The productivity yesterday paid off and I have now have  completed bag to go with the books I have bought for my cousin’s daughter Alice.

Alice's bag

This is one of the fabrics that I bought from the scraps bin at a stall from the Harrogate Knitting and Stitching show for £1, solids and buttons from stash so a very bargainsome gift!

I also used my new marking tool – the one that looks like a little pastry wheel with metal teeth to mark the lines for the quilted interior. I found it very easy to use and am proud of how symmetrical the quilting looks.

Alice's bag lining

I attached the strap with a large button and then used some others to decorate.

Alice's bag close up

Am very pleased and hope she will like it!

Now an afternoon of bee quilt and Netflix – and watching the rain, just another Sunday in Yorkshire :-)

Thanks for visiting.

 

There is nothing more lovely than waking up on a Saturday morning (without the alarm going off) realising it is Saturday morning (yippee no work), knowing that Sunday follows Saturday (yippee still no work), remembering that you did all the housework in the previous two days (the joys of working from home meaning you can get the boring stuff done in between work) so realising that the next 48 hours are just yours for stitching :-) Added to that the fact that next week is the end of term with a couple of Christmas dos to attend and then I am on holiday!

And I have discovered (and made) a new Christmas ornament which is will share with you in a minute – I may just be the happiest bunny on the planet!!!

Plus my lovely son has returned from University for the holidays so not only is it very nice to spend time with him (and lovely daughter from next weekend) but he very kindly does the stuff like vacuuming, popping to the shops and jobs that need a tall person.

First the important task of telling you who won the giveaway for my 7th blogaversary. Thanks to the random number generator the winner is ‘Like number 3′ who is Pam in the UK.

Please could you e-mail me at alisonmryan@yahoo.co.uk with your address so I can send your ornaments out. Thanks as well to everyone else who liked and for all the lovely comments.

We had another little ornament making session recently (or Crafternoon as Sharon discovered they are now called from my new Simply Crochet magazine). Helen, Sharon and Sammy from knitting group came for an afternoon of festive making and a little bit of fizz!

Apologies for the bad light, it was actually sleeting most of that day, but here are Sharon and Helen discussing the all important issue of which buttons would look best on Helen’s heart and stocking.

Crafternoon 2 - choosing buttons

She used some Scandi fabric in my stash to make these.

Crafternoon 3 - stocking and heart

Here is my work in progress picture.

Crafternoon pictures

27 Suffolk Puffs with little buttons attached turns into ……

Crafternoon 4 - puff bauble

A Suffolk Puff bauble!

I was actually looking for instructions on how to make a Suffolk Puff Christmas tree when I found this very cute idea.

I cut out all of my puff circles to 2 and a half inches originally, sewed them up and attached buttons to cover the hole and then pinned them on to a polystyrene bauble (2 small pins underneath each button) whereas the original tutorial says to sew them together round an ordinary bauble but that looked a bit tricky.

The original  tutorial for the Suffolk Puff (Yo-Yo) bauble can be found here at Cut Out and Keep

I may well have to make a whole load more of these (probably not before Christmas)  but this could well be next year’s gift bauble to friends and family as it is so cute!

In my searching for Suffolk Puff Inspiration I found this lovely blog, Potter, Wright and Webb  that looks at all sorts of traditional crafts from the UK which I thought may be of interest.

So I do hope you are going to have an equally lovely weekend, I have now got to go and put the pedal to the metal (sewing machine not car) to finish up presents that need to go in the post on Monday.

Take care and thanks for visiting.

I am having a very festive weekend, the last bits of decorating have been done and last night was the Marsden lights switch on so the village now looks very pretty.

Our local Morris dancers and fire jugglers were out too so that was very nice. Along with a glass of mulled wine and a mice pie it was a lovely couple of hours.

It is attempting to snow today as well but it is mainly slushy hail at the moment, hope things don’t get too bad, my Mum and Aunt are flying in from Spain today as sadly we have a family funeral to go to tomorrow so the last thing we need is bad weather!

My tree is up and it is not only a Christmas tree but a memory tree, as few years ago I got rid of all the mass-produced baubles.

Xmas tree

Now I only have ones that I have made (which remind me of many happy hours of stitching) and special ones bought mainly on holidays or hand-made from other craft fairs.

This year’s hand-made by me have been added ,one flower and one hexagon so far, maybe more to come if I have time.

Xmas tree ornie 2

Xmas tree ornie 3

And here are the special ones both from Bavaria, our visit to Rothenburg ob der Tauber  where we found that amazing Christmas shop.

Xmas tree and ornies

Xmas tree ornie 4

I have also made a few more Christmas flowers for friends.

Xmas tree ornies- flowers

I am getting on well with the bee quilt, here is my inspiration. Details of the source in this post.

Vintage fabric bee quilt

And here is the progress so far, really enjoying doing this, am limiting myself to seven hexagons for this one due to lack of time and it will be appliqued to a cushion cover.

bee quilt progress

bee quilt progress 2

bee quilt progress 3

bee quilt progress 4

bee quilt progress 5

All of this is from my stock of vintage linen, embroidery, lace and crochet with added beads and maybe some embroidered flowers if I have time.

Hope you have had a good week, don’t forget to like my giveaway post from last week as I will picking a winner on Friday 12th Dec.

Thanks for visiting.

Well all those years ago when I started I didn’t realise I would still be blogging 7 years later. Thank you everyone who has visited, liked, followed and commented. I really appreciate all of your bloggy love :-)

As is now traditional for me I am going to offer a Christmas ornament giveaway, please ‘like’ this post and I will choose a winner and send them a selection of hand-made ornaments.

Thought I would indulge with a run through of some of my makes over the last few years so people can see what sorts of things they would be getting.

Xmas Baubles

JBW Stockings 1

JBW tree ornie 1

Small xmas hearts 2012

Baubles Sept

Xmas mini stockings

Hexi Xmas ornie 5

Sewing day Nov - hexi ornie

Xmas ornie - flower

I do love making ornaments! Have just put my tree up and am really enjoying looking at all of the things I have made over the years.

I will pick the winner on Friday 12th Dec so that I can get them in the post in time.

Thanks for continuing to visit – I really appreciate it.

 

A few years ago at Harrogate I saw some really stunning, original embroidery in the graduate showcase and was really pleased to see the work of Caren Garfen back again, this time with her own exhibition.

Caren’s work is called ‘She was cooking something up’ and is based around a kitchen installation. It takes the theme of women’s lives and their relationship with food, dieting and body image. Not only is it technically amazing, all of this is hand stitching on screen printed backgrounds, but so creative and powerful.

Apologies as my images are all a bit yellow due to the show lighting.

Harrogate 2014 Caren's work 2

Harrogate 2014 Caren's work 3

Harrogate 2014 Caren's work 4

Harrogate 2014 Caren's work 5

Harrogate 2014 Caren's work 6

Harrogate 2014 Caren's work 7

Harrogate 2014 Caren's work 8

I was lucky enough to be able to talk to Caren and tell her how much I loved her work.

There are some more detailed pictures (in better light) at this show link.

Her website  also gives more details of her work and there is a really interesting interview with Caren at this link on the Textile Artist web site. I particularly like the way her work links modern stitching with the history of women’s work and needlework.

As someone who is really interested in the history of needlework it is fascinating the way that women’s lives were often influenced heavily by their skills with a needle in terms of employment, readiness for marriage, social activities etc and this work makes us think through stitching about our lives and current pressures on them.

No longer do we have to be proficient needlewomen to clothe our families, or ‘make do and mend’ to help the war effort, or have 12 quilt tops ready before we get married but for many of us needlecrafts and knitting are still very central to our lives.

It always fascinates me as someone who has crafted all her life that knitting, quilting, embroidery and sewing are now popular like never before (and often on prime time TV), not because we have to do it but because we want to do it and the ‘handmade home’ is now once again valued over mass production.

The fact that the internet (the original idea of linking computers was to protect data in the event of war) is such as resource for us all (not just women but mainly women) to share ideas, encourage each other and to often enable us to sell our work is fantastic.

My life would definitely by so much poorer without my bloggy  ‘imaginary friends’ as my kids call them. So on that note thanks for visiting and have a nice week ahead!

How I love Saturdays :-) back to back cups of tea and a bit of blogging to share with you the joy that was Harrogate Knitting and Stitching, followed by more actual stitching.

And tomorrow will be more of the same! Ellie and Kerry have gone to Harrogate today and I am sure they will have a fab time as well.

I have not visited for a few years, partly due to not actually needing any more fabric (probably ever) but definitely being good in the run up to moving house and trying to use up what I have got in the last two years.

However this year Sharon and Helen from knitting group also wanted to go.We had a lovely day and also helped with restraining each other’s spending which was soooo hard.

It was fun to shop with people who have very different tastes.I am so drawn to anything medieval whereas Helen loves flowery prints and Sharon bought bright solids for her latest art gallery bunting.

The exhibition halls were full and there was much more gorgeous fabric than in previous years, as well as the lovely wool and stitching stalls and the exhibitions itself.

Our first purchases were actually from Simply Solids (got to support our local business) where I bought some mini charm packs similar to those I got from them on their opening day.

Then I found some fat quarters of the Moda Printemps that I had used from one of those mini charms packs for the hexagons so bought a couple of these to use as backing.

They are going to become toilet bags this afternoon for Christmas presents and will look lovely with some co-ordinating solids – such pretty designs!

Harrogate 2014 hexis backing fabric

As always Sue from Springwood House Designs had some beautiful Robert Kaufman Christmas fabrics so I bought these to add to the stash plus the sliver one for flower brooch making.

Harrogate 2014 Xmas fabric

Harrogate 2014 Xmas fabric 2

I was also very tempted by a wonderful Robert Kaufman tree panel and after seeing it on a few stalls finally gave in and bought one.

Apologies for the creases but you can see from the detail photos what a wonderful piece it is – more like a work of art than just fabric.

Harrogate 2014 tree panel

Harrogate 2014 tree panel

Harrogate 2014 tree panel detail 2

Harrogate 2014 tree panel detail 3

Harrogate 2014 tree panel detail 4

This will not be finished for this year, it needs lots of time lavished on it – hand quilting and maybe some seed beads as well.

I also picked up some bargain back issues of a few magazines, I do love reading craft mags even if I will never have time to make any of the things in them!

Harrogate 2014 magazines

Also came across a bargain bin for fabric on one of the stalls – most of these were £1 each :-) I am trying to break away from just medieval and could not resist the bright elephant print second from right.

Harrogate 2014 bargain bin fabric

The exhibitions are always a delight – these pictures were from the graduate showcases – the first knitter is a Huddersfield student which is very nice to see.

Harrogate 2014 Knitting exhibit 1

I loved this Hobbit themed set – look at Smaug the dragon!

Harrogate 2014 Knitting exhibit 2

Harrogate 2014 Knitting exhibit 3

Harrogate 2014 Knitting exhibit 5 dragon

And these would make amazing gifts for dog owners.

Harrogate 2014 Knitting exhibit 4 dogs

I have some more work to show you but will do that in another post as this one is getting a bit long!

Hope you have enjoyed your virtual tour and thanks for visiting. Now off to use up some of this stuff lol!

Hello again

We (as in Ellie, Kerry, Sadie and I) promised ourselves at the end of last season in September that we would not spend the winter as we usually do talking about all of the things we were going to make but meet up more regularly to make things.

So we met again this weekend at my house for a second sewing weekend. This also included a little evening out to introduce Sadie to the delights of Marsden.

I am exempt from having to make any large things as I am hostess so I feed and provide equipment and guidance if needed while the others get on with their stuff.

It was a very successful weekend with Kerry finishing two linings to go under her corset , working on a pair of cuffs for her gloves for next season and revising a dress.

Ellie and Sadie both made shifts which were nearly finished by yesterday evening apart from the hand finishing of the seams. Here Ellie is hard at work and later modelling her creation (excuse the lack of light – winter in Yorkshire!)

Sewing day Nov -Ellie

Sewing day Nov -Ellie 2

She has had her hair cut short which looks very lovely and donated the hair to a children’s cancer charity for making wigs for kids undergoing chemotherapy.

Sadie was using her machine for the first time and it all went very well!

Sewing day Nov -Sadie

Since we do so much work for English Heritage ( who have very strict guidelines on costume) we machine sew main seams then fold the seam allowance over and ‘stab stitch’ through to neaten the seams.

This also hides the overlocking on the edge of the material. I usually then oversew the seams, both to cover up the machining and to provide extra strength.

Some of the garments like shifts and hose and brais (the men’s undergarments) get a lot of wear and tear, particularly when worn under armour and this helps strengthen the seams. All hems are handstitched.

I did manage to finish a couple of things – hexis of course! Here are two of my latest Christmas ornaments using a slightly bigger hexi and making two hexi flowers which are sewn together.

Sewing day Nov - hexi ornie

 

Sewing day Nov -ornie 2

The flower for the backing is plain fabric with a patterned centre square.

This is a great way of using up little scraps from my Christmas fabric stash. Some of the fabric that I am using now I have had for years and am getting to the end of it so this is a very economical method as well as being very enjoyable :-)

I am also making good progress with all of my hand-made gifts (though there will no doubt be a mad dash as usual at the end – luckily some don’t have to be finished until the 29th when I go to Spain!).

Below are the finished pincushion and needlebook. The scissor keep to finish the set is almost done, just needs the buttons and cord added.

Sewing day Nov -needlebook

Sewing day Nov -needlebook 2

Of course the great excitement later this week is the visit to Harrogate Knitting and Stitching Show! I have set myself quite a strict budget which I intend to spend on charm packs and buttons.

There may just be some pictures of fabric in my next post :-)

Meanwhile stay happy and thanks for visiting.

Sorry for the lack of posts, I returned from lovely sunny Spain to lots of work and late nights so have not had time to post any pictures of the sun.

It was very warm, 30 degrees which is hot even for Spain so I had a fantastic week. I went to the beach three times and swam in the sea twice and had a couple of trips to the spa where the jacuzzi did my aching bones a world of good.

We had a lovely last day out and went back to the cave houses at Rojales which have been turned into artist’s studios.

Rojales - caves

There was a little craft fair on and some very cute animals enjoying the sunshine, I managed to get this cat to stay still for a picture.

Rojales - caves 3

I particularly liked this piece of art outside one of the caves.

Rojales - caves 2

I also managed to take some pictures inside the cave bar that we visited last time, some brilliant carvings in the rock walls in the style of Picasso.

Rojales - caves 4

Rojales - caves 5

Rojales - caves 6

Last time we were there we could see this amazing house just down the hill covered in shells and this time it was open so we got to have a look round. I don’t know who owns it or did all this work as the couple who were there didn’t speak English but it was a masterpiece.

Rojales - shell house

Rojales - shell house 4

Rojales - shell house 5

Rojales - shell house 6

Even one of the rooms had been decorated, not sure if all were like this inside but this one was open for us to look round.

Rojales - shell house 2

Rojales - shell house 3

This is why I love Spain, always the unexpected with a touch of slightly bizarre! Oh and the marvellous weather and cheap wine ;-)

Have not done a lot of crafting since returning but have been working on a couple of Christmas gifts and ornaments this weekend (hexi inspired of course) which I will share with you when they are finished.

Until next time take care and thanks for visiting.

How did I get to this ripe old age without discovering the joys of hexis or mini charm packs?

I suppose previously I thought that I had enough fabric to play with and didn’t need to buy themed collections but since I discovered the joys of English paper piecing (and my addiction to hexagons) they have come in really useful being just the right size for the creation of endless hexi flowers.

I have put them to good use though. I could cheerfully just sit here making hexi flowers and watching Netflix while it rains but feel I need to be purposeful in what I do ;-)

So I have made a couple of aprons as Christmas gifts with the mini charm packs I bought from The Quilt Cabin in Hebden Bridge.

hexis heaven

hexis apron 2

I added little patched pockets as a contrast to the hexagons.

hexis apron pocket close up 1

hexis apron close up 2

hexis apron close up 1

hexis close up 3

These will go with some mini baking sets that I discovered on that trip as well. They are for the smaller cousins in the family (previous recipients of rabbits).

I have made lots of flowers out of a Moda mini charm pack from Simply Solids.

This is from the Moda  Printemps fabric range which is lovely and very good value at £4 per pack.

hexis Printemps set close up 1

hexis Printemps set close up 2

That has made all these and enough for one other that I need to add some of my solid stash to. I think these will be turned into make-up bags for other Christmas presents.

hexis Printemps set

I have also been using the mini charm packs for patchwork to make a wash bag for another relative. I used up most of the squares in this pack but added some plain ones from stash rather than the flower patterned ones as I wanted to personalise the bag.

Elan's patchwork bag charm pack

Elan's patchwork bag

Elan's patchwork bag 2

Elan has an Israeli name and so does not get much personalised stuff so thought I would try out my applique skills. Since I couldn’t find any letters the right size I also drew these myself and am pleased with the way they have turned out. Just need to line the bag and add the drawstring this evening.

Elan's patchwork bag 3

Elan's patchwork bag 4

All of the above flowers have been made with 1 inch hexis but I am also doing some more work with the tiny 1 cm ones. This is from stash fabric and will be a pincushion – am intending to make a matching needlebook, again for a Christmas present.

hexis small aqua

Since this is my year of patchwork and quilting I am going to spend a lot of my time thinking of ways to use up the hexis. Thankfully I have Pinterest and the whole of the world-wide web to help me ;-)

I may just buy a few more charm packs at my visit to the Harrogate Knitting and Stitching show – which is exactly a month today !!!!! Not that I am at all excited.

Hope you are all well and happy and have had a good weekend, I am off to Spain on Friday so will be back in a couple of weeks. Take care and thanks for visiting.

Hope you are having a nice weekend. I am having a lovely relaxing yet creative one but just thought I would show you a few pictures from the lovely (sunny!) Jazz Festival last week.

You may remember the event last year was very, very wet so it was a real pleasure to have brilliant sunshine all weekend – in October, in Yorkshire.

It also put paid to all those comments about, ‘why don’t we have the festival at some other time of year’. As if you can ever guarantee nice weather in England!

Here are some pictures of the parade (courtesy of our local paper’s website ) with the brilliant Tongues of Fire – loved that machine, very steam punk!

Jazz Festival

Jazz Festival 2

Jazz Festival 3

Jazz Festival 6

Jazz Festival 7

Jazz Festival 8

And this is a great picture of my lovely friend Bob who plays with several excellent bands including The Graham Browning Trio and String-fellows.

Jazz Festival

I managed to get away from my box office duties for a little bit to see the lovely Sugar Sisters and had a boogie to the late night band Bugalu Foundation who were excellent. Will definitely look out for future gigs from them.

Am finishing off the Christmas present aprons with the hexi design on the front and making a patchwork washbag this weekend in between stitching more hexis for future projects.

Hopefully I will be able to show you some completed stuff before I leave for Spain next Friday – I have lots of spa and Jacuzzi visits planned :-)

I am also doing some cooking – experimenting with muffins again and I have made some chocolate and orange ones with passionfruit curd inside (curd courtesy of the National Trust shop). I can safely say they are delicious and will not be around for long.

Also am planning to make some spinach and feta rolls tomorrow from this recipe to use up more of my veg box delivery.

I do love weekends at home! Take care and thanks for visiting.

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