Online Shop…..

I’m not the most techie of folk but I’m doing a happy dance this week as I’ve managed to set up an Online Shop linked to my Sumup Account. I’ve added a “Shop” tab to my websites navigation bar and put a few items in there to start things off including a forthcoming workshop, brooches, pendants, and scarves/collars. I’m often being asked if I will teach online so I’m also hoping to add online tutorials to the shop at some point later this year….I needed to put that last sentence in print to encourage me to get on with it!!

Visit the Shop using this link or the “Shop” tab on the navigation bar.

The First Quarter of 2023…..

After kicking myself, yet again, for not keeping my posts up to date here goes with a round up of what I’ve been doing in the first quarter of 2023.

I’ll start with the fact that I’ve pulled out of the Alford Craft Market Shop where I’ve been selling some of my felted items for the past two years. I only went in originally because in 2020 The Big Textile Show was cancelled due to Covid and I had lots of product destined for that show sitting in boxes going no where! Also workshops weren’t happening and so I had plenty of time to make more stock so it made sense to find an outlet and Lynne at the Alford shop kindly found me a space.

Workshops have always been, and always will be, my main focus so with life back to normal in 2022 it was time to leave the Alford shop at the year end to concentrate on what I enjoy doing most.

I don’t always get the chance (or sometimes I simply forget!) to take photos during a class but these are a few of the workshops I’ve run since the beginning of this year of which I have images…..

In February the Ladies at EYE’s (East Yorkshire Embroiderers) invited me back up to spend the weekend with them in Cottingham. I’d been working on a new illustrated talk for them, originally I’d said it would be The History of Feltmaking but very soon in to my research I realised that title was a huge mistake as it was far too broad a topic for a 45 minute talk! I knew I wanted to start with some of the earliest discoveries of felt known to man, discovered in the Tarim Basin and at Pazyryk in Siberia, and end with present day Feltmakers who are pushing the boundaries of what can be achieved with fibre, water, soap and imagination. The difficulty was what to leave out and what to put in from the intervening 4,000ish years which would join those two sections and ensure the presentation was interesting, exciting and had flow. Having delayed starting this project until the beginning of December it was going to keep me very busy over Christmas and in to the New Year!

This wonderful Felt Swan was discovered at the Pazyryk burial site and dates to the 5th to 4th century BCE.
Image source Hermitage Museum

Doing the research was fascinating and also very time consuming. I found myself going off on a tangent many times as one interesting fact led to another, and another……. I’ve now got enough content in the bag for another talk when I get around to sorting it out. Needless to say the whole thing took a lot longer than I anticipated and I only got finished a couple of days before I was due to present in Cottingham! My one and only talk until now has been about my journey as a textile artist and that’s the easiest subject to talk about as it’s what I know, no crib sheets required! This wasn’t going to be quite so easy, not the first time around anyway, and there was the added worry that others might not find it as interesting to listen to as I had done to research.

A Journey in Felt starts with the benefits of wool fibre and takes us from Iron Age discoveries through to the present day including some of the amazing felt creations featured in the annual World of Wearable Art Competition.

I gave my talk, A Journey in Felt, to an audience of approximately 120 ladies on the Saturday and breathed a huge sigh of relief with the positive response it received! That night I probably had the best nights sleep for several weeks and the following day we were back at the venue for the wet felted Fairy Slipper workshop.

Thirteen ladies took part in the workshop, 11 making the slippers and two of them opting to create a wet felted picture which they had done with me previously and had asked if they could do again.

Also in February I visited the Creative Stitchers at Great Coates where we spent the day painting, stitching and heat distressing Tyvek fabric to make our Tyvek leaves and 3D seed pods. I love the fact that, due to the process used, these pieces cannot be repeated so each one will always be totally unique!

Something I’m doing much more of now is small group workshops in my home studio. These tend to be groups of friends who book together either for a specific project or, as in the case of Margie, Di, Clare and Jacky, each one came with a certain idea in mind and I helped guide them towards completion. These ladies have been several times for wet felting and in February decided to ring the changes with some needle felting and Tyvek work.

Following a request earlier this year I put together a beginners Hand Embroidery Workshop. I love hand embroidery but tend to stick with using just the same two or three stitches so it was really nice to get back to basics and rediscover the ones I haven’t used for quite some time. Hand stitching isn’t something you can rush so it was also good to sit and relax and generally slow things down for a little while whilst making my samples.

In this class we progress through the different stitches with each student making a sampler which can be used for future reference. The sampler consists of 18 stitches (some basic and some not so basic!) and students also get a template of flower shapes which they can take away and stitch at leisure using their newly acquired skills.

The next images are of the first of these classes which was held at the Alford Craft Market Studio in February.

Later that month I had Emma, Kirsty and Sue come along to my studio for the beginners hand embroidery class.

Layer, Stitch & Burn is another fabric and stitch workshop but this time using the sewing machine and with the added excitement of “burning” our fabric! The first time I saw this technique being demonstrated was many years ago in a video by a Canadian textile artist called Susan Lenz. Susan works in many different mediums and styles and uses this technique for her In Box and Window series.

Last month I took Layer, Stitch & Burn to the Sleaford Embroiderers at their monthly gathering at the Hub in Sleaford. This is a fun, experimental workshop using a variety of synthetic fabrics. Techniques include cutting, layering, bonding, foiling and free motion stitching. Finally, once everything is held firmly in place, we burn away our background using a soldering iron & heat tool to leave a lace like effect. Most of the ladies would go on to finish their work at home but here are a few photos of their work in progress.

The next set of images show the beautiful Nuno Felted Scarves made by eleven ladies in Barton under Needwood, Staffordshire. These were all created by layering Superfine Merino with fine silk fabrics. Its always interesting to see the different colour combinations students put together and how some really go to town with the added elements such as prefelt, yarn, etc to create additional texture.

Every scarf made in these classes is totally unique and I’m always thrilled to see how happy students are with what they have achieved. It’s even more rewarding knowing, as with this group, that none of the ladies had used this technique before!

My most popular workshop currently has to be the Superfine Merino Roll Edge Collar with brooch fastener. I’ve done a couple of these in my studio recently and last month I travelled down to run the class in Ashby Magna, Leicestershire for Region 8 of the International Feltmakers Association. Ten ladies attended the class and achieved some really wonderful results.

It was a lovely surprise to see that Fiona had also brought along some fabulous wet felted birds and a hare to show me. She made these at home using techniques she had learnt in my Chicken Workshop in Arnesby, Leicestershire last October…..we were all very impressed!

Fiona’s wonderful 3D wet felted birds.

All in all it’s been a great start to 2023 and in between workshops I’ve been working on some creative projects of my own so will include those in future posts……I just need to keep up the momentum now I’m back at it!!

Forest Floor…..

I recently had the pleasure of running two consecutive one-day workshops for members of the Snape Textile Group up in the beautiful village of Bedale, North Yorkshire.

The group had booked my Forest Floor workshop which covers lots of different techniques for working with heat manipulative materials and creating the kind of stuff you find littering the forest floor such as leaves, twigs, bark and seed pods. With 30 ladies interested it was decided to split this fast paced class into two days to ensure all of them had the best learning experience and no one got left behind!

Real bark v fake bark

After each demonstration the students set to painting, stitching, wrapping and distressing (using heat guns and soldering irons) their Tyvek and Lutradur to create the various elements.

This is a sample based workshop and students are not necessarily expected to produce a finished piece of work by the end of it when it’s booked as a one day class. We do discuss how to pull everything together and create a suitable background but this is something that can be done afterwards at your own pace. If a group particularly want to see it through to the end it can either be booked as a two day class or we simply limit the amount of leaves made on the day to get a finished piece done. Yes, it’s those leaves that tend to hook folk in and then the time just disappears!

It was a full on weekend with the ladies producing an array of wonderful work and, hopefully, having a lot of fun in the process. This was the first time some had used a heat gun or a soldering iron but going by the response it won’t be the last!

Thanks to all for your enthusiasm, hard work and good company and a special thanks to Sarah Lowe for hosting me for the weekend. I’m looking forward to working with you all again at some point in the future.

EYE’s Residential Weekend…..

It’s been a long time coming but last weekend I taught my first face to face workshop of 2021 at Cober Hill near Scarborough. Originally booked for summer 2020, this residential workshop for the East Yorkshire Embroiderers had to be carried over to this year due to the Covid lockdown restrictions.

I did wonder if it was too soon for some and if numbers would be depleted but it turned out the ladies were very keen to get back to normal! Nineteen of the twenty ladies booked for the weekend retreat turned up, sixteen came to do the workshop and three came simply to chill.

Cober Hill was built in 1890 and was purchased by Arnold Rowntree, former Liberal Member of Parliament for York, and nephew of the chocolate manufacturer Joseph Rowntree, in March 1920. Rowntree had a vision for it “to be a place of joy and beauty, …a centre of refreshment and inspiration for many of those engaged in difficult public services… I hope experiments in Weekend Schools, Winter and Summer Schools of various kinds and of longer or shorter duration may also be tried there…” The venue, with its gardens, tennis court, croquet lawn, theatre and numerous other communal spaces, offers an annual programme of craft workshops as well as hosting private groups, businesses and schools.

The theme for our weekend was “trees” and the aim was for the students to combine layers of fabric and paint with machine and hand stitching. The finished work could then either be backed as a quilt or mounted in a frame.

After dinner on the Friday evening the group were shown examples of my “tree themed” work and I talked through the techniques I had used to create them. The ladies then started to plan their designs based on images they had brought for inspiration. Not everyone wanted to do trees, one lady chose to use the techniques discussed to do a moon gazing hare while another went completely “off piste” with her abstract take on an owl!

Maggie went her own way with an Owl
Melanie painting her background layer.
Dorothy and Debra painting their backgrounds.
Ann laying down the background for her trees.
Rachel’s background is painted and now she’s working on her foreground layers.
Sandra adding detail to her foreground trees.

With the bulk of the painting completed and dried on Friday evening the ladies could concentrate on layering and stitching their fabrics on the Saturday.

Hilary’s background has been painted and now she is layering up her sheer fabrics to create depth to her forest.
The moon gazing Hare is starting to take shape.
Dorothy’s forest is pinned and ready for stitching.
Evelyn’s work in progress.

I think the surprise of the weekend was Melanie who only came to Cober Hill to keep Ann, her grandma, company. This young lady doesn’t have the use of a sewing machine and had never done any free motion stitching before…..she borrowed Ann’s machine and took to it like a duck to water!

Melanie’s lone tree is starting to take form.
Rachel adding her gate and railings.
Ruth is beginning to add hand stitched detail to her tree.
Debra used lots of free motion stitch on her version of a tree canopy.
Using the same image as Debra for inspiration, Carol created a tree canopy in autumn colours.
Judy took her inspiration from my Walk in the Forest.
Hilary made good use of zig zig free motion stitch for her background trees.
Margaret did her take on my Three Tall Trees.
Dorothy added hand embroidery for her foreground grasses and flowers.
Melanie’s finished work…..fantastic to think this was her first attempt at machine sewing and hand embroidery!
Rhona’s moon gazing Hare….what this image doesn’t show clearly is the addition of black beads which adds texture and sparkle when you see it close up.
Close up of Sandra’s finished trees.

What I hadn’t realised at the outset was that none of these lady’s had done anything like this before, so for some it had been a steep learning curve! It was great to see everyone throwing themselves into the task of painting, layering and stitching and the results speak for themselves! By the time we left Cober Hill on the Sunday there had been some terrific work created. I hope some of my students will continue to develop these techniques alongside their more traditional skills. At least one of them has since bought herself a soldering iron for doing more of this kind of work which was music to my ears!

I just want to say a huge thank you to the EYE’s group for inviting me back to teach their 2021 residential and for being such willing students and wonderful company. I shall look forward to working with you again at some point in the future.

The EYE’s class of 2021

Layer, Stitch & Burn…..

One of my favourite workshops has to the Layer, Stitch & Burn which I will be running again at the Alford Craft Market Centre on November 16th. This class teaches a technique made famous by the American mixed media textile artist Susan Lenz.

The title sums it up exactly, we begin by layering our fabrics, we use free motion machine stitching to hold them all together and then we set them fire! OK, so we don’t go quite that far but we do apply heat to manipulate and burn away sections of our work which results in a beautiful lacey effect.

This is an example of Susan’s work

I first discovered Susan’s work via a video on YouTube where she was teaching how she made her “In Box” series. I had only just discovered there was such a thing as textile art and had started experimenting with my own projects, so to see a Textile Artist with a heat tool and a soldering iron was pretty exciting stuff! It inspired me to research further which led me to Margaret Beal and her book New Ideas in Fusing Fabric…..needless to say I’ve had an interest in manipulating fabric by burning ever since!

Originally In this workshop we made a square piece of work to fit a small box frame but there is also the option of using this technique to make several smaller pieces which can be used as brooches. These leaf brooches were made using the same fabrics that are supplied for the workshop and the same method but students can apply it to any shape or subject matter.

Leaf Brooch made using the Layer, Stitch & Burn technique

It’s very strange times right now and, understandably, lots of ladies are not yet ready to come back to classes. I’m just hoping that we get enough interest to run this workshop on the 16th……fingers firmly crossed!

Needle Felted Animals…..

Since I began running workshops I’ve frequently been asked if I do classes for making needle felted animals. Up until now my answer has always been “no, but I can point you in the direction of someone who does”. It’s not that I don’t like needle felting, or animals, it’s just something I have never done and never particularly fancied doing…..up until now!

When I received a request for animal needle felting just before Christmas I decided the time had come to include it in my workshop programme. These are my first needle felted animal workshop samples and I have to admit I thoroughly enjoyed making them and feel I’ve really been bitten by the bug!

They were made using wire armatures, wrapped with core wool, and then “cladded” with blended and carded fibres. I can feel a few more hatching so watch this space!

Paint, Layer & Stitch…..

Today I was invited down to North Kilworth, Leicestershire to work with fourteen ladies from the textile group “Textend”. We spent the day painting fabric, layering with sheers and tulle and stitching to create our tree themed landscapes. Some ladies worked from imagination while others took inspiration from photos or cards. Although there is still work to be done, as you can see, the pieces are looking great. Many thanks to Ruth for inviting me and look forward to seeing some of you again next week.

Quilters Guild AGM…..

I slept like a baby last night having got home after three very busy, and very enjoyable, days at the Quilters Guild AGM. The event was held on the Jubilee Campus at Nottingham University and attended by approximately 450 enthusiastic quilters. Over the three days participants had the choice to be entertained, and educated, by hour long lectures, half hour mini workshops and demonstrations, half day workshops and full day workshops. There were several traders, a wonderful selection of second hand books at massively discounted prices, a raffle, tombola and exhibitions.

On the Friday morning I gave an illustrated talk entitled “My F-Plan Diet……Fabric, Fibre & Felting” all about how I was introduced to Textile Art and Feltmaking back in 2014 and how my work has progressed, up to present day. I featured a number of pieces to look at in detail, explaining the background to the design process and the materials used.

In the afternoon The Guild held what they call the “Carousel”. This involved four tutors, each in a separate part of the room, demonstrating a particular technique. I called my sessions The Half Hour Flower and at the end of each half hour period and bell was rung and the participants swapped to a different tutor… was like speed dating for crafters!

The Half Hour Flower

With this being a “quilters” event, and with all the other guest tutors being textile artists, I felt privileged that the organisers had invited me specifically to teach and promote Feltmaking. On Saturday I had a class of 14 students making wet felted “Landscape” themed pictures, several were trying out wet felting for the very first time. The ladies each brought an image they wanted to create and we began by looking at how they could interpret the various shapes and textures in their design using fibre. Some students incorporated prefelts and everyone had time to do a little needle felting if they chose to, to begin to add the finer detail. The variety and quality of work produced in such a short time was amazing! Being quilters I think everyone was intending to add free motion stitch or hand stitching to their work once they got it home so I’m really hoping I get sent some images of the finished work.

Fantastic work all round from Saturday’s class!

On Sunday I had a class of six ladies making Wet Felted Bowls. We began by discussing the different fibre layouts that can be used to affect the shape and structure of 3D objects as well as how we can create interesting shapes using prefelts and differential shrinkage. The ladies each chose a style they wanted to create from my examples shown below and, as you will see, the results were terrific!

It was a great weekend and I got to meet, chat and work with some lovely ladies. I would just like to thank all my students for being so enthusiastic and working so hard! Thanks also to the Region 10 Committee for inviting me to be a part of it and hope to work with you again in the future.

Sweet Nothings Retreat…..

Sweet Nothings Retreat


I am thrilled to announce that I will be offering two wet felting workshops in France this coming July. The workshops will be held at Sweet Nothings Art and Crafts Retreat in the beautiful Charent region. The retreat is owned and run by husband and wife team Natalie and Lawrence, originally from the UK, and you can read how they came to be running a business in rural France by clicking here.

The price is €700 sharing a twin or double room or €850 for single occupancy of a double or twin room. As Natalie says…”once you’ve arrived each week is fully inclusive, you really don’t have to spend any money at all.  We feed guests well and provide wine and snacks.  I provide airport transfers also, from Bordeaux, Bergerac and Limoges, also Angouleme / Bordeaux train station.  When not in the workshop you will also have the opportunity of going on a couple of trips, again at no extra cost. If requested I can organise payment by instalments for guests, which some people find useful.“

During your six day retreat you will have three workshop days and, with a maximum number of six students per class, there will be lots of opportunity for one to one time. A small class also allows for lots of flexibility so we can tailor your project to suit your specific wishes/needs rather than all having to work on the same design or template. This also means we can accommodate absolute beginners alongside those of you who may have experience of Wet Felting but want to experiment or develope your technique further. On booking you will be sent a (very) short Requirements List of items to bring – nothing that can’t easily be packed for travelling!

15th – 20th July Nuno Scarf/Collar – In this workshop we will be working with Superfine Merino and silk fabrics, learning the basics of Nuno Felting, to create a beautiful, soft scarf/collar. Each student will work at their own pace and, once finished, you have the option of relaxing or putting your new found skills to practise on another item such as , Necklace or Bracelet. Being both practical and decorative, the beautifully soft, extremely lightweight Necklets bridge the gap between a scarf and a necklace and are ideal for wearing under a jacket on cool evenings. The necklaces and bracelets introduce another technique, differential shrinkage, which allows us to create interesting, undulating surfaces on a flat plane. Once again, each of the additional projects will be totally unique and these can be further embellished with hand embroidery and beads. It’s your retreat…you decide!

15th – 20th July Superfine Merino Scarves and Collars

Nuno Necklets – perfect for wearing under a jacket
Nuno Felted Necklace and Bracelet

22nd – 27th July Wet Felted Wallhanging – In this workshop we will be covering a variety of techniques including wet felting, needle felting, free motion stitch and hand embroidery to create our own unique wall hanging. It is suitable for any ability from absolute beginner to the more experienced felt maker as well as being a great introduction to free machine embroidery for those who haven’t yet tried it.

Using photographs or sketches as our source of inspiration we will begin by designing our layout and colour scheme. There will be examples to look at as we explore the different techniques we might use to create our pictures. The main body of our work will be wet felted, using loose fibres to “paint” our pictures. We will also explore the use of our own hand made pre felts, needle felting, hand and machine stitching to add areas of detail. Students can work to any size they wish, working on a large scale and concentrating on the one project, or working to a smaller scale and having the choice of an add-on felting project or simply enjoying more “free” time!

22nd – 27th July Wet Felted Wall Hangings
Flower Meadow – Merino wool, wet felted and machine embroidered.

If you would like more information about the workshops I will be offering please use the contact form to get in touch. If you have any queries regarding the accommodation or would like to make a booking please do that via the Sweet Nothings Website.

Lutradur Forest Workshop….

A Walk in the Forest art quilt by Karen Lane

Walk in the Forest

Today was day one of a two-day Lutradur Forest Workshop at the Simply Stitch Studio, Wetherby.  Using my “Walk in the Forest” design as a starting point, eight ladies have begun the day designing their own “Forest” art quilt which will consist of several layers of Lutradur fabric.  Today the Lutradur has been cut out and painted and tomorrow we will begin layering and stitching the fabric in place.  As you can see from the photos not only is each design unique but also each student is displaying a distinct style of their own.

The ladies start by drawing out their design ideas on paper

The Lutradur is cut out and painted

Cutting out foliage using a soldering iron

This is where we are at the end of day one…..

Tomorrow we will bring all the main elements together and stitch them in place before adding any foreground detail and hand stitching.  I’m really looking forward to seeing how these pieces develop!