Durham Book Festival 2017

This week’s post is about books and their authors, who are all women, as it happens. Writing about the City of Durham (I live just four miles from the city centre) and about the surrounding area, is a feature of this blog. (See some examples here, here, here, here and here).

Over the last ten days I’ve been at three events in this year’s Durham Book Festival – and of course I’ve got the bag. (I do like a thick, well-printed calico bag!)

Durham Book Festival 2017 calico bag

I was organised and booked tickets as soon as the brochure came out. Prompt arrival at my first event afforded me a front row seat just feet away from the great Jenni Murray, presenter of Woman’s Hour on BBC Radio 4 in the UK.  She was as direct, interesting and entertaining in person, on stage, as she is on live radio. What a privilege! Jenni was talking about her book A History of Britain in 21 Women: A Personal Selection and was encouraged to read extracts in her rich voice. I can only describe it as having a ‘caramel’ quality to it, if you have never heard her speak.She mentioned a compliment she had once been given on having ‘a well-stocked mind’; there was strong evidence of this on this occasion – I’m about to buy the book, I’m so looking forward to it.


The next event was a morning one – with coffee and cake, no less – and the interviewee was Rachel Joyce. She is an accomplished radio drama writer, but my first introduction to her novels was  The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, which was given to me as a birthday present. It’s an engaging, unusual and moving story, which prompted me to then read the associated title Perfect, The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy, (Queenie is a character in the first book). Queenie is located here in the North-East of England – an added bonus. In the session, Rachel was speaking about – and reading from – her new novel The Music Shop. I have not read it yet, and the event was carefully constructed so as to entice the reader in, without giving away too much of the plot. The music shop owner was introduced and we learned that he sought to help and heal his customers with suggestions of music that they needed to listen to. It is clear that this new book will demand reading and listening skills…


And finally, I heard Harriet Harman interviewed by Anita Sethi about her autobiography A woman’s work. I’d heard her interviewed about it on Woman’s Hour (see above!) and was delighted to see her in person talking about the extensive and dramatic changes in women’s lives in political and economic spheres. She spoke convincingly yet modestly about her own involvement in fighting for change. I bought the book!



And in Other News…

this first print proof arrived from Spoonflower this week:

'The Reef' tea towel design by Amanda Jane Textiles

It’s a tea-towel featuring watercolour paintings of some of the beautiful fish to be found on the reefs around Australia. The fabric is a linen-cotton mix and four tea-towels can be made from a linear yard, as the width is 54″. You can see it here.



100th blog post!

100th post

Shortly before starting my small business Amanda Jane Textiles in Autumn 2014, I began this blog. Thus far, I have written 100 blog posts and included a 30-second video about my creative life. Click here to see it.

There have been about 13,000 hits on this website. Thank you for visiting.

The plan is to write original content each week which I hope you will enjoy, and also to give access to my gradually increasing selection of quilt and sewing patterns, to my stock of fabric designs and to information about our holiday house let in Durham, UK. I’ve created links to all of these: you should be able to see them either below, or to the right of the current post(s).

Over the two and a half year period, I have covered a variety of topics, the majority (but not all) textile-related. I also like to feature the beautiful North-East of England, where I live, and also to write about other things that have caught my interest.  Here are some examples. Just click on the title to read the post:


Three upcycled dresses in three days

Tantalising quilt link at Beamish

Stitches and Sequins


Save money, recycle a shirt 

A Harris tweed brooch

How to layer up a quilt

Textile artists:

Meeting Michael Brennand-Wood

Lou Gardiner in London

Sue Dove in Harrogate

Small business:

Developing textile products for sale

Running a small business

Taking photographs of products

Skiing and Snow:

Skiing and silk (what to wear for skiing)

Springtime and Snow

Durham and the North-East:

Finding inspiration on foot

Lumiere lights Durham

Durham Surprises

I also wrote a useful post about how to replace a jacket lining which appeared on the Bernina blog. Click here to see it.

Jacket lining.JPG

If you enjoy these posts, then do consider subscribing so you get the weekly blog-post delivered direct to your email in-box. And please pass on the website address (http://www.amandajanetextiles.com) to anyone else you know who would like it too. Thanks!

And as a special gift to mark the 100th blog post: there’s a free single-bed quilt pattern for you! Click here to get it.

The best birthday cake ever

Photo taken from blog post Fire and Ice (and Meringue).