My Blog

This is my own version of a blog where I can tell you what I have been up to lately. It is not one of those blogs where readers can add comments.


July 2020

Seven months since my last entry is not bad going for me!  But what a seven months!  Little did I know, when I wrote the words for the January posting, that most of my plans for 2020 (like a lot of people) went by the by with the outbreak of the Covid 19 pandemic.  I did get the article for Inspirations written, sadly I didn’t complete the article for Stitch, but have been asked to write two articles for them later this year.  The Embroiderers Guild summer school has been postponed until June next year.
So like most of us Mick and I have been self isolating.  We are lucky that we have a garden where we grow quite a lot of fruit and veg., we also get a lot of birds and animals in the garden which we feed, film (on 16 wildlife cameras scattered about in the garden) and photograph, we both have  absorbing hobbies and of course each other – so we have enjoyed the time at home.
However, it has made us realise just how much travelling around we do.  We are both in our mid 70’s now and decided that long distance day classes, where the travelling  sometimes takes more time than we were teaching, to reluctantly give up.  I still have regular classes nearer to home, where visitors and new members are always welcome and of course I still love going to Knuston, that is more like a holiday though, we are looked after wonderfully by all the staff.  


Posted 17th January 2020

I have said before I am not a good blogger....but over a year is ridiculous!  My only excuse is that we have been really busy, despite cutting out the very long distance classes we have been used to in the past, the travelling is just to much for us now.  

Some years ago I wrote a series of folios for the Embroiderers’ Guild.  The collection of folios that the EG holds are on all types of embroidery and are a real inspiration.  When I was asked to produce a set of stumpwork folios for the EG it was one of my proudest moments. Anyway at the time Mick and I made 12 with the promise of 3 more.  I started 2019 by making an animals folio, with the intent of making an insects and a birds folio to follow.....these hopefully will get worked this year, or next or even 2022!  

Some of you will know the Australian Inspirations magazine and know how beautiful it is.  I would think it is a dream of a lot of embroiderers to write an article for this magazine, when they asked me to write two articles, well I was walking on air for a few days.  One article was to be published in the autumn 2019 and the other in the spring of 2020 ( I think it is the March issue) and the deadlines for these articles were March and November.  Imagine my delight when they asked me to write a third, this will not be published until 2021, but the deadline for writing it is June this year.  I also for the first time last year held a series of classes in Uxbridge with these theme of 17th century techniques and stitches, these classes proved to be very popular with 17 students on each class, so with that  in mind I have arranged a series of four classes this year  with the theme of  The Orchard, using the casket that is held in the Royal Collection as the inspiration.  The Orchard has fruit trees, animals, and a figure all three dimensional - quite a challenge.

So, what does 2020 hold........ the Orchard needs samples, I haven’t ever worked 3 dimensional animals and figures before so working on them is a learning curve for me.  I am also writing an article for the The Embroiderers Guild Stitch magazine,  I have the Inspirations article to write and in June I am teaching for the South East Region of the EG summer school, so samples will need to be worked for that course - well that is the first 6 months dealt with, I wonder what the rest will bring!  As they say ‘watch this space’!


Posted 5th December 2018

Eight months have passed since writing the last entry and as I have said before (and no doubt will say again!) where on earth did the time go?  It has got to be an age thing, when I was small eight months was a life it goes by in a flash.

So what have “Team Dennis” been up to in those eight months – we have actually had two holidays, unheard of for us.  We went to Lyme Bay and the Norfolk Broads.  We had a wonderful time on both occasions.  I am not a holiday person and get very home sick after about five days, so to have two weeks away is something else for me. One of the highlights of the Norfolk holiday was “Harry”.  When we arrived at our holiday cottage on the waterfront, on the dining table was a note “You will need to feed Harry” – nothing else!  We didn’t think this would be Prince Harry though.  “Harry” turns out to be a Heron that comes down to the French windows for breakfast and his evening meal.  His first meal was some prawns left over from our evening meal, the next meal was cod, we went in Wroxham to buy especially for him.  Speaking to neighbours, Harry has a passion for cheese.   This bird has got everyone well trained! 

We have been doing the usual rounds of classes here, there and everywhere, summer school at Knuston, my own summer school and some weekends for groups and colleges.  In the last blog I said about the Makit Fair in Peterborough, that was a brilliant show, our ‘Make and Take’ classes were over-subscribed and went really well, our day in Havant was equally as good, with lots of interest in what we are doing.  Unfortunately we had to cancel going to Cranmore Park in Solihull due to a problem at home.

I now have 7 weeks at home for a bit of a break, but I have three wonderful projects that need to be completed by the end of March.  I have been asked to write an article for the Australian Magazine “Inspirations” and at the end of March, beginning of April I am taking a week long class at Knuston Hall on 17th century techniques and stitches, so will be busy making samples for that.  The third project is more of an on going project.  Some years ago Mick and I put together 13 Folios for the Embroiderers Guild on Stumpwork,  since then I have been promising the EG to make three more, and that time has come!  So I had better get stitching!


Posted 1st April 2018

What sort of blogger am I! It is over a year since I said what I was up to, but where did that year go I wonder.   I know I had a very big 0 birthday in the middle of it but what happened to the other 364 days?   

Well what DID we do, as in other years we travelled all over the UK giving talks and workshops to Embroiderers' Guild and private groups, I made my Peter Rabbit for the Embroiderers' Guild 'Page 17' exhibition (that took over three months solid work) I worked on the blackberries and mushrooms embroidery featured on the home page of the web site and started work on a huge project for a week long course in the summer at Knuston doesn’t help that I keep changing my mind on what to put in these embroideries that start small then grow like topsy.   But I think I am finally decided now so will beaver away to get it done BUT I also have a commission, and two pieces of work to complete before the end of July.

Over the winter both of us had flu and colds and neither of us felt like doing very much at all, I read a lot and even gave into watching daytime TV, that is how bad it was!  Thankfully we are both fighting fit now.

So what do we have planned for 2018 amongst the courses and talks planned around the country, we will be at four major shows........

On May 13th Mick and I (a.k.a. team Dennis) have a stand at the LQ&N Fair, Peterborough demonstrating traditional stumpwork and some 3D work.  At the same show I will have two ‘taster’ session where visitors can come and make a small stumpwork embroidery to take home.

In October I have two sessions at the Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace (if you are interested please see their web site later in the year) 

In November MIck and I are at The Southern Counties Lace Suppliers Fair in Havant (it is called a Lace Suppliers Fair but a lot of embroidery is also on show) again demonstrating traditional stumpwork.

Finally in December we have a stand at the Makit Christmas Fair at Cranmore Park, Solihull.  I am also taking a 2 hour workshop on making a Christmas candle.  Details of this workshop will be available on the Makit Fairs website later this year.

If you are at any of these shows please come and say hello.



Posted 23rd February 2017

I said last August that it didn't seem possible that it was April that I last wrote in my version of a blog......that was just four months - it is six months this time! Where does the time go.  I am not a good blogger!  Like I said last time such a lot has happened, from March to early December I seem to be permanently preparing for classes (don't get me wrong I love it!) but it is nice in mid December to think I have a few whole weeks, even whole days, at home. Towards the end of last year I had a project in mind (the Robin which featured on the front of my website) and although by the time I went into hibernation for the winter it was almost complete, my mind was like a whirl pool with the next project, the next embroidery was going to be a steep learning curve for me. In our garden we have several families of wood mice, and although they are the bane of Michael's life (next to the squirrels that is) because they eat his young vegetables, I love them, so wanted to make an embroidery around them. We also have several blackberry bushes and we know that the mice love the blackberries. After taking numerous photographs of the blackberries last year (I already have a whole folder of wood mice pictures taken in the garden) I designed the picture that is shown on the home page. 

In November I went with Michael to The Havant Lace Fair in Havant, to help him with the Guild of Needle Laces stand, my role was to demonstrate needlelace.  The suppliers on the next table to us didn't come so the organiser kindly let us have the table, so I took it over. I had the robin and although he (or she?) is not needlelace the leaves and ivy fruits are. The visitors to the show were really interested in what I was doing and I was busy all day long chatting to people about what could be done with needlelace and generally singing it's praises.  I enjoyed the day so much that I am going back this year with my own table. 

On the first Saturday in December Michael and I were at The Makit Fair in Solihull, Michael with the Guild and me with my own stand.  Again visitors were interested in what I was doing and very kind with their comments about my embroidery.

I am passionate (you may have gathered that already!) about stumpwork and what can achieved with 21st century materials and techniques.  I also love the free standing embroidery I have been working on over the last couple of years or so, and see great possibilities for it.

I will be at Peterborough, Havant and Solihull again this year, please come and see what I have been up to.


23 August 2016

It doesn't seem possible that it was April that I last wrote in this blog, such a lot has happened in these last 4 months.  Apart from teaching, seemingly, all over the UK, I had a wonderful time at the Peterborough LQ&N Fair in May, a lot of interest was shown in my embroidery and it was nice to chat to friends, some I had not seen for a number of years. 

During the hottest week of the year Mick and I, with our two friends Pat Trott and Hazel Everett were teaching at Knuston Hall. It was a very enjoyable week but very busy and tiring, our theme this year was The River Bank, and we had students making assorted birds, all manner of water creatures and even a crocodile!  Next years theme is Out of Space, that is going to get the imagination doing overtime.

So what's coming up in the next few months.... I am taking two classes on the Learning Curve at The Knitting and Stitching show at Alexandra Park and I read today that both classes are full! wow! I have a table at the Guild of Needle Laces Lace day where I will be demonstrating stumpwork.  Then in December (the 3rd to be precise) I have a stand at the Makit Christmas Lace Fair, Cranmore Park, Solihull - I love these shows, as I love showing people stumpwork and needlelace and chatting.



30th April

Mick and I have just returned from a lovely few days away in Norfolk, it was bitterly cold but for most of the time was sunny - in between the snow showers that is!  and now it is back to work.

On Sunday May 8th Mick and I are at the Makit LQ&N Fair in Peterborough, Mick with the Guild of Needle Laces and I have my own stand.  We were at the show last year and enjoyed it so much and met so many people we are going back.  If you are going to the show, come and say 'hello' - I am in the Craft Arena and Mick is just across the hall.

Shown below are two of my latest pieces of work

'Wacky Mushrooms' which was an exercise in unconventional needlelace and

'A bird eye view' which was the theme for the last course at Knuston Hall


26th March

Since December we have been busy writing our new book and I have to say I am chuffed with it!

I try not to teach much during the winter - I don't like going out in the wet and cold so I use the time to catch up with my own work.  A few years ago I had the honour of writing 13 stumpwork folios for the Embroiderers' Guild (unfortunately these are only available to Guild Members) and over the winter have been planning three more, I have also been asked to donate some embroideries to the Guild collection.  I have started on these projects but now as teaching becomes a priority these embroideries will get fitted in when I have some time.

Mick and I have been out and about a bit though, a couple of weekends ago we enjoyed a day with Worthing Branch of the Embroiderer's Guild, then on the following day we attended  the Essex Lace fair representing the Guild of Needle Laces as traders. I enjoy days like these as I get to chat to lots of people.

In April my first week of the year at Knuston Hall college is taking place.  I teach at Knuston three times a year, for a week long course each time.  The spring and autumn courses I teach are on my own but the summer school I teach with my good friends Hazel Everett (the gold work expert) and Pat Trott (the hand embroidery expert) Mick also joins us to help where he can, these weeks are really good fun.  Knuston is a lovely place, the staff team are great and the food is to die for.


20th December

I hope you all have a really lovely Christmas and New Year

Looking back at my blog it is over two months since I posted anything, in that time I have not been sitting around doing nothing, far from it.  In between our weekly classes around the country, Michael and I were at the Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace teaching on the Learning Curve for two days. On the Saturday we were at the Guild of Needle Laces day and on the Sunday I went back to the K & S, but as a visitor - Michael was lying down in a darkened room!

In November we went up to the Harrogate Knitting and Stitching show, it is a long time since I went to this show, and I really enjoyed it.  We both had two classes, one on the Thursday and one on the Friday then had to come home for a local class on the Saturday.  In November I spent a wonderful week teaching at Knuston Hall, I love it there as they look after the students and tutors really well.

Amongst my teaching and demonstrating I am also Chairman of the South East Region of the Embroiderers' Guild, and have various duties there, one is organising the summer school in June.

In July this year I spent a day in London learning needle painting with Trish Burr  we started to make a little Nuthatch, in the early part of November I completed him.  I have to say I am rather chuffed with the result. Trish comes from South Africa and specialises in needle painting/ silk shading.  I really enjoyed my day with her and hope she comes back to the UK soon.  Ever eager to learn I also spent a day at the Royal School of Needlework making a silk shaded pumpkin, that is on the 'to do' list! - we all have them!

I now have a few weeks off from teaching, but the stitching doesn't stop.  A few years ago I had the honour of being asked to make a set of folios for the Embroiderers' Guild.  The 'folios' are a collection of all sorts of styles of embroidery which members can borrow, for instance there is a black work folio, crewel work folios, a 17c folio etc., but up until 18 months ago there wasn't a stumpwork folio, there is now! The winter before last I worked on quite a few techniques which I gave to the EG in 2013, but had ideas for further techniques, this winter I plan to get on with those ideas.  Last year I was also asked if I would donate some work to the Guild collection, I am also planning to work on that.  All of these pictures will take me best part of next year.



Lace is more-

Posted 30th September


I will be going with Michael to the launch of this exhibition

“Lace is more – New ways of lacemaking”

6th October – 28th December 2015

Whitchurch Silk Mill,
28 Winchester St, Whitchurch, Hampshire. RG28 7AL

Mill opening times Tuesday to Sunday 10.30am - 5.00pm.
Closed Mondays (except Bank Holidays) & Christmas



House Gallery

12th September - 10th October 2015

Posted 29th September


The exhibition has now been up for just over two weeks and on talking to Lynn (exhibitions and audience development officer) a lot of people have been in to the exhibition.  I said I would be there to do some demonstrating on the Tuesdays and last Wednesday, Oh the plans of mice and Kay Dennis!  for assorted reasons, like accidents on the M25 and up turned lorries blocking the A30!, I have not been able to get to Guildford House for two Tuesdays and have missed  people coming in to see me, for which I am sorry.
The exhibition is on for another 9 days but sadly I cannot be there at all now.  Next week is the Knitting and Stitching show where I have two learning curve slots, so it is all hands on deck writing instructions and making up kits - so typical of me to leave things right to the last minute.


Knitting and Stitching Show - Alexandra Palace

Posted 29th September

I will be on the learning curve on 7th October giving a 1.5 hour workshop at 2.00pm on how to make the 'Hedgehog in his Secret Garden' and on Thursday at 1.00pm a 1.5 hour workshop on making 'Stitch and Sculpture Flower Pots' - both shown below. The online booking system is now closed but you can book at the show. Michael will also be there on Thursday at 10.30am giving a 1.5 hour workshop for beginners to needlelace.

At last I have completed my Autumn box


posted 8 Sept

I started this box over a year ago and the exhibition has made me concentrate on getting it finished. Michael put it all together although I have to admit that the inside is yet to be completed. Top two pictures show the front and back, bottom left - the top and bottom right the two ends.


Getting ready for the exhibition see below

posted 8 Sept

I have been busy finishing pieces to go into the exhibition. I have been developing my stumpwork 3D skills to enable free standing objects to look as good from the front and well as the back, particularly the finish on leaves. Her is my latest attempt using these techniques, 'A Fuschia Branch'



House Gallery

12th September - 10th October 2015



'Stumpwork Magic'

Guildford House Gallery
155 High Street, Guildford, Surrey GU1 3AJ 
Telephone: 44 01483 444751  Email:

Embroidery to delight with contemporary and exquisite traditional stitch techniques.

I have mixed feelings about this exhibition, I am excited that I have been asked to put an exhibition up in this beautiful 17c building but will I have enough pieces to fill the room, so am now furiously stitching all hours of the day and night.  As the building is 17c I wonder if the original occupants made stumpwork, or raised embroidery as it was known then.

I will be demonstrating stumpwork at the museum on Wednesday September 23rd and each Tuesday, please drop in and see me. Entry is free and the times are from 10.30 - 12.00 and 1.00 - 3343.30.

As well as my exhibition and demonstration there will also be exhibits of embroideries depicting 'Alice in Wonderland', and exhibits from the Embroiderers' Guild.

It promises to be a magical experience for anyone who stitches.

An Award

On Monday 6th July I attended an award ceremony arranged by the Hillingdon Arts Association to recognise the contribution made by local people to Arts in the London Borough of Hillingdon. The ceremony was hosted by the Mayor of Hillingdon and I was lucky to be presented with an award for my contribution in embroidery.


A Needlelace

Saturday 10th October 2015


This day is organised by the Guild of Needle Laces where they have their Annual General Meeting, workshops, an exhibition and demonstrations on needlelace.

I will be there demonstrating how to get that little bit extra out of your needlelace and my demonstration is called 'Not just needlelace'

I have been to these days before and they are good fun, the Guild organises traders, workshops, a competition and a challenge for it's members - so there is lots to see and do.

I have belonged to the Guild of Needle Laces since it's foundation in the early 80's.  Needlelace is my second passion - embroidery being the first!  you can do so much with needlelace........for instance  it can be used in a three dimensional sculpture, with gold work , used in raised embroidery, wired and of course in it's own right.  

I will be there all day from 10 - 4

See the Guild of Needle Laces web site for more details.

This picture shows me teaching at the 2014 event

The exhibition of the various types of needlelace


Makit LQ&N Christmas Fair

Saturday 5th December 2015

Cranmore Park, Cranmore Road, Shirley, Solihull West Midlands B90 4LF

This promises to be a wonderful lace event.  There has been a lace fair here in December for many years run by John and Jennifer Ford, but now this new event is being run by Scilla and Steve Stephenson of 'Makit'. 

I am taking a two hour workshop on stumpwork strawberries.  Students will be given a kit and full instructions.