Welcome to February!
We have all had our first doses of snow, making the land look beautiful and the sound muffled, but at the same time adding to the isolation. On the plus side the nights are getting shorter, but there is not much else to feel very positive about in this bleak winter! We hope some of you are getting your first vaccinations by now and more will come over the next month and onwards. I’m hoping for mine in April some time. My late May quilting holiday to Italy isn’t feeling quite so likely to go ahead, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed.
This month will be a shorter newsletter, I’m expecting, as I’ve not had much response to my request for snippets of news or recommendations of good tools, classes, visits, etc. I’m sure we are all in COVID fatigue! I’ve not got much in my diary, apart from a couple of Quilters Guild talks and a possible workshop on using a quilting computer programme EQ8. I will be visiting www.craftymonkies.com to book some upcoming workshops. Gary Mills is doing one on Mindful Stitching Journals on 20th Feb and Sarah Payne is exploring Sashiko Stitching on 27th Feb, for those interested!
Sally Marsh sent me a photo of a something recently gifted to her – chocolate sewing stuff! I hope they tasted as good as they looked Sally!
Sally has been busy, as Jane Marrows will testify :
“Sally kindly gave me a copy of the book ’The Button Box’ by Lynn Knight, for Christmas. You may know it! It traces the story of women at home and in work and associated needlework and dressmaking and is inspired by the author’s ‘grandma’s buttons as they scattered from their Quality Street tin’.
It just so happens both Sally and I have our families’ Quality Street button tins, mine was my Mum’s. Just thought it might be interesting if other members shared pics of their button ‘tins’ also…”
I too had a Quality Street tin as a button box, inherited from my mother-in-law, much to the annoyance of her daughter! Unfortunately I dropped it recently, cascading buttons everywhere and denting the tin so it wouldn’t close again. I’ve since re-allocated my buttons into various pots, according to size, colour, etc and I’m still finding errant buttons in odd corners of my workroom, from that earlier episode.
Button boxes used to be such a thing of wonder, a resource from harvesting and recycling old clothes and the jackdaw tendencies we all have to bright, shiny objects. Many hours could be passed with small children exploring the contents.
I used to have a wool shop when I lived up North and used to buy novelty plastic buttons “in the white” from a lovely old man in London’s East End. I would dye them at home on the kitchen stove, with Dylon dyes, then paint details on them. I had pineapples, strawberries, palm trees, all sorts of shapes which I sold in the shop during the ‘80s. Sadly I have very few left…
Viv has drawn my attention to a newsletter/magazine fron the South East West Region of the Embroiders’ Guild. It features articles from some well known textile artists. You may need to subscribe to read it (free) but it is worth it. The link is: sewregionmagazine.com
Recently our Region of the Quilters Guild (Region 10) has made the (temporary?) decision to switch to online distribution of its regional magazine Cobwebs. This is mainly due to the lack of income from meetings and workshops versus the cost of printing and postage. I do think this is the future for at least the time being. I have always kept all my old copies, as they contain contact details, diary dates, adverts and articles I may want to refer to again. Now I have opened a folder on my computer’s Desktop to save the pdf copies so that I can find and review them again.
I’ve not got much booked for February workshop-wise. I’ve been working on the fishes that I did with the CraftyMonkies workshop (www.craftmonkies.com) with Nicholas Ball last month. I’m enjoying making my shoal of glistening silver fish. If you look on Instagram at #shoalsewalong you will find loads of different fish in all shapes, sizes and fabrics, which people are showing.
I’m progressing with a few Block of the Month and Quilt-Alongs that I have been doing for a few months. It’s my birthday this month so I’m waiting to see what I may get as a surprise and we are going to try out a few restaurant Meal-in-a-box schemes for birthday celebrations. I’m particularly keen to sample the Rick Stein ones, which are very reasonably priced. We might also share a tapas one from Bar Iberico with our daughters via Zoom. I might do a couple of cookery workshop Zooms and I fancy a wine tasting one too…
On TV there is Landscape Artist of the Year, from Sky Arts via Sky or Freeview. Fabulous to watch the different artists at work, same goes for The Great Pottery Throwdown on Channel 4. I also see there is another series of Make: Craft Britain on BBC4 and iPlayer, which is really worth watching.
We wish you all a speedy recovery if you or family have been unwell or had Covid-19, and that the rest of us manage to avoid it.
Everyone please stay safe and keep creating. We will get through this and come out the other side. The vaccine will eventually mean we can all meet up and share our stories and textile work.
Gilli Theokritoff, Newsletter Editor