July 2021 newsletter

Welcome to July and an extended Lockdown!

I don’t know how many of you are planning summer holidays at home or abroad, but I’m going nowhere! Last year we sold the family holiday home in Bude, Cornwall, and I really miss it. No weekend or week-long spur of the moment holidays! I do hope the new owners are making full use of it. Here’s a view from the terrace, to remind me of what I miss:

My two quilting trips – to Milan and then France, with Stitchtopia – have both been cancelled and I have learnt patience and the delaying of pleasures. I have re-booked on a quilting trip to Carcassonne in October, and to visit the Sitges quilt show in Spain next March. Fingers crossed that one, or both, of them happen. The Spanish trip involves a visit to Girona, where I’ve never been, and to Barcelona. I’ve been there several times but now Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia cathedral is open and you can go inside, which I am really looking forward too. If they don’t happen, for COVID reasons, I’ll just wait to see what else is on offer later.

I’m so enjoying getting back in tune with my garden. I’m no gardener and our outdoor space suffers from a great deal of neglect and few flowers, but it is an oasis of tranquillity and shade. We are currently enjoying the heavenly scent of honeysuckle and philodendron (mock orange), the colours of gorgeous blowsy peonies and climbing roses, and I am anxiously watching my agapanthus for the first spires emerging from the straplike leaves. Everything else is textural greens, with beautiful leaf shapes, fat hostas and spiky plants. We’ve already harvested some tomatoes and gooseberries and I can see the fruits ripening on the Victoria plum tree. We might even get some walnuts this year from our beautiful white barked walnut tree, if the wood pigeons don’t break all the delicate branches! Over the winter we had a terrace installed, which is proving to be quite a suntrap. I hadn’t appreciated how much the stone reflects the heat. I’m still awaiting our garden furniture, ordered in early April – excuses so far have been COVID and the Suez Canal being blocked, Brexit and transport problems. However, all good things come to the patient…

Jenny Ashmore and Janet Humphrey took a trip out to gain some inspiration for our ‘Gardens’ exhibition:

“Janet Humphrey and I spent a very pleasant afternoon wandering around the gardens of Melbourne Hall in Derbyshire. We came across this ironwork folly, which was the inspiration for Godfrey Barke to draw the Living Threads logo. I think his drawing is brilliant, having now seen the real thing.”


I’m back to teaching again, in a small way, just two local groups, but it has been so lovely to be together again. I don’t think much work gets done, but we are so enjoying sharing news and each other’s company. The Festival of Quilts is still going ahead at the end of July and I’m starting to get my teaching kits prepared. The management have worked really hard to make sure that the Festival will be as COVID-secure as it possibly can be, with so much more space to move around, bigger classrooms, more seating areas and of course there will be fewer visitors this year, certainly few international ones! I think these shows are very vulnerable and if we don’t support them, we will lose them. The Grosvenor quilt shows have mostly been cancelled for this summer, but Grosvenor has confirmed that it will be holding a show in Newark next January, which is a great time of year to go, as nothing else is happening to compete!

Meanwhile I continue to test out Zoom workshops. I’m doing one this week at the ridiculous time of 11pm – 2am!!! It’s coming from the USA west coast, so everyone else will be bright eyed and raring to go compared to me, bleary-eyed and ready for bed. It is about choosing colour palettes and should be very interesting. I’ve had to collect vast swathes of coloured swatches, paint chips and charm packs as we are recommended to bring up to 400 colours to the table! There’s no sewing, just lots of colour choosing, experimenting and sticking swatches to paper. I think I’ll need a nap before I start…

Our lovely public supporters have kindly sent the following info/ideas to share with us all.

Mary Grooms sends us this:

I have learned the basics of tatting in the last few years, have joined a group called the Charnwood Tatters, where the average age and wealth of experience is mature. Some of them do the most exquisite stuff. They set up a Zoom Tatters meeting and each month we have a challenge.

This was my most ambitious effort ever and was the Easter challenge. I was learning how to include beads. The ladies at Charnwood tatters have raised my skills to be able to follow a simple pattern. They are truly lovely and so patient.
The most frustrating thing about tatting is if you make a mistake it is almost impossible to undo and you junk it or hide it or pretend you always meant to do it that way.
It is making lace with a thread and a shuttle at its most basic!

Dorothy Downie writes:

I thought I would share with you the quilt kit that I finished during the latest lockdown.  Firstly I must say I am not a quilter really a dressmaker –  I bought this kit on a whim whilst on holiday in New Zealand in 2019.  I started this project at one of your classes at Coles sewing centre early in 2020 but didn’t get very far on the day.  Fast forward to this year and with the help of YouTube videos and just guess work it is finished.  Not my finest piece of work but I am so happy to have it done and hanging on the wall. 

Editor: What a great reminder of all those New Zealand flora and fauna!

From Annette Budzisz:

Yes, the sun is here at long last ,and I am loving my time in the garden, though  I have to confess most of it is spent weeding.
During those endless wet days in May I continued to crochet , and had some fun creating a family of hedgehogs as well as turning what was going to be a blanket into a cushion , that actually ended up as a spring wall hanging .
I hope my simple contributions make you smile.
Kindest wishes and happy crafting! 

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

Meanwhile, don’t forget to check our website at: www.livingthreadstextileartists.com  or email us at: livingthreadsgroup@gmail.com  or check us out on Facebook.

Everyone please stay safe and keep creating. We will get through this and come out the other side. Full vaccination will eventually mean we can all meet up and share our stories and textile work.

Until August,


Gilli Theokritoff, Newsletter Editor

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