My Journey with a Sketchbook, Camera and Needle with Polly Woolstone

On Monday 16 July 2018, we were pleased to welcome Polly Woolstone, who gave us a talk on her travels with Sketchbook, Camera and Needle.

Following Art College where she studied Illustration and Graphics, Polly became an Art teacher for 35 years and only started travelling after her retirement.

Her first journey was to Ireland, riding a bike and raising money for charity. This was closely followed by bike rides from Bangkok to Saigon, India, Burma and then Bengal to the Arabian Sea.

All these places have influenced Polly’s work and she brought many samples for us to see and touch.

Her sketchbooks in particular were a delight and many of us will be looking at our own work with more inspiration.

Thank you Polly for a wonderful talk and good luck on your next bike trip, wherever it takes you.

July Meeting

At our last meeting before the summer break Polly Woolstone will be talking about her “Journey with a sketchbook, Camera and Needle”. A good way to find inspiration for your textiles.

Janice will be asking for the final payment for the Knitting & Stitching Show on Sunday 14th Oct. The trip will be open to non-members at the end of July so you need to book to make sure of your place.

Don't forget to let Sarah have photographs and words for your exhibition entries and most important the Insurance Form. These have to be sent to HQ beforehand. How about bringing something to share with everyone - anything finished or you are working on.

Soldering Iron Workshop with Margaret Beal

On Saturday 23 June 2018 we met up at Goodworth Clatford Village Club for a very enjoyable day with Margaret Beal, who taught us how to incorporate using a soldering iron into our textile work.

Margaret showed us the techniques she uses and we all produced 3 to 4 samples, using brilliantly coloured organzas.

After a very quick lunch, because no-one want to stop, as we were having too much fun, Margaret showed us how to produce landscape pictures using the same techniques.

Many thanks Margaret for such an interesting workshop and a super day. We all learned so much.

The Magic of Eco Printing with Caroline Bell

On Monday 18 June 2018, Caroline Bell came to talk to us about Eco printing, a topic that was unfamiliar to most of us. She explained that she had been a social worker, but after bringing up her family decided to turn her attention to more creative pursuits. This led to enrolling on a City & Guilds embroidery course where she discovered a passion for natural dyeing and hand stitching.

Later on Caroline completed a foundation degree in Stitched Textiles at Eastleigh College and was selected in 2013 by the Embroiderers Guild to be exhibited at the Graduate Showcase at the Knitting and Stitching shows in London and Harrogate.

During her time at Eastleigh College she studied natural dyes and came across eco printing, a process where plant imagery and patterns are transferred onto fabric and paper. She explained that the process is relatively simple, in that plant material is wrapped in fabric or paper and either boiled or steamed to transfer an image.

Afterwards the prints are fixed with a mordant. Caroline went to explain what this meant and how it worked.

 Caroline explained that with this type of printing every piece of fabric or paper is unique and it is impossible to recreate the same design twice. However, with practice (and no doubt perseverance!) similar designs can be obtained.

Caroline combines natural dyes with eco printing and then adds stitching to her designs, producing some very beautiful embroideries.

Caroline also introduced us to India Flint, Irit Dulman, Kathy Hays and Fabienne Dorsman-Rey, all of whom have inspired her.

Thank you very much Caroline, for a fascinating talk and for bringing so many of your subtley dyed fabrics in such wonderful tones to show us. We are looking forward to the workshop you will be running for us later in the year.

June Meeting

A bit late this month! However this evening we are welcoming Caroline Bell showing us Eco Printing. Unfortunately she is unable to run the workshop on Saturday but is re- scheduled for September 22nd. Many thanks to Margaret Beal for stepping in to run her Burning Issues workshop instead. Sign in at the meeting.
Don't forget your items for the Hearts project and Show and Tell.
Also you can book for the visit to the Knitting & Stitching Show.

Tibetan Rugs, Designs and Natural Dyes with Alain Rouveure

On Monday 21 May 2018, Alain Rouveure, accompanied by Krishna and Raju Lama, came to talk to us about the work he does in Nepal, helping Tibetan refugees.

Alain first visited Nepal in 1979, when he took a year out to travel in south east Asia. He took time to meet the people and became emotionally and culturally involved with them. He met up with very skilled craftsmen in rug and carpet making and encouraged them to develop their skills using traditional methods. Instead of catering for the tourist market, he helped to set up workshops where good quality, natural products could be produced.

This has involved using natural dyes gathered from plant material in the local countryside and hand spinning good quality yarn. This process, of course, makes every product unique. His workshop also provides a kindergarten for the children of workers so that families can stay together and he does not allow any child labour. Alain returned to the UK to set up a gallery in the Cotswolds, to sell the rugs and carpets as well as other artisan products.

He brought examples of the work that the craftspeople produce, including brightly coloured scarves and hats.

Over the years Alain has worked tirelessly to improve the lives of Tibetan refugees, by encouraging basic social work in rural communities and sponsoring children through education. He has also set up the Alain Rouveure Nepal Fund to provide health and education to vulnerable children. He travels to Nepal twice a year to oversee his projects.

Many thanks Alain, for a fascinating talk and a insight into your inspirational connection with Tibetan refugees, whose lives have been improved through your passion and support.


As usual, before Alain's talk, we had notices and members were then invited to 'show and tell'. As you can see from the picture below, we have produced a wide variety of embroidery and everyone's work was greatly admired.