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

March 2022 Newsletter

Welcome to March 2022!  Could Spring be just around the corner? We’ve endured everything just recently, with the storms, wind, rain, mild sleet and snowfall and even some wonderful sunshine. The birds and squirrels have been busy in my garden and have moved all my crocus and cyclamen bulbs, which are now sprouting in the lawn and pathways – everywhere except the flowerbeds! While isolating in October, when my husband got Covid, I potted up lots of tulips and I’m starting to see the fruits of my labours and the promise of colour to come. Tiny buds appearing on tree branches, shrubs starting to fill out, it is such an exciting time, just looking out of the window.
Hopefully the first stirrings of Spring will start to stir some creativity as well. I gave my first talk to a group (Lutterworth Quilters) in over two years and it was wonderful to see so many people all enjoying themselves over textile stuff. It was our first Quilters Guild regional day this last weekend and, again, brilliant to be surrounded by so many like-minded people all starting to feel inspired and excited at the prospect of returning to ‘normal’. Although many workshops will continue to be online, I can’t wait to be back in classrooms and community halls partaking in real ‘in the flesh’ workshops, with the chatter and communal enjoyment such occasions bring.

There are a number of events taking place this Spring:

For a lucky few, myself included, Arena travel have organised a trip to the Sitges Quilt Show in Spain, and a side trip to Barcelona and Girona. I’m looking forward to some lovely Spanish sunshine and plenty of quilts and embroideries, plus workshops from Janet Clare. Arena Travel do some fabulous UK knitting and stitching trips round the UK too, for those that don’t want to travel too far!
For knitters, felters, weavers, etc, there is the Spring Into Wool Festival at The Grammar School, Leeds, on 9th & 10th April, with lots of traders, demonstrations, workshops and galleries.

17th – 20th March sees the NEC, Birmingham, host three big shows in one – ‘Sewing for Pleasure’, the ‘Creative Craft Show’ and ‘Fashion & Embroidery’. The NEC website announces: If you have a passion for sewing, knitting, patchwork or stitching then Sewing for Pleasure is the place for you! Join us for the latest stitching supplies and plenty of ideas to inspire. Find must have fabrics, fabulous yarns, gorgeous patterns and threads – it’s an event not to be missed! 
Tickets to the Sewing for Pleasure show will also allow you access to the sister shows, Fashion & Embroidery and The Creative Craft Show. Visit the show’s website to see all the galleries, workshops, traders and stitching celebrities who will be there.

Closer to home, the East Midlands Contemporary Textiles group (of which I am a member) are having their first exhibition at the Artists Gallery, Friar Lane, Nottingham NG1 6DH, just below Nottingham Castle. Only for one week, so be sure to put it in your diary 22 – 27th March. Plenty of lovely bars and cafes nearby too!


Living Threads Exhibition:  “Gardens”

We are getting very excited for our forthcoming Living Threads Exhibition at Trent College, 30th March to Friday 8th April.  Here’s a piece by Janet Humphreys in anticipation:
Behind the scenes
We have all known it was going to happen at some point but the Exhibition is fast approaching. The hall is booked. Van, display boards, technicians and helpers are ready to go. Publicity is ongoing with flyers handed out at every opportunity and good old Facebook is spreading the word. The stewarding rota has been inked in along with demonstrations so no backing out now.

Plans for other things we hadn’t thought about are coming along nicely. Catering, the most important aspect has been booked so there will be tea and cake to refresh our lovely visitors.
For some, (I’m not saying who) work will be finished off during  midnight hours the night before “handing in day”. Frantic labelling, firmly attached please, with the correct name and title then phew, you can pass your pieces over to the hanging team and relax.

Countdown, just a few days before the big day. Paint the boards, hang the exhibits, it all seems so simple doesn’t it? There is a lot of debate. Does it look ok there? Higher up, lower down, get the hammer, put the nail in and commit. The mannequins are strategically placed. It’s a good job they can’t speak, being moved from one dark corner then into the light.

Stock the shop with treasures and hoover the floor. Step back and take a look. Yes it all looks amazing. At last ………. we can open the doors!
Janet Humphreys

Details of the Exhibition are available online at
To add a bit of colour and inspiration, here’s an online exhibition. Bisa Butler is a textile artist who makes life-size quilted portraits of black Americans, full of colour, verve and attitude. In this profile from CBS Evening News, Bisa is interviewed about just what makes her quilts so special:

Have any of you watched The Marvellous Mrs Maisel on the Prime TV streaming service? It is just starting it’s fourth series and has won endless awards, but for most of us textile lovers, it is not the humour, but the clothes that we watch it for. Set in early 60s New York, it tells the tale of a Jewish housewife and mother who goes into stand-up comedy. The costumes are amazing, so colourful, detailed and well researched. The outfits first series was inspired by Audrey Hepburn, the second by Grace Kelly and the third moved into the Beatnik times. This fourth series features some amazing hats!
There are lots of YouTube videos about the costumes and followers who try to recreate them. Have a look at ‘Making Mrs Maisel’s Red Dress’ – Morgan Donner reconstructs the famous dress, showing how to analyse the form and drape.


If you have a moment, look at the work of Amanda Cobbett, a British contemporary textile artist making exquisite free-machine embroidered sculpture inspired by nature. They are so lifelike it would be hard to tell from the real thing!

If you have any newsletter contributions, book or exhibition reviews, puzzles, recommendations, suggestions for topics, 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 booster keeps us all safe from Omicron too.
Meanwhile enjoy the first glimpses of Spring
Until April
Gilli Theokritoff, Newsletter Editor


February 2022 Newsletter

Welcome to February 2022!  We are approaching the real depths of winter, just before Spring, and we can expect snow, biting winds and storms, just as those first tender shoots of Spring flowers are peeping out of the ground.

However, January proved to be less violent than usual this year. I’m keeping a keen eye on the temperature charts – but more about that later. I hate to see Magnolia trees tricked into blooming early and then see frozen buds drop, unfulfilled. The roads look their worst, with no greenery, black muck by the roadsides and bare earth. It has had me looking at holiday brochures as I see tanned people returning from Cape Verde and Lanzarote, not to mention the Maldives…

I have booked a holiday though! I am going on a quilting trip with Stitchtopia in March, to Sitges, Barcelona and Girona. It is my fourth attempt to get away on a quilting retreat and it looks like it will finally happen! Naturally the timing is all wrong as it falls right in the middle of two textile exhibitions I am exhibiting in. Stitchtopia are the craft wing of Arena Travel and do a range of special interest tours, including embroidery, cross stitch, knitting and crochet, both in the UK, Europe and some long hauls to Uzbekistan, Vietnam, etc. Sightseeing, relaxing and stitching, what could be better?

If you fancy a trip to London, why not visit The Stitch Show (previously the Spring Knitting and Stitching Show) at the Business Design Centre, Islington, London, 3rd – 6th March.  Lots of stalls, galleries and events…   Tony Toon tells me that Roberts Coaches will be running a coach down to the show on Saturday 5th March, with the pickup in Leicester at 8am, returning 7.30pm. Should be a great day out!

SOCK GALLERY  13th January to 26th February 2022
Currently running in Loughborough Town Hall is a textile exhibition at the Sock Gallery. Thanks to Janet Humphries for drawing my attention to it. What a lovely little venue! Apparently there are some lovely coffee shops nearby…

A Group Exhibition by Traverse 
Traverse is a group of five textile artists, based in a studio at The Old Print Works in Birmingham, who came together while studying Experimental Textiles in 2016 and began exhibiting the following year.
The name ‘Traverse’ came from a sense of moving across, looking or stepping sideways, trying to find different perspectives as we approach a theme – we may not all move in the same direction or use the same mode of travel. Within mixed media and textile art, we each have our favourites, including working with paper, metal, hand-dyed fabric, felt, 3D and fashion, using heat, print, paint, and stitch.”

Their work has been inspired by themes including ‘Destinations’ – special places and the beauty of the natural world and ‘Revealed’ – exploring hidden layers in both the physical world and their work itself. Their current exhibition work on ‘Senses’ reflects their individual approaches to the sensory world, including exploring sensory loss, optical illusion and how sensory experiences can evoke memories of place and time.
An important part of our ethos is to celebrate our diversity, share our various strengths and to grow together, working side by side. However, having recently lived through strange times in our world and working apart for over a year, we are celebrating coming together again to present this retrospective, which reflects not only work on our themes but also work produced alone, exploring loss, personal viewpoints and our emotional landscapes – together and apart.”
 #traversetextileart #debdaysewingroom (at The Old Print Works)

Meet the Artist and Demonstration Days  
January 15th and February 19th 11am – 2pm

Join members of Traverse in the gallery to talk to them about their exhibition and see them demonstrating how they work.

Not textiles, but maybe they will inspire you? Hodsock Priory is closed this year for winter viewings, but there are fantastic displays of snowdrops and cyclamens to be explore at Hardwick Hall, in the beautiful grounds. The Hall itself is closed until 12th February, but the grounds are accessible all year round.  

I’m starting a temperature quilt as a record of this coming year. It’s a new trend that seems to have caught textile enthusiasts over the last couple of years. You check out the highs and lows of your area’s temperature over recent years, to give you an idea of the temperature range. There are plenty of websites that do this, but I use, full Nottinghamshire records at: I use this to confirm the current day’s readings as well, to confirm my smartphone’s weather app. Perhaps you may have a barometer or outdoor thermometer and take your own readings? My husband loves this task but it usually descends into a “where did I put my glasses?” scenario!

As a quilter, I am making a quilt – well, two quilts actually. However, you can find knitted blankets, crocheted shawls, mosaics, cross stitches, embroideries and plenty of other variations. Try Pinterest to see what is out there. Being wary of copyright laws I am directing you to look for yourself, rather than publish unattributed photographs.

Depending where you live, and the colour variations you choose, the finished item can be very varied. Australian versions start hot and have the cooler temperature in the middle, whereas we are the opposite. Temperate climates have more subtle variations. Above is a quilt by Jo Avery and you can read her blog about it at the address above. She lives in Scotland and made hers as a distraction from Lockdowns and Covid. She has used the background as the cooler evening temperatures and the warmer applique circles reflect the daytime temperatures.

Mine will be done as a square in a square block, 3”, which should give me a quilt about 50“ x 60”, when I’ve done 365 blocks! I’m using greys and whites as my cooler colours, working to pinks and purples for the hotter ones, which will be the smaller square in the centre. To add further work, I’m making a second version with the hotter colours on the outside and cooler in the centre, so I have a different effect. I spent a whole day choosing my colours and fabrics and then cutting lots of fabric into 1.5” strips and bagging them up into their different temperature degrees. Now it is quite quick and easy to run up a couple of small blocks every day or two. And fun! Look how warm it was on 1st January! Do Google temperature quilts or blankets, but beware, there are lots of heated underblankets falling under that heading!

Natural Dyeing
After talking about Alice Fox in last month’s newsletter I dragged out some rust and other samples I made at a workshop with her. I was reminded of some printing I had done with the East Midlands Contemporary Textiles group, using natural plants and leaves. This led me to thinking about Natural dyeing. I then found Angela Daymond’s small book on Natural Dyeing and it is now on my to-do list. Angela lives in Lincolnshire and has recently moved to a new studio. She offers talks on natural dyeing, woad, kantha, etc and online workshops via Zoom. Her in-person workshops are on hold during the COVID situation.

Living Threads Exhibition:  “Gardens”
We are getting very excited for our forthcoming Living Threads Exhibition at Trent College, 30th March to Friday 8th April. We had a full members’ meeting recently, where all the finer details were discussed and all the entries for one of our collective group pieces were revealed. I can promise you a great show, judging by the gorgeous work we saw. The theme is “Gardens” and Spring should be in full swing by then, so it will be a great taste of the floral delights to come! Our Facebook site will have lots of teaser images in the run-up to the exhibition.

If you have any newsletter contributions, book or exhibition reviews, puzzles, recommendations, suggestions for topics, 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 booster keeps us all safe from Omicron too. Everyone please try to enjoy the tail end of winter (snowdrops, hellebores) and keep creating.
Until March (daffodils, narcissi, tulips!)


Gilli Theokritoff, Newsletter Editor
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