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.

There has been great excitement here in the village this week as we are being used as a film set again, this time for a movie, ‘A Monster Calls’ , with Liam Neeson  (who will be playing a tree apparently so won’t be doing any live filming) and Sigourney Weaver who will!

The village and the surrounding countryside has already featured in lots of things, most notably, ‘Last of the Summer Wine’, and ,’Where the Heart is’, and we had Micheal Palin spotted here not long ago while he was filming a ghost story at the vicarage.

However the most exciting thing apart from star spotting is that one of the village shops has been given a make over, this is usually one of our local charity shops and has a very plain window similar to its neighbour that you can just see a bit of on the left of this picture.

Shop transformation 3

But look at that gorgeousness! All that lovely stock. Sadly it is going to have to be turned back after the filming but everyone in the village loves it and wishes it could stay.

Shop transformation

Shop transformation 2

We will have some themed shops this weekend though as it is the Jazz Festival and I helped my friend Sharon make  bunting with some of the music themed fabric that she bought from the Quilt Cabin in Hebden Bridge a few weeks ago.

Bunting

Bunting 2

Bunting 3

It is in the window of her art gallery ‘Enjoy Art’ which will hopefully be busy with lots of visitors to the festival.

I was perusing the charity shops this weekend and not only did I get some more great bargains (a new top for Xmas and some knee-length leather winter boots for the princely sum of £5.45 in total) but also this gorgeous piece of vintage embroidery.

Vintage ABC embroidery

I have taken a couple of close-ups of things we see a lot of round here – is raining again today :-(

Vintage ABC embroidery- umbrella

Vintage ABC embroidery- lamb

And something that has not been seen in Marsden yet however given our role as a film venue who knows what might happen in the future!

Vintage ABC embroidery

No date but I would estimate 1930s – 50s by the style of it. Stitched on linen in cross stitch it says at the top, ‘Teach me please my ABCs’, so I imagine it was for a child’s room and will be going up in my craft room this afternoon.

It is too nice to cut up and was only an amazing £2.80. I do love charity shops :-)

Have made great progress with the hexis for the aprons, they are appliqued to the backing fabric just waiting for a machining session to be sewn together and am working on some more hexi love with the mini charm packs from Simply Solids today.

Will update at the weekend if time allows, I am running the box office for the Jazz Festival again all weekend and am hoping to see a couple of events including one of my favourite vocalists Ruby Wood with her new band The Sugar Sisters who are headlining on Saturday night.

See you soon and thanks for visiting!

Hello just a quick post to say the random number generator gave me number 2 and that was the ‘like’ from Cat. So Cat please contact me at alisonmrayn@yahoo.co.uk to tell me what you would like, I happy to make anything at all just let me know what sort of thing, what type of stitching and fabric/colour choices.

Thanks to everyone else who liked, I will be having another giveaway for my blogaversary in early Dec as well!

 

Hope you are having a fun weekend, I am having a very lovely textilicious one and have just returned with my friend Sharon from visiting a new quilt shop that has opened up in the next but one village from us!

There has been great excitement at our knitting group waiting for this shop to open as it is a real live shop with classes and fabric and everything owned by Justine and Lisa from Simply Solids.

Simply Solids shop

Simply Solids shop 2

Simply Solids shop 3

Simply Solids shop 4

Simply Solids shop 5

Look at this loveliness with all of the displays of cushions and quilts as well as the beautiful fabric and a cosy sitting area. Plus they have a Gamill quilting machine that I think they will be renting time on (if I ever learn to machine quilt).

There was far more fabric than just the displays in the middle of the table, a whole wall of bolts that in my excitement I forgot to photograph!

And it is only a short bus ride away, and they are doing sit and sew groups in the evening :-) I am very happy about this as I did really enjoy going to a quilting group before I moved but that one is quite a long way from where I live now whereas this one will be on the way home.Fits in fantastically with my desire to do more quilting this coming year!

I have been buying from their online shop for a while now and had previously subscribed to their solids stash club. They also have lots of lovely prints as well in the shop and are going to offer classes so it is all very good. If you live near Huddersfield go and check our their website for class details.

I did of course buy a little something from them (it would have been very rude not to!) and the first things I will show you are these little mini charm packs.

Simply Solids shop 12

I have not had charm packs before I bought the one a few weeks ago but like how it gets you to use different fabric that you would not maybe have looked at. Just playing around with one of the sets while I was taking pictures I put together this which also features one of the fantastic lacy zips I bought from them – so pretty!

Simply Solids shop 14

Simply Solids purchases and freebies

I spent this morning using the previous charm pack to make these two hexi sets for some more of the children’s aprons that I am making as Christmas presents which will be using up more of my solids stash.

Hexi charm pack

Simply Solids shop 7

The very loveliest thing though was a fantastic goodie bag!

Simply Solids shop 13

Not only is it a fab bag and that is such a true saying but there were lots of goodies inside. Look at all this stuff, free fabric and thread and hexi papers (Sharon is going to start doing hexis once she has finished her current bunting project).

Simply Solids shop 10

Simply Solids shop 11

Also have bought (and subscribed to the first 3 issues for £5) to Quilt Now magazine  which they had for sale.

Simply Solids shop 8

Will leave you with the fruits of my week’s work – not much stitching time due to having a very lovely new group of teacher trainees starting but have managed 3 more flower brooches.

Fabric flowers

Sharon gave me the idea of making rounded petals by just folding the circle of fabric in half rather than in quarters. All of this fabric comes from stash and the pale pink and pink/brown flower patterns are from 2 charity shop blouses that I repurposed.

Now for a lovely evening of stitching, wine and lighting the candles, nights are drawing in but I have my fabric love to keep me warm :-)

Don’t forget to ‘like’ my giveaway post, I will be drawing the winner tomorrow. Thanks for visiting.

Yesterday my friend Sarah from knitting and I went to Yarndale, a festival of all things woolly, in the pretty little town of Skipton on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales. Here is the front cover of the show guide – how cute is that sheep!

Yarndale 15 brochure
Skipton is worth a visit at any time as the town and the countryside are lovely and as the weather was beautiful we had a great journey there.

Sarah is a very talented knitter, crocheter and designer and she has some beautiful patterns here on her blog Wessenden Woollies and on Ravelry. She is working on some new designs and wanted to source wool for these.

I am being very good at the moment and not buying anything else (until the Harrogate Knitting and Stitching show) so just went for the chance to see some woolly loveliness.

And it was there in abundance! This is Yarndale’s second year and it is held in the animal auctions sheds in Skipton so the whole place smells of sheep and the pens are ready to welcome new visitors such as these cute alpacas who had come to model their gorgeous fleeces.

Yarndale 1 Alpaca

Yarndale 2 Alpaca

There were some old favourites there such as Oliver Twists who do such beautiful threads and some lovely new things.

Yarndale 4 Oliver Twist

One of my favourites was Susan Crawford Vintage  who designs garments based on patterns from the 1920s to 1950s, published as A Stitch in Time , I do like that name :-).

Yarndale 10-vintage knits

As well as wool there were textile artists. Two that I particularly liked were Marmalade Rose  with gorgeous felted pictures (and some fab vintage linens re-used on her blog) and Anne Brooke with stunning stitched textile pieces.

There were also very original display ideas on the stalls and this was one of my favourites.

Yarndale 8 tray

Yarndale 9 tray

I think it is an old printer’s drawer but thought something like this would be an excellent decoration for my craft room, loved all the little balls of wool and buttons!

The hall was decorated with strings of bunting made for last year’s Yarndale and over 1000 mandalas made for this year’s event by readers of Lucy’s Attic 24 blog. They had been sent from 48 different countries after she asked for help from her bloggy friends – don’t you just love the power of the internet!

Yarndale 6 Bunting

Yarndale 7 Bunting

Yarndale 3 Mandalas

These were a few of the ones laid out on the table for closer inspection, love the sheep buttons on that top one and the bike charms (you may remember Yorkshire hosted the start of the Tour de France earlier this summer).

Yarndale 11 - mandala close up

Yarndale 12 mandala close up

Yarndale 13 mandala close up

There was also a display of crochet flowers.

Yarndale 5 Flower garden
And look at this cute button jug! Might have to add that to my Christmas list as that would look really good in my craft room.

Yarndale 14 button jug

Speaking of buttons I was very good and all I bought at the event were these few buttons. I am using them for more of my flower brooches and made this denim one last night.

Yarndale 18 big pretty buttons

Yarndale 19 Denim flower

Earlier on in the week I ordered some very similar buttons from a supplier I found on Ebay (was looking for holly buttons but got distracted!). They are from Bluebell Craft Supplies  and were very good value as there are 80 small 15mm buttons in a packet for £1.69 plus postage.

arndale 17 pretty buttons

Also bought some Christmas ones – these have got some very cute vintage designs on them.

Yarndale xmas buttons

Have found a supplier of the larger ones on Ebay at Willow Tree Mill  as well so might be tempted to go back for more (only once I have used all these up though!)

I also signed up for a subscription to Simply Crochet, as well as improving my quilting this year I would like to learn to crochet as keep seeing wonderful things that I want to make (got to have something to keep me busy over the off-season apart from work and kit making!)

Since I have had a very busy first week of term and it is a dull day I am going to stay snuggled under my fleecy blanket and make more brooches and Xmas ornaments today.

Don’t forget to like my last post for the giveaway to celebrate 400 posts (thanks to all of you who have already done so) I will be choosing the winner next Sunday. Hope you have had a nice week whatever you have been doing and thanks for visiting.

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