Saturday, 14 April 2018

Day School with Louise Collins

Following Louise's inspirational talk a few weeks ago, members enjoyed a day school with her.  With a wealth of redundant material the ladies were able to make their own fabric by cutting, sewing, embellishing, and lots of imagination. Everyone was free to choose what they wanted to make, and the items below show the range of ideas that were sparked.

Works in progress:

And some completed projects:

Wednesday, 4 April 2018

The Arbroath Tapestry - talk by Linda Walker

'It is in truth not for glory, nor riches, nor honours, that we are fighting, but for freedom, for that alone which no honest man gives up but with life itself'.

2020 mark the 700 year anniversary of the Declaration of Arbroath, of which the stirring words above are a part. Celebrations and re-enactments are planned to mark the event, and after the success of the Great Tapestry of Scotland, some of the ladies who helped make this came up with a plan in 2014 to make a tapestry to commemorate the signing of the Declaration of Arbroath.

What is the Declaration of Arbroath? It is a manuscript associated with the Abbey of Arbroath, which cried for freedom from the English oppression of Edward I, and the right of Scotland to govern itself independently. This document was sealed with seals of the barons and various dignitaries, and was sent to the Pope, John 22nd, in Avignon for his approval. It was probably penned by the Abbot Bernard.

The idea of the tapestry grew, and attracted various able people who were placed to offer practical help. Andrew Crummy, who designed the Great Tapestry of Scotland, created the first draft, and following amendments by people steeped in the history of Arbroath, a design of a Triptych was eventually finalised. Christine Riley, a graduate of the Royal School of Needlework and with an interest in medieval needlework, was able to help the ladies with tuition and threads.  A carpenter and woodcarver are going to make a frame for the work, which it is hoped will hang in the Abbey, but because it is portable will be able to shown in other venues.

The ladies practised their sewing skills on panels, four of which are below, using wool and gold threads. They depict the Oslin Apple, which the original monks brought with them from their mother house in France.  The apples will form part of the Triptych, with the large panel in the centre, and the folding panels on the outside.

There is a lot of hard work to be done in a short space of time, so noses are at the grindstone to complete this intricate, demanding piece of stitching. If the apple panels are anything to go by it will be a work to be wondered at.

The King and the Abbot with the Declaration of Arbroath

Facsimile of the Declaration, with the seals of the barons
The final design of the centre panel

Around the edge are the seals of the barons The top points to Heaven.

The Abbot in front of the Abbey, holding the Declaration

The strata of society from the top down, the abbot, the nobles and monks, to the peasants at the bottom

The 'Practice' panels with the Oslin apples

For those interested in history below is a more comprehensive note about the Declaration, and a translation of the document.

Wednesday, 21 March 2018

'An Embarrassment of Riches' - talk by Louise Collins

A dull afternoon was certainly enriched by Louise Collins's display of textiles. Louise had been a dentist by profession, until fulfilling her heart's desire to study art, gaining a BA in Design and Creativity in 2014. The scope of the projects she had brought along was huge and varied. Keen to recycle, the things she had made from items that would be thrown away was amazing. Old blankets were dyed and distressed and made into jackets, gorgeous bags and clothes. The original pieces of cloth were usually completely unrecognisable in the end result. She made dye from walnut crystals, as seen in the first photo, which looked like an animal print. Old garments had been given a new lease of life, as in the old boxer shorts cut up and dyed and made into a scarf, and the beautiful baby quilt in pastel colours. Old cashmere sweaters from charity shops had been shrunk and made into beautifully soft items. Old curtains were made into a luxurious evening bag. Louise's use of the embellisher machine transformed the items into something special. I loved the knitted wall hanging done from extra thick wool on knitting needles made from cricket stumps! Her sketchbooks were works of art in themselves, a pleasure to thumb through.

The scope of this lady's imagination and skill is breathtaking, there isn't enough room to show all the photos of the diverse things she had made. Louise has a gallery in Kinnaird, by Pitlochry, called Mariposa, which would be well worth a visit. She can be contacted at

Louise will be holding a day school in April, and this talk has really enthused the ladies who will be attending - what possibilities!
Blanket dyed with walnut crystals

Scarf made from boxer shorts

quilt from recycled fabrics

Knitting on cricket stumps!

Jute wall hanging

recycled fabrics

Evening bag from old curtains and items from shrunk cashmere jumpers

digital print

close up of the jute wall hanging

Saturday, 17 March 2018

'Photo Magic' with Jean Boath, Day School

A day school held on March 15th, where the ladies could stitch onto photos printed on fabric.  Jean had brought along a large selection of photos she had printed on to fabric for each person to choose. Using a Trapunto style, the fabric was laid onto a piece of cotton wadding, and the focal points were outlined in machine stitch. Then the back was cut open and more wadding added to raise the surface. Then the ladies could free machine to their heart's content to embellish and decorate their picture. The results looks look amazing!

Tuesday, 6 March 2018

Talk on Wednesday 7th March Postponed

Unfortunately we have had to postpone Louise Collins' talk, 'An embarrassment of Riches', which was schedule for 7th March. Due to the awful snowy weather the car park at Guthrie Hall is a complete morass, and vehicle will only churn up the earth or even worse, get stuck in the mud.

The talk has been rescheduled for  Wednesday 21st March, and will replace the Stitch and Chat.

Hope everyone has got through the awful weather safely - a good excuse to sit by the fire and stitch!

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

'Roses and Posies' - Day School with Maggie Moffat

The days of big hats are sadly gone - I long to wear big Edwardian confections of feathers, frills and furbelows, but they wouldn't really go with jeans and fleeces! Members had a chance to create their own fantasy hats on this day school. Maggie had brought everything required, including a basic crown to get started, and from this crown members fashioned their own straw hats before adapting them to their taste. From a huge selection of silks, ribbons, feathers and lace, a millinery confection was whipped up, each as individual as our members are. A fun day was had by all. Ascot, anyone?