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Well the snow has almost gone here in Yorkshire apart from bits on the hills, we have Spring flowers appearing and have had a couple of warm days recently so we are all feeling very happy!
One of my favourite parts of the China Nationalities Museum that I visited while in Beijing was the exhibition of needlework, this sign outside perfectly captures how I, (and it would seem the museum organisers), feel about stitching!
There were themed displays of footwear (including the very sad lotus feet shoes for bound feet), bags, headwear and gifts – these little embroidered tokens of love and affection are called henbao.
I was interested to see cross stitch and patchwork in the bags as well as the more traditional Chinese silk embroidery.
There was also a section devoted to needlework tools – anyone remember these pincushions at the top of the photo?
My Nana had one when I was little (as well as the tomato one with the strawberry emery attached).
In another part of the museum there were some displays of traditional Miao people costume, with beautiful silver headdresses and embroidered robes.
Each strand of the skirt is a separate piece joined with silver beads.
I have had a busy week craft wise, have finished and posted my Spring ornament for the Seasonal Exchange, part made two bags out of recycled denim and pillowcases and been to two knitting groups (though more drinking coffee and wine was done than actual knitting – as usual!)
And next week the season starts again! They joy of seeing all my re-enactment friends and camping and campfires and BBQs - I shall be so happy
I must get around to putting up the events page for this year but next weekend we are at Bolsover Castle in Derbyshire - on Sat and Sun celebrating the victory of St George over the evil Dragon Knight! Please come and join us if you can.
Take care and thank you for visiting.
Hope you have had a lovely week, I have had a really nice half term holiday as I have been on leave all week.
So there have been lots of lovely walks, crafting and socialising culminating in a trip to the next village in the valley for the Moonraker celebration yesterday.
I have spent the week making a small quilt for one of Ellen’s friends who has just had a baby.
I designed the pattern myself based on the motifs from the Sweet Treats fabric that I bought in Worcester at Ellen’s graduation.
I added fabric from my Simply Solids monthly delivery and some of the fabric that my Mum bought me for Christmas.
I made the quilt reversible and it is Moses basket or pram sized.
Here are a few pictures from the walk my sister-in-law Amanda and I did earlier this week up to a local reservoir.
It was beautiful weather really warm with such blue skies, very rare in Yorkshire in Feb!
Yesterday I went with my friends Taru and Bob and their daughter Leah along to the next village in the valley, Slaithwaite, where they hold the Moonraker festival.
We used to go to this every year when the kids were young but I have not been for about 8 years as I am usually in Spain at this time of year.
The festival celebrates a local legend about some smugglers who were trying to get some contraband that had fallen from a boat into the river.
When the Excise men caught them they denied any wrongdoing saying they were trying to ‘rake the moon’.
The festival is a parade of willow lanterns that are made throughout the week at workshops. The parade also involves lots of bands and culminates in brilliant fire sculptures and fireworks.
Each year the festival has a theme – this year it was time so Bob and Leah made a giant pocket watch.
There was also a Tardis and a White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland along with lots of Big Ben clocks, egg timers and watches of all shapes and sizes.
Today I walked along the canal to the village again, it was a beautiful sunny day and I saw geese and the first signs of Spring, these lovely daffodils outside one of the canalside cottages.
My village is notorious for having sheep roam the streets (and eating the contents of people’s gardens!) When I got back from my walk today there were this little group at the bottom of my road.
I am off to China on Thursday to teach for 3 weeks – going to Beijing this time so will not be blogging for a few weeks but expect some pictures of famous things when I get back – might even get to see the Great Wall!
Take care and thanks for visiting.
Hope you didn’t suffer too much disruption because of snow last week, here in the UK we had a massive snowfall and there was the usual chaos and complaints about how badly we manage snow!
I got into work ok (the joys of being a non car driver) but this was the front of the house last Monday!
I have been working on my lastest range of upcycled things for my craft stall at Standedge. These are the full set of hearts – I found this very cute cake stand in Cardiff over Xmas and thought it would be perfect for displaying my stock.
I have been making Kindle / e-book covers out of the charity fabric and vintage embroidery and some old clothing.
I am really pleased with the way that they have turned out, especially with my machine applique. I did want to get better at machine work and am pleased that I have managed to be neat in the stitching round the hearts.
This coming weekend I will be working on some phone covers.
My lovely friend Kerry came to stay this weekend – we had a very nice trip to Oakwell Hall where there was still very deep snow on Saturday but heavy rainfall overnight meant that our walk on Sunday along the valley was full of flooded rivers and rushing water under bridges.
It was amazing to see especially compared to the last time I went there a couple of months ago which you can see in this post.
The second photo on that previous post was taken at the same spot as this one below.
We had a lovely time and are looking forward to doing the same walk when it is drier and we can cross the streams to get further up the valley.
Hope that you are not suffering too much from the weather, take care and thanks for visiting.
I hope that you have been having a lovely and happy week in this run up to the festive season. This has been my last week of teaching for the year so we have had some Christmas dos and I have now finished teaching for the next few weeks
I have been spending this weekend with my lovely friend Kerry, we had a very nice relaxing night in last night having a few glasses of wine and a catch up and today visited a Tudor house, Haddon Hall near Bakewell, that we have had on our wish list for while.
It was absolutely beautiful, not only was it a gorgeous day but the house itself was so lovely, a wonderful place with a great hall and plastered long gallery as well as a wonderful chapel with original wall paintings and the kitchens had been restored and really well interpreted.
Since Ellie started working for the National Trust I have paid even more attention to how things are displayed and labelled in the historic places I visit, listening to her has made me think more about all these issues about the visitor experience.
I think Haddon Hall have done a wonderful job, especially of the Christmas decorations – we loved them, see what you think in these pictures.
As well as all the Tudor things the drawing room had a lovely old hexagon quilt which I think dated from the 1920s.
Have not done a huge amount on the crafting front this week due to all the festive dos, had a lovely meal out with my Marsden Knitting group this week where we all exchanged hand-made ornies - need to take a good pic of the lovely ornie I got on my tree.
Still working on the knitted hat and on an Xmas gift for a family member. I finished another gift this week but can’t reveal that till after Xmas.
I am spending this week working from home then we go to Powis Castle for Xmas – am very excited and am hoping for snow! Jake has just arrived home for the holidays so we both have a few more dos this week then we shall be off!
Will post next weekend to wish you all a Merry Christmas – till then thanks for visiting.
Hello everyone, I do hope that you are all well and happy. I have been having a lovely day in the comfort of my lounge, on the sofa stitching and watching movies on DVD. The weather has been unbelievably foul all week and today was no better so cosied up with cups of tea and my latest project.
Very little crafting has been taking place here of late. What with all the travel and the fact that I have been working on some bigger projects and being super busy at work I have not posted a finish for some time which is very slack of me!
I have been doing stuff but the Chinese Emperor cross sitch will take a long time and I have just finished an exchange piece that I only posted this week so will not be able to post about for a while.
However the weekend before last I was seized with an urge to make something that has been an idea for a while – a patchwork bag made from denim garments that were no longer needed and some beautiful crochet table runners that I bought at a vintage fair a while back.
I had a lovely time playing with fabric and ideas – tea and cookies essential for the creative process of course!
And finally finished it today.I am very pleased with the end result. I have added some wooden embellishments from a set I bought in Leeds last week to one side that I may add to the other once I see how well they last as they are quite fragile.
I am also very pleased with the lining , which is from one of Ellie’s old skirts , and I have used a magnetic button to fasten it.This was the most expensive bit of the whole project buying the buttons as everything else was from my stash.
It is mostly my own design though I used various books for inspiration. Hope that you like it!
I am really looking forward to next weekend as it is my first re-enactment event of the year. I am going to stay with my very lovely friend Kerry and we are going to join another friend Malcolm and his group at Bosworth Battlefield which will be very interesting as I have never been there before.Will take lots of pics for you!
Thanks for visiting and see you soon.
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 have finally got around to completing the little pillow I have made for my friend who has had a baby girl recently. The pattern is again a JBW one, called Teddy Bear - they have cute patterns for all events and seasons not just Xmas ones. I get these mail order from Sew and Sew. I backed the pillow with some of the fabric that I had in my stash left over from my bunny quilt and at the Birmingham Quilt Show I was able to find these very cute buttons which go so well with the design. I don’t know if you can see from the pic below but there is a rocking horse (just above the K) and a pram (to the left of the horse) actually in the design so I thought they were perfect for it.
As I mentioned Ellie and I had our first visit to the wonderful Birmingham International Festival of Quilts a couple of weeks ago as part of a coach trip with our group. One day was not really long enough at all but if I had gone for longer I would have been so tempted to spend more! Here is a small selection of some of the lovely things we saw – made into a slide show again with my new toy Smilebox.
|This free scrapbook design customized with Smilebox|
Hello there and I hope that you are all well and happy. We have just got back home from a very lovely day out – my very first trip to the Birmingham Quilt Show which was very good. I went on a coach trip with Ellie and my quilt group and when I have sorted out the pics will post them. I was very restrained and stuck to my shopping list of practical items to finish existing projects plus a very small bit of Xmas fabric (well you have to don’t you – it all needs a good home and I will probably be in China in November when the Harrogate show is on so have to stock up ).
We have been in Spain all week, lucky us, enjoying very hot weather which meant that little could be done except go to the pool or beach, read and stitch on the terrace. I have nearly completed another little stitched Xmas ornie for me (very appropriate stitching when it is 36 degrees outside!) and have been working on a baby gift as well. We did of course see the family including the recipient of our handmade gifts who I am pleased to say really liked them. Here is Anna-Mae with the cat that Ellen made her and playing with her farm quilt.
She is so gorgeous and was a delight to watch playing with the animals and helping ‘Great Nana’ open her presents from us as well. Nana was 99 a few weeks ago and is looking forward to her 100th birthday celebrations as she just had a little party this time!
We also went out for some very nice meals including a Spanish restaurant near our house which we had not tried before that had a very good ‘menu del dia’, 3 lovely courses including a half bottle of wine for 10 euros – Ellie was very impressed with the wine carafe!
The flight back was brilliant, there were clear skies till halfway across France which meant I had some wonderful views and was able to get some very nice pics for the Scavenger Hunt which I will post at the end of the month. Here is the view as we left Alicante.
And of course it wouldn’t be one of my Spain posts without a cactus pic now would it! This is variety I have not seen before which looked like little cabbages on stalks.
And this is a palm tree waving in the wind as we waited for the bus to the beach.
While we were away my Summer Exchange partner got her stitched piece from me and I had a lovely little pillow from my partner in the US. I have not had any good light yet to take a pic of the pillow but here is the pin and scissor keep I sent to Gaby in Germany.
This is a freebie design from The Workbasket website called Quaker Tree which I have stitched before – again done on sparkly evenweave with Silk Mill thread. The backing fabric I bought from one of the women at quilt group who has a fabric shop and I had the ribbon already in my stash, the ribbon is stitched on to the top of the little pocket that holds the scissors. Charms as before from Stitch Direct.
Well I have a nice quiet week ahead so I am looking forward to some finishing off of stitched items including the large pile of Xmas ornie hearts I have on my coffee table! We are away next weekend and the following one so I am making the most of this time. Hope you are having a nice time wherever you are. Thank you for visiting.
Well my planned trip to York did not go ahead as I have been struck down by a very nasty ear infection so have spent the last 3 days in the house trying to get better before my sister, her two kids and small dog arrive to stay tomorrow! I shall have to visit the doc for antibiotics I think as it is not getting much better
I have finished the hemming on the farm quilt and made a little bag for the animals so I have been being productive while laid up. Here are the pockets on the front of the quilt with two of the little animals in that will go into the bag. My idea is that my cousin’s daughter who the present is for will be able to match the animals with the pockets. She is two this week and we will be seeing her at the weekend in Spain.
This is the back of the quilt and a close up of the fabric which has lots of farm words on which she can practise!
The bag was made from fabric scraps and will have a drawstring cord.
I did go out to my brother’s house last night as he and his partner Amanda had invited us round for a meal and they very kindly cooked us delicious food and looked after me so I just had to sit in my chair drinking home-made Cassis and wine (I have also put my back out again somehow!)
They have a very lovely garden which they are in the process of remodelling (with outdoor BBQ and pizza oven) and Amanda loves garden ornaments as much as I do so here are some shots of her garden – the cat is a present that I bought her a couple of Christmases ago and it holds tea lights.
You can just see Ben sitting in the background of that last pic. They also have an allotment and grow wonderful veg – look at the size of these courgettes! The one on the right is about 14″ long. Amanda very kindly gave me some more of her homemade chutney and jelly to bring home with me as well.
I don’t know if I will be able to do much this coming week as feel pretty awful at the moment, I have been spending most of the weekend sewing up Xmas hearts, have just sent off an exchange to Germany and am halfway through another stitched gift for a friend’s new baby so do have a lot to occupy myself if needed.
I will not be posting now for a couple of weeks as we are off to Spain for a week on Friday. Take care and I will be in touch when I get back.
Thanks for visiting.
I am pleased to report that I have almost finished the Makower Farm fabric quilt in time to take it to Spain next week. In fact I do have enough time (and hopefully enough fabric) to make a little bag to go with it to keep all the animals in.
I was going to be very pushed for time but as Ellie arrived home late and very tired (but happy and very brown) from her dig yesterday evening we decided to have a quiet day in today so I got it finished. I have not got pics of the completed quilt yet as I need to do the bottom hem but plan to do that tomorrow. This was my progress up until today (as modelled by Jake!)
Six of the labels have a pocket on them (made of an extra label with the same design shown on) and I have bought six little plastic farm animals to put into the pockets as well as a set of bigger animals.
As this was my own design I have spent a lot of time trying to work out what I could do with fabric I had bought and would it have been much easier had I bought more plain and co-ordinates for sashing and borders but I will know for next time. I have just quilted the top and then made a ‘bag’ with the backing and turned it inside out, partly as I thought it would look better and partly as I was running out of time and fabric to do a border. I think it looks great as the outside border has enough pattern on it anyway.
We have been for a few days out since Mum arrived at the weekend. Firstly to Marsden which was lovely and sunny.
Then to Temple Newsam House near Leeds which is a Tudor and Jacobean mansion that was the birthplace of Lord Darnley who married Mary Queen of Scots.
Lots of fab rooms and textiles inside , including some wonderful portraits, lots of embroidery spotting. No inside pics allowed but I did find a copy of this pic of Arabella Stuart on this very informative website.
The jacket she is wearing reminds me very much of the Layton jacket in the Victoria and Albert Museum that I have written about previously. Below is a pic of Margaret Layton wearing the jacket.It makes me wonder about who made them both and how many more similar jackets exist – was it a popular design, did they know each other and did they ever meet (hopefully not both wearing their jackets!). They were both alive at the same time.
There was also a very interesting quilt on one of the beds – no pics allowed so I will have to try to describe it to you and see if anyone has seen anything similar as I have never come across one like it before.
It was made of glazed chintz, Chinese inspired flower / tree of life type designs so late 17th or early 18th century I think. It was patchwork but did not seem to be quilted, no wadding as far as I could tell and the patchwork design was of large squares about 14″ diameter set on point with half triangles at the border. I went to a quilt exhibition at the V and A last year and saw quilts there dating from the 15oos but nothing like this. It looked quite basic, not really stately home style and I was very intrigued so if anyone knows anything about it please let me know.
We have a trip to York to the latest Quilt Museum exhibition and the Minster planned for later in the week which will be lovely. Hopefully I will get chance to post again before I leave for Spain (with my completed quilt – hurrah!).
Thanks very much for visiting, see you again soon.