Living Threads Newsletter – October 2022

What a summer of sunshine we had! Maybe the heat was too much, and the gardens hated the lack of water, but it was blissful to take breakfast into the garden every morning and to walk about barefoot. Now the light is fading earlier and the evenings are cooler and soon there will be that crisp tang in the air to herald Autumn. And we will get excited for the smell of woodsmoke, the heavy dew, the changes of leaf colour!

September has given us a sombre end to the summer with the death of Her Majesty. The TV coverage, pomp and ceremony has been wall-to-wall. It will be good to have some space for quiet reflection, bracing autumnal walks and fleecy jumpers! At least we can expect the TV programming to pick up now that Autumn is here. We have been bottling plums and our neighbours have kindly given us bushels of apples, so we have been bottling and freezing them, as well as making litres of damson gin, ready for deep winter.

Early in September I went on a Quilting Retreat organised by Crafty Monkies, who I have mentioned here before. It was held at the prestigious Oulton Hall, near Leeds. I went early, to have a day in the spa before 3 days of learning and social activity. Our tutors were two quilting men, Nicholas Ball, and Chris English, who both teach ‘improv’ quilting, Sarah Payne who appears on Create & Craft and Janet Clare who was the tutor on my trip to Sitges back in the Spring. It was really social, laid back and fun, although the hotel suffered badly from undertrained staff and poor management. That made us bond all the more though! I learnt lots of tips and small techniques, but many of the guests were real beginners, so it was fun to watch them get inspired. Most of us have now booked for the next retreat, next September, at Rutland Hall hotel!

I have just come back from an Arena Travel Stitchtopia holiday to Milan and Lake Levico. Alarmingly Arena Travel went into receivership on the Friday before we were due to travel on the Sunday (!) but were bought buy Leger Travel (Shearings Coaches) and our holiday went ahead as planned. The trip was aimed at quilters and stitchers, so the tours included were excellent.

We visited the Aurifil Factory in Milan to see how cotton thread was spun and wound onto reels, we got a great goody bag and lovely refreshments.

 We then went on to Pino Grasso, which is an embroidery house who do the very high-end embroidery for haute couturiers, such as Versace and Valentino. We saw all the stages from design, marking, stitching à Luneville, and a fantastic trawl through the archives to see fabulous, heavily beaded samples. The embroidery houses are increasingly under pressure on price with competition from India, so they have to become more innovative, exploring news ways and methods. It was really interesting and Rafaella Grasso was so enthusiastic and helpful.

Later that week we went to Como to visit the Silk Museum there. We had a charming, enthusiastic guide who talked us through the harvesting of raw silk from cocoons, but the museum was mainly focused on the ancient machinery used to produce the silk, spinning, weaving, pleating, etc. What I thought might be a little tedious was actually fascinating, as the museum was well laid out, with a designer’s flair, so it was visually superb. We also got to shop for silk scarves and ends of silk bobbins!

The holiday ended with four days of quilting workshops led by Karin Hellaby, and lots of gorgeous Italian food and wine…

What else is going on around our region?

The Second Turning Textile Group are holding an exhibition of their work at the Framework and Knitters Museum:

Exhibition by The Second Turning Textile Group – “Hanging by a Thread”.  
5th October –  28th October  2022 at The Framework Knitters Museum, Chapel Street, Ruddington, Nottingham NG 11 6HE
Tel: 0115 984 6914  :
Opening times:  Wed –  Sat. 11am to 4.30pm.

Inspiration for work and title ‘Hanging by a Thread’ is taken from the Museum and its exhibits.

2nd Revolution Quilters, in Pentrich, Debyshire are holding their much-delayed exhibition on
Sat/Sun 22nd and 23rd October at Pentrich Village Hall, from 10am-4pm each day. 

Entrance is still only £1!

The Autumn Quilt Festival is on at Malvern, 21st – 23rd October this year at the Three Counties Showground, Malvern, WR13 6NW. One of the last chances to stock up fabric and goodies in person, with plenty to experience.

For all stitchers, knitters, textile enthusiasts:

At Leicester Racecourse. Parking Free.  Follow the link for more details

Lots to see and do. Well worth a visit.

As you know, I like to hunt out unusual items from around the world. I came across the Wara art festival from Japan.

This festival celebrates the left-over straw surplus from the season’s crop. The straw is turned into huge mythic creatures, monsters and giant birds, dotted around the landscape.

Click on the link to see many more, and from previous years. There is also a behind-the-scenes section showing how they are made.

Given that it is unknown when Living Threads, as a group, are likely to start up our workshop schedule, it has been decided that tutors from Living Threads can promote their own classes and workshops via the newsletter.

No new members’ workshops to promote, but you can still book for my Tuffet workshop, run by Deb’s Fabrics at Selston, on Tuesday 1st |November. Enquiries to

That’s all for now. I’d love to be able to include snippets, images and news from members and subscribers. I’d love to hear of any local exhibitions, book reviews or recent experiences for my next newsletters. Any members running workshops are welcome to let me know details for the newsletter, info by 20th of the month for inclusion in the following newsletter.

Please send any items to: or

On our website you can find a review of many of the pieces in the Living Threads Exhibition 2022

Don’t forget to have your seasonal boosters for flu and Covid and keep healthy

Gilli Theokritoff

Newsletter Editor

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