Thursday, 15 December 2011

Festive Cheer

We've just been finishing off all outstanding tasks here in the office today before our Christmas break.  The last lot of feedback has just been emailed off and its starting to look like we may actually be up to date with everything!  We're back on the 9th Jan, so a good long time for spending with friends and relatives (or in my case with the writing up for the results chapter of my thesis!!). Full details of our Opening Times are available on the news page of SST's Website

This week has gone by in a flurry of completing outstanding projects that have been promised to various magazine for next year.  Unfortunately yesterday was less of a gentle pace and more break neck rush for the Stitch magazine project than it should have been because we had 'mislayed' the high res images of the various making stages.  Consequently the project had to be re-made and photographed en route.  What I can now say with confidence is that the whole item can be completed in just over 2.5 hours with no breaks for coffee and no standing back to admire one's handiwork!  It will be available in Stitch magazine early next year - not sure as yet of the exact release date, but I'll let you know when I am.  Below is a sneak preview of one of the 'Shopping Dollies'. there are also other projects from us coming out in Making magazine, The Quilter and Popular Patchwork as well as others.

Hope you all have a wonderful and peaceful Festive Season and a great 2012
Gail  xxx

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Whats On in 2012

Marj and I have just put the finishing touches to the Whats On in 2012 download and it's now available from  as a pdf download.  We do this for student information, of course, but also to keep us all on the straight and narrow here in the office. We work on the principle that if it's down in black and white somewhere we are commited to hit the deadlines. It becomes all too easy to delay getting a newsletter done or a competition details published, but if we have a list of what date everything has to be completed by we need to hit the date (or look at least a little silly!).  Hopefully it works - at least it did last year!

Hopefully those of you who are on our database will have received an email from us over the last day or two detailing our Christmas Holiday dates, but for those of you who aren't yet listed on our mailing list the details are below:
SST Christmas Opening Times
We will be open as usual until Wednesday 14th December 2011 and reopen on Monday 9th January 2012.  For students wishing to be certain of getting feedback before Christmas, please let us have any post or files before the 12th December.

Also new today are our most recent photos of student work sent in over the last few days.  You can find this at  A taster photo of one or two are below.

Friday, 25 November 2011

New Colouricious DVD's shortly available

Jamie Malden from Colouricious has just emailed me to let us know that Colouricious will shortly have 2 new dvd's for sale.  The one by Gina Ferrari is particularly interesting and Colouricious have also set up a short excerpt from it that you can view for free at THIS ADDRESS
If you'd like to know more about Gina on a day to day basis you can follow her blog at "Fan my Flame" - the address is

Friday, 11 November 2011

It's been a COLD week!

My apologies for the late posting - I've been full of cold all week and finally decided to take a few days off rather than spread it around the office.  It's been a while since I had such a bad one - I've singlehandedly kept tissue manufacturers in business this week!

Anyhow, feeling much better now.  I guess these things have their time.  Not too much to post this week, though as I've been at home for most of it feeling sorry for myself. 
However, there have been a couple of hundred more photos gone up onto our flickr account this week, for those of you who would like a peek the address is  .  Just as a taster, Jean B's machine embroidered hand is above.
Also, there is a new Christmas card competiton on our Facebook page which went live yesterday - details are below:
The theme for the FB competition is any textile technique Christmas /Festive Season Card that you have made to send to someone.
The winner will receive 3 yards of Christmas themed cotton fabrics in fat quarters to add to their stash for next year, so 12 different ones in all. Runner up will receive 1yard Christmas fabric in 4 different designs.
All you have to do to enter is photograph your card before you send it and upload a photo to SST's FB page on or before the 25th December 2011.
The winner will be chosen by Jeanette Ranson and announced on SST’s Facebook on 12th Jan 2012.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Making Magazine

Over the last few months I've been really disappointed with the number of magazines which have been closed down or taken out of circulation - Workbox seems to be the latest casualty with Classic Stitches the one before that - a real shame as they were both really solid publications which had (certainly in the case of Workbox) been around for years.   I guess it is a case of economic issues and also a movement towards more online advertising, but I'm still really sorry to see them go. RIP to both of them.

However on the brighter side some are now starting up and I wanted to let you know how much I liked the one that has just been sent to me. It's called MAKING and is from the same stable as Craftsman, but with a much more upbeat, modern twist.  Maybe a little simplistic for very experienced needleworkers, but still a great source of ideas and suppliers.  I loved their paper dress project - photo shown.  You can find them HERE

Thursday, 27 October 2011

New work in area

Now there's been a slight lull in the storm of the past few months full on activity with a new site and Level 2 courses, we're belatedly started working on getting our new galleries on Flickr and YouTube up to date and have started a 'Newest In' area where we showcase some of the work tutors have received in for feedback during the last month.  Hopefully for those of you who visit the galleries often, it should be the go to area for the latest work. 
You can visit it at
We will also be adding to our YouTubes with a series of presentations for students so they are able to see examples of past student work in powerpoint format. 
Janet has been busy with collage this week - a quick peek of some of the stages below: 

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Janet's samples - a few days late!

In my last post, I did volunteer Janet's samples for inspection as well as my own - however she took it in good part and I now have images of others to share.  We're still working on sampling for the next Level 2 courses, although lots of incoming student assessments have rather intervened this week - at least on my behalf. 

Below are Janet's samples from recycled t-bags - impressive, huh?

Friday, 14 October 2011

Another sample!

Another sample has found its way out of the workshop - as usual, still only part finished, but using old jeans, UTEE (Ultra Thick Embossing Enamel), tomato puree tubes, heat and print.  It's still only half way there, but maybe you'll enjoy the look at something that still has some way to go?
This is the next set of sampling for our next 3 Level 2 courses, due out early 2012, although (not wishing to boast here...) they are progressing well, so anything is possible - even the prospect that we could be ahead of time for once!!!! Janet is due in on Monday with some more samples, so I'll post hers up then - I know tea dying has featured this week, cos she text me to tell me she was having a ball with it.......I wonder if she was being tongue in cheek?!
We're also trialling a new method of letting students know where they should be up to and when by sending text messages at strategic points throughout their modules. This cropped up time and time again during our recent large study - students like to have a timescale to work to and reminder of where they should be up to at any given time easily to hand.  At the moment we're 'testing' this with our new Level 2 delivery and to that end an email has gone out to our database today with a 20% off code - 2WKNOV14 - which can be used when ordering to get the discount.  It's available on Level 2 only and until the 28th of this month, so just a 2 week window.
Have a lovely weekend all - see you Monday or Tuesday with Janet's new samples.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

It's been a while - sorry folks!!  Just a really hectic week after my return from holiday playing catch up.  Lovely time in Jersey - when we booked it I was thinking 'shame about the autumn weather' but in fact it was glorious!  On the last day it hit 29degrees - some sort of record for autumn breaks, surely! My tooth lasted out - although it's still sensitive, but at least I didn't have to take the antibiotics. 

Janet and I have been working on samples for Level 2 courses this week - I'll post a couple of photos below as a quick preview. Mine is the blue curly number and hers is the brighter woven one.  It's been a really nice change to be doing something hands on rather than being a desk jockey!  You can probably tell they're under construction from the amount of pins holding everything together!!

Friday, 23 September 2011

Lace Exhibition at Birmingham and Dentistry

I've had a relatively unpleasant day so far - when I got up I felt fine, but then the dentist phoned me at work and asked if I could take a last minute appointment in a half hours time. I'd been waiting to get a temporary filling in one of my teeth replaced, which had started to hurt, so I said yes pretty quickly.  However an hour later I gather my tooth has cracked down the middle, so although he has done his best to repair, it's touch and go if it will hold or need root canal.  Yuk - now feel very sorry for myself and drank my morning coffee through a straw!  We're away  for a few days, so I'm armed with antibiotics 'just incase'. 
Cherilyn Ward dropped me a line this week to ask if SST could promote a Lace Exhibition in Birmingham.  I have to admit that I sighed - bobbin lace has never been my thing - but this really is very different with some full room installations etc.  Lace in the loosest sense of the word.  Its called Lost in Lace  and will show at the Gas Hall at BMAG from the 29 October 2011 to 19 February 2012. Admission Free. More info from

Monday, 19 September 2011

Crafts Council Show this weekend

I'm ashamed to admit that a friend had to send me this from New Zealand - I simply hadn't realized that it had come around to the time of year for the Crafts Council Show again. Thank you, Elizabeth!  Christmas really is just around the corner!!
I have been on a couple of occasions and it is well worth a visit - Elizabeth also really enjoyed her time there when she visited London.  It's a great place for picking up some really unsual birthday/christmas presents.
For opening times and further details, go to the link below.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Guy Fawkes Night Competition on Facebook

Goodness—it seems very early to be thinking about fireworks and gunpowder plots, but it’s only 7 or 8 weeks off now!
The theme for the FB competition is anything with a black background, or made in predominately black fabric. That took some thinking about!!
The winner will receive 3 brand new books with a total list price of £42.90: Beginners Guide to Machine Embroidery by Pam Watts, Right From the Start by Chris Frances/Barbara Chainey and Practical Textile Techniques by Ruth Sleigh-Johnson.
The winner will be chosen by Helen Black and announced on SST’s Facebook on Monday 14th November 2011. Link is
All you need to do is post a photo of your work onto the FB page to enter.
Photos of the books are below - I'd certainly enjoy them coming to live in my library!

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

New Taster course now available

I promised in my last post that I would let you know when the new bag taster course was available from our site - it's gone live today and you can download it from the address below. It will help you embroidery and applique the front motif and also make up the bag afterwards. Hope you enjoy it.

Friday, 2 September 2011

New Taster Course coming shortly

We've been working on a new taster course this week - there's a photo of the 'finished item' below.  It should be put onto our site next week, once it's been checked for typos and 'deliberate mistakes'!

It's a bag for keeping your sewing or knitting things in  - we're especially pleased with the double use of the embroidery hoop - for keeping the work taut and then doubling up as handles.  I'll post the link when it's gone live - have a lovely weekend.