Tag Archive | creative embroidery

Melancholy and Friends Reunited

I am not feeling particularly well at the moment with my dizziness and balance disorder.  Doctors are trialling different medication but it is taking a while to kick in and the side effects are not helping but I have to plod on and just take my time – that is the difficult bit when I am used to flying around at one hundred miles an hour.

Anyway I have come on here to tell you about how today I have been reunited with two long lost friends so to speak.

My old faithful Huskavana sewing machine was on deaths door and my mother in law took it away a couple of weeks ago and gave it to the sewing machine guy who is based in Ellington.  My father in law arrived at my house this morning with my old faithful 🙂 This has made my day.  So this morning I have tested it out.  I have joined strips – thats it – just strips!  One lot of purple and green and one of pink and turquoise but it was lovely to spend a bit of time again with my old friend. I now have a bit of free machine embroidery and quilting to do on this fabric…..

Yesterday I had to return to school one last time to collect my personal belongings. Today an air of melancholy has surrounded me as I started to look through some of my things.  I have not managed to sort out very much because I was reunited with the second friend of the day:

This is a book I wrote, or started to write about ten years ago and I did not do anything with it 🙁

This is a collaboration of my workshops that I deliver; there are quite a lot. It is a series of simple creative embroidery projects that include a range of techniques from trapping and bonding, french knots, textures and tucks, freely embroidered circles to weaving. Back then I did not have a platform to share this but now I have my blog and I can share some of these ideas on my web site – but there is nothing like a face to face workshop to learn new techniques so the best thing to do is to get in touch with me and arrange for me to deliver a workshop 🙂

Well I just wanted to share my two friends with you this afternoon.  

Oh and by the way the rust is working its magic – here is a quick update:

I will share the final results with you soon 🙂
















Since my post last week I have been inspired to create some pieces of  textile art that I would like to share with you.

My love for wild flowers has been my inspiration over the last few days. Here are some of the photographs I have used for my inspiration along with my embroideries.   These are worked on a cotton Jacquard woven fabric with layered organza and tulle embellished with hand embroidery .

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Daisies in the hedgerow


Daisy Embroidery



Purple flowers in the hedgerow


Purple wild flower embroidery

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Ragged-Robin Embroidery

I can honestly say that I have managed to rekindle my passion and love for hand embroidery;  this has proven to be the best medicine for me over the last few days.

Canvas work Embroidery

At work this week there were a couple of colleagues leaving who had helped out over my sick leave. I really wanted to give them a small gift as a way of saying Thank you.  I would like to share with you the gift cards I made for these colleagues.

Embroidery on CanvasCanvas can be a brilliant background fabric for small projects as it is stiff and easy to handle however the stark whiteness can often put people off using this fabric.  By colouring the canvas it can be used for free embroidery as you do not have to cover all of the background.  I colour the canvas using silk paints as these are colourfast once pressed with a hot iron.  When canvas is wet the stiffener used in the fabric sizing softens and the canvas will quickly lose its shape therefore the canvas must be pinned out into position onto a board to prevent any distortion.  Once prepared the canvas may be painted with the silk paint, this must be then left to dry thoroughly then it can be unpinned and pressed.

Small flowers embroidered onto painted canvas www.kateskloths.co.uk

Small flowers embroidered onto painted canvas




This gift card was embroidered onto hand painted canvas using rayon and cotton embroidery threads.  The stems are embroidered using straight stitches, the flower petals are bullion knots and the flower centres are french knots.






Daisy embroidered onto hand paintd canvas www.kateskloths.co.uk

Daisy embroidered onto hand painted canvas




The daisy in this gift card was embroidered using cotton embroidery thread.  The petals are embroidered with pistil stitch and the flower centre is  embroidered with french knots.













Daisies (and a Vulcan)


Daisy embroidery photographed with daisies in the garden www.kateskloths.co.uk

Daisy embroidery photographed with daisies in the garden

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The other evening my husband was reading my Woolfest blog, although I was in the other room I knew he had read it all as I heard a small gasp and then the words ‘Oh no!’  I guess he now knows that I am planning to do a little bit of dyeing so it will not come so much of a shock to him when he arrives home from work to a house full of wet threads!  With this in mind I thought I would continue with a bit of textile work for the minute and creep back up on the dyeing.

Last weekend my husband and I went on a beautiful walk in Cumbria.

Kate at Isel Bridge

Kate at Isel Bridge

We have a humble abode (a small caravan!) in the North of the Lake District and this is our bolthole.  My husband loves to fish which is ideal as I get to spend some time sewing or just relaxing.  We love to walk – preferably a pub walk where there is always a light refreshment either along the way or at the end.  Last weekend we walked from our caravan along to a beautiful little place called Isel and then we called into the Lakes Distillery on the way back, it would have been rude to walk past and not pop in.

Along our walks I am always on the look out for wild flowers and my husband loves some water so that he can look for fish – my goodness we really know how to enjoy ourselves 🙂 This was a perfect walk to combine fish and flowers…..


Daisy hedgerow at Isel Bridge, Cumbria

Daisy hedgerow at Isel, Cumbria

Dancing daisies

Dancing daisies

Close up of daisies in the hedgerow

Close up of daisies in the hedgerow

We walked down the river which led onto the most tranquil country lane, the hedgerows were filled with colour and scent.  I have photographed so many flowers I could be embroidering for a long long time.  Along the walk I photographed an abundance of colour icluding Buttercups, Clover, Vetch, Red Campion, Forget-me-nots, Irises, Herb Robert and Thistles.

My favourite flowers were the large Daisies in the hedgerow.  I love the simplicity of this flower with the bright sunshine center and clean lines of the petals – this has been the inspiration for my next embroidery………



Vulcan overhead

Vulcan overhead

Vulcan approaching

Vulcan approaching

Vulcan leaving

Vulcan leaving

As we continued along our walk we heard a rumble in the sky -the Vulacn was approaching.  This was a wonderful sight.

In the late sixties and early seventies my Dad worked on these magnificent beasts in the Royal Air Force.   2015 is the last year this aircraft with fly.  It was amazing to see and hear this aircraft so close and we were directly under the flight path – it is a shame the cyclist did not appreciate it as much as we did.




So back to my embroidery…. Daisies


Daisy Embroidery www.kateskloths.co.uk

Daisy Embroidery

I prepared the background by using a piece of hand dyed muslin and backed this with a piece of cotton calico for stability.

The Daisies are three dimensional and have been worked on water soluble fabric.  I trapped some yellow silk fibres and fabric scraps between two sheets of water soluble fabric – I arranged these in circles to represent the flower centers and secured these in place with machine embroidery.  The flower petals were also worked with machine embroidery and when I was happy with the shape I washed away the water soluble fabric and allowed the flowers to dry.

The leaves are hand dyed muslin and scrim secured with hand straight stitch and once the Daisies were dry they were attached to the background fabric.



Close up of daisy embroidery www.kateskloths.co.uk

Close up of daisy embroidery www.kateskloths.co.uk

I now need some more spare time to produce textiles from my other photographs – Oh and I also need to dye some more stuff……











My Creative Journey

IMG_4762Hello 🙂  My name is Kate Slaughter, I have decided to create this webpage to share my knowledge and love of creative textiles with you.  Over the last few years I have moved in many different directions however textiles has always been my foundation.  I would like to introduce myself and tell you a little bit about how I have got here  and why I am now writing a blog.

Kates Kloths was established many years ago in my kitchen, here is a little insight how this journey in the life of creative textiles began.

My love for textiles began at a very early age when I could occupy myself for hours with some scrap fabrics creating outfits and accessories for my dolls.   I developed my skills as a teenager and made the majority of my clothes through a process of trial and error.  I can specifically remember one of my favourite outfits was a bright pink jumpsuit, I would like to point out that this was the height of fashion in the eighties. I knew exactly what I wanted this jumpsuit to look like however I was unable to find the colour I wanted however I was determined not to give up. I found one of my mams white cotton sheets in the airing cupboard, this was the perfect fabric, I used this to make the jumpsuit.  The only dilemma I had then was the colour so I dyed the finished garment; dyeing was to become another one of my passions later in life.



I went on to study a degree with Textiles and whilst I was at polytechnic my now mother in law bought me a Kate Greenaway cross stitch book – everyone in my family received gifts embroidered with old fashioned girls and boys. After graduating I became a dressmaker for a few years – this has only intensified my hatred for altering garments, I would rather start from scratch.  After my children were born I went to a ‘sewing’ night class and this rekindled my enthusiasm so much so that I began teaching my own night class.  I loved teaching these adult recreational classes and I began experimenting with many different textiles.  Whilst at a craft fair I purchased a dye kit as I wanted to use a wide range of different yarns and fabrics within my work and I could not find the colours I had in mind therefore, as I had when I was a teenager. I decided that I was going to dye my own.

The Kates Kloths journey began one afternoon in my kitchen.  I have always loved wild flowers and therefore this was the starting point for my colours.



I am not the tidiest person in the world but creative minds are rarely tidy and therefore that afternoon I had dye and yarn everywhere as I played and experimented.  I wanted to create fabrics and threads that were shaded, I also wanted to work with a range of textures that would make my embroidery more interesting.  The results were fabulous and I used these in my classes and my students loved them.  With their enthusiasm over the product and my supportive family I began dyeing yarns and fabrics to sell.

In autumn 1999 I worked my first exhibition. I had a stand at the Knitting and Stitching Show in Harrogate.  This was terrifying as it was a costly way to determine if people liked my products enough to buy them.

My philosophy when I started this business was to enable people to use beautiful products at an affordable price – why do people feel that you have to spend a lot of money for something to be good?  That is just a question that I have asked myself over and over again – If I have over priced my products would people have thought they were better?   I did not want people to buy my threads and fabrics and to feel that they were too expensive to use and then they end up in the bottom of a sewing basket for many many years as they are too precious to use.  I wanted people to buy my threads and use them and enjoy them.  Sorry I went off on a tangent a little bit there, as Alison Moyet once said ‘when you have a creative mind it doesn’t stop going’.

Anyway back to Harrogate – It was fantastic, my products were successful and all of this from a kitchen sink! My family were getting a bit fed up though – apparently having to wait for your dinner because the sink is being used for rinsing thread or the benches are piled high with dye baths is not acceptable by most families.  I was starting to get fed up of having to disinfect every surface and clean up after each dyeing session and there were some dye products that I wanted to experiment with but these were not really suitable for the kitchen.  In the beginning of 2000 my family and I were visiting a childrens farm which had a number of craft units, one workshop unit was available for lease.  It was perfect, a small shop area and workshop facilities that would enable me to dye my threads and fabrics and also teach workshops.

Kates Kloths flourished from the farm and I attended exhibitions in England, Scotland and Ireland (here is a photograph of me and my mother taken at one of my first exhibitions). scan0001

My husbands aunt had taken early retirement and she happily accompanied me on these trips.  I delivered many talks and workshops from the farm unit and at different Embroiderers Guilds and Womens Institute meetings.

In 2002 I moved Kates Kloths to a shop unit in a town centre, this made my business more accessible by bus route
and the premises enabled me to expand the retail side of my business into other crafts and it had a room for classes scan0002and plenty of space for the dyeing. The creative element of Kates Kloths continued to flourish in new premises and I
wrote a couple of  projects for magazines, continued to attend exhibitions around the country and workshops were extremely popular.  The bigger the business became the more I realised that my passion lay with the creative embroidery and teaching,  I made the decision to change my direction in life and in 2006 I returned to university to complete my teacher training for secondary schools – in my madness I continued to run my business just in case things didn’t work out! I must take this opportunity to thank three women in my life who have supported me throughout this journey, my mam Dorothy, Aunty Jean and my mother in law Sandra – they are all creative women and will continue to inspire and support me.  Within my blog I would love to continue my creative textiles teaching and share with you ideas, projects and, with a bit of luck, some inspiration.

Encrusted Surface


In September 2007 I made a career change, I became a Textiles Technology teacher working in the largest secondary school in my area.  Eight years later I am now Head of Technology department and teach children aged 11-18. My favourite part of this job is when you teach a child a new technique or concept, they may take time to learn and fully understand the process however the second they achieve an end result they realise that they are capable of designing and creating new artefacts and are keen to learn more.  This feeling of pride is irreplaceable.  If children are not taught the creative process then they will never experience the ability to imagine, explore, experiment, reflect and create.  Within my blog I would like to share with you some of my pupils creative moments like this one here.


Well thank you if you are still reading.  I have played with textiles all of my life and I am still playing, experimenting and learning from my mistakes.  I would love you to join me on this exciting new journey I am about to take in the world of blogging.