Sunflowers for a War Zone

Maggie has written a mini Workshop – Sunflowers for a War Zone – based on Bev Caleno’s Forever Autumn: A mixed media landscape in WOWbook 08.

For those of you who follow us on social media and receive our Newsletter, you’ll have seen that we have a new WOW Challenge. We are asking you to make a Sunflower to help the people of Ukraine. Your Sunflower can be anything – a wallhanging, a book cover, a brooch, a postcard or greetings card, a bag – or anything else you fancy making. Once made, please post it to us at  d4daisy books, 19 Merriefield Ave, Broadstone, Dorset, BH18 8DA by the 18th April. We will display all your work at the Brockenhurst Needlework Fiesta (23-24 April 2022) and sell on a donations basis there.

WOWbook 07 – It’s here

Good afternoon. We are delighted to tell you that WOWbook 07 has just arrived and we are busy packing it up ready for launch next week.

In this bumper edition:

  • Chris Gray creates Medieval Fragments using embossing powder, screen printing and stitch
  • Maggie Grey describes her technique for rubbing away photo transfers
  • Jan Horrox makes a cloth doll with a difference
  • In our special feature, Amo House tells us how she creates her colourful temari balls
  • Sue Munday uses computer design, Thermofax printing and stitch to create a collage
  • Julie-Ann Wrathall layers with wax and dammar
  • Maggie Grey talks to Nikki Parmenter about her work in our celebrity interview.

Sue Munday

Don’t forget that it’s not just a book, but you also get exclusive admission to our members’ only club where, to start you off, you’ll find bonus workshops from Nikki Parmenter and Karen Torrisi. Plus there are videos from Lynda Monk and Amo House. Coming soon – we’ll be adding further Modules to Lynda Monk’s Marvellous Mixed Media course.

You’ll be able to order from Monday morning, 12th July over at


Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Good morning. We have a little pre-Christmas treat for you. Fran Holmes’ online workshop “Serviette Quilting” has just been added to the WOWbook 06 members’ club. Fran makes a book cover using a pretty paper napkin – so keep hold of those Christmas serviettes. They would be perfect for this project!


We would like to thank you all for your support through this difficult year. We have been bowled over by your kind comments about WOWbook 06 and are so pleased you are enjoying the book and the workshops.

We would like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and here’s to a better New Year in 2021. Well, it can’t be much worse, surely!

WOWbook 06 – Out now!

Good morning.

We’ve got some great news for you today – WOWbook 06 is out now! We are so excited as it seems such a long time since we worked through WOWbook 05 and let’s face it – this year has been just a little bit weird …

We hope you’ll love the book. Lynda has joined us again as Guest Editor and has found some wonderful textile artists for you.

Sara Cook produces a wallhanging using the ancient Korean art of Bojagi, Jessica Grady uses recycled materials to produce creative embellishments and Gina Ferrari creates a painted and stitched collage to decorate your home. Nikki Parmenter celebrates Tulipmania by turning an image into a mixed media piece and Kate Wells produces beautiful embroidered lace on dissolvable fabric. In our special feature, Sue Brown, Louise Asher and Liske Johnson discuss their isolation stories in lockdown and show us their Same Sea, Different Boat covid quilt and in our celebrity interview, Lynda Monk talks to Christine Chester about her work.

We really hope you’ll enjoy the book.

Take care.


Trees Complete

Following on from the last blog, I twiddled a bit with the torn scraps of painted Lutradur that I was layering on the right hand tree. A certain amount of pinning, looking and re-pinning went on at this stage.


Straight stitches were worked lightly over the trees to anchor the scraps of Lutradur down. A little extra sheer fabric found its way around the base of the trees to anchor them.


I ironed the back of the central crease very carefully, just so that it would ensure that the right-hand tree stood proud of the surface. It was a bit of a worry that the Lutradur might melt (which would be a melt-down in more ways than one). Then the edges were darkened (and very slightly burned) with a soldering iron. Craft Vilene reacts well to this treatment.


There we are – all done. I really loved making this piece – think I might start a forest.




A Brave Move


Following on from yesterday, I was quite pleased with the story so far but I felt that the trees needed more shape. So I bravely tore a little of the Lutradur away from the tree on the left. This gave it a better shape and I could see how some stitching would help to enhance it.


It also showed more of the background. However the tree on the right now looked a bit shapeless.


So I tried placing the torn off strip of Lutradur over the top and suddenly it was in full leaf.



Looking at the piece as a whole, I now thought about giving it a fold in the middle to bring the trees closer together. I tweaked the overlay on the right hand tree and resisted the temptation to do any more in case I tore too much away.



A little of the torn bit could also go on the base as some undergrowth with further stitching. I need to worry away at the left hand edge too – more tomorrow, folks.

Corona Challenge – Part 2

Today I am continuing the challenge to choose six items from the cupboard – see yesterday’s blog:

Pressure Stencils – a technique that I’ve used a lot on silk but this time I’m working  on Vilene. It gives a less sharp effect but slightly fuzzy can be good, so off I went
The piece of Vilene was placed on a black plastic bag, sprayed with water and then sprayed with Adirondack paints and Brusho – any strong colour will do. It needs to be thoroughly wet. 

Then the stencil was placed on it and kept in contact by placing some objects on top to hold it down. Nothing too heavy should be used or the colour will migrate (although this can be interesting). Leave to dry without peeking. See pics below.

The Vilene worked really well: I love the burst of yellow at top left – looks like the sun peeking through the trees. This piece could be worked just as it is with hand or machine embroidery.

However, I was on a roll with the shadow stuff so another Vilene tree was cut out (see yesterday’s blog) using the stencil as a guide but concentrating just on the central portion. Then a piece of the finer Lutradur 50 was wetted and sprayed lightly using the same blues and greens as before but adding just a touch of terra cotta colour. I’ve used sprays but it doesn’t really matter – paints or Brusho would be fine. See below.


The tree cut-out was placed on the background, moving it around until it achieved a harmony with the shadowy pattern elements of the background (see below left).  When the Lutradur piece was dry, it was placed on top, forming the top layer (see below right). I used FuseFX to bond the two layers together before machine embroidering around the trees. 




Finally (I couldn’t resist it) I used a heat tool, just a little to show more of the background.  That is it for today – more tomorrow, folks. 



Corona Challenge

Below you will find a workshop that I wrote for the last Workshop on the Web – before we turned it into the WOWbook. It seems appropriate to offer it again at this time when we have more time for some stitching fun. Here it is – take up the challenge – you can use my six ingredients or choose your own.

I thought it would be fun if we all selected six of our favourite ‘ingredients’ from the stash’n’store treasure trove and see how they might be put together in different ways. I’m not suggesting that you use all six in a single piece of work – just have a play and see what happens. I am also just showing techniques, not finished pieces: that’s part of the challenge.

  • A Stencil – plastic is best
  • Lutradur 70
  • Lutradur 50
  • Water-soluble paper – there’s a surprise
  • Vilene – the usual, S80 – obviously
  • Paint – I’ve used a variety

Shadow Work

I have always loved shadow work – the technique where you trap a shape or use a void between two pieces of fabric. This is a variation based on Lutradur. The piece of Lutradur (70) was placed on baking paper and damped with a brush of water.

I didn’t want it too heavily coloured so Koh-I-Noor paint seemed a good candidate for the job and I mixed it with plenty of water. (Lutradur always knocks back the colour in the paint anyway.) This was then left to dry.


The next step was to place the stencil over S80 Vilene and draw in the shapes with a brush pen to give them slightly more definition. These shapes were then cut out with small sharp scissors. Pay attention to where you are cutting so you don’t lose lumps of the stencil.

I cut away the base of the tree to leave the trunk. The plan was to trap this shape between a layer of Lutradur and a backing fabric, yet to be decided.



After trying various painted and printed backgrounds, none of which pleased me greatly, I finally settled on newspaper. I crumpled a piece of newsprint which had a good mix of text and colour (what passes for a fashion page in our local paper) and laid it on felt as a good base for stitch. Crumpling the paper makes it soft and raggy and less likely to tear.

I placed two of the tree cut-outs on top of the paper and fused the Lutradur over the top. Take care with the heat of the iron, you don’t want the Lutradur to crumple.


As you can see below, this gave a good effect and now my task was to add simple hand stitching to highlight some (not all) of the branches. I also tacked the outer area, beyond the stitches, to hold it down so that straight lines of machine stitch could be worked. Without tacking, the stiffness of the Lutradur causes it to buckle.


Further lines of straight stitching were completed and will probably be enhanced with hand stitching between the rows before the edged are burnt. You can see the finished sample at the beginning of this post.

Tomorrow I will post about the next stage in the challenge.


The Great Brockenhurst Bit swap

The new WOWbook (number 5) is going down well and the members’ Facebook page is already showing some of the lovely work they have been making. This piece by Wendy Burgess is based on the section by Mary McIntosh. The title Life’s a Bleach will give you a hint of the fact that it is based on discharge techniques. Wendy Burgess used one of the techniques for this super piece, shown on the members’ page.



Also on the theme of WOWbooks, my Beyond Stitch group have been working through some of the ideas from Marian Jazmik’s piece in WOWbook 2. We all have the books so it seemed like a fun idea to work as a group, although choosing a workshop was not easy. I hadn’t tried Marian’s technique, with a fabric called Dipryl, before and it was good fun. I’ve trapped sisal (in my case, a piece of deconstructed rope) between layers and then stitched lightly before tearing it into strips and layering. The pic shows the result, with the addition of some water-soluble paper stamps and a motif stitched on soluble film. Quite how I am going to stitch it all together without flattening it will be a challenge.


I am very excited about the Brockenhurst Show (in the village of Brockenhurst, New Forest, Hampshire) this year as we are featuring The Great Brockenhurst Bits Swap. I expect that many of you have got lots of technique samples, experiments, failed backgrounds, and our idea is that these can be brought along and swapped for other people’s treasures. The photo below shows some of the bits I will be using to demo at the show. These come under the ‘borders and motifs’ heading.


In this pic, I am starting to put together a background and some borders.



I am really hoping to be able to make this little icon sample into a bigger piece with the use of a background and some borders.



Betty Ruffell and I will demonstrate ideas for putting the bits together to make new work. We will be dividing all the offerings into focal points, borders, bits and backgrounds and so on. We will also be showing ideas for making new focal points and borders (these are usually needed) and building up the piece. Motifs are also useful, so we will look at those, too.  The piece below is one of my own ‘bit-building’ efforts. Here I picked two stitched samples – the tree and the apples – and combined them with some paper printouts that were crumpled and then stitched to make strips and edgings.


We will also be showing ideas for making new focal points and borders (these are usually needed) and building up the piece. Motifs are also useful, so we will look at those, too. If you have recently had a workroom clear out and would like to send us some of you ‘bits’ (we will be hoping for some charity donations for swaps) contact Fiona and she will tell you how.

Find out more about the show on Come and join us – bring out your bits!

Saturday 25th April, 10am to 5pm  Sunday 26th April, 10am to 3.30pm