Gulls installed at M Shed / Embroidery appearing with BRISWOOL and more

Hi this brief blog outlines the things that are happening over the next couple of months

A flock of woolly seagulls has been installed in M Shed ..There are 17 in total. We are using the hashtag #findagull. Please do post photos on instagram, twitter etc

The Underfall Yard and SS Great Britain Gulls are also still on display as are those in Assembly

Bakery and Little Victories tea Shop at Cargo


Craft for Crafters Event in Shepton Mallet 18th, 19th , 20th October

We will be showing BRISWOOL -. The Crocodile, Stanley the Reindeer ( with Maisie cats for Sale and the Museum Birdgarden Embroidery. You can come along and add your stitches to the embroidery.

I still need stewards for those three days so please let me know if you can help..drawing up rota later this week and next week.


THREAD fun embroidery group is continuing at Southville Centre BS3 and the next session will be this Friday 21st September 11am - 1pm . We will be learning BAYEUX stitch. You can book on this site and find out full details under 6 week courses. Its not a six week course..just click on THREAD. It is £10 per session. The next two sessions are 28th September and 12th November.


Beginners Crochet - The next run

The next run starts on Wednesday 7th November ..this can be booked under 6 week courses

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THREAD embroidery sessions - more details

Hi - here is some information about the THREAD  embroidery group at Southville Centre - suitable for  beginners or those with more experience. Its fun and informal and just £10 - check what you need to bring.

There will be two choices for the next few sessions to allow people who missed sessions in the summer to catch up

In this session - threaded running stitch - we are doing this because lots of people coming at the moment have not done this or have asked for a repeat as it was over a year ago that we last did this ..and its has so many variations

For those of you who have done this

and what to do something different - button hole net filling ..I know lots of people missed that last time.

. All sessions are 11am - 1pm Cost £10 and you need to bring scraps of fabric, a hoop, needles and threads, ..extras could be beads and ribbons etc. We are at the Southville centre on Beauley road BS3 in the Beauley Room ..ask at reception ..its a lovely room -. There is a great cafe on site too.

More details about the sessions underneath these dates so keep reading

07 Sept - Threaded running stitch ( buttonhole net )

21st Sept Bayeux stitch

28th Sept Woven cross filling (Algerian eye stitch with holes)

12th Oct Attaching taller objects with buttonhole net

9th Nov Attaching mirrors with Chain and buttonhole stitch ( Attaching mirrors with Cretan stitch

30th Nov

14th Dec

THREAD is an experimental fun embroidery group . It is great if you just want to learn a few new stitches to use in your work or if you want to push your stitching further.

You can come to just one session or every session. Stitches may be explored for more than one session.

What to expect

Each week we will Look at a particular stitch or stitches and experiment with them - we will use a variety of creative thinking tools to get you thinking "outside the box"

You may be shown a method of preparing your fabric or getting started , from potato prints to inktense pencils or maybe just take a look at someone else work

You may be given a theme which you can use if you want to go away and create some work - the challenge might use this on its own or in combination with the weeks stitch

We will have a show and tell of the work that people are doing

The idea is to inspire and connect with others - the group will develop as we go along and people can join or step out for a while at any time

What to bring

You need to bring scraps of fabric, an embroidery hoop, sharp and blunt needles, scraps of various threads, yarns etc. Don't worry if you don't have much the first time. Once you have been you will have a better idea.


£10 per session . Pay on the day or book at or if you have no internet access ring me on 0117 90 80 992 - Vic


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BRISWOOL is back with the crocodile , Gulls, Embroidery and more

Well I hope everyone is enjoying their summer.  I've been very busy  which is why I have not posted for a while.

So what have I got to tell you about;

The museum bird garden embroidery  is up at the Museum and Art Gallery on Park Street for another couple of weeks and I have had lots of emails about how much people are enjoying contributing stitches so do get up there. 

On Sunday August 26th  1pm - 4pm I will be doing a demonstration of a modern take Bayeux Stitch as part of our THREAD group (FREE at the museum).. There is a small space but if you bring a  ring, a bit of fabric, some  double knitting yarn and needle  and something to mark your fabric then  you could have a go  (The best fabric is stuff that you can easily pull some DK smooth yarn through)  Please check the museum website for other details.


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The next evening beginners crochet course is £85 for 6 evenings and starts on 12th Sept 7 - 9pm. Please bring a 4mm hook.

The course will guide you through the principles of crochet and along the way teach you some motifs that you can use to make  a granny square blanket , crochet bunting, a crochet cushion or throw , decorative flowers and stars. .You will also learn the various crochet terms and learn to unravel the mysteries of crochet diagrams. It is a properly taught course  developed over 8 years. I’ve taught hundreds of people to crochet.

12th September Getting Started  How to hold the yarn, make chains and do dc crochet and be guided through the terms used in crochet. 

19th September Gorgeous Grannies  Treble stitch and how to make granny squares. How to understand crochet diagrams and ways of planning use of colour in your blocks.

 26th September Embellish  In this session we cover making a crochet triangle that you can use as a basis for bunting. We will also learn basic edging and surface crochet

3rd October Layering and Using Chain Spaces Learn how to make flowers, brooches, embellishments and more - layering.

24th October Make A Monster Week  Crochet in the round. you will learn this useful technique which is the basis of all Amigurumi toys.

31st October Starry Starry Night Crochet stars for a garland. You will also be shown some ideas for completing this project in your own time and how to finish your work.

Places are limited and go quickly so book now. 

About the tutor.  Vicky has been teaching for over 20 years and is an artist, group facilitator community artist and absolute crochet fanatic who loves teaching. Many people who learn to crochet with her go on to contribute to  her community projects, the latest one is a crocodile and the next one is a flock of seagulls ! Vicky ran Paper Village. Made a Shaun the Sheep  and BRISWOOL and has taught hundreds of people to crochet

Fee - £85 Please note the fee is a discounted fee for doing 6 weeks ..normal fee is £8 per hour (£96)

Places are limited  and go quickly so book now at  Courses take place at Margot May Café  on North St Bedminster 7-9pm. If you have problems with website email

DAYTIME course.

If you hurry I am doing a two session crochet courses at Southville centre starting this Thursday  morning..see website for details 

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The crochet gulls have started to go on display round the dockside and I met with  the curator from M Shed the other day and they want to show about 15 so now just waiting for details of when and steps.  In the meantime there are 8 at Underfall Yard and  3 in the cafe at S.S Great Britain, one in Assembly Bakery  and one in Little Victories Tea shop. ( Both at CARGO behind M Shed)


THREAD , our fortnightly drop in embroidery group  is still  running at The Southville Centre, mostly every other Friday 11am - 1pm and some of us stay to  have lunch afterwards so its nice and social.  More details on the website and you can book and pay there or  pay on day but do check what you need to bring as its just £10 so I do not provide materials. Next session is this Friday August 17th.

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BRISWOOL is back

Yes its true BRISWOOL and the crocodile are going southwards to the Craft4Crafters Show - Bath and West Showground - Shepton Mallet - 18th - 20th October 2018. 

I am putting together a plan of how to get it all there and will need volunteers to  chat to the public and show off what we have done for Thursday Friday and Sat and help to pack away on Sat evening ...please let me know if you can definitely help.  Also if you have any parts of it in your  house then please can I have those . Not yet as i actually have no room for anything else in my house  but prior to the event.

Other vols ..those who might be helping beforehand . I am putting together a little messenger group of  I think 5 people so  we can work it out.



Quick news update ..its all happening

Hi I am about to have a break for a couple of weeks so this is last minute news

I will be running a special crochet course at Southville Centre in the daytime in August - just two sessions

This course is for you if you are starting from scratch or if you want a refresher. It is only a short course so you will  want to continue your learning afterwards  but it  will kick-start your  crochet

This is a special price of £30 for two lessons

Thursday August 16th 11am – 1pm

Thursday August 23rd  11am – 1pm

Lesson 1 - How to hold the yarn,  chain and  crochet double crochet stitches into a foundation row. You will learn about posture, holding the hook  to make the  crochet easy and  the basis of crochet

Lesson 2 -  How to crochet a granny square using a simple diagram. You will learn  treble crochet stitch and how to crochet  in the round.  Diagrams are universal. For those people who find diagrams difficult there will be some written instructions.

What to bring

You will need to bring a 4mm crochet hook, preferably one with a handle  such as soft touch. Look for one that has a  good point on the end for   sticking through your work

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BIRDGARDEN EMBROIDERY  will go on display  at the museum from 7th July ..go add your stitches

Gulls are going on display from 7th July. There will be some sort of simple  list to download and tick off. I've just delivered 18 gulls and more to go on this soon but from 7th July they should start appearing on The Bristol Ferries and at Underfall Yard , Assembly Bakery and Little Victories T Shop and there are some in SS GB Cafe


THREAD - The next THREAD is on 20th July  from 11am - 1pm at the Southville Centre. Look in course descriptions  to see more about this . We will be doing Basque Stitch ,. We now have dates until the end of the year. Its just £10  and you can pay on the day


Briswool, Gulls, Thread and Museum embroidery

Morning everyone, sorry for the silence for a couple of weeks. I have been really busy planning, meeting people and organising workshops.

So here is the news

BRISWOOL will be back on display in October . This is the giant model of Bristol mostly crocheted that  attracted 40,000 !!! people the two last times it was in display

Craft4Crafters Show - Bath and West Showground - Shepton Mallet - 18th - 20th October 2018. I will only take one or two people to help me set up and I am talking already to those people. I cant drive  so I am also hiring a van and driver. Its a really stressful process as I need to remember exactly how it fits together  and its easy for it to get really confusing and overwhelming..its like painting in my head ! However I will need people to offer to steward on The days that the  exhibition is open so offers very welcome . I will need to do a proper rota .

We will also be displaying the crocodile and  having a stand for Maisie Cats for Dementia very exciting but lots of work


A flock of Woolly Seagulls

The Gulls are nearly finished. The last workshop is on Sunday 24th June , for people to finish their gulls. There will be no more workshops after that. During July thru to end of September Eight gulls are being installed at Underfall Yard  and 4 on the ferries with a further 3 or 4 at SS Great Britain cafe and a couple  in Cargo. I have walked round and chatted to people about the project and hopefully someone else will get back to me to show them . If you know a business on the dockside and can use your persuasive powers then  I would  be very grateful. We have about 20 finished so far

Here is a picture of Gertrude ..shes a suffragette


Museum Birdgarden  drop-in  community embroidery

This is a piece I have been working on which will go on display  at the museum during July and August.  The  embroidery can be worked on every Monday ..and probably some other times too ..details to be sorted soon. Its a free activity . There will be books, a selection of yarns  and handouts. All you have to do is turn up, take some friends and ask to work on the embroidery.

I will also be doing a  contemporary Bayeux Stitch workshop  on Sunday 26th August, also free. Please go to the  Bristol Museum and Art Gallery website to  get the full programme of summer workshops running alongside the woman's hour  craft competition exhibition


THREAD at the Southville Centre 

This group is really starting to develop now.  Its juts £10 and loads of fun . You can come as often or as little as you like. Each time we  develop one embroidery stitch or technique and try it in several different ways.  we use fun prompts such as a list of words to get people thinking about how they can change the stitches. Its  lighthearted and experimental but you will learn lots whether you are a beginner or more experienced.

At the next session we are going to come up with an idea for a project  that each person can do with a view of exhibiting together next year

The next session of Thread is on Friday 22nd June 11am - 1pm at Southville Centre BS3 1LF. See the website here for what you have to bring . Thread has its own section. Other dates over the summer are  20th July ,3rd August and 17th August . More dates soon., its basically every fortnightly unless I am on holiday.

The topic for 22nd June will be back stitch.  This is a great stitch for doing all kinds of zig zag and  sharp lines. It can be used on even weave fabric  combined with cross stitch to make  beautiful patterns as in blackwork or on any fabric for freestyle effects.  It can also  be used to add sequins or beads in continuous lines

You might want to bring a bit of even weave   or similar and a bit of plain  fabric


Crochet at Margot May continues and I am planning some new courses and the usual beginners for September  and  Autumn. I am also hoping to do a crochet taster course over the summer at the Southville Centre.

MOre news soon

Contribute your stitches to BIRDGARDEN , a collaborative embroidery

For the last couple of months I have been working to design and execute a  large collaborative embroidery piece for Bristol Museum  and Art Gallery.

I have called it BIRDGARDEN. The images were drawn  during a visit to Eden project  last September


The piece is  11 count eventweave fabric about 1.5 metres by 1 metre that has been heat transfer printed. I described this method in an earlier blog but  the stages are: Design Stencils, paint lots of paper, heat press or iron the  images through the stencils or directly onto the fabric..its a very hot process !


I have  created images that can be interpreted with simple stitches such as arrowhead stitch. More images will be available in the next week or two of some of the stitches we will be using and  instructions on how to do the stitches will be provided


The work will be available for you to add your stitches in July and August during the Woman's Hour Craft Prize  exhibition. There will be a basket of materials in colours that have been chosen  to work with the background and a table for you to sit and stitch with your friends. Its a free fun activity !


The exact details of  how and when you can access the embroidery are to follow but I wanted to give everyone a sneak preview so you can start to think about  getting involved. I can promise it will be fun


In other news

The first gulls to go along the dockside are being finished and the first one will appear in the bakery  just behind the M Shed - I am about to go and photograph him

The next THREAD group to experiment with embroidery is 25th May - see details on this website under THREAD

BRISWOOL - our giant knitted city of Bristol is going to go on display  in the Autumn  along with the crocodile and some gulls and a stand of Maisie Cats - more on this next week

We are starting a new free monthly social knitting and crochet group called knit hook and natter at Southville Centre Cafe   probably on Thursday morning, details to follow.

If you work in or are friendly with a local business on the dockside , particularly a small business  such as a shop or ice cream parlour then you can rent a gull for the summer and i will  add you to our gallery for people to hunt down !



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The Bristol Crocodile goes on a jolly to Wonderwool in Wales

Well what a fantastic weekend. Chrissie  from Wonderwool wales invited us and the crocodile to stay in Wales and exhibit the  crocodile .  The annual  event is a huge wool fayre in three  giant cowsheds packed with amazing stalls and demonstrations. 

Two of the Crafting The City volunteers Alex and Kathy came along to help and drove the van which  made it all possible. We stayed on a beautiful campsite surrounded  wildlife'

So here it is in photographs. I hope to see some of you at THREAD next week and there are still place on beginners crochet starting on Wednesday evening

So here is the crocodlie at the event with the lovely Kathy in charge 

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He was close to lots of beautiful animals 

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What I like about events like this is all the crative stuff that people  bring with them to wear . Lots and lots of beuatiful eye candy

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Wonderwool volunteers and the public had made a wall of poppies. It was incredible 

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Hundreds and hundreds of people came and saw the crocodile over the weekend . It was great watching their faces as they came round the corner. These two  people loved him and came back several times to see him

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The event was wonderful but  at the end of each day we were happy to go back and enjoy all the lovely wildlife in the  chalet park. next week I will be starting to tell you about the  embroidery  I am creating for the museum and how you can be part of this project

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I hope you enjoy reading this. I am off to start work on a piece that I will be telling you all about next week. The museum embroidery and how you can get involved. Have a creative week Vic x

Gulls are taking shape and you will start seeing them about the dockside very soon

Last Friday we had another crochet gull session and it reminded me that I have not updated people on this project for a while.  The yarn for  the project has been provided by STYLECRAFT and  the rest of the materials  provided by me or by  small donations at the workshops. The Grammar school are also making a few gulls after I ran a workshop there  and have provided  those materials. At the moment this project is still unfunded and its a huge project. The rooms are provided by M Shed, SS Great Britain and Underfall Yard.

So far I have run 7 workshops and each gull takes a couple of months  to really develop the design before sharing it with other people 

These gulls have lots of parts  including a wooden stand that has to be cut and drilled and wooden  dowels in the legs that again have to be sharpened and  they pass into the body from the outside into a ball in his ball that holds him  or her steady.  I make up these at home. This design also means that   the gulls can be installed elsewhere. Under fall Yard are planning to create a structure  to sit the gulls on  above their map table. The SS Great Britain is also planning to have some gulls and the Ferries.  There are more workshops planned. Two are already bookable on this site .

Here are some of the gulls being made


My favourite bit is when people pack their gulls to take them home


A word about the Crocodile. He is going for a brief holiday at Wonderwool in Wales  this weekend.  Ill take lots of photos and tell you about this next week.  Vic x

THREAD - experimenting with stem stitch

On Friday we had a session of THREAD at the  Southville Centre with a lovely mixed group of people of all ages and abilities. 

This week  we explored Stem stitch. 

We explore the stitch in several ways during the session . I provide inspiration and  lists of word to help us  think about the shapes we are making with the stitches

Stem stitch is an interesting stitch because although it  is used frequently to make rather lovely lines  it  can also be used in a number of other interesting ways that are easily overlooked. Here is some straight forwards stem stitch in perle cotton  8 which gives it a beautiful twisted look.


Stem stitch is worked from left to right ( If you are right handed)  with the thread under the needle but if you work it with the thread above the needle it becomes outline stitch which is quite different.  If you combine the two  alternating between  stem and outline you get a lovely brick like  stitch. Here it is worked in a DK merino yarn so you can see the effect.


When we made the embroidered map for the Gatehouse I used  Stem stitch to  fill my deer. It is a really lovely  textured filling.

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It can also be used  over a grounding of  spaced  stitches to create a raised  filling


If you want a more textured filling you can work  line after line of alternating  stem stitch filling. You will get different effects  if you work all stitches in one direction, stagger the start or work back and forth 


In the seed heads on this piece I have left the alternating stem stitches loose. If you work row after row of these stitches you get  loops which can be  opened by cutting or left as loops  , called Turkey work I think.


Now the fun starts. I love attaching found objects to my work . You can use buttons, wrapped buttons,  mirrors, shells ,stones, enamel , all kinds of things. Stem stitch net is one way of attaching those objects.  The group on Friday were enthusiastic and attached all kinds of little buttons to their work. Here are some I completed

Here is a beautiful version by Alex , so neat   

Here is a beautiful version by Alex , so neat



 So if you fancy  learning from scratch  or improving your stitching why not come along to the next session on 11th May  2018 . I only charge £10 . After that session the workshops are about every two weeks . Have a good read of what you need to bring in the details for these sessions ( more dates soon to be added) .  I also bring lots of nice books to inspire you and there is a great cafe on site for lunch after all that stitching.

If you cant come to the sessions  and  want inspiration then  start collecting some lovely books. I can recommend anything by  Jan Beany , Edith John, Constance Howard, Erica Wilson, Jaqueline Enthoven, Jill Nordfors and Mary Thomas. Online take a look at and

A reminder now .Intermediate crochet is next Wednesday and the Wednesday after , two weeks for £30 , get in touch if you are interested. Also we have a gull session at Underfall Yard on the Friday - details  of that session are on this site but not the crochet

Right  I am off to  drink tea and eat  some warm figgy flapjack - have a great making week

A couple of reminders and all about transfer printing

Before the blog this week , a couple of reminders. The Thread embroidery group  next session is this Friday 11-1pm  at Southville Centre. I am also running two sessions of an intermediate  crochet class starting next Wednesday, not on this site  so contact me get in touch if you are interested. The next full  beginners crochet starts on May 1st and the next gull session is Friday April 20th..look in that section to book.

Heat Transfer Printing

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Last September my drawing partner Sally Darby  and I went off to Eden Project for a week to draw. We stayed in a little pod there and each day went out and took photographs and  drew. The images in my current work are mostly taken from that week although I have been developing the ideas in the drawings since I got back. Both of us  focused much of our attention on leaf structures


For some time now  I have been turning the images into prints using an iron and transfer paint, more on that later, but last week I decided to jump in feet first and spend a week on a fabulous course at Bath College with the wonderful Lyn Snow . Here is a link to her website

The course is packed full of information and ideas and  has lots of wonderful equipment  including a heat press and a  screen printing studio. I did make and use some screens but this blog is just going to look at the process of heat transfer printing with disperse dyes,  also called sublimation printing.

Here is a picture of the heat press. Paper which has been coated in transfer dyes or paints  is put in contact with  fabric which should be at least 65%  polyester or acrylic but better still 100% and then heated to about 200 degrees at which point the image leaves the paper and attached itself in the  fabric , its a chemical process. The process for using an iron or a press is the same but the images will be easier to obtain with the heat press although the iron does allow you to cover a larger area. Images are likely to be paler, you wont get as many prints  from your sheet and it takes a long time but some great results can be obtained  and it is  what I do at home.

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First steps , prepare your paper.

So  you need to coat paper with your paint or dye. At the college we used dyes but because the powders are very toxic prior to mixing I use paints at home.  You can mix the dyes at home but  really its far safer to use the paints in a home environment. There are several brands available supplied by most good art shops 

There are lots of methods for adding your colour to your paper. It is a good idea to use quality  paper or the paper will buckle  and roll and be difficult to use.  You can use the same paper over and over again. It is an idea before starting to make a sample sheet of all the colours as they are very dark in the jars until printed.

I added my colour through  wax resist , by sponging,  with stamps, using combs and other methods. Colours can be mixed but they will also mix as you layer them on the paper . Now leave your paper to dry  completely. I usually leave it overnight .  The colours are really bright and strong . The great thing with the course was that the tutor mixed them all up prior to our arrival. You can also use black and white photocopies of photographs etc. If you  print the colour on it will transfer the image to fabric. 

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Next make some stencils and masks. You can also use  things like feather and leaves or collages of the coloured papers. The idea is to keep layering and  mixing the colours  so make plenty of papers and  masks etc. You can use them again and agin  as they pick up the colour and transfer it to the next image


Next choose your fabric and cut it to size. You can do long strips the width of the bed  or  square pieces.  There are loads of  fabrics that you can use. I chose some 100  percent  polyester crepe type fabric in white and yellow but  there are lots of creative possibilities. Look at this  bit of  old nylon lace. I am going to back it with bondaweb and cut out some birds 

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Each time you print in the press you make a kind of sandwich  consisting of Teflon sheet then paper then your fabric then  the masks or stencils , then the  coloured paper  either one piece or strips or torn pieces, then  another bit of paper to protect the bed and  finally a  Teflon sheet. Its really very easy and quick  at this stage. The main thing is planning what you want to do. The sandwich is pressed for a minute and  out pops your print. You can carry on adding layers and layers.

At home I use the same process with an iron but it does take much longer for the prints to transfer but the principle is the same,. Use an old ironing board as the dye will colour everything eventually ! Newer irons do not get hot enough so dig out an old iron. here are some of the prints I made

A screen can be used over these prints to print  with puffy binder or   heat tranfer glue.  Once the glue is dried you can use  foils and  the heat press to create a further layer.

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I had a great week and I have come away with a  little pile of things that I can play with over the coming months. Some of the prints will  remain as they are and others will be transformed with further layers of stitch . here is a little bit of embroidery on one of the panels


I hope you have enjoyed this blog. I am hoping to continue this work in the autumn , fingers crossed I can get a place on the next course ..I am off to drink tea and cut stencils. I hope to see some of you for Thread on Friday Vic x