Sunday, 26 April 2015

North Devon and Alison Holt

There is a danger that this post will become photo heavy but if you can cope, I suggest you continue as there are some delicious embroideries to be seen. Last week my friend Maria and I travelled up to the north Devon coast for four days to attend a three day free machine embroidery course with Alison Holt

This course was arranged by the Barnstaple group of the West Country Embroiderers. We had plenty of space and good lighting in a really lovely village Methodist church.

Maria and I spent the first day wandering around the shops in Barnstaple and found the most amazing sewing/craft shop which just seemed to go on and on, but the best part was that the prices were just such good value. We hit the charity shops and found some good sewing bargains, stopped at a Fair Trade shop and bought some wonderful indian wood blocks and finished up at the famous Barnstaple Pannier Market - fascinating and a really good craft stall. This trip was fuelled with a lovely lunch at The Gallery Cafe, part of the Barnstaple Theatre.

Onward to our Bed and Breakfast at Lower Yelland Farm,   Such a friendly host and on arrival we had the surprise that we had both been upgraded to a double room each - bliss, loads of space. Everything was clean and bright and breakfasts were great, smoked salmon and scrambled eggs. Our fellow guests were very friendly and chatty and we met a super couple from Sweden and trying to explain machine embroidery to them both was quite amusing.

Well on to the course; Alison Holt is a wonderful person, talented embroiderer and such a patient and clear tutor. She explains everything so well and her pointers on colour theory are the best I've ever encountered. 

We selected our photos, traced onto silk, outlined with gutta, painted with silk paints and then stitched. Our theme, Rivers and Waterfalls - photos follow:

Whilst we were away, the weather was absolutely wonderful - warm, sunny and dry, the only downside being the sea mist that crept in with the tides. As the course finished at 4 each afternoon, we had plenty of time to explore and eat ice cream!!

 And every day was finished off perfectly with a lovely meal out and then back to base for a glass of wine and some more stitching on our crazy patchwork together.

Yesterday is but today's memory 
and tomorrow is today's dream
Khalil Gibran 


  1. Gilli wow what an amazing write up you have put together, seems like ages ago. Such a wonderful time we had together. x

  2. Lucky you! I have all of Allison's books. Love her work. Your photos are great. Lovely rivers & waterfalls.

  3. wow these are beautiful. I go to quite a lot of art exhibitions and every where I go there seems to be more and more fabric art. I belong to two art societies and both of them have several members who specialise in fabric art. I am so impressede with this type of art, I would love to be able to be creative with fabric .

  4. Wow ! What a lovely workshop/retreat you have had !!
    One of Alison Holts' books enthralled me, I couldn't get enough of it, when I first started free-motion machine embroidery so long ago ... how wonderful it would be to be in a class with her ... lucky you !


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