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Oh the joy of having nothing to do apart from sit and watch movies and stitch!
I was contemplating doing some gardening (which I did not want to do as it was boring lawns) but it being a Bank Holiday weekend it has been pouring down along with thunder and lightning so I have the whole afternoon to do as I please!
I am still working on the hand quilting of the throw, this will be a long job but a very pleasurable one. I decided to hand quilt some of the flower motifs from each of the patterned squares with metallic thread rather than just outlining the squares and it is looking really good.
I am still not very confident with my machine skills for doing any other type of quilting – I look at Crazy Mom Quilts with envy. One of my targets for this winter (in my new craft room!) will be to get better at this.I think I will make some little art quilts for the walls to practise.
My Summer Exchange piece has arrived at last in the USA so I can reveal it to you. This was organised once again through the Seasonal Exchange blog and was sent to Sarah who does not yet have a blog herself.
Strawberries always remind me of summer so I stitched part of an Elizabethan knot garden design from a book I have had for a while, ‘Elizabethan Cross Stitch’ by Barbara Hammett. It is a beautiful book with loads of lovely designs.
Once again it is stitched with Silk Mill threads. I made it into a pincushion with plain green evenweave for the backing and I have put a little strawberry charm from my stash on the back and a couple of beads from my Xmas ornie making stash on the front in the middle.The strawberries also have seed beads on them.
Am off to see Ellie tomorrow so lots more stitching time on the train – what a lovely life!
Thanks for visiting and see you soon.
I am building up a collection of antique needlework, some I have got via Ebay, others on my travels (like the Chinese embroidery), partly due to my interest in all forms of historical needlework but also as I feel a need to rescue things sometimes that may have been loved but for many reasons end up discarded.
I have been doing a lot of sorting out and decluttering recently and realised that although I bought this piece a couple of years ago I have never blogged about it.
What made me particularly think about what might have happened in both the creation and the subsequent life of this piece of stitching is that I have been doing lots of reading since teaching ended and I have more time.
I have been reading lots of books by Maureen Lee ,who I mentioned in an earlier post, which are set in wartime Liverpool and I wonder if this was to commemorate something.
I have not tried to take it apart to see if there are any details on the back as it is sealed in the frame. It is needlepoint and all of the canvas is covered in tent stitch in a fine wool. It is a small tray about 14 inches by 8 inches.
I would like to think it was a wedding gift for someone but hope it wasn’t to commemorate something less happy. I would like to imagine it being given to the happy couple who hopefully came through the war and were able to be together like my Nana and Grandad and raise a family.
My lovely Nana died this week after a short illness so I am feeling very sad. Thankfully she was able to come to the UK and see everyone for her 100th birthday which was brilliant.
Whenever I see stitching at museums and in historic houses and pieces like this I so want to know what happened, who made the piece and why, what happened to them after that. There is so much of our little history, our ordinary women’s history lost because it was never recorded which makes me so sad.
My contribution, however small, is to collect and love and cherish and share these things to honour their makers whoever they may be and whatever happened to them.
Thanks for visiting and see you soon.
Regular readers may know that my grandmother Evelyn Alice celebrated her 100 th birthday this week so we all gathered for a family celebration last night. My Nana has not been very well and had travelled over from Spain to be here but was determined to make her party to see everyone and get her telegram from the Queen.
Here she is at the start of the party and my cousin Neil (along with Ellie in the background) presenting her with the framed telegram. Apologies that the pic of the actual telegram is not good but you get the gist of it.
My Mum and Aunt had organised a little display of family pictures and mementos so I just thought I would share some of these with you. Ellie absolutely loved this, being a history buff and it was amazing to think of all that Nana has lived through.
She was born 3 months after the sinking of the Titanic in a small Welsh mining village.Her mother, my Nana Polly, was born in the late 1880s and there were some lovely pics of Nana Polly as a young girl in Edwardian dress and Nana as a baby in smocks sitting on her mother’s knee.
She has lived through two World Wars, getting married at the start of the Second World War and had two babies during that war, my Mum and Auntie.This is her wedding picture.
My grandfather, Arthur Percival George (who you can see looking very like Eroll Flynn in one of the pics at the top of this poster below) served in North Africa during the war. On this poster are also her ration books and ID card. Grandad died 28 years ago after a long illness caused by his time as a miner.
I have been reading some very good books recently by Maureen Lee set in wartime Liverpool and it really makes you think about life for Nana and her friends during those times. Have also just read an amazing book called White Dove by Rosie Thomas , a brilliant love story about family history set between the wars.
They were a very adventurous couple – early pioneers of travel abroad (must be where I get it from), going to Spain twice a year from the late 1950s even though they were a very ordinary couple, he a factory worker and she a housewife. They never owned a car and I remember my Grandad cycling to work every day in his blue overalls.
She has 5 grandchildren and 8 great-grandchildren , ranging in ages from 21 (Ellie) to 1 month old (Alice Evelyn my cousin’s daughter) and who knows may even see her great-great grandchildren.
It is so amazing to think of all the things that our parents and grandparents have seen change and to wonder what life will be like for us in 25 or 50 years.
Happy 100th birthday Nana with all our love xxxx
Thank you for visiting and see you soon!
Hasn’t the time flown? Nearly forgot to do this as the end of the month seems to have come so quickly.Click on the pic above to go to Kathy’s blog where you can see all the other lovely pics as well.
Most of these were taken on our recent trip to Lake Como in Italy.
We went on a boat trip across the lake from where we were to a little town called Varenna. We were just wandering up the hill on a little path and came across this villa which is now a museum and this was the view from the terrace – wow!
Can’t live without
I hadn’t got the list for this month’s hunt before I went so used the computer in the hotel to check. As soon as my Mum and the kids heard this category they said ‘red wine’ – so here is a pic of the wine we had every evening – even Jake got into drinking it. Though I think I could live without it …. but do love it!
The ferry-boat going in the direction of Bellagio across the lake from our hotel on a very misty first morning.
This had to be one of my (many) door pics – this one from the Duomo Cathedral in Milan – what a door!
While in Milan we visited the Milanese version of Harrods and this was in the Food Hall , designer water . I don’t know if you can see the price tag but it says 59 euros – the phrase ‘more money than sense’ comes to mind!
Multi – coloured
From the same store these lovely Pantone mugs – have just bought Jake a couple of the cheap version of these from our local store for his ‘bottom drawer’ for going to University in Sept.
On the move
Our amazing train journey over the Alps – the Bernina Express train.
The first morning was very dull and misty but that meant there were amazing clouds clinging to the rocks in the village behind the hotel.
Ellie has just bought me this book from my wish list as a pressie for help with her dissertation -she is such a lovely daughter and it did make me smile lots and lots! I love Rick Stein, the series was brilliant and he has a lovely smile as well!
Beautiful wisteria in bloom all along Lake Como.
They would be if you tried to wear them! Miniature chocolate shoes from the Milan store food hall – yours for 35 euros.
The clematis and honeysuckle over my garden arch – just waiting for it all to bloom now.
Well the very busy week at work did not go as planned as I have had an ear infection, not good for workload but this meant that there has much stitching been done and catching up on missed TV. One of the things I have been watching this week is a BBC series called Illuminations – The Private Lives of Medieval Kings which has had me drooling over the art.
You may remember that a while ago I shared with you my latest purchase from my very talented friend Pat of Buckles Medieval Art and I promised to take some more pics if I could. Today we have had really lovely sunshine (which is very good as there was snow last night!) so I have been able to take some nice pics of my other bits of her art.
My first piece from Pat is a triptych – a three section religious painting, in this case of St Andrew and his fisherman.
I also have this beautiful painting hanging above my bed of Archangel Michael. She has painted one of my favourite castles Castle Coch in South Wales in the background. Castle Coch was rebuilt in the 19th century by the Marquis of Bute (who also at one point owned Cardiff Castle) and both buildings have some wonderful recreations of medieval decoration.Well worth a visit if you are in the area.
I also have a facsimile of a medieval bible from the 15th century which I bought as a real bargain some time ago from the Museum Selection (one of my fave catalogues) , here is a peek at one of the wonderful page decorations.
This is one of my favorite books – again another real bargain from Waterstones one day when I was in Leeds. It is available cheaply on Amazon as well at the moment at only £13 which is really good as it is huge book.
It has copies of illustrations from so many wonderful manuscripts including one of my all time favourites the Bedford Hours which was featured in the second episode of the Illuminations series.
I love looking at medieval art, as well as being great for research on costume and artefacts I just marvel at the wonderful richness of it all. I have so many ideas for embroidery designs based on all my lovely books and museum and church visits. All I need now is a few more hours each day to get them all down on paper!
Below is a pic of the finished Snow Poem piece, all I need now is a nice silver frame for it. It is very appropriate that I am able to post this today as Google informed me when I logged on that it was the 125th anniversary of the world’s largest snowflake today which was 15 inches across!
Now I am trying to decide on my next piece, maybe another snowflake or I might start one of the Spring Quaker ornies that I mentioned in the last post.
Hope you have all had a lovely week and have a nice week ahead of you. We have Ofsted coming to visit us at work, those of you who work in the education system may well know what that means! Suffice to say that there may be lots of need for stitching for sanity in the next few days!
Take care and see you all soon. Thanks for visiting.
Hello everyone , hope you are all well and happy. I am currently feeling tired but happy after a very busy first week of term, I must be getting old as I was very glad to see Friday . I have had a lovely time with my new group of students, they are very lively and I’m sure we will have a great year ahead.
I had a nice relaxing weekend planned and I have been enjoying myself – once again surrounded by textiles. My local branch of the Embroiderers’ Guild were having their biennial exhibition on Saturday so after meeting at Lydia’s lovely yarn shop Spun for a couple of hours of the WI monthly craft session where I cast on for a new pair of wristwarmers I wended my way to that.( I love that word ‘wended’ don’t you – always sounds like something out of a fairytale!)
I have not been able to attend a meeting this year due to work pressures but it was very lovely to see everyone, eat nice cake and marvel at all the wonderful talent that is in the group. The slideshow below shows just a small selection of the fabulous work there was on display.
|Free picture slideshow generated with Smilebox|
I also bought a couple of books on historical textiles (bargain at £1 each) and added this little piece of needleace to my collection of textile creations.
Today we had the first full planning meeting for our new re-enactment group Swords of Mercia held at the Hardwick Inn, this is a lovely old pub – see pics below, in the grounds of the fantastic Hardwick Hall – once home to my heroine Bess.
Apart from a very nice lunch and a catch up we also organised lots of things about how the group will be run , I am to be secretary, booking us into events and also help with costume making and advice. We have until next year probably before we do our first show but I already have some fettling to do to make new hangings for the display tent we will use for talks.
I have finished the stitching on my Autumn exchange pice (no pics allowed as it is not be posted till 1st Nov) so as well as the wristwarmers I have started on another Xmas stitch – this is a Nordic inspired tree design from the Cross Stitcher mag I treated myself to yesterday.No pics yet as not much stitched.
So a busy week but a very nice one, have had great fun once again and am very much looking forward to the year ahead – both personally and professionally.
Hope that you all have a nice week ahead and see you soon. Thanks for visiting.
Hope that you are all having a nice weekend, I have been very busy with decorating since early this morning so have decided to have a nice sit down and do a post with a cup of tea before I go and cook.
Ellie has gone back to University – we helped her move in to her new house on Thursday and left her to unpack.She has got a bigger room this year which is good as she had a lot of stuff! It is a very nice house with a brand new kitchen (not at all like student digs in my day!) so I’m sure she will be very happy there.
I had a good journey back just sitting stitching another JBW Xmas ornie with a cup of tea, looking at the lovely views out of the train window now and again. It was a very lovely couple of hours and I really enjoyed it. I do love using trains, I’m sure that driving is very useful and I can see the advantages sometimes but I was very happy sitting and relaxing with my stitching and reading my book.I felt very peaceful and mellow, it was great!
I have treated myself this week to some new books that have been on my wish list on Amazon for a while so I thought that I would show you them (in the absence of any finished stitching – do have two Xmas ornie WIPs which should be done soon!) I do love reading – again another one of my fave things to do and am very sad that the book below is the last in the series at the moment. I started reading the Elm Creek Quilt series last year on the recommendation of a friend from knitting and I love them, they are a wonderful mix of quilting patterns, history and the story of the women who make the quilts.
This book as you have probably guessed is about the American Civil war and picks up the stories of the lives of some of the quilters in earlier books such as The Sugar Camp quilt and The Lost Quilter. I really hope that there are more planned for the future!
My other great pleasure is of course finding out more about the history of needlework and this is a book I have had on my wishlist for a long time, I noticed last week that there was a very cheap second – hand copy for sale so snapped it up. The book is a history of American Needlework written by Rose Wilder Lane, the daughter of Laura Ingalls Wilder of ‘Little House on the Prairie’ fame. It was Rose who encouraged Laura to write all her books, being a successful author herself and I can’t wait to get some time to study this in more depth.
Here is just a little taste of the lovely stuff inside, some red embroidery, traditional patchwork blocks and an applique quilt from the Brooklyn Museum.
My last treat is some new silk thread from The Silk Mill to stitch all these ornies with – an Xmas colour pack and some extra greens as they are having a 35% off sale until the 5th Sept – to good to miss. That has not arrived yet but will take a pic of it when it does for you so you can admire the silky loveliness!
Well I do hope you all have a lovely week ahead, we are gearing up for the start of a new term with Jake back at college this week, my new students will arrive the week after so it will be all go then, no time for being mellow but I will try to factor in lots and lots of stitching time!
Thanks for visiting.
I hope that you have all had a nice weekend – it has been a very hot and sunny one here in Yorkshire and much garden fettling has taken place including the clearing of weeds from a neglected area at the bottom of the garden, thanks kids for your sterling work today. We have had a lovely BBQ this evening as well!
It has almost been too hot in the conservatory to do any fabric fettling but Ellie and I did a little bit today and I have some pics to show you from earlier in the week.We have been making a whole load of very cute pincushions from her Simple Sewn Gifts book that she got for her birthday and I have been helping by cutting out the fabric. These are very lovely.
There is one for her with a very cute frog button.
One for her auntie as she loves cats.
One to go with the scissor keep she made as a donation for the ‘Put em Ins’ that we are making for the Quilter’s Guild Tombola at the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham in August (Put em Ins are anything you can put things in).
One for me to match ny WIP sofa throw in the lovely medieval fabric.
I am still sewing my little patchwork Xmas hearts which leads me to the giveaway which is the title of my post. It was my birthday this week – the kids were kind enough to buy me this lovely card!
Ellie also made me a very pretty bag and is making me a jewellery roll in the same fabric to go with it.
It is also my 204th post right here, right now – I had meant to have a giveaway to celebrate the 200th post which was last week sometime but missed it so thought I would do it now as a birthday and blog celebration.
I am offering an Xmas ornie as I love doing them and it can be any one of your choice - either a stitched one or a patchwork – tree, heart etc anything at all. If you click on the ‘Xmas Ornies’ link in my Category Cloud you will see all the ones I have ever made so pick your favourite one. To enter please leave a comment on this post telling me what you would like to have . I will pick the winner in two weeks on the 17th July.
We are off to London next week for a little holiday – lots of museum visiting and we are going to lurk around the premiere of the last Harry Potter movie on Thurs in the hope of seeing some stars! Hope that you all have a lovely week ahead and thank you for visiting.
Hello and a very Happy Mothers’ Day to you if you live in the UK. If you don’t Happy first Sunday in April and I hope that you are having a lovely day anyway! I would like to dedicate this post to all of my lovely friends who are mums both in real life and blogland as a celebration of your fabulousness. And of course to my wonderful Mum who has always been a brilliant friend as well as a mum.
Being a mum is fantastic and I am very thankful that I have such lovely kids who have once again bought me very thoughtful presents and cards.I had a bracelet and Mackintosh pattern box last week and today as a surprise I got this!
I have wanted this book for ages and I was very impressed as normally the kids don’t buy me crafting books from my wish list (they think I have enough already – as if such a thing exists) So thanks very, very much!
I have lots of friends who have in the last few years become new mums and one of the things I value most about the internet is being able to keep in touch with them, to see pics of the kids and to be able to offer support through the power of a nice comment or two when they may be feeling a bit overwhelmed or the kids are poorly, teething etc. I am very lucky to have had a great group of local friends who I met through a Mother and Toddler group and we have kept each other going through the years and are now supporting through teenage and University issues and the joys of having more time to ourselves now we are becoming empty nesters!
I am always impressed by the mums who run their own businesses both ones I know in real life and through blogging. I have mentioned my very talented friend Kat lots of times before and her medieval headdresses and costume business Kats Hats . I would also like to introduce another friend to you who has recently set up her own business, Simply Yummy Cupcakes, which as you can probably tell is a cake business! The link is from Facebook so you might have to be logged in to see it. Now I know a lot of people do cupcakes but these are something very special – I hope she won’t mind me sharing a couple of pics with you of her work – look how talented she is!
Laura also makes cupcakes to order for birthdays, weddings and other special events including some very unusual ‘cake pops’ that you can use as wedding favours – she is based in Newport , South Wales in the UK so if you need special cakes go and have a look at her creations.I am planning to do a little baking later on this afternoon for Jake – some chocolate orange cupcakes with chocolate frosting which I tried out on him last week and they got the seal of approval but they are not as wonderful as Laura’s.
Taking inspiration from another very talented mum, Hen House, I went to a Vintage Fair in town yesterday held in a little Victorian Arcade where my friend Lydia has her wool shop Spun. Hen makes the most wonderful things out of her vintage embroidery finds – adding them to quilts and cushions so look what I picked up.
I have tried to learn to crochet but no luck so far but the little flowers on these two pieces are lovely and I thought that I could turn them into something nice with some denim that I have in my stash and some of the fabric that I bought from Lydia not long ago. Lovely daughter Ellie is home from University in May so hopefully we will be able to spend lots of time crafting and I thought she might like these. The tablecloth I plan to incorporate into a quilted throw for my lounge that I have some beautiful medieval prints for which I bought last year. Quite when I will get around to starting these projects I don’t know as I already have several WIPs to complete but it help to have all the stash handy for when the right time arrives doesn’t it!
I have done very well on my current projects – have nearly finished the stitched exchange piece. It has been a tricky stitch, not so much the pattern but the combination of the fabric I chose and the silk thread and the fact that the count is very small so I have to use the magnifying glass and it has been slow going. As I wanted something a bit more mindless to work on this weekend (we were watching a film where I needed concentrate!) and I needed something new for knitting group I have cast on for a baby cardi in my favourite Sublime yarn – this time a dusky pink. I could not get a good pic of the pattern (Blossom from Let’s Knit magazine August 2010) so apologies but it is a tie front cardi with an eyelet detail in the body (which I have not tried before) and lacy diamond pattern sleeves.
Knitting with the Sublime yarn is wonderful after using the Marble Chunky for my hat. It was quick to knit but not as easy to see the stitch pattern at all whereas with Sublime you can see exactly what you are doing. I am going to Spain again next week (lucky, lucky me – it is my Mum’s 70th birthday in a couple of weeks so we are celebrating out there) so this will be my holiday project along with the JBW pudding ornie.
Speaking of the red chunky hat here it is modelled by me this morning (thanks Jake for taking the pic!) I think it works very well as a slouchy beret and will use the rest of the ball to cast on for a scarf in the same pattern later in the year – not as much need for scarves here in Yorkshire now hurrah!
Well am now off to spend the rest of the day doing my favourite things – lucky me! Hope that you are all having a lovely day wherever you are and thank you very much for visiting.
I have recently started another blog for work that I am doing as a way of keeping in contact with my students while they are away from University on their teaching placements. I had thought about using blogs for work before and have done some short inputs about using blogs but this year I have had a couple of students who have been very keen so we are all doing it. I have also realised that it is a very good way of keeping all my good ideas, links etc. in one place for my students to be able to share and comment on.
Doing all this and explaining what I see as the benefits of blogging have made me realise just how much I get out of having my own blog and how much I really enjoy all the contact with my ‘imaginary friends’ as Thimbleanna calls them. I am thrilled that so many people visit me – around 4000 a month now – about half of whom are looking for info on re-enactment or historical subjects and love the fact that I am part of this big network of people all sharing things.
The first two blogs I ever read were Mary Kathryn’s needlework blog and Crazy Aunt Purl’s knitting and general coping with life blog. These two women have had a big impact on me in so many ways over the last four years which is remarkable as we have never met nor are likely to – though I hope to go and visit their parts of the USA sometime soon.
I have been very impressed by their craft skills, their attitude to coping with life’s little (and big!) ups and downs and have loved the way that they have shared so much of their lives and their passion for all the things they do. Other blogs have been added to my favourites along the way – usually as links from people’s blogrolls or posts and I have been entertained and awed by so many talented people.
It is very difficult to describe what you get from this to non- bloggers as I know people (and my kids!) often look at me a bit strangely when I try and describe how I feel about being connected, inspired, uplifted, amused and generally made very happy by reading everyone’s posts. To me it is like having lots of pen pals – with the added advantages of seeing pictures of so many lovely things all the time Hen House’s gorgeous vintage quilts, Do You Mind if I Knit’s cute doggies, beach walks and fabulous art, Crazy Mom’s lovely quilt work, Don’t Look Now’s wonderful original designs to name but a tiny few. You are all wonderful imaginary friends and thank you so much for sharing.
As well as all the craft love and the free patterns and the like I also love the ‘extras’ that blogging brings to my life. One of these has been the chance to read a really good book as I have been participating in Crazy Aunt Purl’s latest book club. It has been a very last-minute participate as my copy only arrived on Friday and we are going to post about the book tomorrow so I have spent most of the weekend reading. The book chosen is When We Were Strangers’ by Pamela Schoenewaldt based on one of my favourite subjects, that of emigration to the USA – in this case an Italian seamstress in the late 1880s. It is really good, I am intending to finish it tonight and would recommend it to anyone . I will be passing it on to my Mum when I next go to Spain as I am sure she will love it.
It has been a very literary week one way and another - I have not done much in the way of crafting this week, have been very tired so have been going to bed early with lots of good reads , a friend from knitting, Cath, lent me two of the Benni Harper quilt murder mysteries by Earlene Fowler and I have really enjoyed those. I have always loved a good murder mystery, being a lifelong Agatha Christie fan, and have recently read Agatha’s biography and autobiography ‘Come Tell me Where You Live’ which was very interesting. The Benni Harper books are particularly good in terms of the way the characters are written, I really identify with the main character and can’t wait to read more of the series.
This week there was of course World Book Day which I have always promoted as part of my job and the new World Book Night where a million books were given away by people who had registered with the scheme. My friend Barbara from knitting who has a wonderful blog about knitting had registered to get copies of Nigel Slater’s autobiography Toast so I went along to my friend Lydia’s wool shop, Spun, yesterday to collect the book and have a little knit and natter. As soon as I have finished the book club novel and the other couple I have one the go – another Laura Ingalls Wilder biography and a history of the National Trust Ellie gave me for Christmas I will start on that one then pass it on to my sister-in-law Amanda who is a very keen cook.
I love reading and am a huge fan of print books - I have seen and admired other people’s Kindle’s and i Pads but I think I will be sticking to my old-fashioned books for a long while yet – I love buying books and spend far too much on them (aided by the lovely Amazon wish list!) but just think it would not be the same to have a download rather than a thud on the doormat when another lovely tome is delivered.
To conclude I will leave you with a pic of what little crafting has gone on this week - I am still at cast on stage with the new hat as the other pattern I was having trouble with got even more troublesome so I abandoned it and am about three – quarters of the way through the latest JBW Xmas stocking. So the only thing I have to show you is the pair of Moss Stitch wristwarmers in Aqua Sublime (which are not even sewn up yet!) and some lovely Artesano Hummingbird yarn that I bought yesterday. These are both presents for family member (not Ellie in case she reads this and gets excited!)
I have a lovely week ahead, as well as all the reading there are three knitting groups this week so I should get a bit more done on the hat and then a dinner party at the weekend that I am holding for my brother and sister-in-law. I hope that you have a lovely week as well and thanks as always for visiting – to paraphrase Fleetwood Mac -’you make blogging fun!’