Les Soeurs Anglaises


.... Let's start again.....

Leaving the old year behind and welcoming in the new, allows us all an opportunity to reappraise and reassess our lives and lifestyles. It's surprising how many goals we put off until this time but, hey, better now than never.  Much as we at Les Soeurs Anglaises love our workshops and the stimulating and delightful people we always meet, this quiet time is as necessary as any trip away from home to refresh our approach to life.

In an effort to prolong this gentle viewpoint, our workshops offer participants the opportunity to leave their adult troubles at home for a few days and enjoy the pleasures of working with our hands; the repetitive processes involved in (re)creating new from old... or simply fixing or reconfiguring what is broken or damaged to make it beautiful - and often useful - again.. A line of yarn, a block of cross-stitch, a ball of wool, some papier maché stained with colours from the garden, a dash of joyful music and we are transported to our younger years when life was so much less complicated.  Once our hands have learnt to relax, to settle, to lead the making, a whole new vision appears. 

This is often the season when we glance back to a time when our lives may appear to have been so much simpler; but there are ways in which we can return to that unselfconscious, creative life without nostalgia. We are delighted that Celia Pym and Richard McVetis, both champions of the art of upcycling will be combining their skills and experience to lead our first joint workshop, Embroidery and Mending, in September this year. During the week long event, there will be an emphasis on the slow rhythms of hand-stitching, surface design, pattern, texture and embellishment to demonstrate how a unsightly flaw in a damaged sweater, or a torn or marked piece of clothing, can offer the perfect opportunity to enhance its beauty and bring it back from neglect.  (Places are already beginning to fill up for what promises to be a very special workshop).

Meanwhile, here are some images to remind you of past experiences.......

Our Slow Stitchery week will be spent under the watchful eye of master quilt-maker (and award winner), Chris Manning whose passion for patchwork and quilting covers both traditional and modern designs and techniques.  For those with little or no experience who would like to learn the basics Chris will be there to guide you through all the skills you need to make a simple small quilt, from beginning to end, from cutting the fabric, piecing and pressing seams to hand sewing the binding in place. With luck (and a little work) you will have a finished quilt to take home with you – and the skills to go on to make other quilts at home!  And for those of you with more experience who want to launch or get on with a project of their own, she will be available for advice and hands-on assistance whenever needed.

To jazz things up a little, we'd like you to know that bookings are now open for our Blues & Boogie Weekend, our second fund raising event, this time in aid of Medécins sans Frontières.   Residential places for this event are strictly limited so don't wait too long before booking - we guarantee it will be the highlight of your year.

Other thoughts for the New Year:

Get passively militant in a crafty sort of way by joining the Craftivist Collective blog and learn a few tricks about how stitching CAN make a difference.

Commission a beautiful necklace by Rebecca Hector Clarke

The wonderful mixed media artist, Cas Holmes, now sells some of her work on  Tictail. Definitely worth a visit.

Or just pop over to Paris in February before all the tourists arrive, for the 14th Aiguille en Fête exhibition.  Always full of fabric and unexpected haberdashery!


Don't forget to take a peep at our January Recipe, or head to our Inspirations for some visual delights and another little quiz.  (Last month's hidden photograph was of the photographer Sarah Moon, and the first person to give us the correct answer has hopefully received her little prize by now.)  

Bonne chance!


katie armitage