I went for a little visit to the town of Hebden Bridge the other day with my friend Sharon. It is a very pretty place, similar to Marsden with a river and a canal.

Hebden Bridge - canal

Hebden Bridge - river

Hebden Bridge - river 2

We hadn’t really planned what to do as were just going for a tootle but imagine our delight at finding this as one of the first shops we came across!

Hebden Bridge - quilt shop 2

Hebden Bridge quilt shop

Hebden Bridge - quilt shop 3

We had to go in of course (it would have been rude not to) and a while later left with all of this lovely stuff. They also do classes and online sales and this is their web site.

Hebden Bridge - material

Hebden Bridge - material 2

Hebden Bridge - material 3

Most of this will become Xmas presents so it is guilt free fabric ;-) and I was very pleased to get some more of the Makower sewing print range for my gifts.

I was most impressed with this little mini cake – 40 pieces of fabric for only £3, they are about 2 inches square so will make lovely hexis for pincushions and aprons.

Hebden bridge - mini cake

Hebden Bridge - material 6

Then a little further on down the street we found this lovely wool and haberdashery shop. They must have known we were coming :-)  Love the cross stitch opening hours sign.

Hebden Bridge - sewing shop

Hebden Bridge - sewing shop 2

I bought ribbon and self covering buttons for a project I will mention later in this post. And there were some very cute teddy buttons.

Hebden Bridge - buttons

We went to the local WI this week as they were having a demonstration on how to make a brooch from Liberty fabric. The session was run by Julie from a local handmade company Teazle and we all made very cute little flowers.

WI flower

I bought a kit to make another with some beautiful Liberty paisley and have adapted the design to make Xmas ornaments.The flower looked a little like a poinsettia so I thought it would be nice hanging from a tree.

Xmas ornie - flower

I have made Suffolk Puffs (or Yo – Yos) for the first time for the centre of the flower. I made 2 of different sizes and layered them to cover up the centre hole.

Xmas ornie - flower

I am still enjoying my hexagons, as well as using them for Xmas ornaments I am making some little pincushions for my friend Sue’s charity stall.

Hexi pincushions

Hexi pincushion 2

The one on the left is made from the hexi needlecase freebie fabric from my Love Patchwork and Quilting magazine and the one on the right is fabric from two charity shop blouses.

I love the little flowers on this fabric and think that the broderie anglaise flowers on the white fabric look really pretty against the dark pink which is Kona solids from my stash.

I am aiming to do some more brooches, pincushions and ornaments over this weekend as I would like to have all my hand-made ornaments finished before term starts in two weeks if possible.

Hope you have a nice relaxing and crafty weekend planned. Thanks for visiting.

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.

Well we had a very lovely time at Caldicot this weekend despite a start which involved a fairly damp set up and lots of traffic problems for friends due to road works and delays which meant we were still pitching tents in the rain at 10 o’clock on Friday night! But all was beautiful and sunny come Saturday morning so that meant we had a fab time.

Paul played a major role in the battle leading the English army (to victory on Saturday which was brilliant). He has not been to this event before but the character he plays in our shows, William de Bohun,  once owned Caldicot Castle so he had been planning a visit and as he has all of the kit in de Bohun’s heraldry it looked great on the field.

Here are the before shots of our boys before they went to battle. James, our newest member, was de Bohun’s banner bearer and looked very good in his kit.

Caldicot - Paul and James

Jamie has decorated his helmet with painted blue and yellow squares ready for his new character for next season and was a bit worried it would get scratched but it was fine.

Caldicot - the boys

Caldicot - Jamie new helm

I finished a couple of pieces of kit for the weekend, a wool tunic for a friend and this parti-coloured chaperon to go with the new dress that Ellie has made herself. You may remember this dress from our sewing weekend in Feb.

Caldicot Ellie's new chaperon

Caldicot E and K 2

The chaperon is fully reversible so she can have an all dark pink one if she wants. I am very glad I have finished this as I cut it out of the fabric for the original dress I made her about 4 years ago and then it got put away and forgotten about!

Caldicot E chaperon detail 2

Caldicot E chaperon detail 1

Here are a couple of battlefield pictures for you showing Paul and Jamie in action. Thanks to Tammy, James’ fiancé,  for these as she was on the sidelines with a camera.

Caldicot - battle

Caldicot - battle 2

The group went for a photo shoot round the castle later and took some very good pictures. Here is one of Paul and Jamie at the top of the castle tower.

Caldicot - Paul and Jamie

Ellie and I had a day out after the event as we stayed over on the way back to tick another couple of Trust properties off our list which I will post about later.

An excellent weekend all round.Now for a nice quiet week working on my doctorate with a bit of crafting and walking in between :-) Lovely stuff!

Hope you are looking forward to a nice week ahead, thanks for visiting.

 

Well it is nearly time for my second houseaversary – we will be away at the Caldicot Castle  event next week and I will have a drink with friends to celebrate.

Am still so happy here, can’t believe what a difference being here has made to my life. I am still having a really lovely time and one of the best things is the countryside around me which is purple for quite a lot of the year. I do love that colour!

The rhododendrons have all gone now but instead the hills are covered in heather and it makes them look very beautiful. I borrowed a friend’s dog, Ted, the other day for a walk as she was working and we went for a little tootle up to my favourite reservoir (which is now refilled) and back past all the beautiful purple bushes.

Marsden heather

Marsden heather 2

Here is a very pretty cow we met on the way.

Marsden heather 3

Marsden heather 4

Marsden heather 5

Marsden heather 6

And Ted wanting to go up a bit more and not stop for pictures ;-)

Marsden heather 7

I was also lucky enough to get this shot of a butterfly on a Buddleia.

Marsden heather 8

Marsden heather 9

What a gorgeous cottage near my friend’s house. Such a cute name as well, like a house in an Enid Blyton story.

Marsden heather 10

Marsden heather 11

As well as walks I am spending lots of time with hexagons (which may be my new addiction!). Have cut out pieces for many more ornaments and this week decided to use the hexis to make an apron for a friend’s little girl.

Marsden heather 12

Marsden heather 13

I made her big sister an apron for a birthday present this year and as she is just about to start Nursery where she will be having cookery sessions I thought she needed one of her own. Have had all of this fabric in my stash for a while, nice to be using some rather than buying anything new (which I am not allowed to do till I have used up a lot more!)

The apron pattern comes from this free tutorial at Aesthetic Nest’s blog.

The cute teddy braid on the pocket is some from my local haberdasher that I have had in the stash for a while just waiting for a project like this.

It is a Bank Holiday here in the UK so am planning to spend tomorrow doing more stitching (surprise, surprise) – am thinking of using some of my vintage embroidery with hexis to create something, probably Christmas presents as I like to be prepared!

Have a lovely couple of weeks and I will be back soon. Thanks for visiting.

Just thought I would do an update on my work yesterday and share with you a tutorial for my latest Xmas ornament. I had a very lovely day – unfortunately today is wet as well so I will just have to carry on sitting making more ornaments, how sad ;-)

I would love to design and make full-time but in the mean time am happy with the little bits I get to do.

This is my third original Xmas ornament design, tutorials for the crazy patchwork Xmas tree  and information on the Crazy patchwork Xmas heart can be found at these links. None of these are earthshatteringly different from other things you can find on the web but are all my own work.

I have never done anything with hexagons before and have quite frankly considered English Paper Piecing a bit of a faff but I am very much enjoying this.

My inspiration came from two free gifts from my Love Quilting and Patchwork magazines. I started sewing the hexi pincushion last week on the train and I really liked it.

 

Hexi Xmas ornie 1

I do enjoy small-scale work and as friends have always told me these are very portable projects. The free pre-cut papers will come in very handy as well!

Here are the two I finished yesterday and below is a step by step guide for those of you who might like to have a go yourselves.

Hexi Xmas ornie 6

The ornament is made from 2 sizes of hexagon – 2 inch for the main body of the ornament and 1 cm for each of the hexagons in the ‘flower’. Please note that hexagons are sized by the length of each side (something that I found a bit confusing to start with) and you can happily mix metric and imperial measurements.

If you want to save yourself the trouble of drawing round a template here are links for free printables from the Snippets and Blabbery blog and some free printable hexagon graph paper  in different sizes and you can also buy pre-cut papers from many sources including these from Quilt Direct.

There are also lots of pre-cut (and even pre-stitched onto papers) fabric on Ebay if you really want to save time,  for me half of the fun is choosing the fabric though.

I used material from my small (ahem) stock of Xmas fabric but this design would work well from charm packs and scraps from other quilting.

Step 1 – Cut out 2 of the larger 2 inch hexagons from your backing fabric, I have used plain for the front and patterned for the back.

Step 2 – Cut out 7 of the smaller 1 cm hexagons – I used 3 different fabrics from the same ranges for each of my designs. You need a bigger seam allowance than you might think for folding over, I use 0.5 cm.

Hexi Xmas ornie 2

The small size of the hexagons makes it great for fussy cutting elements out of larger designs but you may have to watch the orientation of the hexagons when you stitch them together if the design had a ‘right way up’.

Fussy cutting means choosing a part of the design rather than just cutting out of the general fabric, it does mean you get more waste but the effect is good.

Step 3 – Sew the smaller hexagons onto your paper hexagons folding the seams over as you go. Use a contrasting thread then it is easier to unpick when you take the papers out. There is an excellent step by step tutorial on making a hexagon flower at Pretty by Hand’s blog here which shows how to stitch the pieces together.

Hexi Xmas ornie 3

Step 4 – Arrange the 7 hexagons into a flower shape and sew all the seams together using small stitches. If you are using a plain centre fabric the same as the backing then you could just have a ring of 6 hexagons but I liked the stability of the flower shape. Iron at this point to help secure seams for the next stage.

Hexi Xmas ornie 4

Step 5 – Remove the stitches and then the hexagon backing paper pieces carefully. I use my unpicker for this bit, you can re-use the papers if you are careful. I did then tack the outer 3 edges of each hexagon (those that are not sewn to anything), this makes the next step easier.

Step 6 – Applique your hexagon flower to one of the large backing hexagons using small stitches in a matching thread colour – if you have multiple colours in your flower go for a match to your backing fabric.

Hexi Xmas ornie - whip stitch detail

Step 7 – Put the appliqued front hexagon and your backing hexagon right sides together and stitch all the way round – I used hand stitching with a running stitch then went back to fill in the gaps but you could machine stitch.

Step 8 – Turn ornament to show right sides – poking the corners with scissor ends or a pencil help to ensure sharp corners.

Step 9 – Stuff the ornament – I use polyester toy filling for all my work available from craft shops or places like this on Ebay.

Step 10 – Turn the raw edges of the open side over, pin and sew. I have made this the top edge on my ornaments as however careful you are it never looks the same as all the other edges and the ribbon hides some of this.

Step 11 – Sew through the middle of the centre hexagon with some tiny stitches pulling tight to create a hollow in the centre – stitch a small button, bead or embellishment there.

Hexi Xmas ornie 5

Step 12 – Attach a ribbon to the back of the ornament, I have also added a bead to cover up the stitching.

Hexi Xmas ornie 7

If you want more hexagon inspiration go and have a look at this Pinterest page that I found the other evening – I particularly love the designs from the Broderie blog featured on that page though it would take centuries for me to complete anything like her quilts.

And look at this for hexi love – this was from the same Pinterest page, not sure who it was from originally but look at that stash!

Hexagon box

I am aiming to make 10 of these ornaments for this year’s friends and family seasonal gifts so am going to be having an enjoyable and productive Autumn.

Happy ornament making and thanks for visiting.

Well it looks like summer is over here in Yorkshire but that is ok.

There is nothing quite as delicious as the prospect of a weekend where you have nothing to do except create so I will watch the rain from the comfort of my sofa and make Christmas ornaments while watching DVDs … it is a hard life sometimes ;-)

I have been doing some research on patchwork ornaments as I need a new design for this year’s friends and family gifts and came across this very useful web site last night with links to all sorts of lovely stuff – the site is called Pinwheel Ponder .

She also has a Pinterest Page with some other gorgeous stuff on – look at these lovely fussy cut kaleidoscope ornaments from the Quilt Art Mountain Vistas blog of Lynn Crosswell.

 

Fussy cut ornaments Lynn Croswell

 

I also wanted to show you my latest creation, I am temporarily moving away from knitted animals to make some more Xmas stockings but this is one that I have just made for a friend from re-enactment.

I have called him Hannibal after the famous story of Hannibal and his elephants as their route took them just past where my Mum lives in Spain!

 

Medieval elephant 2

I knitted a jumper out of wool that is meant to look like maille and gave him maille legs as well and made a little linen surcoat with my friend’s heraldry on. I also did some laces on his boots.

I like the way his legs are shiny in this photo :-)

Medieval elephant

It was the first jumper and boy’s feet I have knitted and as always Julie’s pattern was very easy to follow.

Hope that you have a lovely weekend and week ahead and thanks for visiting.

Hello there

After a very nice (if a little damp at first) show I stayed on for a couple of days and went on a steam train trip to Bridgnorth in Shropshire.

It was very exciting, I love trains anyway but this was a proper train with proper tickets and lovely little compartments (so much nicer to have privacy and not have to listen to other people on their phones!).

Bewdley Train trip

Bewdley Train 2

Bewdley Train 3

Bewdley Train 4

Bewdley Train 5

Bewdley Train 6

Bewdley Train 7

Bewdley Train Trip

Bewdley Train 11

It was a really sunny day and the view of the River Severn and all of the stations with their flowers made me very glad to live in such a gorgeous country.

Bewdley Train 8

Bewdley Train 9

Bridgnorth was very pretty with lots of little gift shops like this one in the second photo.

Bewdley Train 13

Bewdley Train 14

I particularly like the sentiments in these plaques, some sad things have happened to friends recently which makes you realise how precious time with loved ones is.

I am very lucky to have so much love and support from my family and friends and hope that I can be a support to others.

Bewdley Train 15

Bewdley Train 16

It has lots of historic buildings and a funicular railway to get from the Low Town to the High Town.

Bewdley Train 12

Bewdley Train 18

Bewdley Train 17

Bewdley Train 19

A really excellent day out – accompanied in true British fashion by a few pints of very nice cider and fish and chips for tea!

I have a quiet few days ahead which is lovely, going to be doing some sewing and have made a start on knitting Christmas stockings from the free pattern from Little Cotton Rabbits I used last year – only 133 days until Christmas apparently ;-)

Thanks for visiting and see you soon.

I have now reached the stage in my life where looking round gardens (preferably with the chance of a cup of tea and even cake) seems like a very nice thing to spend my time doing .

This weekend was the Marsden Open Gardens day so myself and friend Sharon from knitting spent a lovely afternoon sampling the delights of our green fingered fellow residents.

There were some really stunning gardens and it is hard to pick a favourite, it was amazing to see what people had done, particularly as a few were transformations of fields or rough ground and done with such great imagination.

This was the first one and perhaps will have to be my favourite because of the medieval theme, look at that little tower with the fabulous door (and the very cute ginger cat!).

Marsden Open gardens 1

Marsden Open gardens 2

Marsden Open gardens 3

Marsden Open gardens 4

Marsden Open gardens 5

Marsden Open gardens 6

However this one over the road – a transformation from field as in the top picture of next door to Japanese garden with a little hideaway complete with amazing views comes a close second.

Marsden Open gardens 9

Marsden Open gardens 7

Marsden Open gardens 8

Marsden Open gardens 10

Marsden Open gardens 11

Marsden Open gardens 12

Marsden Open gardens 13

Marsden Open gardens 14

There were some very stunning plants and cute garden seating as well.

Marsden Open gardens 15

Marsden Open gardens 16

Marsden Open gardens 17

Marsden Open gardens 18

Marsden Open gardens 19

Marsden Open gardens 20

Marsden Open gardens 21

Marsden Open gardens 22

Marsden Open gardens 23

And more beautiful views, I loved this garden on one of the roads out of the village which backs onto the moors.

Marsden Open gardens 24

Marsden Open gardens 25

Marsden Open gardens 26

Marsden Open gardens 27

This is one I see regularly as it is next to my bus stop.

Marsden Open gardens 28

And this beautiful Japanese style one is next to the river where I often go walking.

Marsden Open gardens 29

 

An excellent afternoon out, I am so lucky to live here.

I never get tired of how beautiful the countryside is around us and it was lovely to see some of the other beauty here and admire all the hard work of the proud garden owners, thanks to everyone who was kind enough to let us visit.

I will be away this weekend at another event (yippee!!!) helping some friends with their show at a local country fair so am hoping for very lovely weather for that.

Hope you have nice things planned for your free time and thanks for visiting.

 

 

 

 

Hello there, hope you are having a nice weekend, am about to go out to an open garden afternoon here in the village but before I do wanted to share some of the Tudor costume we have seen recently as Ellie and I had a little trip out to Nostell Priory  this week.

Ellie has been there before for a training course (she gets to go to some fab venues for her staff development!) and wanted to go back as a visitor.

The house dates from the 1800s but the family were related to Tudor notables including Elizabeth Woodville and so there were quite a few portraits of costume that were brilliant to see.

This blackwork jacket belonged to a Duchess and the detail on the painting was very good.

Nostell Priory blackwork portrait

Nostell Priory balckwork portrait 2

The best thing was just before we left which was this amazing portrait of Thomas More  (he who sadly failed in his attempts to get Henry 8th his divorce from Catherine of Aragon) and his family.

There was such brilliant detail in the pictures of the costumes so I took some close up shots for me and for my friend Kat who makes such fantastic Tudor costume as well as medieval period things.

Nostell Priory Moore pic whole

Nostell Priory Moore pic

Nostell Priory Moore pic 2

The blackwork embroidery on this shift is very detailed and there also appears to be similar embroidery on the edge of the dress.

Nostell Priory Moore pic 3

It was interesting to see that two of the sisters had shared two of the fabrics, using it alternately for sleeves and bodice.

Nostell Priory Moore pic 4

Nostell Priory Moore pic 5

I have some very good news to share with you as well as Ellie is going to be staying at Hardwick permanently – her contract which was due to run out next March has been extended and she will be there for there for the foreseeable future :-) We are all very pleased not least Kerry as she was going to miss her cinema buddy!

One of the things that I keep meaning to post about is the National Trust Collections web site that details all of their artefacts, Ellie uses this a lot for her blog so you may find it useful if you are interested in more detail about their collections.

Will be back later with some more textile loveliness from Nostell, meanwhile take care and thanks for visiting.

We are very lucky and we get to camp in some amazing places, castles and historic venues and this weekend we had an event at Peveril Castle in the Peak District. The views were amazing and well worth the very long climb (with tents and lots of kit!) to the top of the hill.

Peveril the castle 2

Peveril view

Peveril the gorge

Peveril tent and view

Due to the nature of the site we only took modern tents rather than authentic as we had to take the tents down each morning as well. The picture below shows Mark and Shane climbing up on Saturday morning with their kit, it was a long steep hill!

Peveril Castle

But this picture just sums up everything I love about re-enactment, breakfast (bacon butties of course!) in the sunshine outside the tent.

Peveril Castle

The weather was brilliant – despite my fears that this might be a very wet weekend, it was actually a little too hot on the Saturday, we girls were ok in the shade down by the entrance to the castle doing our head dress talks but the boys were sweltering at the top and did a brilliant job of running the events in that heat.

Thanks to Wendy, Kevin, Philip and Daniel for these pictures that they posted to our group Facebook site.

Peveril show

Luke had a new cotehardie to show off – he looks brilliant and I love this picture.

Peveril event

I also really love this one of the girls looking at the view.

Peveril the sisters

Peveril Me and Ellie

Here are Luke and Jamie doing a dagger display.

Peveril Luke and Jamie

This is the arena from the top of the castle.

Peveril event

And here am I with Luke’s very impressive horned helm.

Pevril me and view

Pevril Sisters

Peveril Luke and Mark

Peveril Paul and Jamie

Pevril me and king

Peveril end of show

We were all so tired that after a trip down to a pub at the bottom of the hill for a very nice meal Saturday evening we only had a little sit round the campfire before bed.

A really excellent weekend and a great way to finish the Swords of Mercia events for this year. The Sisters still have a few events left before the tents go away for winter :-(

Ellie is now here for a week’s holiday so we may do some days out later in the week, we do have a trip planned to a textile museum en route to moving Jake into a new flat in Middlesbrough.

Hope you have all had a good weekend and thanks for visiting.

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