Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Exhibition by RusTay Art Textile Group

Our member Lynda Marshall will be taking part in an exhibition by the RusTay Art Textiles Group, entitled 'Bridging the Gap'. The exhibition will be at Dundee Botanic Gardens from 17th-31st August, and will be well worth a visit

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Programme and Day School Schedule for 2017/2018

When it rains, stitch!! it always seems such a long break til we meet again in September.

The new programme for 2017 and 2018, plus the Schedule for the Day Schools is now available to view, just click on the header bar above.

Friday, 21 April 2017

Fabric Books with Maureen Shepard

We were very grateful to one of our members, Maureen Shepherd, for stepping in at quite short notice to lead this Dayschool on Fabric Books. Maureen is an experienced tutor, a member of the Embroidery group, EDGE and is the present chairman of the  Dundee &  East of Scotland branch of the Embroiderers' Guild, so she is a very busy lady! 

The first part of the morning was taken up with preparing a pattern for our book. This involved a lot of precise measuring, line drawing and cutting - quite a challenge for most of us! Maureen had prepared and cut the fabric we needed for the main part of the book so all we needed to do was follow the instructions on the pattern  and fold our fabric correctly. This was not as easy as it sounds!  However, with Maureen's expert guidance we all managed. The rest of the day was much more relaxed as we decorated our 'books' from  the great selection of fabric, buttons, ribbons, inks and stamps which Maureen had supplied.She had suggested a 'Circles' theme  so with a bit of colour and some stitching  we were well on our way!

Here are some of the book pages before assembly:

One of Maureen's fabric books

Monday, 20 March 2017

Stories from the Sewing Box Day School with Ali Ferguson

This day school took place on 16th March, thanks to Meg Woomble for telling  us about it.
Preparing for  Ali Ferguson's Scrappy Sampler Dayschool provided me with hours of nostalgia! Looking through Granny's button box and finding buttons from my old dresses, her workbox with bits of lace, a 'mending kit for stockings' and other such memories, set the scene for a most enjoyable day. Ali herself, provided lots of wonderful materials - vintage fabrics, paper patterns, brown parcel paper , tape- and even the use of an old typewriter! Time spent  hand stitching  the pieces onto our blanket  gave us  a relaxing afternoon, culminating in a display of beautiful blankets with memories and nostalgia in abundance!

Tea in the Garden Day School with Moira Dickson

On 16th February Moira Dickson took this day school. Description to follow.....

Monday, 13 March 2017

Something Completely Different - Painting on Feathers

This year our committee have given us some talks and demonstrations that stray from the usual variations on stitching. Some of the skills we have seen have certainly stretched our boundaries, and this talk was no exception. Rosemary Storm has been painting on feathers for many years, and brought along a comprehensive display of her work. She explained how she got into it, how she collects her feathers and the great variety of bird feathers she uses. She prepares the feathers by spraying them with anti-mite spray, that is all the preparation required, and the finished works do not need any varnish to protect them. Rosemary works in acrylic paint, and after painting a white silhouette of her subject onto the feather, she then builds up the painting in layers. She paints birds, other animals, and commissions, one of which was a pheasant feather painted on a feather!All the paintings are of course miniatures, a skill in itself.

She then invited one of the audience to paint alongside her, which offer I took up, and we painted blue tit together. While this was going on her husband Jim gave an interesting talk about the properties of bird feathers and he had had many display boards of beautiful feathers from around the world.It was a very interesting talk, an example of the kind of art you don't see very often, and was much enjoyed by everyone.

Rosemary can be contacted at
the raw materials

the blue tit I painted along with Rosemary

Thursday, 9 February 2017

'Nepalese Textiles', a talk by Karen Haggis

A miserable cold February afternoon was forgotten as we were transported to lush, beautiful Nepal in Karen Haggis's talk and slide show about the textiles of that mountainous country. We had a whistlestop tour of the hugely varied landscape, from plains to the high Himalayas, with descriptions of the varied life the people lead there. Apparently there are 100 languages!  Karen went there many years ago with her husband's job, and fell in love with the country, and has visited many times since. Tenacious she must be, because the methods of travel sound rather adventurous, with long train journeys, rickety buses up mountainous roads, followed by long walks to the remote places in the hills. Not to mention the squat toilets!

Then we were shown how the women of the villages make textile out of the Himalayan nettle, a six foot giant complete with stings. The plants grows wild, and is harvested by hand. The pith of the stem is discarded, then the stem and bark are 'retted' by soaking it in pots of wood ash and water, then it is beaten with wood to separate the fibres from the bark, which washes away down the river. The fibres, up to a metre and a half long, are subject to various natural processes until ready to be spun into thread. The women use traditional whorl hand spindles, and the speed at which they spin is astonishing. The natural fibres resembles jute, but is softer and can be spun very finely, and can be mixed with other fibres such as cotton, wool and silk. It can be dyed or left in its natural state. It is then woven into lengths of cloth, or knitted into lacy scarves, a recent innovation. Everything is eco friendly, with no chemicals or processes polluting the environment.

Karen had brought along a good selection of textiles and raw materials, the fine detail of many of the pieces was amazing considering that the people had no electric light to work by, and much of the work is done at night after the days chores in the fields are finished. It really was an inspiring and interesting talk and an insight into another way of life. Karen also arranges textile trip to Nepal, and those intrepid enough to be interested can contact her on

Spinning the raw fibres on whorl spindles
Spun undyed nettle thread

The thread being woven on backstrap looms
A gorgeous woven blanket, with traditional natural dyes
Counted thread embroidered cloths

Handmade bone buttons
Another woven cloth

Knitted lacy scarf,

Sunday, 22 January 2017

Day school “Adventures with recycled tin and textiles” with Philippa Johnston

Members kicked the New Year off with an unusual day school when they added hammers and pliers to their usual sewing materials. Following Phillippa's talk about using recycled tin, the ladies were shown how to turn a sweet/biscuit tin into pieces suitable to use, they were all asked to use templates given to them to make a 'blue bird' and were asked to 'stitch'into it.

In the afternoon they were able to use our own images, ideas to create either a heart or a bird.

Amazing results from the same materials.