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You know when you promise yourself you are not going to buy any more fabric as you already have lots that you haven’t used (and haven’t touched for years) and you really, really mean to stick to that promise but then along comes a really special something so you have to buy it even though it is a bit naughty?

Well that happened to me last week, was just buying some tickets for the Knitting and Stitching Show in November and was checking the list of exhibitors and happened to see one of our local fabric suppliers, Simply Solids, listed so just had to have a little look at their website and they had the most fabulous themed fabric and it was on sale!

Quilt fabric - sewing patterns 1

I think this first one is going to be my favourite – though the others are fab as well.

Quilt fabric - sewing patterns 2

Quilt fabric - sewing patterns 3

Quilt fabric - sewing patterns

It arrived on Friday but did not have time to really appreciate it until I got back from the weekend.

The other exciting thing is that she is opening a shop in town soon with classes and everything! That is probably going to a major dent in my budget but at least the kids will know what to get me for Christmas as I am sure she will do gift vouchers.

The justification is that I am planning to make Christmas gifts so it can count as spends for that and not fabric spends, (I did have other stuff to make Christmas gifts with though – just have to use them up quick as well!)

We usually go and have a little look in the National Trust second-hand book stalls when we visit properties and came away with a brilliant haul this time. As well as a big pile of fiction books they had just had a lot of quilting books donated so I bought these four.

Quilt books NT

The pink bordered title was published in 1937 and is a detailed study of the history of 19th century quilting and the front book gives lots of hand quilting patterns.

My favourite one is this wonderfully titled publication from 1984 which is so detailed in the process of making a block quilt.

It has all sorts of useful things like a sizing chart for different bed sizes, a block design page where you are encouraged to colour in sample blocks to see which look best and most useful of all are sets of card templates for all of the blocks.

Quilt books NT 6

Quilt books NT 5

Quilt books NT 4

Quilt books NT 3

Quilt books NT 2

I have decided that I will concentrate on quilting and patchwork for a while (in between lots of kit making sessions). I will still be knitting socially but after 9 bunnies and 3 elephants am going to swap skills for a while and there is so much that I have been wanting to do quilt wise.

Quilting and patchwork will be the focus of the Christmas presents this year (so that I can feed my hexagon addiction!) and I will be making sewing notion gifts, two more aprons and hopefully a cushion based on this wonderful quilt using found textiles which have been embellished with embroidery and beads.

Vintage fabric bee quilt

This is from a Bee Quilt Stitch along that I found on this blog – I think it is made by someone called Chantal, the site is in French so not too sure but there are some wonderful hexagon quilts on there done using the quilt as you go technique where each hexagon is made and bound before being stitched together.

Isn’t it gorgeous and will be a great was of using up some of the vintage things I have bought over the last two years.

So am going to be very busy and happy during the off-season!

Take care and thanks for visiting.

Hello again

The baking that is , the weather has been pretty bad, that lovely blend of freezing sideways rain that with wind Yorkshire does so well. So I used that as an excuse to do some baking and sewing (not that I really need an excuse but was considering a walk until the heavens opened).

I used a recipe from the BBC Food site for my gluten-free muffins, you can find it here and adapted it to a savoury mixture by adding leftover baked sweet potato and cheese.

I have found gluten-free needs more moisture and flavour as the flours (potato, rice and tapioca mainly) do not give much of these. I used the Doves Farm Gluten free self-raising blend.

Gluten free muffins 1

Gluten free muffins 2

Before they went into the oven they didn’t look very promising but came out nicely – a good crumb as Paul Hollywood (Great British Bake Off) would say and a nice colour. They could have done with a bit more flavour but ok with a bit of butter!

The loaf was an adaptation of the recipe on the back of the Doves Farm gluten-free bread flour, I added orange juice, cranberries and seeds , mainly sunflower and pumpkin my favourites :-).

Gluten free baking

Straight out of the oven it was very good, though the loaf weighs a lot and could prove a handy weapon if needed the warm slice was lovely. Later on when cold it was a bit dense and again could do with a bit more flavour but will be ok toasted.

I forgot to tell you yesterday about some very good books I have been reading, the Cobbled Court novels by Marie Bostwick.

They are a set of quilt themed novels (as in they are about a woman who owns a quilt shop) so quilting is mentioned and there are related free patterns on the author’s website. They are brilliant and I really enjoyed reading them and can’t wait to get the last couple I haven’t read, the one below will be released in April.

Marie Bostwick book

I have put myself on a strict monthly diet in terms of my Amazon books orders and have already had my quota for Jan. It doesn’t help being registered so all that lovely stuff is just a few clicks away :-)

I do try and buy secondhand and from the charity suppliers when I can so I don’t feel so guilty. And I do pass them on, Mum and her friends are really enjoying the Cobble Court ones I left in Spain.

Well back to making curtains now and I have a padded arming jack to start making this afternoon. Have a lovely rest of the weekend and thanks for visiting.

Hello everyone

Well I am having a lovely autumn here, am not going to be going to China anytime soon now so I am making the most of the season in the UK with some more lovely walks, practising being a domestic goddess and still more bunny knitting :-)

Have been busy baking cakes and crumbles, cooking stews and soups and have just taken possession of a new cookbook, Paul Hollywood’s Bread – inspired by watching The Great British Bake Off. Today I made some delicious Stilton and bacon rolls from this recipe and have lots more great ideas for the coming weeks.

Bread book

You will notice I also have a pumpkin all ready for the now obligatory pumpkin soup with melting cheese - yum, yum.

I have just sent off another bunny, this one is a very special one as it is a present for one of my daughter’s very good friends.

Ellie is being a bridesmaid this weekend for her school friend Charlotte and the bunny is a present for Charlotte’s daughter Elizabeth. I was asked to make the dress in the same colours as the bridesmaids will be wearing and added a little hairband as well.

Bridesmaid bunny

Bridesmaid bunny 2

Here are some photos of a beautiful cottage garden from a walk on the hills above my house a couple of weeks ago. There were some donkeys in the field next to the house as well, looking very cute.

Sept walk 3 -donkeys

Cottage garden

Cottage garden 2

Cottage garden 3

Cottage garden 4

Sept walk

Sept walk 2

Also went to my favourite reservoir, they have partly drained it as they are doing some work so went right down to the water.

Sept walk 4 - Butterley

It is the Marsden Jazz Festival this coming weekend so I will be manning the Box Office all weekend. Looking forward to it and hoping for very good weather, we have had beautiful sunshine just lately :-)

Hope you have a lovely weekend whatever you are doing and thanks for visiting.

Hello everyone and I hope you in the UK have been enjoying all this beautiful sunshine we have been having!

It has been wonderful here and we have been really enjoying ourselves. This also bodes very well for our favourite event of the re-enactment year as this coming weekend it is the Tewkesbury Medieval Festival and I am beyond excited :-)

You may remember that last year the event nearly got called off do to the site flooding and it was a mud fest to say the least but this year we are looking forward to lovely sunshine just like the old days.

Do come and visit if you can – it is the 30th anniversary of the event this year and is a brilliant day out, free entry as well though please donate as much as you can to our bucket collectors as it costs a lot to put the event on and we want it to continue! The town and Abbey are also fantastic to wander round and if it is hot there is the river to paddle in.

I have been making lots of kit for friends and have been busy finishing it off in time which is why I have been practising making holes. If you want more info on medieval men’s kit then go to my page which details what everything is called.

I am not very good at this part of the kit making process (my lovely friend Kerry is a dab hand at it and her dresses have beautiful lacing holes down the back). I have usually cheated with using ribbon loops on my dresses but wanted to make a shirt with a laced neck and hose with holes to tie them to the brais.

Shirt neck detail

Hose  holes detail

Hose outside holes detail

They are not too bad but could be neater.

I will take some photos of the garments on their recipients and post later – Jake has been very kindly trying things on for me as I go along but as he is lots skinnier than my friends they have looked a bit big on him!

So far I have made a shirt, lined hose and slightly different style of brais so it has been good for me to learn new skills.

Brais

I have also been practising neatening my seams by stab stitching as I always zigzag raw edges before sewing together to prevent fraying and this makes them a bit neater and means the sleeves can be rolled up if needed.

Shirt sleeve detail

I am thinking of adding a new page to the making costume bit with more details of these garments as I know I get lots of hits for that so it is on my to do list now that summer is here and work is quieter.

It was my birthday recently and I got some lovely presents, my sister-in-law Amanda who is a very keen cross stitcher made me this beautiful Celtic design scissor keep which came in very handy as the scissors had really fine points for cutting the holes.

Birthday scissor keep front

Birthday scissor keep

She also stitched this birthday card for me – very appropriate!

Cross stitch birthday card

And from my lovely kids I got this gorgeous book which was a total surprise as it was not from my wish list. Ellie saw it when one of the staff at Hardwick brought it in and thought I would like it and it is brilliant, just my sort of book with lots and lots of detail about techniques and sources.

Sweet bags book

Sweet bags book 2

Sweet bags book 3

It is called Sweet Bags by Jacqui Carey.

And look another version of the Layton Jacket that I have posted about previously, this one is a portrait of Lady Dorothy Carey dated 1615 and I had not seen this pic before.

My lovely Mum gave me some money for garden furniture so I have bought a BBQ and last Friday we had our first Marsden barbie – here is Jake enjoying the sun (and a little cider!)

BBQ in Marsden

Still got to get a new table and chairs (that is our camping stuff) once I have decided what I want, tempted by a lovely mosaic bistro set but think the table is a bit small.

Well I shall be posting again in a couple of weeks as after Tewkesbury Kerry and I are off on a National Trust fest making the most of our memberships to go and visit some lovely properties, hope the weather holds for that.

Take care and thank you as always for visiting, liking, following and subscribing :-)

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.

Elizabethan Cross Stitch

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.

Summer Exchange by me - front

 

Summer Exchange by me - back

 

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.

Needlepoint tray 1

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.

Needlepoint tray 2

 

Needlepoint tray 3

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.

Nana - 100

Nana - telegram 1

Nana - telegram 2

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.

Nana - wedding

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.

Nana - history

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!

photo-scavenger-hunt-2012

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.

Amazing

Amazing

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

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!

Direction

Direction

The ferry-boat going in the direction of Bellagio across the lake from our hotel on a very misty first morning.

In/out

In and out

This had to be one of my (many) door pics – this one from the Duomo Cathedral in Milan – what a door!

Indulgence

Indulgence

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

Multicoloured

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

On the move

Our amazing train journey over the Alps – the Bernina Express train.

Rock

Rock

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.

Smile

Smile

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!

Spring

Spring

Beautiful wisteria in bloom all along Lake Como.

Sticky

Sticky

They would be if you tried to wear them! Miniature chocolate shoes from the Milan store food hall – yours for 35 euros.

Tangle

Tangle

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.

Buckles Tryptich

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.

Buckles painting

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.

Bible art

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.

Illumination 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.

Bedford Hours

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!

Snow poem finished

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.

 

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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.

Textile books

Needlelace

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.

Hardwick 1

Hardwick 2

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.

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