Monday, 23 December 2013

........Christmas shopping in Paris......

........Now the competition is over and winners have been notified, it is beginning to properly feel like Christmas is well and truly upon us, and it's time to to do some serious shopping!  Les Soeurs Anglaises certainly enjoy the brocantes and flea markets of La Belle France so the obvious place to start is Paris!   Equipped with walking shoes, bags and strong elbows, a quick trip on the TGV, Paris Metro and we are off.......


…ready to shop 'til we drop.

So much to see, so many little shops and stalls, with a variety of beautiful textiles, haberdashery, paper and much more. Oh, so much digging, below layers, under tables, on top shelves, a real Aladdins Cave, and the smell......... we know we will find some delightful gems!

Thursday, 19 December 2013

….. lucky winners….

Names have been plucked out of the hat and winners have been notified, but just in case you haven't heard, below are the names of the nine lucky ladies who have won various little prizes (some donated by our wonderful workshop leaders), after entering Les Soeurs Anglaises' 2013

ChRistmas Quiz.

A great big thank you again to all those people, from all over the world, who have taken the time to research our questions (not too seriously difficult, we trust) and send in their answers - there were many more correct than incorrect answers.  What clever people you all are; we have so enjoyed your messages and comments alongside your answers, and even if you didn't win this time we hope you'll try again when we set our next competition around Easter time.


Debra Hinton
Jane Pesch
Maggie Dunn
Carol Lofthouse 
Angela Bradshaw    
Jane Ann Walton 
Hannah Knowles 
Stella Adams Schofiled 
Paula Connors

Winners or not, we wish you all a Very Merry Christmas and best wishes for


Wednesday, 18 December 2013

…. results!…...

First of all a great big Christmassy thank you to all and every one who sent an answer to our Quiz.  It's been a massive hit and today we shall be taking a huge hat with all the successful names to our favorite local artist, Billie Jean Spille, to pick out the nine lucky winners.  We'll be sending out confirmations today, and listing the names here tomorrow - so watch this space - and we're hoping that at least some of the prizes will arrive before Christmas.  The answer to our final question, was of course, the sublime Janet Bolton who will be returning to Les Soeurs Anglaises next June to lead another of her hugely popular workshops for us next June.

Christmas Tree by Billie Jean Spille

We shall definitely miss opening your emails each morning, many with kind and entertaining messages, and we look forward to meeting some of entrants this coming year.  One or two of our 2014 events are already full, and others are getting that way, so if there is one that interests you don't delay too long.   You can book on-line or email us for an application form.

In the meantime, have a Merry Christmas!

Katie, Susu and Carol xx

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

…. christmas quiz LAST DAY!!...

Most everyone guessed correctly that the beautiful hand-embroidered dress of Question Eight was the work of the delightfully talented Jessie Chorley.  Jessie is returning to lead another five-day workshop for us, Usable Treasures, at the beginning of September next year and we can hardly wait.  She is such a pleasure to be around, and a huge inspiration to stitchers of all levels.  Meanwhile her shop in Columbia Road, London is chock-a-block full of Christmas goodies so if you are in the area, we thoroughly recommend a visit.

Which takes us up to our last Christmas Competition quiz and we thought you should have something festive and easy.  This lady has been on the Crafts Council's list of makers since 1985 and her work has been exhibited all over the world (in fact she is just back from Japan!).

So whose Christmas stitchery is this?

Don't forget you can still enter all the previous days' questions as long as you make it clear on your emails to us  which day you are entering.  Winners' names will be plucked from our now enormous hat and we'll let them know by email.  We'll also post a list on this blog within the next few days.

Monday, 16 December 2013

….christmas quiz day eight…..

Well, despite some protestations that yesterday's competition questions was too hard, nearly all of you got the answer right - it was, of course the beautiful illustrative work of Jone Hallmark; a consummate artist, designer and crafter (and born teacher!) and she will be joining forces with bookbinder extraordinaire, Alison Kuller, for the workshop Stitched and Bound here in July next year.  Together they will show participants not only how to make a simple book in several ways, but also how to decorate its cover and inside pages with divine cut-outs, block prints and numerous other methods.  It promises to be a fabulous hands-on explosion of techniques and definitely not one to be missed by anyone interested in paper, journals and illustration techniques.

Meanwhile, here is 

What is the name of this little lady whose raison d'ĂȘtre seems to be creating (and re-creating) beautiful things that you can wear or hang on your wall.  Julie Arkell is one of her biggest fan!

Sunday, 15 December 2013

….. christmas quiz day seven…..

The days seem to be speeding up and so do your answers to our competition questions.   Literally dozens of you guessed - correctly - that yesterday's fab little squares are the handiwork of super-knitter and designer, Marion Foale who will be leading her second workshop (due to popular demand!), Knitted Jewels, next October.  

Maybe Sunday's puzzle won't be so easy, though the workshop leader whose work is featured below has led a hugely successful event for us in the past, and will be returning next year with something a little different.   

In fact, she is so multi-talented that it's almost impossible to pigeon-hole her with one illustration; we're hoping you'll need to do your homework to find the answer to

Who drew these wonderful festive birds and symbols?

Saturday, 14 December 2013

…. christmas quiz day six…..

Yesterday's questions was easy peasy - or so it would seems from the huge number of correct answers we received.  
Those lovely feet all belonged to the divine creatures made by the effervescent Julie Arkell.  So you might find todays question a teensy weensy bit more difficult for those who like a challenge - let us just say, the answer is not quite as obvious as it might at first appear

Whose perfect four inch squares, made with her own super-delicious yarn for the ultimately stylish fit, are these?

Friday, 13 December 2013

….. christmas quiz day five...

The beautiful quilt we featured in our quiz yesterday was made by Christine Green, a new workshop leader on the Les Soeurs Anglaises' scene, but well-know and well-loved for her superb work and ebullient teaching style.

Many a correct (and a few incorrect) answers flowed in, but we thought it time to offer all you eager competitors something a bit more obvious.

And there will be a prize for guessing this one:

Whose famous feet are these?

Thursday, 12 December 2013

….christmas quiz day four…….

Congratulations all those of you who guessed that yesterday's beautiful book cover, stitched with her own dyed threads, was made by Claire Wellesley-Smith.   You can see much more of the exquisite colours she dyes her found and re-found fabrics - which she then uses to create intricate hand-stitched collages - in the equally beautiful photographs taken of her work and posted regularly on her blog. 

We are so looking forward to Claire leading her first workshop for us in May of next year, Slow Colour and Stitch.  It's going to be a cracker.

But as we push on to Christmas, here is

This workshop leader has more energy and talent than there are squares in this gorgeous quilt.  She'll tell you that her greatest passion when assembling fabrics is colour, but her checkered career in the arts has given her an especially infectious delight in re-inventing  textiles of all shades - both beloved and neglected - and then sharing her multifarious skills with all those who love stitch. 

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

…christmas quiz day three….

Onwards and upwards.  Answers have been pouring in, and our hat is getting fuller by the day.  But leave your worries on the doorstep and get your thinking caps on for

Now this multi-talented workshop leader really doesn't mind getting her hands dirty.  And when you see the results she gets when she does,you might want to give it a go yourself.  You'll need to search quite thoroughly through the various blogs, Facebook pages and websites to find the answer to today's question, but on the way you'll see some fantastic work..  So have fun.

The correct answer for yesterday's questions, by the way, was Rosalind Wyatt, our stitched calligraphy workshop leader whom we're thrilled will be teaching Grafted Words for us again next September.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

…. christmas quizday 2….

The answer to yesterday's competition question was, of course, Patricia Roberts whose timeless designs and fabulously colored knitting patterns have made her garments family heirlooms (we know women whose grand-daughters are now wearing PR sweaters that were knitted in the the seventies!).  Well done all of you who got it right;  your names will now go into a hat.

Let's see how you do today…..

You'll need to search a little harder for the creator of this wonderful work.  Although this workshop leader is well known for her beautiful stitching (Fortnum and Mason were recently decorated with some of her needlework), she is also an aficionado of traditional Japanese brushwork.  As participants discovered this year, a few days working alongside her can literally change your life.  

Monday, 9 December 2013

….day one…..

To kick this competition into court, let's start with a piece of work with a seasonal element by someone who most of you know either by her International reputation for color and composition, or are lucky enough to count amongst your possessions something she has designed (or maybe you have even made yourself) …….

Just email us with who you think designed this piece and, if you're correct, we'll put your name in our Christmas hat.

Don't forget to check out this blog every day for more questions (and prizes!).

Meanwhile, if you're living or visiting Wales in the next couple of months,  we recommend a visit to the newest exhibition "On My Mother's Knee", at Llantarnam Grange Arts Gallery, Cwmbranwhich opened on Saturday and will run until 11 January 2014Artists include two of our most popular workshop leaders, Julie Arkell  and Jessie Chorley.

Many makers grow up surrounded by materials and sewing paraphernalia, taught by their mothers and grandmothers to sew, knit, embroider, quilt and crochet.  Techniques learnt on their mother’s knee give these makers a unique identity and a shared past. Their pieces speak of  women’s work and domestic heritage as well as friendship, love and joy. The concept and execution of this show is an inspiration.

You can find more information on their website and there is a beautiful catalogue available which you might like to add to your arts and crafts library.

(please note this illustration is not part of Les Soeurs Anglaises' competition)

Saturday, 23 November 2013

… itching to get stitching …..

Last week whilst I was in London I had the great pleasure to meet up with Christine Green who will be leading the first patchwork workshop for Les Soeurs Anglaises in August of next year.  Christine has had an amazingly creative career;  Graphic Designer for the BBC, film producer and director of "The Art" series (see her short film on another of our workshop leaders, Julie Arkell),  needlepoint work for the Contemporary Textile Gallery London, Head of Film and Animation at the Kingston University and much, much more.  With a huge,  eclectic array of talents under her belt, her focus has turned towards pushing the boundaries of the art of stitching and patchwork and I was bowled over by her plans for the workshop she will be leading here next year.

Here is some of her work, as well as that of Claire Wellesley-Smith (another of our incredibly versatile workshop leaders who will be dyeing and stitching her way through a five-day event in May called Slow Colour and Stitch);  plus some mouthwatering pieces from various patchworkers around the world that we just love!  (Apologies to those uncredited images that we have collected over the years.  Do let us know if you recognize the artist/crafter and we will happily add their names and website)

Not entirely a patchwork, but a beautiful piece of needlework produced by Christine and featured in issue 15 of our favorite mag, UPPERCASE.  

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

… beautiful minds…...

…. Thought it time to show off one or two pieces of the beautiful work done by participants on the various workshops at Les Soeurs Anglaises this year.  

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

end of season blues....

The last of our participants have packed their bags and left the glorious early October sunshine down here in south west France to return home with their knitting - the place seems very quiet indeed.  Marion Foale was a delight and her first workshop with Les Soeurs Anglaises was unanimously voted a great success; unaccustomed as she is to teaching groups, she came with body blocks for everyone, together with patterns and samples .... and lots and lots of ideas and techniques and tips which she enthusiastically shared.  

Participants with more finely tuned knitting skills, were shown by Marion how to design sweaters and skirts and hats to fit their various shapes and sizes perfectly  A few increases here, a few dart decreases there and hey presto, an item that looked as good on as in our imagination.  More maths than we've done since leaving school (thank goodness for calculators), but all to good effect and great for the brain cells.

We are so looking forward to Marion returning next year, if she can fit us in her already busy fashion business schedule.

Her are some more photographs of the final days of the workshop...