Sunday 24 January 2016

Slow Stitching for fun, never a chore....

Hello my lovelies
how are we all?

Hoping your week has been fun and entertaining in many ways....

I've been inspired to write this post after a few comments on my Facebook page this week that have made me smile..
(you can find me HERE )

As many of you know I run a weekly Friday Showcase where I invite fans of my page to upload their own pics of projects they have been working on during the week.

I LOVE seeing the variety of crafts, the various designs and overall support for one another.
Creativity is so good for the soul and it really doesn't matter if you are a beginner just stumbling your way through the minefield of instructions and online tutorials or you are an avid sewer, embroiderer or embellisher etc with years of experience to your name.

I'm constantly saying this (and I do apologize if you are bored of hearing me say it again!)
but for me being creative is simply being in the moment...
It really isn't about competing with others.
It's simply about enjoying the process, fuelling your inner soul and slowing down that hamster wheel of life that we all run on every day of our lives.

Slow stitching ticks all those boxes for me as there are no rights and wrongs even though many would say different.

As much as I LOVE sewing with my machine I love nothing more than feeling the fabric between my fingers, seeing all my threads nestling in their boxes waiting to be picked for a project
and slowly watching a design come together as I choose a stitch to get started...

My show on Create & Craft TV this week was been full of slow stitching...
all of which you seemed to have enjoyed which is lovely for me!

and after reading a few comments from those of you who have decided to give it a go, I thought I would give you some little tips that may help convince you all that even the tiniest of stitching can add a little something special to a project...

First, I'll let you into a little secret....
Is anyone listening?

OK, now keep this just between you and I as I don't want the whole world to know... 
(I have a reputation of being a professional to keep you know ;))

So, first things first...
I don't actually enjoy using a hoop for embroidery.
You see I've been blessed with Fen hands ready for working the land...digging up spuds and the like.
Certainly NOT for dainty stitching, Jane Austen style!
I have chunky fingers that get very clumsy when wrestling with a wooden hoop
even though I really do try to make them look elegant on TV!

So... all though I teach everyone the correct way as shown in books, tutorials and classes in reality,
at home  I do my usual thing and go off on a tangent...
(I'm a quiet rebel at heart and always do my own thing if I'm honest!. 
You don't have to shout from the roof tops you know to make something happen if you want to! ;))

I can stitch for hours on end if I can feel the fabric between my fingers.
It grounds me and makes time slow down
I love to feel the ripples of weft and warp tumble through my hands as I often daydream whilst stitching... and oh boy do I daydream!

My background in working with children and young adults who have many disabilities including very severe sensory impairment has taught me over the years to simply touch and feel everything before even starting...
At times I have had to work around a situation of teaching someone a new skill with little or no communication or response other than a simple blink of an eyelash which makes you adapt to any situation....
you have to think laterally not literally....
So... what does that mean in reality?
It means if you are having trouble using an embroidery hoop such as I do...
It's simple don't use it!

If you are having trouble threading with a said needle because you can't see the thread easily...
don't use it! 
Choose a larger eye even if that means it's meant for a different thread.

I'm going to be shot down in flames for this only you can decide what is right for you.
Don't be taken back to your school days of rules and regulations.

I really didn't like school as there were too many rules.
Too many for me to always be getting wrong with all things academic!
My outlet was through my creative side of life and I learnt to make things work my way...
not necessarily the correct way but it has worked for me over the years.

I guess what I'm trying to say in a very LONG round about way (and I do apologize if you are slightly dozing off right now...)
is simply be yourself and find your own creative path...

We are all different which I think is a very good thing because the world would be a very boring place if we were all the same.

If you are having difficulty with any new stitch, design or even just holding a needle, here's a few pointers that may help you along the way...

* Invest in a good child's book for easy instruction and bigger easy-to-follow diagrams and DON'T be afraid to use it.

*Start with a very simple design - you will get no where if you think you are going to create a masterpiece the first time you pick up a piece of thread or needle etc!

*Allow yourself time to time to play and permission to go wrong. Be prepared to make those mistakes and not worry about it.

*Don't try and copy your friend's work or's not your idea and it will never look like hers/ his

*Lastly be still, be in the moment and indulge in some calm... Tilly Rose slow stitching time

I'd love to know your thoughts so do drop a comment below as I always enjoy reading them :)

Happy stitching my lovelies!

x x x

Thursday 21 January 2016

Women & Thread Through An Ancient Tapestry

Hello my lovelies!

I feel it's been ages since I chatted to you even though I know it's only been a week...

Yesterday I had such a fab day out...
I trundled my way back to my home town deep in the middle of the Cambridgeshire Fens for a day filled of history.

I had my bag packed with all my supplies, my trusty camera at the ready and 
tons of smiles in readiness for all the delights that awaited!
I was a woman on a mission.... 

The reason????

I am busy researching for a few textile pieces based on my roots 
that I am going to be exhibiting later in the year.

I was born in the Fens (many moons ago I might add!) and have always known I'm a true Fen girl at heart despite now living on the outskirts of a city.
My soul is always soothed when I stroll home through the patchwork of  Fenland fields.
the wrap me with a warm soothing blanket that calms my soul whenever I need a re-assuring hug.
They are in my blood and what makes me who I am today.

This year I have decided to concentrate much more on my textile art and so like everyone
starting a new venture I am filled such enthusiasm
I want to bring some of my passion for The Fens into my textile designs.

I have decided to base my designs on Women & Cloth and their connection with threads throughout time.

I want to capture those beautiful tales of everyday living...nothing special
and yet so very special.
The little snippets your Grandma used to tell you but you never really listened to..
The sort of tale Great Aunt Maud would wander off into whenever she visited for Sunday tea...

like I say, nothing special and yet SO special

The Fens are renowned for it's myths, mysteries and tales of marsh men as well as 
the ghosts of the past wandering across the flat lands.

After a beautiful day of wonderful stories, photos and memories I was reminded of the mystery of the Fens as the sweeping mists began to cover the farrowed fields

Mother Nature can be so beautiful in the harshest of times

I will share some pics with you soon....

Tilly x

Sunday 10 January 2016

A Lifetime's Worth of Maternal Love...

Hello my lovelies...
Despite it being the thick of winter and I should be looking out on snow, 
I am surrounded by a beautiful sunny day.
Not that I'm complaining you understand, but it certainly plays tricks with your mind!

It is still a little chilly so at least something is quite normal I guess.
On days like today I do love snuggling up on the sofa with a cuppa or two and reading.
How about you?

Sunday reading...

I am busy doing a little research at the moment for some future exhibits later this year.
Whilst delving into to the depths of the big void of online material I came across an article
that I wanted to share with you all...

As I have already mentioned in a previous post, I have always been fascinated with our connection with fabric throughout time and stitching.

We all relate to cloth in various ways that often hold treasured memories...
Women's voices were often never heard or taken seriously and yet throughout history
I believe women have always been the strong silent thread running through every story... especially when it comes to stitching and threads.

This story totally touched my heart ...

The image above is of an everyday sack made from feedsack cloth. 
Something used all the time to house provisions at one time.
 Rose, held in slavery by a slave owner had a daughter, Ashley, aged 9.

Her daughter was being sold by the slave owner in South Carolina, USA and Rose wanted to let her know how much she was loved.
No-one knows how long she had to get things ready before she was sold but her simple actions turned this every day piece of cloth into an heirloom.
Rose wanted to let her daughter know her sack was her most prized possession even though
it was filled with very little and yet SO much...
an extra dress, three handfuls of pecan nuts, and some braids for her hair
a lifetime's worth of maternal love.
Something no slave owner could ever take away from her...

Many years later in 1921, Ashley's granddaughter Rose was so touched by the power of her story. She embroidered the words on the sack for future generations to treasure.

You can read more details about the story HERE

The fact that a simple sack probably used for storing flour has managed to survive with such a powerful story is amazing don't you think?

We often save the expensive gifts or items of worth as heirlooms for our future generations but for me, a simple piece of cloth often with very little value will always win the day.
Cloth will always cradle our memories and save them for a day when we want to share them with others.

So many of us work with cloth every day of our lives, making items for our families but how often do you consider your cloth as a living and breathing piece of fabric?
Something that holds your secrets, your thoughts, your daydreams...

x x x

Tuesday 5 January 2016

Stitching Stories in Fabric....

Hello my lovelies!
Hope you enjoyed my show today on Create & Craft TV.
I am so lucky to be able to share my passion for embroidery with you all!

As a textile artist I am absolutely fascinated by the world of stitching on fabric throughout history...
from the elegant costumes of the privileged...

to the simple everyday patchwork often found in our homes...

Now you all know me a little more, I think many of you will probably be able to work out which kind of textiles brings me delight....

I love the fact that all pieces of vintage fabrics hold a story to them outlining our social history and heritage. They hold a key to our ancestry through the type of threads they used, the weave of a certain fabric or even a particular stitch used...

I so wish fabrics could speak to us with the answers to the many questions I always want to ask...

Who stitched this?
Why did they choose this piece of fabric?
What was it's purpose?

Were they happy with their life or was it filled with drudgery and sewing took them away from it all?
Did they ever share their skills with their friends?
Did they sit and put the world to rights whils stitching like so many of us do today?

When were they stitching...last thing at night by the gas light or during the day in a factory?

I love reading around the history of our stitching; a love affair that started when I had to research the type of stitching used for Victorian Christening gowns for my Needlework 'A' level (many moons ago now!)
An everyday visit to the Victoria & Albert Museum introduced me to heirloom sewing and a whole new world of embroidery...
Oh boy! Was I smitten!!!!
I have to say it really wasn't the done thing to be embroidering at the age of 17 when all my friends would be off partying to Duran Duran!
I perservered none the less and I am very thankful for that because I still have that love affair today.

For me though, sewing is SO much more than just technique and accuracy.
it's the little extra that is added in each stitch...

We stitch a little piece of our heart in every new project and create our own social stories for our own future generations..
How many times are you taken back to a certain time when you see an snippet of fabric or pattern especially if it has some embroidery on it?

History is often recorded on fabric in more ways than you think is possible and over the next few posts I want to share some of my finds with you all...
Often embroidery was the only thing to hand to record snippets of gossip, detail historical events or even capture someone's thoughts as they worked.


In the meantime I will leave you some snippets of my own textile work capturing some of my happy memories...

All of the pieces use a variety of vintage lines, antique lace and old threads and fabrics..

Off to grab a cuppa now...
Toodle-ooh for now my lovelies!
Be back soon 
 x x x

Sunday 3 January 2016

Living Life the Vintage Way...

Hello my lovelies...
Thank you for the lovely response to my last post!
It's great to hear that many of you are so interested in seeing my new kits soon.
Do please keep your fab comments coming also..
It's always good to hear some feedback!

I've had some lovely emails of late asking a little about myself and how I got started in crafts etc
So I thought I would let you know some of my secrets as they say...

I was born and do still live in the beautiful Cambridgeshire Fens making me an official 'tough 'ol Fen bird'  
For me the Fens are always a joy to see...full of wild winds, swirling mists, steeped in history and full of enchantment.
the light across the Fens is second to none and can be quite eerie for someone who has never seen them before.
These lands hold the key to my ancestry and there isn't a day goes by without me having to step outside and look at the endless skies holding magical stories of their own....
The land lies in my blood and whenever I need some stillness to my life enriching my soul with the Fen earth is the first thing I like to do....I LOVE my garden.

Mother Nature fills my soul with delight with all her treasures...
I use her snippets of beauty for a lot of my inspiration
I love to watch the little details such as the tiny petals of a flower or maybe the snail trail left on my path that morning. Even rainy cobwebs always bring a smile or two!
I feel it is important to notice these tiny details of our lives that we take for granted.
Simply 'be' in the moment...

As so many of you may already know, I am also a lover of all things vintage..
from the beautiful sparkly brooches twinkling in the sunlight once worn to the many tea dances down to the simple wooden reels of old threads holding the stories from so many sewers before me.

Any piece of fabric with a social history and story to tell delights me beyond happiness.
From a simple hand stitched apron, a vintage cotton blouse, a felted flower corsage, an old piece of patchwork to a cross stitch sampler stitched with love....
They all hold a key to a golden tale of times past.... 
I could go on for hours but I think that will be for another post!

I have been crafting from a very young age. I started by dabbling in paper crafts with glue and coloring pencils and then ventured into making dolls clothes with snippets of old flannels until in my teens, having learnt how to use a hand sewing machine, I started designing and making my own clothes.

There isn't a day that goes past when I am not creative in some way or another
It isn't a hobby but a way of life for me.
If a day or two goes by and I haven't done something creative my fingers start to itch..
It doesn't have to be sewing as I love so many other things such as crochet, knitting or hand embroidery.
I also spend hours and hours reading around the history of many crafts and getting to know their history and how they evolved into what we know today.

So now you all know a little more about me I thought I would add another layer..
I don't want you to think I'm always a serious bod because I'm afraid I will disappoint you there...

Having worked with children in an Early years setting for over thirty years I'm afraid I'm just a big child really, hiding in my adult clothes!


My favourite film of all time is 'You've Got Mail'
(especially the bit when Tom Hanks is on the roundabout!)

My favourite flower is an old fashioned rose

I HATE anything pickled!
(it makes my nose wrinkle immensely!)

I can't abide beetroot 
(which seems to be the in word in any recipe these days!)

I LOVE hearing a baby giggle
(it always makes me smile)

I am totally in love with the beach

I am blessed with the most enormous mop of frizzy hair that I have no control over whatsoever!

I absolutely ADORE cold Christmas pudding with cold custard for breakfast
(Not the done thing darling!)

I talk to myself ALL the time
(something you really don't want to see!)

So now you know a little more about my nutty world that I live in on a daily basis...

I will simply say goodbye until my next blog post..
I hope you enjoyed today's ramblings!
Toodle-ooh for now my lovelies!

x x x

Friday 1 January 2016

A New Beginning....

Hello my lovelies!


I just love this time of year when we say goodbye to what's past but look forward to the new adventures in the new year ahead...

It's time to put away all those twinkly lights and festive favourites until another year, get out the duster again and if you're anything like me start writing loads of 'To Do' lists in anticipation!

I'm often amazed at the challenges people set themselves at this time of year, many unrealistic goals...
For me, life is always a simple philosophy of getting through each day the best I can in the happiest frame of mind that life allows...

2016 holds lots of exciting times ahead for me as well as a lot of good old fashioned hard work which doesn't bother me in the least being a tough old Fen bird...
Having become an official old woman back in Sept, I have decided life is slowly passing me by so flippin quick these days (something my Mum used to say and I'd have no idea what she meant) that I have decided to finally concentrate on what matters to me.

I want to design and create more of my textile art and exhibit...
I am so excited I can't tell you!

Another dream is finally turning into reality as I am also going to be offering my own inspirational kits bursting full of gorgeous snippets to entice you to 'have a go'... whatever your ability or age.
I have hand picked all the beautiful individual pieces especially for you, making each kit
something special and all totally one-offs!
Needless to say there are not hundreds of each item and each batch of kits will be limited pieces, so once they have gone they will never be repeated again.
They will contain many vintage treasures sourced from Antique Fairs, Auctions, or even the Flea markets of Paris...
So all I can say folks is watch this space!

In the meantime, I will leave you all recovering from last nigh'ts celebrations and simply wish you well...

Here's to a year filled with happy smiles and treasured memories

Much love 
x x x