This piece is about 50cm square. A quote from Anya, to Xander, rendered in pretty autumnal colours and delicate Victoriana styling. Because of course it is. Please get in touch if you’d like to commission a stitching – I can do free embroidery, cross stitch samplers, quotes or pictures or anything you like really.

Lizzie06

It’s laid against the back of my sofa (one day I’ll have a studio, filled with indirect sunlight and inspirational artworks, and I’ll put pictures of it on Instagram looking all tidy, and make everyone bitter), so it looks wonky, but it does actually have straight sides!

Lizzie01

This is stitched on fairly thin cotton, because it was the only thing I could find in the right colour.  Next time, I’ll take more time and invest in good calico, as the heavier embroidery has caused slight puckering in places. I want my work to be perfect!

Lizzie04

 

I think it’s time I reminded people that I do parties! That’s right, why have a boring party, when you and your friends can learn to make sock monsters instead? I can do children’s parties (generally over 9’s only, but I can be flexible, so get in touch) and grown up parties.  They’re much the same, but I’ve found the grown up parties tend to involve more wine :)  Also hen parties, stag parties (you know you want to), and whatever-other-parties. Parties!  I will bring all the materials, including worksheets, and remain on hand to teach and talk you through every stage of making your very own sock monster. It’s amazing fun, and your guests will love you for it.

Creativity with socks - the best party fun ever

Creativity with socks – the best party fun ever

I also run workshops, for schools, community groups, festivals, anything you like really.  I can teach monster-making, or other sewing skills, or a creative tie-in with something you’re already doing (an example of this was a ‘Make Do and Mend’ workshop I ran with a class of Y4s, to complement their studies of life on the ‘home front’ during WWII). Please see my Workshops page for further details, and/or get in touch via the contact page.

Sock-monster-making workshop at 'Festival at the Edge' storytelling festival

Sock-monster-making workshop at ‘Festival at the Edge’ storytelling festival

image

Tree done entirely in stem stitch. What do you reckon?

Irises in stem and seed stitch

Irises in stem and seed stitch

I was recently commissioned to make an embroidered wall hanging – the mission, once I chose to accept it, was “a smallish wall-hanging embroidered with suffragette theme/colours/design and the words “We Were There” (a song by Sandra Kerr, for whom this embroidery was to be a gift)”. So, after further thought, and discussion with the commissioner (customer?), it ended up like this:

Ready for hanging

Ready for hanging

It is approximately 35cm high, and I’m putting it here in the hope that somebody will see and and say “Hey, *I* would like a customised embroidery too!” – and if that is so, please do get in touch!  I will always send sketches first, and won’t start any work until you’re are 100% happy with the design.

And because it’s a great one, here’s the song that inspired it:

Hey everybody, I’m having a sale

I’ve been attempting to tidy up, and come to the conclusion that it’s time to just have a big old clear out. So, head on over to my Etsy shop, and you’ll find lots of wonderful, handmade goodness at knock-down, everything-must-go prices. How can you resist Dr Dashing? DrDashing

How can you get through Christmas without this calming, wizardly advice? Dumbledore stitching

YOU CAN’T. Buy handmade this Christmas – for someone else, or just for you :)

You like art? You like dogs? You like free music events? Yes, to any of these? Well get thisself down to The Riverside, Sheffield, this Saturday afternoon (5th October), for the launch of “Don’t Judge a Dog by its Collar”.  This amazing dog-themed art exhibition features works from artists across the country, who have donated their art to be displayed and then auctioned in aid of Rain Rescue, a local charity that rescues, rehabilitates, and rehomes unwanted dogs – often pulled from the city pound just before their time runs out and they have to be destroyed.

Exhibition Poster

[Click on the image to see a larger version]

I submitted a stitching for this brilliant cause, inspired by my lovely Luna (who doesn’t have two brain cells to rub together, is the most accident prone hound I have ever met, and is a nightmare around cats. But I love her dearly.).

I am not a number

I am not a number

You will be able to view the artworks in person (at The Riverside), online (I’ll post the link here once it’s up) and/or in a shiny printed catalogue.  The exhibition will run for two weeks. There are some incredible, beautiful, funny, covetable pieces of art, so make sure you get a look, and maybe even buy one. All proceeds go to Rain Rescue, and as a small, local charity, they value every penny.

Are you crafty? Would you like to try turning your hand to some craftivism? Have you done so before? If you answered yes, or no, or maybe, to any of those questions, then WE NEED YOU! It really doesn’t matter if you can or can’t sew, or if you shun the activist limelight (suggested reading: Why craftivism is good for introverts) – read on, and then get in touch about joining in, or even popping along to a local stitch-in.

Image: Craftivist Collective

Image: Craftivist Collective

This summer the Craftivist Collective is teaming up with War On Want to add their crafty shoulders to the “Love Fashion Hate Sweatshops” campaign. I’m joining in too, and together we’re asking people to take up craftivism to help change the world for garment workers across the globe – stitching in support of the stitchers, as it were. How? By stitching mini protest banners, and hanging them where people will see them. Mini whuh? How? Well OK, I’ll let Sarah (founder of Craftivist Collective) explain how:

“Our small, provocative Mini Protest Banners can help us reflect on this issue of sweatshops and what we can do as an individual (consumer, voter etc) to keep the spotlight on this ugly side of fashion we CAN change. Also by hanging your banner in public you can engage others in fighting for a world without sweatshops & supporting War on Want‘s www.lovefashionhatesweatshops.org campaign in a provocative but thoughtful way without people feeling threatened or preached at.”

I’ve been reading around the sticky subject of sweatshops, and where our clothes are made, and stuff like that, and did you know the legal minimum wage for garment workers in Bangladesh is just 11p per item? And that’s only in the places that respect the minimum wage laws, and the organisations who keep an eye on this stuff say that’s still only about half of what people need to live on.

I won’t go into the issues here, but if you want to find out more, there are plenty of articles out there about the nasty realities of sweatshops. About the poor safety (remember the recent factory collapse, in which over a thousand people died preventable deaths?), the sexual harassment, child exploitation, physical abuse, and of course the complete pittance of a wage. Hunt some out.

I’m not exactly a fashionista, but I do like good clothes. Well made, fabulous clothes, that make me walk tall and say ‘yeah, I look awesome today.’ But the idea that fellow human beings were treated like expendable commodities to make those clothes, well, that I don’t like. I can’t think of anyone who would, really. But what do we do to change it? We can’t wander about butt-naked all the time (well I can’t, not in Yorkshire – brrr), we need clothes!

No, these things won’t change by themselves. And we won’t change them by feeling cross about them. Not by reading a Guardian article and leaving a sad face in the comments thread, not by discussing it on Facebook (a place recently described by folk singer Gavin Davenport as “the new opiate of the masses”), and not, you may be surprised to hear, by boycotting sweat-shop produced clothing. As this 2009 article points out: “sweatshops are only a symptom of poverty, not a cause, and banning them closes off one route out of poverty”. We need to improve the factories, not close them.

Don’t be downhearted, here’s where you come in: we need as many people as possible to stitch a little protest banner (you can get a funky kit, or make your own), like this one:

Image: Craftivist Collective

Image: Craftivist Collective

Hang it somewhere it will be seen, take a photo, and send it to us. Your photo will be put with all the others from across the globe, and made into a giant collage to be displayed during London Fashion Week. A time where fashion lovers come together to display and admire creations designed by the Haves, and (most often) made by the Have-Nots. As Craftivist Collective founder Sarah Corbett says: “Wouldn’t it be brilliant if LFW 2014 was a show of only exploitation-free clothes? Let’s fight together for that reality one stitch at a time!”

Image: Craftivist Collective

Image: Craftivist Collective

I’m stitching my mini-banner right now. I got a kit from the Craftivist Collective which has everything you need (even a needle! They think of everything), but you can make your own too. I would recommend the kit though, because you can start straight away, proceeds go to help fund projects like this one, AND YOU GET A BADGE. I mean, come on! Choose your message (all we ask is that you keep it factual, and polite – this is a creative, not an aggressive, campaign), and get stitching! Send your pictures and the location details to me via this site. This protest started in the UK, but you do not have to be in the UK to take part. This is a global issue!

AND AND AND! I will be running at least one drop-in craftivism session in Sheffield over the summer, where you can join in, drink tea, and discuss more about this campaign, and craftivism in general, so do let me know if you’d be interested in, well, dropping in. And/or you have a suggestion for a stitch-in venue (my original choice is closed for a summer refurb – typical!). Seriously folks, who’s in? Watch this space… :)

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