About Me

My photo
I am a dancer and holistic therapist with a passion for textiles,colours and embellishments. I've always dabbled in crafts but my voyage into costuming through my obsession with Tribal belly dance has really made me burst with ideas. This blog is to help me gather all my woolly wanderings into one place and also to record my crafty doings.

Sunday, 28 July 2013


I'm not too good at this blogging lark, a seven month gap is a record even for me. I would like to say it has been a productive seven months and in a way it has. 

As you can see I have done lots of spinning and experimenting with felt.

I have even managed to play with core spinning, a good workout for finger dexterity.

As for progress on my toran project, nada, zip, nothing! I'm obviously going through a wooly phase. 

Friday, 4 January 2013

New Year Musings

Happy New Year

Guess what one of my new year resolutions is? Yep to make a proper start on my Toran project.
I also have other exciting plans  afoot but more of that in another post.

I was really lucky to get some excellent craft books over Christmas so once I've had a good mooch I will share some reviews with you.

I updated the Inspirations page back in December but forgot to post here so have a look at more gorgeous images of Banjara textiles.

Monday, 19 November 2012

Colours to dye for

A bit of colour inspiration

There is something special about the way colours obtained from natural dyes complement each other without clashing. The subtle effects are well worth the extra time it takes to prepare the dye bath.

My favourites are:

Indigo / Woad - Which always gives great results (as long as the correct prep is used). I still find it magical to see the greeny yellow wool turn blue as the dye oxidizes in air.

Madder - Beautiful reds, oranges and pinks.

Gorgeous colours from Peru.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012


I have finally found out what that stitch is...

I was chatting with my friend Sarah and she mentioned Aldi were selling DK Craft books for £1. Not surprisingly I hot-footed it down to my local store and managed to get the last copy of 'Stitch - A guide to embroidery.'  I dithered about buying it as I was really after the sewing or knitting book but then I thought a craft book for £1 I'd be daft not to.

On flicking through I discovered a section on satin stitches and variations including the herringbone stitch and on the next page there it was.....

                                   The flat stitch.

I will post some details on the techniques page once I have mastered it.


Ok I admit it, I've got distracted and have been seduced by other craft projects. I warned you this would happen!

The good news is I have finished my practice piece and am feeling brave enough to make a start on my wall hanging. However I still haven't tracked down that elusive stitch.

The temptress who has stolen me away from stitching is a gorgeous Ashford Traditional spinning wheel called Margo. I first met her in Cornwall when visiting my dancing friend Carol. We hit it off straight away and she ran away to live with me in October. Since we met my head has been full of wool and dyes and the gorgeous yarns we can make together. Unfortunately for my other projects this means we have been spending time getting acquainted, although so far this has been limited to short draw worsted spinning.

The dark nights also mean my crafting is limited by the gloom of my sitting room. Even with t' big light on and a lamp it is too dark for needlework. Instead I have been busy knitting a blanket to keep me snug.

Saturday, 27 October 2012

The chains that bind

Working on my sampler has taken me out of my embroidery comfort zone, I think I've mentioned how I've never used satin stitch before. 

After a childhood of avoiding needlework like the plague; I even got my mum to do my textiles homework for me; it was a surprise that I spent my college years being hooked on cross stitch. Unfortunately I burnt myself out by doing a large 'Forever Friends' design for a flatmate's wedding. I didn't embroider for years after that, the stress of finishing it the night before the wedding was just too much.

I dabbled with a bit of embroidery to decorate my reenactment costumes, but there wasn't much evidence that this was historically accurate so I was limited to the stitches that had been found on textile fragments and I had to keep it very simple. It was the gorgeous Indian textiles used by Tribal dancers which really got me hooked and my stitch of choice is the chain stitch. 

I love this versatile stitch and the beautiful effects it creates as shown by the picture below.

Of course other stitches are used in this example but it is the sinuous linking chain that holds it all together.

When I decided to decorate a waistcoat for my Four Hundred Roses costume I knew I wanted to use the logo designed by the talented Bev Spracklen. Other troupe members had appliqued motifs onto their costumes but I wanted to embroider mine. The stitch I chose was chain and I'm really pleased with the result.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Re-use and recycle

I've added some pictures to the Inspirations page of a dress I bought at the Jewel of Yorkshire Festival. It is a great example of how textiles can be recycled.

Some elements of the dress are modern while others have probably been used many times.

 It reminds me of how clothes in the past were made to simple shapes with detachable decorative elements which were treasured. Now clothes are so disposable and you pay more for a designer label than for the actual workmanship involved in production.