Museum of Fine Arts and Futuristic Textiles

The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston boasts a collection that covers every continent, spanning over nearly three thousand years. It’s an impressive feat for a museum that only covers three floors yet still manages to cover every discipline in the fine arts.

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The MFA also do free entry on some Fridays as part of the ‘Free Fun Friday’ program, which means you have no excuse for not popping in for a quick visit. Whereas the Victoria and Albert museum might take you several lifetimes to see all of it, you can see all of the MFA in a few hours so it really is a breakneck speed tour through civilisation.

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Dyeing to Weave

Sod’s Law for Crafters says that, no matter how big your stash, you still will never have the right material for the project at hand. Having recently started weaving, that saying is more true than ever. All of my non-acrylic yarns are committed to projects and I don’t have quite the volume of silk I’d need for a decent sized warp.

That meant it was time to indulge myself in a bit of ‘necessity’ shopping. Shopping for weaving threads is quite an experience, particularly as a UK resident. ‘wc’, ‘nm’, ‘cc’ are all units you might see, as well as various fractions, weight per length and often, a complete absence of any useful information.

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Lowell and the New England Quilting Museum

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Lowell is a city to the north west of Boston which birthed the American Industrial Revolution. As you walk around, you can still see the mills and textile factories that housed the first ‘power looms’ in America that automated large parts of the weaving process and manufactured the coarse cottons that take their name from the city.

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After the Great Depression and decline of the textile industry, Lowell became something of an economic wasteland. However, now, Lowell has been transformed a National Historical Park, which is a slightly confusing name because the Park part refers to part of the city itself. A huge amount of effort has been made to preserve the history and make for an interesting and informative visit.

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Boston Yarn, Fish and Beads

Considering that there is a non-zero probability that I will combust at temperatures greater than 23℃, I do seem to spend my summers in some dreadful locations. This summer’s treat was heading off to Boston, Massachusetts because I was feeling terribly homesick for Kyoto’s hellish, humid summers.

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It’s been a long time since I’ve been to the States and longer still since I’ve been to Boston. I was looking forward to seeing what parts I could remember and of course, visiting somewhere new means getting on the yarn shop trail.

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Mounting and Framing Up

There’s a quotation I can never quite remember, allegedly from a Chinese philosopher, about how if you really want something to be a success you need to put the same amount of effort in at the end as at the beginning. How many of us eagerly dive into projects with high standards and expectations but by the time the last stitches are going in have lost all semblance of enthusiasm?

For embroidery, the final steps aren’t the last few bits of satin stitch, but the process of mounting the piece. Even if you’re breathing a sigh of relief about finally being free of doing two thousand French knots and ready to throw the piece in the back of the cupboard, it’s a process that is worth taking the time to do.

When I finished the ‘Roses Heart’ piece, as it was going to be a gift, I really wanted to make sure the mounting looked professional and well-finished. However, I wasn’t relishing the thought of trying to mount and frame it myself. Poor craft time-management and life chaos meant I didn’t have much energy to devote to running around looking for frames and mounting board either.

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Thankfully, help was at hand in the form of the fabulous Deborah Wilding who had agreed to take me through the whole process, from cutting the mount board to getting it into the frame. Deborah graduated from the Royal School of Needlework’s Future Tutors Programme in 2015 and teaches a large number of RSN classes, as well as privately.

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Embroidery Kit Review: Roses Heart Kit

Disclaimer: This post contains Amazon affiliate links. For more information, please click here.

When one of my friends announced she was getting married, I knew I wanted to do something special and handmade for her present. When I saw Sophie Long’sRoses Heart’ embroidery kit, I knew I’d found the perfect project.

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I first tried ribbon embroidery at one of Sophie Long’s day classes (working on a larger ribbon heart design) and immediately fell in love with the technique. It looks incredibly effective and grows very quickly, ideal for making gifts to a short deadline. Another bonus of ribbon embroidery is you don’t need to obsess over every stitch; if you accidentally fold or twist the ribbon when making flowers, it just adds some variety to their texture and structure rather than looking like a mistake.

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