Applications to The Stitchbook Collective for 2019/20 were open from 10th May 2019. There were 150 places available. The group was FULLY SUBSCRIBED within less than one month.
Each member has set up a standing order for £25 per month, for the 12 months of the course. Each month they receive a Workshop Kit through the post, with all the materials and instructions needed to complete the workshop - in their own time and their own space. The also receive the password to an ONLINE VIDEO showing all the techniques and instructions in clear focus.
The idea of The Stitchbook Collective is to allow people the opportunity to work as part of a group, to have regular contact with the course provider and other members of the group, via social media and live demonstrations. The group has it's own closed facebook group, newsletters and members' page on the website.
The course is divided into 12 workshops, and although each workshop is a 'stand-alone' project, the information and skills learnt build step-by-step into a comprehensive record of Mixed Media and Textile techniques.
The work from the course is stitched into a calico book. The basic pages for the book are provided, but the covers and their design are all unique and individual to each member.
Example of Text from Starter Kit Instructions
Sample 4: Fabric Collage
When you are sewing:
a Give yourself undisturbed time.
b Make sure you have good lighting.
c Don’t let your eyes strain.
d Sit in a comfortable position.
e Make sure that you relax and loosen your neck and shoulders every couple of minutes.
f Concentrate only on the work you are making and watch the needle as it rises and falls through your work.
· Open the collage pack. It has various pieces of fabric for you to create a sample page for your Stitchbook.
· How you use the fabrics, where you place them, and how you stitch them is now up to you … use any items you have left from the Starter Kit pack too … add pieces from your own ‘stash’ …
· Use what you have learnt from the previous 3 samples to decide on layering, which stitches you want to use, how you can utilise the ’puckering effect’ of the stitching ...
· Pin the fabric into place before stitching. Remember you can stitch one layer, then add another on top and stitch again. You don’t have to work through all layers at once.
This piece should be worked over several short sessions. No more than about 10/15 minutes at a time. Each time you go back to it, hold the work in your hands and try to reconnect with it. Take a long look at what you have already stitched and see how you would like to continue. It will tell you when it is finished, and it may look very different from how you envisaged it looking from the start. It will find its own presence.
Example from video No 1 of 12
The stitchbook collective September 2019 - August 2020
Examples of work produced by members of The Collective (Sept - Dec 2019)
After making a complete mess at my first attempt for the Canadian Smocking sample I persevered and finally ‘got it’. I was so chuffed I used a piece of fabric that I dyed using some of the weakened dye-bath ( November workshop) and smocked a hydrangea!
Can’t believe that I have actually finished this month’s samples before the end of the month - a first for me!
Log cabin is one of my favourite patchwork designs so thought I would give it a go to show the amazing array of shades you can achieve using the same dye on different fabrics with different immersion times. When I say ‘finished ‘ I may of course still add a few tweaks here and there...
Rainy day so decided to come out of my comfort zone and don the plastic gloves! Must admit I was quite worried about this but ended up really loving it especially the tie dyeing ! Letting it all dry properly and waiting for inspiration to strike !
I have been so far away from my comfort zone I was in the next county, called Help and Panic. However thanks to the collective, Helen Birmingham's wonderful video and set of instructions I find myself the very proud possessor of all this colour and rust. When I finally wound the floss I found myself gently crying with joy at this achievement. I never thought I could do all the measuring and mixing let alone have anything that looks this pretty. Next step is some stitching. I have absolutely no idea on which stitches to put where, so I shall leave the fabric for a while and then let it lead me where it will. And it goes without saying that I have drawn great inspiration by reading the posts here, thanks everyone. Now for that nice mug of tea....
Here is my rust staining effort. The second piece was a bit nondescript but did have a mirror image of the square shape so I took it off and attached it to the main piece and then just followed the stitches!
I'm enjoying this!! Did some slow stitching with some dyed cotton tape (sewn together) last night. Thanks to the smocking practice that we did last month, I've ended up with a little piece that I would never have thought of making before...thanks to Helen
Slow stitching on my rust sample , I can’t decide if less is more or to keep on stitching
Some Comments and shares on Facebook Group about Workshop No 3 of 12
Staining & Dyeing Fabric
Course Exhibition and what comes next?
An application is being made to The Knitting & Stitching Show in Harrogate for November 2020. We hope to be able to display the work of ALL 150 members of The Stitchbook Collective 2019/20 in a Gallery Space at the exhibition. The work will be exhibited on 18 1mx1m hessian covered canvases, with 8 stitchbooks to a canvas. Since the work is so tactile, members of the public will be able to engage with the Stitchbooks, even being able to request particular books being taken down for closer inspection. There will also be the opportunity for people to rest, sit for a while and try some slowstitching of their own. Applications for 150 members for The Stitchbook Collective 2021 will be open. The next 12 month course is due to start in January 2021. (There may also be the possibility of an 'advanced course' and further exhibitions to come! - watch this space!)
This is how the finished Stitchbooks will be displayed at the exhibition. The front and back covers will be outermost, and will be unique and designed by you, hopefully drawing on what you will have learnt over the course. There will be 8 books to 1mx1m canvases.
Additional information and online shop
The unique design of Untangled Threads' STITCHBOOK pages and method of construction is covered by unregistered design legislation. Copyright and Design Registration Number pending. (16th July 2019) £1 from the sale of every workshop kit is donated to the mental health charity MIND. This should amount to nearly £2,500 each year. The Stitchbooks, the course and the workshop kits and instructions were designed exclusively by Helen Birmingham of Untangled Threads. Supreme Creations were commissioned to make an initial production run of 5,000 handmade calico pages under the label of Bags of Ethics. This is a label that recognises manufacturers and brands that have made conscious efforts to respect people and the planet across their supply chain. Supreme Creations work with farmers of cotton who are certified under organisations such as Fairtrade, Global Textile Standards and the SEDEX ethical auditing body. Supreme Creations owns the factory in Pondicherry, South India where the pages were made. 9/10 of the factory workforce are women who are the main breadwinners for their families. The company assists in the cost of education for children of their workforce.