• Karen Ives

Anyone else still stitching like crazy and trying to make more handmade gifts and pretty things to wear before Christmas?

It's funny how I always want to clear my never-ending list so I can start the new year with a clean slate. Of course, the reality of so many ideas and so little time makes this almost impossible. I really want to spend a little time drawing and designing over the Christmas break, somehow this process always seems like an indulgence to me. There it is in print now so I had better get on and do it!

Currently, I look a bit like this!

I made my Dastardly Owl from a pattern by Ann Wood and using fabric supplied by Lingard fabrics in Braintree as part of their #freefabricmake competition. He is such a character, I definitely need to make more!

I recently went on a lovely workshop run by Tracy Easson and created a tiny little fabric book filled with wishes and little stitched characters. Her enthusiasm is so infectious!


For me, a day sitting on the other side of the fence with someone teaching me was a refreshing change indeed. To spend it with great friends was the icing on the cake!

I am putting some final touches on two new workshops for spring and summer. One will be a combination of fabric painting, machine, and hand stitching. The other will be some pretty delicate slow stitching. There will also be a return of the machine embroidery beginners workshop for those who are waiting to attend. Please keep an eye out for the January newsletter for all the new dates and a special offer too.

Signing off now to get on and finish my to-do list.....

That just leaves me to say the hugest thank you to everyone who has attended my workshops this year and some amazing friends who have kept me going.

I have such an exciting and full year already planned next year so I really hope you all come along for the ride!

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all xx

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  • Karen Ives

I'm still here working hard behind the scenes, buried knee-deep in new projects and exhibition secrets!

I have been meeting some lovely new people during workshops and some new students too. Even though I love to create, inspiring others still gives me the greatest buzz!

There has been a little Barmy Birds craze and I have been teaching this at the Warner Textile Archive and at Frayed HQ. These little birds somehow take on a personality as the workshop progresses. Before you know it they all have names and a back story! This flow of chat and laughter really makes the day fun.

These are some samples of the birds created during a recent workshop.

Talking Toadstools, how topical as they seem to be in the news and they are certainly all over my garden. These lovely fabric toadstools can be made in all different sizes and with all the lovely scraps of gorgeousness at Frayed HQ. They are a workshop in January and places are filling fast.

Funky flowers are also popping up everywhere, they are following on with a little woodland theme.

You will see more about that in future posts, I love a little secret.......

These flowers certainly indulge my love of vintage bits and bobs!

That just leaves me with a very fancy pumpkin ..............

Happy Halloween!

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  • Karen Ives

Summer days drifting away..........

is it just me? Where have the last few weeks gone?

My thoughts are already planning ahead and I seem to be thinking of cosy cardigans and knitting socks!!

**I've never knitted socks so that is very strange**

I have squeezed in a lot of stitching and creative thinking as well as creating some lovely memories with the family.

If you read my previous blog post you will know i made a smocking journey to design Freya's Christening dress, here is the result and it fitted perfectly. I'm so glad I kept going even though I was tempted to buy a dress at one point. We had a lovely day in spite of all the heavy rain there had been. Ava's dress was made from some lovely heavy weight fabric I bought on my London trip in June. The weight of the fabric helped the skirt stand out.

I have been doing more experimenting with gelli printing to create a stock of printed fabrics. I made a larger A4 size plate from a recipe I found on you tube using Glycerine and Gelatine. It turned out perfectly and making larger prints is so much better. I did get very carried away and every available space was draped with drying fabrics! Look closely and you might see some designs forming, I am going to use some of them for seascapes.

And then there was Stick Man and his family made for Ava's birthday............

My lovely friend Dot helped me work out the pattern.

Now onto workshops which will be listed below..........

I have decided to reduce the number of workshops to once a month and they will be on a weekend as this seems to be the most popular all round. I apologise if this excludes anyone but it has been a learning curve trying to get this right. I am always willing to consider a different date for groups of three or more so it is always worth asking. I will also operate a waiting list so please email me if a workshop you are interested in has sold out.

2020 is already looking like a busy year with three exhibitions to work towards and lots of workshop ideas buzzing around in my head. Here are a few pretty things to look at that are on the new workshop programme.

I hope to see you on a workshop soon.

Love Karen x


Workshops at Frayed Round the Edges Autumn / Winter

Saturday 7th September- Take a different path (machine embroidered bowls)-10 am to 4 pm

Saturday 19th October – Birds, Birds, Birds – 10 am to 4 pm

Saturday 2nd November – Poppy Brooch 10 am to 1 pm

Saturday 23rd November – Outside the box 10 am to 4 pm

Friday 6th December – Fairy Mary -10 am to 1 pm or 7pm to 9.30 pm (ish)

Sunday 15th December – Sumptuous Stockings 10 am to 4 pm

Saturday 18th January 2020 – Such a Fungi! 10 am to 4 pm

Saturday 22nd February 2020 – Bags of Room 10 am to 4pm

Workshops at Warner Textile Archive

Friday 20th September - Steampunk Bird 10 am to 4 pm

Thursday 5th December - Fairy Making 10am to 1 pm


Workshops at Cressing Temple Barns

Thursday 14th November - Gelli printed cards 10am to 4 pm


Workshops at Elm Farm Studio

Monday 15th June 2020 Ailes de Papiere (paper wings)

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