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

Living Threads Newsletter Dec 22 & Jan 23

Festive Greetings to all our
Living Threads members and readers
Hello everyone
Winter is finally upon us and Christmas only a few weeks away. Maybe you have been diverted by the football(!) but my to-do lists are getting longer and I foresee a weekend in the kitchen making those mince pies and early Christmas food preparation. I realise I forgot to make a Christmas cake, but, more importantly, the homemade damson gin is nearly ready to decant. Then of course there are all those bulbs still to plant out, leaves to sweep and garden tidying still to do. I have been too busy inside making Christmas presents to brave the cold outside, but I know how joyful the first sign of shoots coming up in February will be.
My temperature quilt is almost complete, just a few more blocks to do. It has been sad to say goodbye to the warm colours and return to neutral beige and grey! I think I shall continue the tradition of recording the daily temperature in fabric, but next time, 2023, I shall make it an easier and quicker block to make. I shall also only make one, rather than the double version I did this year. I’ll share photos in the next newsletter.

It was a great year to start doing the temperatures, as I have witnessed the effect of global warming and this year’s freakish summer heatwaves. It was also interesting to record local temperatures, as they varied from national ones quite often. I’ll also choose a different colour palette. I’ve run out of all those colours used for 2022!
I’m looking forward to the first of the 2023 Quilt Shows, with the Newark Quilt Show, held at the Newark Showground. It will be chance to pick up some bargains, see some familiar faces, look at exhibition quilts and generally get in the mood for new projects.
Friday 13th& Sat 14th January, Lady Eastwood Centre, Newark Showground, Lincoln Road NG24 2NY, 10am – 4pm
Advance tickets priced at £6/7, which is a great price compared to The Big Textile Show in Leicester where they were charging a ridiculous £15 entry fee!
There is a local show at the end of January for those near Nottingham – Canalside Quilters have a Patchwork exhibition, 21st – 29th January, at the Canalside Heritage Centre, Beeston NG9 1LZ, with café!
Also worth a trip out in January and beyond is Anne Kelly’s exhibition “Well Travelled” at the Harley Gallery, 18th Jan – 12th March. Anne is a widely known embroiderer and author of several books.

The Harley Gallery is always an exciting place to visit, and just up the road is Hope & Elvis – one of the studios on the Welbeck Estate. Previously owned by Louise Asher, who has now relocated to Margate, it is now in the capable and creative hands of Wend.
Hope & Elvis – The Home of Creativity
Harley Foundation Studios, 7 Tan Gallop, Welbeck, Worksop S80 3LW

Hope & Elvis run workshops featuring an interesting range of textile and related activities with tutors such as Alice Fox, Mandy Patullo, etc.

Personally, I have a yen to make a birdbox …
“Join paper pioneer, Jennifer Collier, on this one-day course. You will create a beautiful, bespoke bird box, complete with its own bird on the perch, using recycled papers, stitch and card. Every step will be demonstrated, from constructing your bird box to using vintage papers to decorate it. The box will be embellished with a range of hand stitches, including an optional picot stitched trim. You’ll also learn techniques like embossing, creating paper flowers and will create your own mono-printed bird to sit on the perch.”
LTG charity donation
Last month we were finally able to give out the money to our chosen charities following our successful exhibition back in Easter. The delay was due to the re-organisation that the Living Threads Group has been through this year and the commttee personnel changes have meant hold-ups with banking, etc. We had a lovely ceremony, with past members in attendance as well as the recipients of our charity donations – Framework and the Nightingale MacMillan Nurses. They showed their appreciation too:
It’s early days to be planning our 2024 exhibition, but we are always on the look out for innovative ways to display projects. Our member Coralie spotted this interesting display of postcards in her local library. What a clever way to display them!


My usual trawl through the internet has thrown up some fascinating images and articles. Here’s a use for those used tea bags you throw in the compost or the bin – exquisite full size garments, dyed, stitched and embellished:
Also, watch Artist Zak Korvin draw a precise geometric emblem in a mesmerizing timelapse. Zak Korvin offers a look into the process of making a geometric crest of three birds. Drawing inspiration from Japanese mon, an emblem used to designate an individual or family, Korvin incorporates three birds in a circular motif.

There’s still time to make some last-minute Christmas pressies, or decorations. Here’s a project – or even a gift idea – for those cold winter days. Simple idea, easy instructions, less cumbersome than mittens. My studio gets so cold that these little hand warmers would be just the thing!

Our member Annie Nichols has been busy, making a gorgeous, embellished Christmas Wreath. I wonder how many of us make ourown decorations?

I’ve been making a pile of mini quilts 6” square, which I have framed in IKEA box frames. They are cheap to make but look expensive and professional and will make ideal gifts now that most of our relatives have households!
For those guests who just pop in, unexpectedly, there will be a basket of Chocolate Bark parcels to distribute. This is the easiest pressie of all to make. Requirements:
2 large bars each of milk, white or dark chocolate
Hundreds and thousands and any and all other cake decorations
Sultanas, dried cranberries and cherries
Chocolate chips, milk, white and dark
Prepare three baking trays and line each with parchment or, for preference, a Teflon sheet.
Starting with the milk chocolate, break up the bars into chunks and place in a heatproof bowl, over a pan of boiling water. Melt the chocolate gradually, stirring constantly.
When smooth, pour onto a baking tray, spreading out the melted chocolate quite thinly, but with a few swirls for texture. While the chocolate is still hot, sprinkle on some dried fruit, cake decorations, chocolate chunks, etc. Only use nuts if you know they will not be given to those with a nut allergy!
Allow to cool, then place the baking tray in the fridge for a few hours.
Repeat with the other chocolate flavours, changing up the decorations for variety.
When all the trays are chilled, lift the chocolate from the baking sheets and break into shards. Pop a couple of each chocolate variety into a cellophane bag and add ribbons, etc.
Fifteen minutes work and a guaranteed pleasure to receive.
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’m taking a month off from the newsletter, to enjoy the peace and quiet between Christmas and the New Year, so the next issue will be in February.
Enjoy the Festive Season, don’t get too cold, look forward to the New Year and all that it will bring. Remember that it will start getting lighter earlier and the days will get longer very soon…
Gilli Theokritoff
Newsletter Editor

Living Threads Newsletter – November 2022

Welcome to the end of Autumn and the start of Winter, as the clocks go back and our afternoons and evenings get darker. The gorgeous coloured leaves lie mushy on our pavements and there is a lot of clearing up work to be done in my garden, at least!

Quite late in the season I planted out some tomato plants a friend had given me. They had been in poor soil and as soon as they were given some food and good compost they romped away – however, they turned out to be varieties of huge tomatoes and they have taken their time to turn edible. They have now been harvested and sit by the warmth of the Aga on a sunny windowsill and it is amazing to see that some of them may ripen. The rest will make lovely chutney.

October seems to have flown by in a blur. Flu and Covid jabs seem to have dominated this month, and I have discovered I am now old enough to receive a winter fuel allowance! I don’t suppose that will go very far, but luckily we have generous neighbours who keep us supplied with wood for our multifuel stove – they are forever cutting down trees!

Some friends and I have decided to make a regular trip out to exhibitions and/or galleries – starting locally. This week we went down to Leicester to see the Eileen Cooper exhibition at Leicester Museum & Art Gallery on New Walk. She is modern figurative artist whose style has evolved over her career, with a strong bent towards magical realism. Her women are all strong and independent, her work is very self-reflective and the commentaries alongside the work are interesting and thought provoking. › whats-on

Next month we are going to explore the Museum of Making in Derby. Housed in a fabulous, restored Silk Mill, it comprises objects and archives that chart the progress of Derby’s ongoing manufacturing history and the people who were involved in these industries. Special events and hands-on experiences are a feature. Check the website for dates.

Today I popped in to the Sew’n’Sews Quilt show in West Bridgford, Nottingham. Full of colourful quilts, lots of visitors, chats and refreshments. What a lovely event!

Tomorrow I will pop over to The Big Textile Show, in Leicester, where I must NOT be tempted by knitting wool! I am currently working on a series of quilts reflecting my previous career in knitwear, particularly Fairisle knitting. My arthritic fingers cannot cope with knitting anymore, but I find it hard to resist the temptation and am gaily knitting up samples of Fairisle knitting to go with the quilts, despite the soreness and stiffness! There will be plenty of other stalls to distract me I am sure…

There is still time to catch the Second Turning Textile Group’s exhibition of their work at the Framework and Knitters Museum starting 5 October until Friday 25 November.  Inspiration for work, title ‘Hanging by a Thread’ is taken from the Museum. I plan a visit very soon.

Currently running at the Sock Gallery at Loughborough Town Hall is Making Time , a Group exhibition by the Textile Tutor Group , in which members of the group explore some of their personal concepts of time, reflecting on how Covid gave us time but also stole time from us . There are beautiful and thought provoking exhibits to enjoy. The exhibition is running until Thursday November 17th.

Meanwhile, for rainy days, I have been looking for other diversions, online. Photographer Lakin Ogunbanwo creates colourful portraits of Nigerian women that are simultaneously majestic and dreamy. Set against gauzy draped backdrops, Ogunbanwo’s subjects are dressed for bridal ceremonies in vibrant lace bodices, sculptural headdresses, and embellished tulle veils. In a statement on the series, the artist describes his use of veiled portraiture “to document the complexity of his culture and counteract the West’s monolithic narratives of Africa and women.” The series, titled e wá wo mi (“come look at me”), documents the traditional ceremonial wear of the Yoruba, Igbo and Hausa-Fulani tribes, amongst others. Rather than objectively archive these as past-traditions, however, he mimics the pageantry of weddings in present Nigeria.

Check out more of his work:

I subscribe to a few blogs on making items and patterns. Given the time of year and our need to conserve heat, how about making some all-weather door draught guards to help keep you warm this winter, stop the expensive heat from escaping! There are also some funky applique cushions for the grandkids. Patterns and instructions are free.

What Sort of Creative Are You?

I love a personality quiz and this one is excellent to do. As textile artists, we all know that we are creative, but are we the same kind of creative person as a painter, sculptor, or writer? Adobe Creative has made a quiz for you to take that will show you just what kind of creative you are. Plus, when you’re finished, it will generate a fun little avatar that will show off your creative nature! I came out as a Visionary. What are you?

A request from our Chair, Maggie Ready.

I have been contacted by a friend of Barbara Netherwood , a former Living Threads member, whose area of expertise is Bobbin lace and tatting . Barbara has now retired
from her creative work and has a stash of her work which she wishes to dispose of and wonders if any member, or members, would like to have it. The request came too late for inclusion in the Table Sale but I would appreciate any suggestions as to how we can help Barbara. Replies either directly to Maggie or via

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.

Jane Marrows is putting on a couple of interesting workshops, details below:

Jane will be teaching 2 half-day mono-printing classes using a ‘Gelli’ printing plate in November in the Lower Gallery, at Green’s Windmill, Sneinton, Nottingham, NG2 4QB, on Saturday 19th November, 2022

       1. 10am-12.30pm -Botanical ‘Gelli-plate’ printing

         2. 1.30pm-4pm Landscape ‘Gelli-plate’ printing

All classes will be 6 participants maximum.  Suitable for 16 years and over.

Fee- £25 which includes all materials and use of all equipment. Refreshments will be free, but if booking for 2 classes on the same day please bring a packed lunch. Parking is available in the Carpark at the bottom of Windmill Lane, with 4 hrs parking fee refundable on the day. Blue Badge holders can park for free on site in the Mill Yard.

Please contact Jane at or tel:-07799751347 to book your place and payment details will be forwarded to you.

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

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

Gilli Theokritoff

Newsletter Editor

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

Living Threads Newsletter – July/August

Welcome to the Summer newsletter. This is a combined July & August newsletter, so you will get a rest from me next month! As I write we are on the cusp of another heatwave, this one promising to be more dramatic than before….

I went to London on the Monday that London hit 32degrees and that was hot enough! I was meeting an old schoolfriend I hadn’t seen for 40 years and I was crabby and sweaty with the heat, just from the train journey. We decided that Kew Gardens would be ideal. Plenty of cafes and ice cream stops and shady trees. Perfect. We tried the Palm House, but the heat was too much like outdoors so fled to the more temperate areas. There is a Food themed series of galleries and installations on at Kew at the moment, as Tony Toon advised me. I’m afraid we were rather uncultured and avoided the galleries as they were not air conditioned! I did go to see the enormous lily pads:

Taking advantage of the heatwave and sunny conditions I have been doing some ice dyeing. In the US this is most commonly done in midwinter with plenty of snow, but it does work well with ice cubes. The ice, as it melts with the dye, has a way of dispersing the colours in the dyes and creating interesting chromatic effects and fabulous, unrepeatable patterns.

Here I soaked my pfd (prepared for dyeing) plain cotton in a soda ash solution, then scrunched it on a cooling rack over a cat littler tray to catch the melted dye water. I then piled the fabric with ice cubes (a large bag of ice from the supermarket costs £1.25) until it was entirely covered. Using a mask(!!) I sprinkled powdered dye over the ice. You can use several colours and overlap areas if you wish. I used a mixed dye called Lavender and you can see that the blues, purples and even reds came out in different areas. Fascinating!  Rinse well, press and have a think how you will use your unique fabric!

Onwards, taking advantage of the sun! I then researched Sun Painting. Not Cyanotype, this is just painting fabric with fabric paints and scrunching, manipulating or laying objects on wet painted fabric. The sun performs magical transformations, removing the paint from all the shadowed areas.

Watch Lisa Walton, from ‘Dyed and Gone to Heaven’ in this You Tube video:

In my samples below I used pre-dyed fabric, rather than white, and painted a mix of Jacquard metallic purple and translucent grape onto my yellow fabric and bright pink fabric, very wetly, but with a fair amount of paint as I didn’t want a wishy-washy effect. I then laid on and pressed down flat leaves, flower heads, old stencils and a load of washers from my vast collection (not rusty ones though – I’ll do that another day)

Then I just left it in the sun…

Here are the results. As you can see, the fern and flower heads lifted too much to get good effects and the stencils that I laid on didn’t make close enough contact with the wet fabric, allowing light to get in. However, the washers were amazing! I’ve also shown the back of the fabric as that is interesting too. Now I shall iron them and the paint will be set.

I get my dyes and fabric paints from Empress Mills, where I also get lots of fabric and really good quilt wadding. They are having occasional blitz sales over the summer so do subscribe to their newsletters. We’ve just missed the most recent one, but the website is well worth an investigation.

Living Threads member Annie Nicols has been busy with a beautiful mosaic – just gorgeous!

I love mosaics and have made a few but not done anything with them. I have ambitions for tables, pathways, etc, but they are still in my head. No doubt influenced by the huge Mosaics page I have on Pinterest…

Anne Bruntlett has been fascinated by “Wee Folk”:

Big Stories Told With Little People

Do you remember seeing Viv’s submission in the Study Group section of the exhibition? It featured a birds nest surrounded by twitchers or guardians made from wrapped yarn.

Seeing it took me back to reading the Mary Norton series ‘The Borrowers’ as a child and then, many years later, seeing the film starring Ian Holm and Penelope Wilton.

Tiny people have always held a large place in my imagination – perhaps because I am the smallest in our family!

Over the years I have managed to build a tiny collection of small fabric people, many of which have their own special story to tell.

My Godmother Aunt gave me my first little person, an embroidered brooch of an Italian lady with a basket on her head. Other brooches followed from the Portuguese mainland and Madeira. Then there were the tiny dolls from a fair trade store in Leicester and a bag of worry dolls from my daughter.

Guatemala was the source of the original worry dolls. Made from scraps of fabric and enclosed in a tiny bag they have soothed many children over the years by taking away their troubles overnight.

Mexican worry dolls are slightly bigger and are sold to tourists as brooches, or on headbands and bags.


I suppose one of my real treasures is a Nativity arpillera that I bought many years ago. I had often admired the work of the women who made Arpillera to raise awareness of the Desaparecidos, or behind the simple beauty of the stitched panels.

Several years ago I purchased a copy of ‘Felt Wee Folk’ by Sally Mavor and worked with my local church group to make our own Nativity triptych, with one dear lady excelling the brief and making a wonderful camel. The triptych came out of its storage recently to be rescued from the big throw out and now resides in our spare room awaiting a decision on the best place to store it for future tiny eyes to find it and appreciate the little people.

A local Quilt and Stitch show to look out for:

Lutterworth Stitchers would like to announce their 2022 exhibition – “Scintillating Stitches”. The exhibition will be held Tuesday 16 August to Saturday 20 August, at Wycliffe Methodist Church, Bitteswell Road, Lutterworth, Leicestershire, LE17 4EZ (just opposite Morrisons supermarket), and is open 10:00 – 4:00 each day, with Friday evening opening till 9:00. The exhibition illustrates the various avenues of stitch explored by members, with lots of the work being for sale. There will also be Demonstrations, Refreshments, Homemade Cakes and a Sales Table Area with an eclectic mix of all thing’s “stitch”.

Lutterworth Stitchers, is an independent creative textile group in Leicestershire. At the monthly evening meetings invited speakers provide inspiration from the textile world. Day Workshops are held  or members to further their skills. Social ‘Stitch Days’ are also held each month, where ideas and  knowledge can be exchanged in a very convivial atmosphere. Non- members are welcomed to our ‘Stitch days’ or as visitors to our evening meetings.

For more information please contact Wendy Bates on 07851 048677, or Kate Clarke 01530 262412

I do love to hunt out clips about the making of clothes and costumes. Some of you may have seen

The recent Biopic of Elvis and recall the fabulous costumes:

 Just as much as he was defined by his music, Elvis Presley was just as recognizable for his wardrobe. In Baz Luhrmann’s brand new film on the King of Rock and Roll, Elvis, his wife and four-time Oscar-winning costume designer and set decorator Catherine Martin were tasked with the challenge to bring the King’s threads to life. Hear what she has to say about the design process and how she was inspired for the project.

Watch the video discussion with Catherine below.

As most of you will know by now, Living Threads has had a re-shuffle and we have a new Chair – Maggie Ready – to steer us through the next few years and help us transition and plan our future. Many thanks to Viv for her sterling work, and all the hard workers on the previous committee. I shall stay on as Newsletter Editor unless someone else wants the job?

Most of us will now be meeting monthly to try to make the group more cohesive and collaborative as we plan how and where to exhibit, etc. We will share practices, show work in progress, discuss and critique, possibly bicker and squabble…!!

General contact for Living Threads will be through the

Your enquiry will then be forwarded to the relevant member. Maggie’s details are on the members’ contacts list. Please note that this is being updated at the moment and will be circulated shortly by Hazel.

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.

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

Have a lovely Summer, enjoy stitching in the sunshine

Gilli Theokritoff

Newsletter Editor