Newsletter February 2023

Welcome to late Winter and the early signs of Spring! It was a little too early for some of my plants and trees, who, excited by the warm, mild weather, rushed to show shoots and some even blossom, only to be hit by some mighty cold spells too! Roll on snowdrop season, daffodil season and then my favourites – tulips…

I hope the cold spells have given you all time to stitch. It was great to meet up with lots of stitchers at the Newark Quilt show in January. This year’s show was a great success, with lots of attendees, great stalls and a real buzz. Let’s hope it translates into some lovely textile work for us to enjoy.

If you haven’t got enough fabric for your next project, or you just need to bargain hunt with like-minded fabric enthusiasts, come along on Saturday 25th February 10.30am – 2.30pm. The Quilters’ Guild Region 10 will be hosting Doughty’s Roadshow at Wollaton Park Community Centre, 15 Harrow Rd, Nottingham NG8 1FG. Come and browse a wide range of fabrics, waddings, threads & haberdashery. Everything you need for your quilty projects! £2 admission, free parking, refreshments, book sale, etc.

The next big quilting and embroidery show is the ‘British Quilt and Stitch Village’ at Uttoxeter Racecourse, 21st – 23rd April. I’ve just completed and sent off my quilt entry forms and booked a workshop making tassels. It’s a lovely show, although last year was very quiet. Let’s make it a great one this year!

I’ve also confirmed all my teaching slots for the Festival of Quilts, 3rd – 6th August. I love the buzz of a big show and rushing around everywhere to squeeze in all the things I want to see and do. I go for the full four days, as there is not a lot of time for looking and absorbing the atmosphere and the textile work when you are rushing between stewarding sessions and teaching classes. This year I have left myself the whole of the Sunday just for that experience!

QuiltCon is the US

My next quilt show, I’m excited to say, is only a few weeks away. QuiltCon is the US modern quilt show, held this year in Atlanta, Georgia, so I will be flying off Stateside with some quilting friends, to enjoy all the razzamatazz of an American show. Each pre-booked visitor is assigned a “SwapBuddy” for whom we make a small modern quilt, then we meet up at a big session to do our swaps!

Curiosity at Calke

If you are out and about this month, you might fancy a visit to Curiosity at Calke – Calke Abbey, 7 January 2023 – 26 February 2023, 10:00 am – 3:00 pm.

This winter, the downstairs Family Apartments at Calke Abbey will host a display in partnership with the Derby Embroidery and Textile Guild, based around the theme of ‘curiosity’. The group’s artworks will be on display in the sitting room, with a display of objects from Calke’s collection in the Little Dining Room. There will be some ‘Curious Cases’ for kids of all ages to rummage through, plus friendly Calke volunteers to chat to. Children are welcome and buggies can be left by the west door. There are heaters inside the Family Apartments but please wear warm layers as it’s likely to still be chilly due to the time of year. Accessibility: Ramped access is available, but the floor is level once inside. Light levels can be low in some areas. Seating is available.

Anne Kelly exhibition

I recently went to the Harley Gallery to see Anne Kelly’s exhibition “Well Travelled” which is on from 18th Jan – 12th March.   Anne likes to work on ‘found textiles’ and there are plenty of tea towels and tablecloths bedecked with snippets of interesting scraps, maps, tickets, etc, interspersed with embroidered birds, faces, etc. they need to be examined closely. There are even dolls houses and a canoe!

Harley Gallery events

Here’s a bit more about what is on at the Harley through February:

Artist Talk – Anne Kelly. 17 February, 2.30pm. Free.

Booking is advised due to limited spaces. Anne Kelly will be in the gallery speaking about her work. In this walk-and-talk event, Anne will take visitors on a guided tour of her exhibition ‘Well Travelled’, which is on show in the Harley Gallery 18th January – 12th March. A great opportunity to meet the artist and learn about her practice.     

One-Day Class with Anne Kelly. 18 February. £95
A one-day class at Hope and Elvis in the Harley Studios, inspired by Anne’s latest book ‘Textile Travels’.

Exhibition: Jennie Moncur – Interrupted Views. 25 March – 18 June. Free Entry.

Jennie Moncur is best-known for her vibrant woven tapestry wall hangings, which are a technical tour de force. This exhibition will drench the gallery in colour. She uses traditional Gobelin weaving techniques to create her contemporary works, which combine geometric forms, floral motifs and an intense palette in ‘jigsaw’ compositions.

Temperature Quilt

I have finally completed the Temperature Quilt I was working on last year – or at least the top! It’s not sandwiched and quilted yet, but here are a few photos.

The detail photo of July shows the highest temperature of 2022 in Nottingham – 42°.  Hard to remember how hot it was that day, now that we are in winter! It has been a really interesting project and I am collecting the data for 2023, as I plan to do one every year, but the next one will be less labour intensive (three-piece blocks, rather than five-piece!) and more free-form maybe. I shall also make sure to collect enough of each fabric so I don’t have to keep substituting similar fabrics when I ran out of one!

My next big project is a series of quilts based on Fairisle knitting. In the past I worked as a designer for knitting pattern companies and I do miss the click-clack of needles, but sadly my hands are so arthritic that I can’t do much knitting anymore. However, I have unearthed a load of old Fairisle pattern charts and decided to see how they look scaled up as quilts. Naturally this is very labour intensive, as it means sewing loads of 1” squares together, etc. However, I spend a lot of time during lockdown working on accuracy and fine piecing, so it is not an impossible challenge!

Here’s a piece of knitting and it scaled up into larger quilt block motifs (early stages)

A Detailed Documentary Tracing the Process of Making Artistic Manhole Covers in Japan

I know it isn’t anything to do with textiles, but I was completely captivated by a video about the making of Japanese manhole covers with coloured infills, via the Colossal website. It is a beautiful film, worth a watch, even though you never get to see how the coloured ones look set in a road, so I’ve included an (unattributed) image found on Google. Just watching the huge number of processes and dedication it takes to make the heavy brutish items is really interesting.

Also via Colossal is this charming film about making Mulberry paper by hand.

Sketches in fibre

Fashion and textile designer Holli Walker describes herself as a “serial creator” and there’s nothing quite like a series of sketches—in fibre. Find her on Instagram aka @theserialcreator19


For those who enjoy sketchbooks of all kinds, do visit:

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 the following month.

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.

I hope we’ve given you some interesting and/or fun ideas and tips. It’s a dull time of year to find exciting things to write about! I also hope the New Year has given you some encouragement to get stuck into new projects and ideas. We members of Living Threads are all starting to work on our next exhibition, for which the theme is “Earth, Sea, Sky”. A few long frosty walks or longer trips to the wintry seaside should provide some inspiration!

Until March,

Gilli Theokritoff

Newsletter Editor

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