Lino Printing Workshop 3rd November

Yesterday we had another very successful lino printing workshop up in Rochdale. Four lovely ladies attended the day including Karen who came to my first workshop back in August and created her beautiful leaf tea towel, also Lynn Holland who has helped out so much with organising the day and promoting the workshops.  There were two new faces this week, Lyn Robinson who creates wonderful artwork and many crafts also Reverend Gillian Peel who makes beautiful quilts and has the most amazing doodle sketchbook of black and white work or zentangling.

Cutting the Lino

We all had a cup of tea and coffee and a little chat, getting to know each other and then it was down to work. I gave a brief introduction to the tools and a quick demonstration how to create a small lino stamp and then it was over to them. I think the best way to learn is just to get going and learn on the job and ask questions whilst you are working.

I brought along a selection of different autumnal leaves, seed heads, holly with berries and feathers for a bit of inspiration.  Both Lyn and Lynn created some wonderful stamps with the holy and berries and are going to make personalised Christmas cards and Lyn even added a pretty little robin which looks so striking printed over the tissue paper back ground.  I am a big fan of mixing medias together.

Lyn’s Robin Print

Lynn’s Printed Christmas Card

Karen had brought along a sketch she had designed prior to the workshop with the idea of printing it on a cotton bag.  The pattern was made up of simplified flowers in a lovely backwards L shaped design.  She started by creating individual stamps which makes the positioning and colours much more flexible.  The end result on the bag was beautiful, the rich colours blended together against the cream bag was stunning.

Karen’s Printed Bag

Karen’s Finished bag

Gillian had never done lino cutting before but from the prints she created you would have thought she had done it many times before.  I love this styalised flower and leaves.

Gillian’s Floral Print

Lyn also had never done lino printing before and she decided to do a lino block of her cat (also called Lucy).  A difficult image, especially for a complete beginner but the result was fantastic.  Even the lino block is a work of art.  The way the blades cut into the lino creates a beautiful soft fur texture that prints so well and it looks fantastic on the cotton bag.

Lyn’s Cat Lucy

Lynn was inspired by a book that I brought along, Printing by Hand: A Modern Guide to Printing with Handmade Stamps, Stencils, and Silk Screens by Lena Corwin.  She created a great rectangular block with different patterns and marks which is really effective.  Pattern blocks like this make great backgrounds to then overprint if done in a pale colour.

Striking Pattern Prints

It was a great day and everyone produced such a variety of fantastic work and it was hard to believe that they were beginners!  Lino printing is such a fantastic craft, reasonably simple to learn and gives such wonderful and satisfying results.

Below are a couple of write ups of the day.  If any one is interested in attending a lino printing workshop please contact me for more details.  My next will be on Saturday 10th November in Rochdale which is already full but I am running 3 sessions (10am – 2pm) at Dean Row Village Hall, Wilmslow, North Cheshire on the 19th, 23rd November and 3rd December.  Places are still available on all dates at £25 per person all materials and refreshments included. You can contact me via this blog or my e-mail for more information: 

Lyn’s blog and write up of the workshop:

Lynn Holland’s blog and write up of the day:

Gillian’s Work in Progress

A selection of Lyn’s days work

Everybody loves a Cosy Blanket

With all the wonderful weather we are having in the UK at the moment, there is nothing better than sitting under a nice cosy blanket or quilt, with a warming cup of tea and a good book or a great movie. I love blankets; they can really make your home feel…. homely. If you are in a rental they can make even the ugliest sofa beautiful and they can also become a wonderful heirloom to pass down the generations.

Blankets can be made from anything, knitted or crochet, patchwork, quilted, woven, plaited the possibilities are endless. Blankets of all kinds have such amazing history.

Mariner’s Compass Quilt, Pennsylvania c.1840/1850

Take the American quilts for example. After the War of Independence, American cotton manufacturers found it difficult to compete with European and British imports and textiles were expensive so small scraps were used in geometric shapes to create quilts. By the mid 19th century designing a patchwork quilt had become one of the major forms of domestic folk art. Traditionally an American girl should have up to 12 quilts in her ‘hope chest’ with a 13th being her Bride’s quilt. Quilting blankets became a major social event with ‘Quilting Bee’s’ taking place where pioneer women who lived far apart would meet up (Betterton 1982: 7-8).

Another wonderful type of blanket is the Welsh Quilt or Carthens. All are woven on a Dobby loom, two different pieces of cloth being woven together to form a double cloth. These are heavy blankets weighing over 2 kilos. The most recognisable of Welsh blankets were made across Wales from C18th. Some are still produced at the few surviving Mills such as Rock Mill Capel Dewi , Middle Mill sova and Tregwynt in Pembrokeshire. (

I love making blankets of all kinds and so am sharing a few of my creations here with you so you can see my eclectic love of craft. I will never be able to choose one favourite crafting method, every time I look in a book, read a craft magazine or browse another crafters blog I find a new technique I want to try out and end up loving. Crochet, patchwork, quilting are all methods I love. I am not a great knitter and a blanket would probably take years not days. My next aim is to learn more about weaving. My mum can both spin and weave so I may have to go to her for a few handy tips to start me off.

First to crochet.

My first crochet project

The above blanket was my first ever crochet project. I taught myself so that I could teach a friend. I found it incredibly difficult as I am left handed and therefore have to reverse all of the instructions you find in books. The left handed crafter is definitely at a disadvantage when it comes to craft books and guides. This blanket I started and just kept adding to it and ended up with a huge double blanket but I was so happy with it and it now has pride of place on my sofa.

The current crochet blanket project

This second one is still a work in progress. I found it in a magazine and loved the pattern so much that I decided to make it. It is great as you can use all your wool odds and ends as no two squares have to be the same so very economical!

A crochet Present

Third is a blanket I made my parents for Christmas, I love the colours together.


A Personal Memory Blanket

This is one of my favourite blankets I have ever made. I made it in January this year for my sister Emma’s 30th birthday. The idea is that of a memory quilt. I cut out 30 squares of different fabrics, some with meaning such as the tartan of our school kilt, some of Emma’s old clothes and some of my grans fabrics and then embellished them.

Our school kilt tartan

Some square have embroidery with significant words, dates and occasions.

Embroidered Personal Details

Others have photographs printed on or appliqué.

Felt Storm Clouds and Ballet Shoes

I left a few plain as I didn’t want to overload it. It is a warm blanket as inside is a layer of wadding and it is backed in a plum coloured cotton. It fits a double bed so pretty large but I wanted it to make an impact when I gave it to her.


Personalised Quilted Blanket

This blanket I was commissioned to do as a present for a baby. Both the pillow and the quilt are personalised with the little girl’s name. The client said that I could design the blanket myself with anything the only instructions being that it had to be pink and girly, hope fully the finished blanket achieved this. I loved doing this project, I think creating something with a personal touch that you know someone will treasure is such a wonderful thing for a crafter or artist.

Has anyone else made a blanket or quilt? What is your favourite crafty method? Let me know your latest blanket project.

If you are interested in commissioning a blanket please feel free to contact me to discuss it further, I am always happy to hear from you.

A few References

Betterton, S 1982 Quilts and Coverlets London:L Butler & Tanner Ltd

Kort, E 2008 Wisconsin Quilts: History in the Stitches Krause

A wonderful website and business about Welsh blankets run by Jane beck. Although not a weaver herself, she is interested in the social history associated with the industry, there is so much information on the website so take a look.

An interesting little article about the Whitney Blanket

How to make a photo frame jewellery display

This is a great way to display some of your jewellery. It is so simple and easy to do and looks beautiful with your earrings and brooches hanging off it. It took me about 1 hour to make this small one but if it is your first go just take your time and have fun. They make really nice presents as well.

You will need:

What you will need

• A photo frame of your choice, make sure that you can remove the glass as you don’t need this and sometimes the glass is glued to the frame which you don’t want. Always be careful when handling glass and dispose of it or use it responsibly.

• Polyester or cotton wadding – enough to cover the frame with about an inch on all sides (see instruction 2 below)

• Cotton or fabric of your choice the same size as the wadding

• Ribbons, buttons, beads and trimmings etc

• Cotton thread

• Needle

• Pencil

• Thick card

• Scissors (and pinking shears if you have them)

1: To start, remove the back of the frame and take out the glass.

Draw around the photo frame backing onto your card

2: Place the frame back on your card and draw around it so that when you cut it out is fits into your frame. Then cut about ½ cm smaller on one length and one width so that it is now slightly smaller than the frame back.

3: Use the card to measure the wadding and the fabric (remember to cut them both about an inch wider than the card on all sides). I used pinking shears to cut the fabric so that it won’t fray.

4: Place this card on top of your measured wadding making sure it is central. Then using your needle and thread secure it to one side of the wadding and proceed to sew through alternative sides of the wadding like a corset so that it fits snuggly around the card. I normally start with the width as it is the longest side. Make sure the card stays flat as you don’t want it to warp, so don’t pull the thread too tight, keep the tension nice and even. Do this all the way to the bottom, then knot and secure your thread and cut it.

Sew the wadding on either side in a zig zag pattern around the card

Continue sewing all the way from top to bottom

5: Do this exactly the same length ways. You should end up with your card wrapped in the wadding, nice and flat on the front and with lots of cross over stitching on the back. It doesn’t have to be overly neat as no one will see the back just make sure it is secure. Put it into the frame to make sure it fits. We cut the card slightly smaller than the frame to allow space for the wadding.

Sew the wadding tightly and smoothly both length ways and width ways

Place the wadding wrapped card smooth side down onto the wrong side of your cut out fabric

6: Do exactly the same with the fabric. Place the wadding wrapped card on top of the fabric in the centre and proceed to sew in the sides in the same way as you did with the wadding, crossing over like a corset (instruction 5).

The back with both the wadding and the fabric

7: When it is secure, turn it over and it should have a nice padded flat front. Place this into the frame again to make sure that it still fits with no bends in the card, if there are you have sewn too tightly and you may have to undo and start again.

Pick your decorations

8: Now we can decorate. Use any ribbon or lace you have and sew it anywhere you like. On mine I have sewn a pretty floral ribbon on the base. At the top I have sewn 2 thin ribbons. They are securely attached on either end but on the front they are only attached where the beads are so that they are loose in between. This way you can hang earrings off of them and the beads give it nice decoration.

Place and sew your decorations

Attach thin ribbon with beads, leaving the ribbon loose between them

9: Once you are happy with the decoration put the finished card into the frame and put the back of the frame into place and secure it. Turn it around and there you have your very own photo frame jewellery display. You can now have it standing on its stand if it has one or hang it on your wall.

You can make these in any size you like. I have some big ones that I use for display at my fairs and to photograph my brooches I make. Just have fun and experiment.

Little and Large displays