Milk Thistle

I've been so busy lately that it's taken me months to finish the front cover of Milk Thistle, the artist's book I'm making. It is finally finished, however, and I can begin filling it with pages.

The book will deal sickness (and sickliness) and recovery, the subdued gloom of the English national psyche, weeds, delicate flowers, frailty, vulnerability, stereotypes of femininity, romantic literature and poetry, and thorns amongst the roses. Milk thistle is thought to be good for the liver, so the book is also about bravery; about not being lily-livered.

The milk thistle of the title is stitched in crewel wool, with a turkey rug stitch flower and stranded cotton spines. The title is couched in crewel wool to match the flower. The fabric is an amazing 60s cotton sheeting fabric I found at The Shop.











Pop to The Shop


It was about time to stock up on hankies, doilies, and antimacassars for my embroideries, and so I made a little trip down to Cheshire Street just off Brick Lane today, to my very favourite shop in all the world; the eponymous The Shop.


The Shop is crammed from floor to ceiling with vintage textiles and haberdashery, from silk scarves to lace and crochet. It's part Aladdin's Cave and part granny's attic, and entirely a wonderland for a textiles addict like me!


I could spend hours rifling through the old tailor's draws filled with embroidered linens; it's incredible that so much delicate, intricate needlework is stockpiled in such a tiny space, and sold for tuppence! The prices are so reasonable I always come away with a stack of linens for future projects.




If I get around to making up some of my vintage dress patterns this summer, I shall have to return for some gorgeous 50s or 60s fabric (of which there is plenty!)


Not only is The Shop stacked with vintage textiles, it also boasts a considerable selection of vintage clothing, at equally reasonable prices. Particularly gorgeous is the choice of lingerie and night wear; today I fell in love with a beautiful hand embroidered peach 1920s pyjama set (and demonstrated tremendous self-restraint in not buying it, considering how gorgeous it was!)


The Shop opens Monday to Sunday, and I implore you to get down there if you're as much of a textiles nerd as me, if only for a feast for your eyes.

Here's my haul from today:


It should keep me busy for the next month or so!