day– this one by Brenda Jackson.

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Two pieces of weaving also from Local Heritage Hands-on by John Clark and Audrey Gore.  Note – John’s piece has actual nuggets of coal which he drilled and stitched to the bottom – we loved it – very much a man thing!!!! 
He has called his piece ‘Coal, Cotton and Canals’.

Thursday, 9 April 2009


On Saturday 4th April we held the third of our four annual  full workshop days. 

This Saturday was spent with Sue Tyldesley, our branch secretary, who has been working with Encaustic Wax painting techniques for 14 years.  See our previous post ‘Focus On Our Members’.

We had all seen examples of  Sue’s finished work and wanted to have a go. 
My first surprise was working on shiny card – I had brought totally the wrong type, but Sue was well prepared with the special irons, the right sort of card and masses of coloured wax sticks for us all to work with.
The first thing we tried was just to melt the wax on the base of the special iron and apply to the card – very random effects, mixing colours on the card.

I thought, yes I can do this (I particularly like random!) but then we got on to the difficult stuff – Kaleidoscope patterns and Landscapes.  Well my kaleidoscopes were even more random than my random (if you see what I mean) with no defined centre, and my landscapes became more mystical with every application of colour. 

Not quite as easy as Sue makes it look, though some seemed to find it easier than I did!!!!!

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How it’s done – melting the wax sticks onto the base of the iron and ‘drawing’ onto the shiny card.

You can use any of the designs you have put onto cards and iron off onto fabrics ready for stitching.   This is where pieces for stitched cards and bags come in.

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My ‘moody landscape’ with the strangest sky and lake reflections I have ever seen but as we said – these are mystical and magical places – all in the mind or perhaps all in the heavy hand in my case!!

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Landscape with a lake – Tracey Ramsey with a much lighter touch than me!

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Painting directly onto the fabric with the wax on a hot plate.   Now this I could master and who knows you may see a finished bag sometime.   Keep watching this space.

Late news – As everyone had such a great day and some of our members could not come on this date, Sue has agreed to do another of these workshops for us.  I will be first to book again as I am determined to master this and improve my technique – I feel a lighter touch is needed.

As I had to leave early there will be more photographs later when I have a chance to look at some other members’ work at our next meeting.  I’m sure they will be better than mine!!

Monday, 6 April 2009


With 45 members in our Branch this year, there are bound to be some with special interests and talents,  remembering of course that many members just like to come along to meetings to hear talks, watch demonstrations or take part in Hands-on sessions, or our one day workshops.

During an afternoon meeting there is often not enough time to get to know each other that well so we have decided that from time to time we will write a short article about those who have agreed to let us know more!

Our first ‘Volunteer’ is Sue Tyldesley – a member of the Guild for over 5 years and currently our Branch Secretary.   
Hailing originally from the North East of England, she often did tent stitch ‘tapestries’ as a child when she was ill (which was a lot in those days), then went on to do evening classes in her late teens and has dabbled in all sorts since then.
Her personal interests are machine embroidery and feltmaking and she loves to attend courses (mainly at Alston Hall) on anything that ‘catches her eye’.

About 14 years ago Sue took up Encaustic Wax painting after she had attended an embroidery workshop using it (at Haigh Hall) and went on to take a teacher’s course in the subject, as she couldn’t find any other way of learning it.  She contacted Alston Hall to ask if she could teach the subject there and for those of you who may have attended her classes – as you will know, the rest is history.

Her stitched ‘Encaustic’ bags are wonderful and the Branch have asked her to do a full day workshop for us, so we are all looking forward to a really exciting day, though I don’t know if we will get as far as making a bag on the day!!
Could provide us with some ‘homework’ though – so watch this space.

See below some samples of Sue’s work.

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