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The Stitchbook

2 LOG ON and become an active part of the group for full instructions see your Welcome email for ‘membership guide 2023.pdf’ is a MEMBERS ONLY website run by Helen Birmingham of Untangled Threads CONTACT ME Untangled Threads for Administration, Orders, Shop, Gallery or General Enquiries email: To submit articles or Q&A to The Stitchbook magazine or any website or workshop related queries email: Helen Birmingham Untangled Threads 5 Belle Vue Parade Scarborough North Yorkshire YO11 1SU 07968 194187 There is only one rule:

This month I am taking a look at how multiples and sets of objects or ideas can be used to great effect in your Stitchbook.

Repetition, classification and collating are all fundamental instincts.

In terms of design, the ability to recognise and manipulate pattern or chaos is a very powerful tool.

3 CONTENTS Page WORKSHOP 5 Noticeboard 14 Q&A 14 MEMBERS PAGES 15

Stitchbooks are all about SELF EXPRESSION

It doesn’t matter which direction you take … not everything will work out, but you’ll learn from it anyway!

DON’T PANIC or feel stressed! Take a deep breath and just get started ... see where it takes you!

The group is here to support and encourage everyone. We have members with enormously varying levels of expertise … remember to share knowledge and ideas generously, and BE KIND.

The archive of 12 techniques is permanently available to you whenever you want to try something new, and the monthly workshops and the magazines are there as inspiration and encouragement.



Issue No 1:

first published Jan 2023


One is one, two is a pair, three or more is a group ... so what is a collection … ?



This month I am taking a look at how multiples and sets of objects or ideas can be used to great effect in your Stitchbook. Repetition, classification and collating are all fundamental instincts, and in terms of design, the ability to recognise and manipulate pattern or chaos is a very powerful tool.

I’ve often thought of myself as being something of a hoarder, but actually when I look at the ‘stuff’ I accumulate, there genuinely is method to my madness. I tend to make little collections of things, or groups of objects - I think that I find some sort of safety in the repetition, but equally, it could be that it is much easier to subvert a regular order!

I suppose I should start by saying what I think a collection is. I find that synonyms are often helpful:

hoard, pile, heap, stack, gathering, accumulation, mass, aggregation, set, series, assortment, array, compilation

and the dictionary definition: a group of objects of an amount of material accumulated in one location, especially for some purpose or as a result of some process.

Collecting and sorting is one of the first things we do putting shapes or colours into groups, or numbers or sizes in order.

I am going to show you some very simple collections which I have put into one Stitchbook. I am not suggesting that you copy mine, you will have your own collections, your own obsessions, your own likes and dislikes. Let’s just see how you get on with investigating thoughts related to ‘collections’ of things.


It’s easy enough to find collections of objects; just take a look around your house or workspace.

But it’s not always appropriate to stitch these objects into your stitchbook (unless they are a useful size or shape, or even designed to be stitched onto fabric like buttons for example!)

So I suppose we need to find a way of representing a collection or a series of things. A very useful starting point here are the 7 elements of art, which I will keep coming back to time and time again:


Colour Pattern Line Tone Texture Form Shape
about the different ways you could represent collections of these elements.
The worked example of this design is on Page 10

Suggestion 1: Collection of COLOURS

Look through your ‘stash’ of fabrics and threads and find few pieces which are from the same ‘colour family’ Use these to stitch a ‘red’ page for example. Make other pages with different colour choices and you instantly have a collection of colours.

Suggestion 2: Collection of STITCHES

Different stitches can be a great way of creating a collection. Look at historical samplers for example - but remember, your stitches don’t have to be so sophisticated. Look at samples of slow stitching and boro (Textural stitching and Rag Textiles’ Archive videos).

Suggestion 3: Collection of SHAPES

The repetition of a shape is a very simple way to create a ‘collection’. What about using one shape per page, clusters of different shapes on one page?


Place a piece of fabric onto a page just to check the size etc. (When you stitch it is easiest to work away from the page, and then attach ithe work to the page at a later stage.) I also chose to add 6 smaller rectangles of muslin to separate my collections of buttons.

I quite liked the regularity of using 6 buttons to each of the 6 sections. Play around with placement until you are happy with your design, and then stitch the buttons into place. (You could use the same colour thread as you attached the muslin with?)


Each piece of muslin was pinned into place, and then attached using a colour co-ordinated French Knot in each corner. (See Stitch of the Month).

I really like using labels in my collections - it reminds me of scientific specimens. These labels were made using iron-on t-shirt transfer. See ARCHIVE Image transfer.


Here is my finished page. I folded over and ironed the ends of the labels for neatness, and slip stitched them into place on the work. I thought they looked rather like laundry labels, or name tags.

You will need to put a barrier (either acrylic or card) into the pocket of the page when you attach the work, to prevent your stitches from being visible on the next page.

I had thought to add more buttons as a border, but decided that I liked the simplicity of this page. The fabric background and the buttons were selected from the ‘stash’ I inherited from my best friend, Janilaine Mainprize. It is very unlike me to use a delicate floral patterned fabric or ‘hemmed edges’ on my work, but as a reminder of Janilaine it seemed wholly appropriate.

This is one of the joys of a Stitchbook. You could make pages that related to each of your loved ones. There is a kit for a small folded stitchbook in the online shop which suggests you do just that

‘Made with Love’ WORSHOP KIT - £25.00 (Don’t forget to use your Discount Code 12345 for 10% discount).

You can see from these examples of my own work that I have a real obsession with ‘collections’. I can lose hours on Pinterest. The boards are collections in themselves, and I even have a board of COLLECTIONS.

Take a look, there is a link on the Stitchbook Collective website.

You’ve probably noticed that I haven’t really given you any ‘instructions’ for this project. That is intentional! I want you to see what happens when you are unrestrained! HAVE FUN, RELAX and let me see what you are up to




This is the best way to learn! If you are wondering about something, you can be sure that someone else is too! If you have any questions or suggestions which you think might be relevant or interesting to other members, and which we can print (!) please send them by email to: and we’ll do our best to answer.

Please note that any questions about subscriptions or administration should still be sent to

Helen Birmingham & Dorothea Newham


Please feel free to send ARTICLES for the magazine

PLEASE DON’T BE SHY!!!! Exhibition reviews, comments, opinions, obsessions etc will all be considered for publishing. I will do all of the formatting and layout. You just need to send words and pictures!

I hope that this will broaden our horizons into looking at some of the associated art/textile activities which our members undertake in addition to the Stitchbook workshops. I also hope that it will give us the opportunity to express ourselves and to offer feedback and discussion about the work of others in the collective. Between us, we have a huge pool of knowledge, information and opinion. Let’s share it!

You don’t need to be asked ….. please email articles (approx. 400-500 words) for consideration to :

For this first edition of The Stitchbook, I asked a few members from 2022 (at random) if they would like to give it a go! These members were not selected for any other reason that they are frequent commentators on our facebook pages.

To say that I was thrilled with the result of my request would be an understatement. I hope that these words will give you the courage to think about submitting pieces of your own for future issues.

All submitted articles will go through a selection process and may be edited before publication (with the express permission of the author).

A HUGE thank you to the following members who answered my call for help

Sue Chipchase Judith Clarke Pippa Cockhead Sandra Dorey Eilidh Gilmour Denise Inkson

Annemarie Macfadyen Tracy Service

24 In Issue No 2 we will be looking at some different ways of depicting JOURNEYS using textiles. Our FEATURED ARTIST will be: Janilaine Mainprize

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