Sunday, 30 January 2011


Hello Affinity!

It's been a while since the last Newsletter but now I have lots to report. We had an excellent meeting last week with more squares presented which I think have become more inventive and gorgeous as the months have gone on. Very well done to everyone. I can't wait until the final letter has been completed and we can see all the squares together in one huge display – it will be spectacular!

This month's letter is 'N' and the prompt words are Nought, Nap and Needle. Suggestions for 'Nought' are stitching across holes, burning away to nothing, dissolving away to nothing, using the letter O or zero.

For 'Nap', velvet, corduroy, suede, fur, moleskin etc.

And finally for 'Needle' twin, triple or wing needles, knitting needles.

And of course any other ideas you might have, these are just to get you started.


I've been giving some thought about our monthly meetings and how we can develop and use some of the time to inspire and educate us. This is taking us back to the General Structure for Affinity when we first set up back in August – here's a reminder of the Group's core principles:

  1. Share creative flair and embrace all types of stitching with like minded people

  2. Encourage new work and the personal development of its members

  3. Promote the art of stitching through exhibitions and displays; thereby encouraging and inspiring others and ourselves

  4. Support and improve the quality of textile creating in its broadest sense

With this in mind, and for those who were unable to come to the meeting, here's what we discussed for slots at our future meetings:

New gadgets/tools/products/books/websites etc. – Bring along anything that is new to you to show the rest of the group. For example for this meeting I brought along an Asian Flower Knot maker – a simple device with a lovely result available from Rainbow Silks. Shelagh brought along her manual felting machine and showed how it could be used to both texture fabric and 'tack' pieces of fabric/media together. A very useful desktop tool and not expensive available from Amazon.

David of Bee Inspired has also agreed to set aside any new products he gets in the shop for us to see firsthand.

I should emphasise that all the above are for viewing only and not for group use so you can rest assured that whatever you bring along will only be for showing.

Show and Tell – We all have a variety of hobbies which we pursue in our own time and it would be nice to share those interests with the group, so we will have a 'show and tell' section at each meeting. This can be any hobby related item (not City & Guilds stuff). I think a collection of various things to look at will give us all tremendous inspiration and help spark ideas for our own particular interests.

Speakers - At the odd meeting, it would be inspirational and educational to engage a speaker for a workshop. Everyone is asked to consider a suitable candidate. We can take a vote on any suggestions and then get an idea of cost involved and whether it's viable. We can decide between us whether we throw the evening open to others but this will probably be by invitation and pre-payment only. Please let me have your suggestions so that we can get the ball rolling as I imagine that we will have to book well in advance. Carol, you may be able to advise roughly what the going rate is for a fairly well known speaker/workshop?


Going back to one of our core principles of 'promoting the art of stitching through exhibitions and displays', Shelagh made a very good point in that we need to build up a body of work before we commit ourselves to an exhibition. We already have a group piece, now well under way with the squares, which we plan to select from and form into one large display. We only have two more letters to go and need to put our minds to what we do next.

The following are some ideas I had one very sleepless night but would welcome any further suggestions before or at the February meeting. I'll collate them and publish on the blog and then we can take a vote at the March meeting on which idea we take forward first. The March meeting will be the last letter and so for April we will have a brainstorm on the chosen idea and get everyone fired up and ready for the off. It might be nice to celebrate the conclusion of our Affinity Squares by each bringing some little nibbles along?

Shelagh suggested that we have some common ground to our chosen idea, such as colour and size. We decided her suggestions of an 8" x 8" square and using a seasonal colour pallet was excellent. Our work will be either mounted onto a canvas block or in a frame (Wilkinson's have some nice but cheap frames available – it might be nice if we all had the same?)

Here are my suggestions:

From Print to Stitch – we each choose a photo, image, or picture from a magazine and use that as our inspiration to produce a piece of work. We can brainstorm various methods of translating and/or manipulating the image and how to move that on into stitch.

A Song for All – Recently the song 'Vincent' by Don Maclean was doing the rounds on YouTube and email. It is a song about Vincent Van Gogh and I thought what better song could we choose to inspire us for stitch. We could use the words of the song, the mood it provokes in us, or Van Gogh's paintings.

All Square – Taking Shelagh's idea of enlarging one of the squares a bit further – we could all choose one or a combination of the small squares we have made as our inspiration and produce an 8" x 8" piece which will be either mounted or framed.

On Location – my last idea is for later in the year when the weather is warmer and the nights are lighter. Decide upon a meeting place/venue between Kettering and Northampton, taking our sketch books/cameras. From the sketches/photos we can produce a piece of work. As an addition to this idea – it might be nice for us all to have a pub meal or a drink afterwards????

We will be taking a vote on which idea we go forward with first, whether it be one of the above or someone else's suggestion, at the March meeting, so start thinking about other ideas or the one that appeals to you.

Lastly for those of you who haven't been able to get along to our meetings – we miss you! Please don't feel you have to have produced lots of squares to be able to come – you can just join in with the current letter, we don't mind and would love to see you.

Look forward to seeing you all on 24th February.

Brenda x


Hi All,
I must apologise, the photos I took of the gorgeous squares you brought to the meeting haven't turned out right - I had the camera on the wrong setting. As you know I wasn't feeling up to par on the evening otherwise I would have checked my settings more carefully. Anyway, could you please all bring these squares back with you to the February meeting and I will make a better job. I'm so disappointed because I think they were all absolutely stunning!
Many thanks.
PS Newsletter follows, if I can manage to get it on the blog :)

Tuesday, 25 January 2011


Hi all
Hope you have been making squares?  Remember that you could make one square & then use all the ideas to make a larger piece.
See you hopefully on Thursday