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I hope you are all well and happy. I have had a really lovely day, it has been perfect winter weather, frosty with blue skies and sunshine.
I made my beetroot soup with some of the contents of this week’s veg box then went for a wonderful frosty walk along the valley up from the Tunnel End Canal Centre following the stream.
These are some pictures of the frozen canal and the frosty stream, lots of lovely patterns of frost on the leaves at my feet, it was all very crunchy!
This afternoon I made some more Christmas ornaments for my upcoming debut at The Loft Craft Centre at Standedge. What a perfect day!
It is also my blogaversary. I have now had this little old blog for 5 years.It has been an interesting 5 years (for blogging and my real life) and I now am using blogs more and more at work (and running sessions on blogs for my students) and still really enjoying reading the blogs of those people who I first met.
I have also added many new blogs to my list to reflect my changing craft interests, looking more and more at textile and pattern designers and those who use vintage fabric, which has had a huge influence of my latest collection of vintage embroidery.
One of the main themes of craft work at The Loft is to reuse and recycle so I am planning lots of wonderful things with all the new vintage stash I have.
I think it is particularly significant that my vintage stuff comes from local charity shops as I would like to think I will be repurposing the handiwork of local women.Here are my latest finds bought yesterday before the Christmas lights switch on – four embroidered tray cloths and a linen tablecloth with lace inserts.
It also gives me a chance to track the progress of work, I started this a long time ago on a Quilt Group workshop and have finally finished the Christmas sofa throw using the Stained Glass Quilt design. When I get some more backing fabric the matching cushions will appear! I have added little brass charms to each panel.
The blog has also been a lovely record for me of all the wonderful things me and my family have done, it was very poignant just recently to post about Ellie’s graduation and to look back at that first post of her arriving at halls for her very first year of University.
I have just posted about Jake leaving home and will look forward to four years time when he graduates. So blogging is a lovely way of me saving my memories.I have been able to share more detail with family and friends of all the lovely holidays we have had. So blogging is fab!
To celebrate I am going to do my traditional giveaway for a selection of my Christmas ornaments. This year I have made a range of simpler more Scandinavian style ones as well as my usual traditional ones so when you post please tell me which sort you would like.
To enter the giveaway please put a comment on this post. I will leave the giveaway open until Friday 14th Dec to give me time to post things out to the winner.
As usual thank you all for visiting – without you it would just be my random musings into the ether and I really appreciate all of the likes, comments and subscriptions from my readers.
Have a happy week ahead!
Hello everyone, I hope that you are all well and happy and enjoying Autumn.
I very much enjoyed my time away but it is lovely to be home in my village enjoying the everyday stuff of my lovely new life here. The weather here has been really good this week and as I have been working at home a couple of days this week I have had the chance to have some lunchtime walks. It has been lovely crunching through the leaves and looking at the autumn colours.
I also had a lovely walk today on my way to the Standedge Tunnel Centre to book my table for the upcoming Christmas Craft Fair at The Loft Space. I came home and spent a very nice 4 hours in my new craft room designing some new Xmas ornies for the upcoming season, pics to follow.
Below are some pictures from my walks. I love being so near the moors, the river and canal and am planning to do some biking later in the week as well.
I have been playing with some of my new Xmas fabric that I bought last week in Worcester and here are some pictures of the new stash, the sweetie fabric is for a new ornie range I am planning for Spring and the elephant fabric will be a play quilt.
We have some very good charity shops in the village and I picked up these two embroidered pieces this week. I am very inspired by what people like Hen House do with vintage embroidery so have added these to my stash.
Am looking forward to a few nice quiet weeks of playing with fabric , hope that you are enjoying your creative time as well.
Thanks for visiting.
Hello and I hope that you are all well and happy.I am so, so happy, I really can’t explain what a lovely time I am having here in my new house!
I have had such a such a wonderful weekend, my lovely friend Kerry came to stay to help me sort out some of the fabric in my craft room and to enjoy some of the delights of Marsden.I also persuaded her to take away some of my fabric as it has been languishing with no use made of it so hopefully she can make pretty things out of this.
It has been such a beautifully sunny weekend and we had a very nice walk in the Peak District, walking past 3 of our local reservoirs, Butterley, Blakely and Wessenden. The sun was shining on the water and all was right with the world. I am so lucky to be a few minutes walk from all this beauty.
Kerry and I sat on a bench overlooking this view on the way back thinking that life does not get much better than this!
However today things got even better. We went for another walk to the other side of the village and called into the Standedge Tunnel Visitor Centre, this is a local heritage centre which has displays about the history of the canal here.
I had been told that there was a craft centre there but had not realised what it actually was.It is called the Loft Space – Creative Hub and it turned out that they not only have designers working there but also they are selling fabric, wool etc and running workshops and also renting craft space to other people.Have a look at their Facebook page as well.
I have signed up to become a member which means that I can go and work in the centre and am very, very excited about doing more things there. It is a beautiful space and they have so many lovely things to buy.They also rent out overlockers and embellishers by the hour.
I knew I was so right to move here!
Here is some of the very cute ribbon I bought from one of the designers there, Janet, from Green Fusions.
There is also a wonderful wool shop, Juey, that I need to go and visit again when I have more time and my camera!
I am going to have a very exciting 3 weeks as well as on Weds I am off to China again to teach. I am spending two weeks in Guangzhou teaching and am then staying on for another week where I get to so some sightseeing in the city.
I am going to Hong Kong for 4 days, including a trip to Disneyland for Halloween! I am so excited and so lucky, I have been wanting to go back to China ever since I went in March and am really looking forward to getting to know the city better.
I will not be in touch for a few weeks so stay happy whatever you are doing.
Thanks for visiting.
Hello there I do hope that you are all well and have not been too rained on this week.
I have been very busy with planning just lately. As a teacher I do a lot of planning, autumn is always the time for a good review and sorting out what I will be doing for the rest of the academic year. I have just met my other new group of students and they are very lovely so am looking forward to a good year.
I am very keen on planning but in recent years have had to train myself to be a bit more relaxed when my carefully arranged ‘what I think I will be doing for the rest of my life’ stuff has been interrupted by real life. As a result I am very much more mellow and actually enjoy not having my future all planned out.Who knows what lovely things will happen to surprise me?
However I have been having a very nice weekend doing planning of another sort, meeting up today with friends from my medieval group Swords of Mercia to plan our events for next season over a lovely pub lunch and planning my craft room!
This second bit is going to take a while as I appear to have quite a lot of fabric (ahem) and keep running out of storage boxes and having to go and buy more.
At least I have unearthed all the stash now and have marvelled at all the lovely things that I had totally forgotten I had. Some of this stuff has not seen the light of day for about 6 years! I am determined to use more of it though and will have the sewing machine busy during the off-season making kit for the boys in the group.
Here are some shots of my work in progress, it looks a bit bare but I have a dedicated work table for my machine which is great.
I still have a way to go in filling up my quilting fabric shelves (especially since most of this is Ellie’s fabric) but the rest of it is looking ok.
These boxes hold my Xmas fabric and ribbons which will all soon be having an outing as I can feel an ornie session coming on.
And to finish a little shot from the bus on my way out of the valley today for those people who have commented on the views – Yorkshire is still very lovely even in the rain!
I do hope you have a good week ahead, this is my last full week before I go to China for a month which I am getting very excited about!
Take care and thanks for visiting.
There were some really beautiful things on our recent trip to Italy so I thought I would do a post just about all the pretty textiles.
First of all some lace and stitched household items in a little shop in the very pretty village of Bellagio.Some of this lace comes from Venice, from the island of Burano.
Then we went to the town of Como which had a wonderful market and there was this stall with so many beautiful Swiss textiles, the Italian Lakes are very near the Swiss border and there was all sorts of beautiful table linen and little curtains for hanging at your chalet window.
I spent ages trying to decide what to buy (Jake got very bored at this point!) but ended up getting this beautiful table runner which I will use at Xmas.
I have a number of stitched red and white Xmas ornies with similar themes such as this one below so I thought the runner would look good on the lounge coffee table.
We visited a few (!) churches during the week and since it was Easter there were some icons on display including this one from a church in Mennagio with some gorgeous goldwork.
We also bought some lovely pasta, polenta and spices from a little deli in the same village – on the walls there were these large-scale kitchen cross stitch motifs which were beautifully framed.
Apologies that the picture is not very good, the light and the glare made it difficult to take nice pics but there were about 10 of these collections in the shop which must have taken such a long time.
On our day trip to Milan I came across a fab shop full of cross stitch and embroidery supplies and bought 3 sets of embroidery transfers, there are lots of different designs here including about 20 alphabets and very good value at only 3 euros per pack.
And from a little gift shop in Como not textiles but this cute display of table napkins which are another little addiction of mine, I was very good and didn’t buy any (have a few in stock already) but aren’t they so cute!
I do hope you are having a lovely weekend. I was supposed to be at a re-enactment event this weekend but have got a poorly back again so instead I am having a very nice relaxing weekend stitching and knitting and watching DVDs. Very blissful and the weather is sunny which is so nice to see after all our torrential rain.
I am currently working on the large cross stitch of the Chinese Emperor but am going to start another Spring ornie for me in the meantime as that is a long haul project and I want a quick finish inbetween.
Thanks for visiting and do have a very good week ahead.
As might have been expected I found some lovely things in China! I thought I would put these in a post rather than with the other pics I have been working on for a separate page so that they will appear in the tags at the side.
China is of course famous for silk and while in Guangzhou (which was formerly known as Canton) I went to the old 19th century area for a visit and found this beautiful piece of embroidery on silk in an antique shop there. There were many pieces to choose from but I bought the lion as that is a very traditional Chinese symbol. I love the bright colours and the detailed stitching. There were so many lovely things in the shop (that I could not afford) like caps and gowns and stitched shoes.
I also came across some lovely cross stitch kits – these were being sold by a street vendor on one of the bridges near the hotel I stayed at in Guangzhou and worked out at about £1 per kit so were a real bargain. I have just started stitching the Emperor one to remind me of the dressing up with Mo that I posted about last time.
The first group of people I worked with in the city of Shantou gave me a gift to say thanks at the end of the week which was very kind of them. I was thrilled when they gave me this beautiful set of local lace.There are about 12 of these in the set they gave me. They told me that lace making was brought to the area by missionaries in the 19th century so they thought the present was appropriate as it was a blend of West and East which was so lovely. They didn’t even realise when they chose this gift what a textile addict I am so it was perfect!
I was lucky enough to be taken out on a brilliant day’s tour of cultural sites when I was in Shantou. I spent most of my time in China teaching but had 3 rest days while I was there and the school I was working at took me to a historic house nearby where they had museum displays. This is part of a wedding carriage and is appliqued embroidery on silk.
Puppet theatre has a long tradition in Chinese culture and in the same museum there was a puppet theatre display with beautiful goldwork side panels.
I am still working on the rest of the pics to choose some for my page – I took so many so am spending a lot of time editing them and hope to post that at the weekend.
Thank you for visting and see you all soon.
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.
By that I mean the large amount of fabric I am about to show you which was purchased at the Malvern Quilt Festival is destined to be used for lots of different gifts and sales items for my Xmas craft fairs so I do not in any way consider that I spent too much money, bought too much fabric or overindulged at all :-) I actually think I was very restrained as there was so much more I could have bought had I gone wild and just bought fabric with gay abandon rather than for the specific purposes I had on my list. In fact there was virtually no impulse buying at all apart from some very good bargains.
I am planning to make quilts as presents for the youngest family members this summer, play/cuddle quilts are what I had in mind made with two really lovely ranges from Makower. Firstly the very cute farm animals prints.
Then the Makower pirate range – and I found some fab pirate and sea creature buttons to go on the quilt as well!
Both of these fabric sets were on my shopping list and we had already been round all the traders once without seeing them as I was looking for bolts of the fabric when we went round again and found them at the very helpful Cookes Quilting Supplies stall. I have looked on their website before but wanted to actually see the fabric and they were very good at searching out missing coordinating fabrics for me.
I also got some really nice new Xmas patterns for making ornies – look at all these lovelies – all from Goose Chase Quilting who I had not come across before.
Along with some very cute Xmas buttons – there are little cookie cutters and gingerbread men in these packs! All these and previous pirate buttons are from Out of Africa suppliers.
Ellie also bought some lovely things – some flannel to make a lap quilt and jelly roll to make a duvet cover so she is going to have a busy summer sewing!
As well as the planned stuff there were a couple of impulse bargains -
These cute dinosaur labels £1 for 10 which I thought would make a lovely charity quilt for the hospice so I bought 3 packs.
And a lovely Robert Kaufman fat quarter – I think this is called Holiday Flourish with some more of the fabric I have just used up in my throw.
I finished the border on the throw last weekend and made the spare panel and another set I cut out into cushions covers, you can see them in the pictures below – now I have the batting I can put these together and I have also bought a darning foot for my machine so I will be trying out some free motion quilting on these!
I took lots of pics of the wonderful quilts at the show so will have to sort out some of my favourite to post here later. I thought I would just leave you with a few shots of Malvern railway station – again like Hebden Bridge last week a lovely old station with some fantastic ironwork.
I will try to post again mid-week as we will be away all next weekend – we have a Bank Holiday re-enactment show at Ashby de La Zouche Castle in Leicestershire so if you are in the area on Sunday or Monday do come along, it would be lovely to see you.
I hope you all have a lovely week ahead and thanks as always for visiting.
This weekend we went to visit Ellie in Worcester as it is her birthday this week. For her birthday treat she wants to visit London and do some more museum visting (goodie!) which we will do later in the year.On Saturday we took a little trip to Stratford-on-Avon so we could visit some of the Shakespeare houses.
For Ellie this was not only a day out but of course a field trip, she is doing a module on musuems at the moment and is very interested from a professional point of view about how things are displayed and how the information is presented. She is currently employed as a conservation assistant at a Tudor house owned by the National Trust in Worcester so was also very interested in how they were looking after the houses and was not impressed by the cobwebs and dust at one of them!
It was a bit dull and cold so apologies for not having nice sunny pics to show you. They also did not allow interior pics in Shakespeare’s house so have only got exterior pics to show you here.
There were also very few textiles, there were some bedhangings and clothes in the house – Shakespeares’s father was a glove maker so there was a room laid out as his workshop but most of the textiles were very utilitarian apart from some lovely painted linen wall hangings which were very impressive. I did find a lovely blackwork coif in one of the other displays – apologies as it is a bit dark!
We also went out for a meal with Ellie, my sister, nephew Sam, Jake and her friends. She really liked her birthday pressies which I hoped she would, I bought her Cath Kidston’s Stitch and Sew books, another craft /quilting book Simple Sewn Gifts by Helen Phillips and some pretty material and cup cake decorations and cases.
It is brilliant having a daughter who enjoys the same stuff as I do and I am looking forward to borrowing the books as well when she comes home in the summer! I can’t believe that she will be 20 this week (she can’t either!) she is so grown up now and very lovely!
I have finished the red chunky wool hat so will get some pics of me modelling it – it has been so nice and warm here that hopefully it is going to straight into the drawer. I managed to get lots done to the garden last week and it is lovely and sunny again today, it is so nice to have an extra hour of daylight in the evenings now so I will have chance to do a bit more pottering later on. I am planning a trip to the garden centre this Sun (as it is Mother’s Day) to buy myself some pretty primulas and lillies for the empty pots.
I am working on a cross stitch exchange for Spring so won’t be able to show you that for a while but have also made a good start on my next Xmas ornie – am doing the JBW Xmas pudding – bit late with this one as it was supposed to be the March finish but better late than never!
Hope that you have all had a lovely week and thank you for visiting.
I have been doing lots of quilty things this week. Yesterday was International Quilting Day so it is very fitting that lots of my week should have been spent doing these activities.
The first thing that I completed was this block to give to one of the members of my quilt group. She is making a charity block quilt and last month gave me a piece of cat fabric which I then added to make a crazy patchwork block. I was pleased with the way this turned out in the end as I has to do the join with the dark turquoise triangle in it several times as I could not get the points right. I have done crazy patchwork before when I have made bags but never with so many different angles so it was a bit of a challenge. It has helped improved my machine work which I wanted to get better at.
Yesterday I sent the whole day at the quilt group sewing day where I finally managed to get the rest of the pieces cut out and the whole of the top put together except for the borders which are cut. It was very helpful to have advice from the others as I am very spatially challenged so had a bit of difficulty working out which pieces to sew together first but got there in the end and I am very pleased with the end result. Consensus of opinion among the group was that it looks very nice as it is but I did still want to put the rabbit applique on then one of the group suggested making it double-sided with a fleecy backing and putting the rabbit on that side. I thought that was an excellent idea so am now going to source some pale pink fleece to do that.
One of the women from the group Christine, runs her own quilting business – she has a long arm quilting machine and also sells fabric and runs workshops and she had brought her wares with her so I had to have a little indulge. I bought this very cute cat fabric and co-ordinates which I thought would be a good children’s quilt – probably be an Xmas pressie at the rate I am going though!
I also bought two different white on white prints to use as contrasts and this cute vintage bunny print. I now have quite a lot of fat quarters and feel the need to have a nice box to put them all in like Crazy Mom has rather than them be in random drawers all over the lounge as I lose track of what I have bought. I want have them all together so that I can see all the different colours which I hope will help me plan more effectively what I want to make.Will have to buy a box and get sorting!
Kerry and Tracey from my medieval group came for a sewing day today – we haven’t seen each other for a long time so it was great to have a catch up. I didn’t get much done but did sew up the JBW stocking but they both finished little ornaments , Tracey’s was a lavender filled one for her kitchen which made my conservatory smell really nice and Kerry made a lovely Xmas heart ornie for her tree. They bought loads of Xmas fabric stash when we went to Harrogate last Nov so are starting to use that up.
Also managed to make three knitting sessions this week which was bit of a miracle so am making very good progress with the red chunky wool hat. The weather was extremely good at the start and the end of the week – though dull and misty in the middle – so I may finish it just in time for it to go into a drawer for next Winter but at least I will be prepared!
I have been out in the garden twice doing some tidying up after the long soggy cold season but thankfully there is less frost and snow damage than last year so it won’t take so long to get the garden restored. It does gladden my little heart to see all the signs of Spring, my clematis are looking very good so far and the rhododendron are just about to bloom. I have lost a couple of azaleas and a pireus due to frost but will probably just get some nice bright primulas or similar to put in pots as I have a lot of empty ones at present. I have all of next week off work in order to do lots of house stuff so hopefully the weather will be kind and I can get a lot done outside.
Then we are off to Worcester for next weekend to see Ellie as it is her birthday the week after and we have a little history field trip to Stratford-on-Avon planned. I am hoping to come back with some Shakespearean inspired textile pics for you.
I hope you have a lovely week ahead and thank you very much for visiting.