May 2021 newsletter

Welcome to May!

Lambs in the fields, tulips in the gardens and all the showy blossom on the trees, combined with sunny days and little rain have really brought home the changing season.

With life feeling like it might open up soon and the sun shining, I think that many of us are looking outwards again. Many of us will be double vaccinated soon, and although not planning many trips abroad at the moment, we might get out and about a bit more.

Spring is sprung and the garden is looking more inviting for us all. Maybe it is time to get some inspiration for next year’s exhibition? Or our Collaborative gardens project? Both are due for completing by the end of December, so I, for one, need to get thinking! Museums are due to open up again in mid May, but I, for one, will avoid the crowds for a while yet and continue to enjoy artworks virtually. I missed the Gees Bend Quilts exhibition in 2019 but I’ve been looking at to see the early Improv techniques of the Deep South. I’m hoping David Hockney’s new exhibition “the Arrival of Spring” at the Royal Academy, featuring his prolific iPad artworks, will be available online too – although nothing beats the scale of his last exhibition where you felt you were in the woodlands with him.

I haven’t been to any shops yet, unless you count Deb’s Fabrics, in Selston, which is in Deb’s own house. She has a huge range of quilting cotton fabrics, suitable for dressmaking too, wadding, threads and plenty of interesting whatnots. The fabric has taken over her house! You can find her via Google, or  I’ve had coffee or a refreshing elderflower cordial in the garden with a few friends – on our new terrace – and visited the local library. However, come late May I shall be getting back to teaching some classes. Past students have asked me to organise a weekly class for them, so I’ve booked a hall and been COVID-inducted. I’m currently trying to find a convenient small hall to do occasional workshops over the summer. I must get my website organised so that I can advertise them!

Julie Williams has been busy during the last few months of Lockdown:

I’ve tried various online workshops and courses over the past year but by far the most enjoyable has been Laura Kemshall’s Sketchbook Challenge.
Many of you will know how talented Laura is, and both her work and her videos are amazing.
Is my sketchbook ever going to be complete, I wonder?
Whenever I open it there’s something I can add, change or even paint over and redo the whole page…… so maybe not.
This week, using one of the pages as inspiration, I’ve dyed and printed a piece of calico, next step- some hand stitch.”

Julie’s sketchbook

Gorgeous stuff Julie!  I haven’t done much sketchbook stuff since I completed my City&Guilds diploma, but I have signed up for a series of monthly sketchbook workshops by Gary Mills, via Crafty Monkies. For those people less familiar with sketchbook working than those following Laura Kemshall, this might be very accessible. A 90 minute class, monthly, on a different topic. I shall report back next month, after I’ve done the first session.

I’ve also been following Anne Brooke’s #52tagshannemade on her website

For 2021 the challenge is to make weekly embroideries to put on gift tags, inspired by different stitches.

I’ve particularly enjoyed her #sew4thesoul challenge of 2020 and I’ve made several lengths, with bees as my inspiration. (Bees are my current obsession and tailor nicely into the theme of gardens too!)

Anne Batchelor writes:

Hi to all at Living Threads. I was a member many years ago but still keep in touch. Did a zoom class…hate them….on Boro work, but it was excellent. My interpretation made into a glasses case. I hope you are all doing well and I miss Nottingham and The Living Threads Group. Sometimes pop up for courses and your excellent exhibitions. Love to you all Ann Batchelor xx

Rolfie Clennan has been looking online:

 I have a recommendation for you. It’s a You Tube site I found recently and was totally hooked. It’s ‘The Last Homely House’ and the English woman who does it quilts, sews, knits, cooks, gardens, dyes and crafts generally. Kate is really lovely, and watching her videos is like sitting chatting to a friend. I highly recommend the site as I have to all my friends!

Have a look and see what you think. At the moment she is auctioning a quilt she made and donating all the money to support a friend who is ill. Such is her following that it has reached over £4000 on Ebay.

Well, on behalf of the newsletter I researched The Last Homely House, which is a You Tube blog/style subscription to a country lifestyle – full of bees, ducks, sewing and knitting. She also has a website with shop and you can find her on Instagram too. Sit with a cup of coffee and be transported to a homely life the North of England!

If you have any newsletter contributions, puzzles, recommendations, etc, do please send them to me via the Living Threads email address:  or email me directly at It’s a hopeful time of year and but we still need some tips and interesting or amusing snippets!

Meanwhile, don’t forget to check our website at:  or email us at:  or check us out on Facebook.

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.

Until June (!!)


Gilli Theokritoff, Newsletter Editor

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