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

A busy week creating and learning

Hi , just a short blog this week. I have managed to sort out  issues with the website so you should now be able to book any of the thread classes or the crochet course. More to come soon.

I've had a busy week exploring ideas for various projects and I thought you might like to see what I have been up to. I am hoping to bring you details of some of these techniques at a later date.

I've always been quite bad at linocut so I went  and had a one to one lesson with the lovely Mog at 


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I have also been exploring  Laidwork as part of the embroidery  challenge I am doing for 2018 Beyond Tast with Pintangle. Here is a little bird I designed made in Bayeux stitch..well a creative variation on this famous stitch. It is also the kind of stitching I would like to use for the dockside tapestry.


I've been working on ideas for a new project that I will be announcing soon. Lots of transfer printing  and I even turned some of it into embroidery. The designs come from some drawings i did last summer. 


That's all  for now. I am off to   repair the  crochet for the giant buoyble as it goes on display at the end of this week at the SS Great Britain. Have a creative week Vic x

News from Crafting The City - dates for your diary

Bristol crocodile at Wonderwool Wales

Next month The Crocodile will be visiting Wales and going on display on 27th and 28th April at Wonderwool. He is really excited and hopes to see some of you there. He is a huge beastie all covered in beautiful glistening crochet motifs inspired by  Underfall boatyard in Bristol.  

The picture below is the day we took him for a trip around the docks on a ferry . He is inspired by the fun story of a crocodile seen in bristol docks 

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Buoy to Buoyble

This was the project we did before christmas  converting a huge Buoy into a giant Buoyble. The weather over christmas was really bad so we  are now  reshowing our work outside Brunel's SS Great Britain on the Bristol docks  from 26th March.  Please note  it may not be on display if its raining just gets too soggy


The Gull project

Lots of gulls are underway and we hope to get some finished in the next few weeks and even get some of them installed. The first gulls will appear in Under fall yard in the pumphouse. There is still time to get involved  and the dates for workshops are on the website  under the gull project


THREAD - a fun way to learn new embroidery stitches

This group takes place at   Southville Centre. All the details and what to bring  are on the website. We have held our first two sessions in the new venue and its great. Afterwards some of us stayed for lunch . The sessions are currently once a month but I may increase this to twice a month   so look out for that. The next session is on April 6th 11am - 1pm and its just £10 a session


Learn to crochet

The next 6 week beginners crochet course starts on May 9th  and there are still places .  . The 5th week we  have make a monster week to help people learn to do spiral crochet and design their own  creatures. The homework is then to make a monster and look what some people made


Intermediate Crochet . This is a two session class at Margot May for anyone who has already  learnt to crochet with me . There are two dates and the total cost is £30 . The dates are April 18th ( bobbles, puff stitches and popcorns) and  25th ( waves and chevrons) . These cannot be booked on website, instead you will need to email me

More crochet courses coming soon

Other  stuff

There is a fabric bead workshop on website  and various other things coming soon.  I am doing lots of work on the new projects and there will  soon be an announcement about a public embroidery that you  can go and contribute your bit to over the summer..right I am off for a cup of tea and to work on some embroidery 



Completing Embroidery Challenges

At the moment I am taking part in Beyond TAST  2018 run by Sharon Boggon over at

So since January I have been   experimenting, first with all kinds of running stitches and now  with isolated stitches. The idea is to play with them and take them further. I have been experimenting with stitches on transparent fabric,  manipulating stitches to turn them into  a new stitch, padding behind stitches and layering stitches. Here is the first piece I have done for the isolated stitches challenge. Incidentally I always keep lots of little doodle cloths and experiment as I go along and none of these pieces are finished pieces as such, rather experimental samplers. This one was inspired by a collection of beautiful trinkets I saw on a stall on holiday last year. I did a blind drawing and then made the ground fabric out of pieces. After tacking them in place I began work , gradually layering. Ill probably come back to it at some point .



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Here are some details. Not sure what I will do next . I am waiting for some transfer paints to arrive so maybe today Ill just do some drawing 

New exhibition details for the Bristol Crocodile and the Buoy to Buoyble

I am pleased to tell you that the crocodile has been invited to Wales  for Wonderwool  2018 from 27th to 29th April. We will be bundling him in a van  and taking him on a short road trip. It a very exciting opportunity  and I hope some of you will drop by to say hello. Wonderwool have a website with all the details. See

The Buoy to Buoyble is going to go on display outside Brunel's SS Great Britain on dry days from 26th March 2018  for two weeks

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Freestyling crochet hexagon shapes and bling

I really like projects  that have  clear parameters. By setting rules you make the  game more fun and more creative. The Buoy to Buoyble crochet  project has given participants a chance to play with inventing and crocheting all kinds of hexagons.  There are 8 colours  and  I've told peeps we can use a bit of gold bling too. This allows  hundreds of combinations.

For several months my creativity has been directed towards producing things for other people to make, parts of things, whereas this gives me a chance to just have a really good play.

So yesterday I decided to combine two elements. The idea of cables that sit on top of the work achieved  by using round the front post crochet  and  then adding in different kinds of bling ..well it is a christmas bauble after all !

Here are some of the results. I used  Lion Brand Vanna's Glamour Gold, King Cole Cosmos Orbit. Rico Gold Bubble and some gold ribbon . They are very three dimensional

A new start and a brand new blog

Welcome to my new website and my  new blog. This is very exciting as its the first time I have had a blog. I am hoping that this website will develop into a really useful resource for all the different projects I create as well as a great place to share news and my thoughts on making . 

Soon I will be sharing pictures of the Bristol Crocodile, a project created over the last 8 months  and news of some of the newer projects.

I hope to share with you some of the processes that go into making and thoughts on and photos of the things that inspire me. I want to share my creative journey and find out all about yours.