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Hello everyone and Happy International Women’s Day. I would just like to take a moment to thank all those wonderful, inspirational women whose blogs I read for sharing their lives, their creativity and making women’s work in all respects valued.
Like many women my age I grew up in an era where craft, particularly women’s craft was not seen as really relevant to the modern world.
I had a very traditional single sex education and learnt to cook and sew but never really valued those skills though I have always enjoyed both.
It is lovely to see those things now on mainstream TV (though more is needed – dedicated sewing, quilting, knitting and embroidery channel I say!) and to see many women setting up their own businesses online selling their items and their patterns and sharing their passion for craft.
One woman I think deserves a particular mention (though there are so many brilliant people out there) is Julie from Little Cotton Rabbits who is a wonderful creative crafter and a fab mother and has shared her work with so many people and brightens everyone’s day.
Knitting her bunnies keeps me sane and shares her love and I have two of my latest creations to show you.
Here are Daisy and Sophie – don’t they look cute together, Sophie in the pink looks like she is a very loving older friend to little Daisy.
Daisy is for my sister-in-law as a birthday gift and is my first go at stripy legs and Sophie will be a present for a friend’s newborn great -niece.These are my fifth and sixth bunnies and I have more to come!
But as well as those I have been making a hat on request for my sister-in-law, the grey one is the one she originally bought and she gave me the multi-coloured wool to create a version of it.
This meant my first foray into knitting without a pre-set pattern but I was aided by my friends at knitting group in working out what to do.
I was in my local craft shop (shh don’t tell but I did buy a little tiny bit of stuff for a project I am working on) and was talking to the lovely lady serving me about the Great British Sewing Bee and she told me of a really good blog that she had found that gives advice on techniques used in the episodes.
It is called Little Black Duck Blog and is run by a mum called Victoria and it is going straight into my favourites!
This is the link to Episode 3 about working with stretch fabrics and she has advice and links to all sorts of fab tutorials for different techniques as well as other general sewing tips.
I have a few other projects in the pipeline that I hope to be able to share soon and am enjoying some sunny blue skies here in Yorkshire (among the showers!)
Take care and thank you as always for visiting.
You would think that someone who makes Christmas ornaments nearly all year round and started knitting gifts months ago would be finished well in time for the last posting dates wouldn’t you?
You would not imagine a weekend of frantic finishing and a sudden realisation that one of the bunny gifts does not have any legs at the moment
Only realised yesterday as well that the bag that was going to be given with one of the bunny gifts was still unfinished – oops.
However I am doing well despite the lateness and have the gifts that need to be posted ready to go and will be doing more finishing this week including the legs – was sure I had a whole bag of completed bits but one bunny has had too much Xmas cheer and is legless ha ha
The finished bunny I have named Lucy though she is going to my cousin’s daughter who will name her, hope she likes her as much as the other cousin’s daughter did with the first bunny I made.
I made the bag in the summer – it is made from recycled jeans and a pillow case and it was the colour scheme of the pillow case that inspired Lucy’s 3 dresses.
I love the way she has wonky ears, all the bunnies turn out with such different faces. Lucy looks quite serious don’t you think?
Have also made up all the stitched ornaments into little hanging pillows.These are all JBW Designs from Sew and Sew.
I have little to excuse myself for this tardiness except the fact that I have been very busy at work and possibly have tried once again to make too much in too short a space of time
I think when I sort out the craft room in Jan I shall have a noticeboard and will write a list of projects and timescales so I can keep track, especially as I have so much medieval kit to stitch for next season.
Planning not helped by the fact that I have just subscribed to a new magazine called Love Patchwork and Quilting which has given me so many new ideas for things that I want to make.
What about this little bird ornament – can you imagine some of those in Christmas fabric?
They have a first 3 issues for £5 deal on their website at the moment and it is a very lovely magazine with links to lots of other lovely blogs.
I have been looking at the work of Amy Smart whose Diary of a Quilter blog is full of lovely, lovely things. So many ideas and so little time!
Anyway back to my finishing now – only 9 days to go till Christmas eek! Thankfully the food shopping is nearly all done so I can concentrate on crafting!
Hope you all have a good lead up to the festive season and thanks for visiting.
Have spent a lovely weekend catching up, on sleep, on time with old friends and today I will be catching up with the crafting I need to have finished for my Autumn Exchange.
It has been lovely to see my friend Anita, she showed me some of her amazing machine quilting pictures while she was here and I was very excited to learn that she has met Ricky Tims (from the Quilt Show) and knows Melly (from the Melly and me blog) and has quilted an item for her latest book!
We all met up on Friday and spent lots of time looking at old pictures of the kids when they were babies, we have 21 kids between us so lots and lots of memories of good times
I have also been busy with the latest bunny, in between stitching and here are a couple of cute little dresses that I have made.
I also thought I would show you the latest in my Xmas stitching, these are still to be buttoned and backed but here are some of my fave designs from JBW that I am stitching for relatives this year.
And I have been experimenting with my bread book, had Anita and friends round for dinner so this was an adaptation of the Stilton and Bacon Rolls recipe with seeds, apologies for the quality of the photo, light not good in the kitchen!
I will be off to Spain next Saturday (where my mother tells me the temperature has dropped to only 28 degrees) so am planning lots more catching up on sleeping, crafting and reading – the terrace is calling!
Have a nice time whatever you are doing and thanks for visiting.
Well another Marsden Jazz Festival has come and gone and I think a good time was had by all.
There were lots of people dancing late into the night at our sell out Saturday night event featuring the very talented Airya Astrobeat Arkestra.I even got off duty for a bit to go and join in and I was also amazed by the guitar playing of Antonio Forcione at our other sell out event on Sunday.
As usual I had a lovely time in the company of my excellent band of fellow volunteers and really enjoyed meeting so many nice people who were very kind about the festival and how much they enjoy it.
I was also interviewed by the local radio and if you want to hear more about the festival my 15 minutes of fame are here
on the Two Valleys Radio web site.
It was a bit wet so we had some re-arranging of outdoor events to do (how optimistic were we?) but the venues in the village were fantastic at accommodating bands at very short notice so big thanks to them all.
I know I have said this before and apologies if you are bored by it but I love living here, there is a real sense of community and I so enjoy being part of this.
I managed to take a few pictures of the parade on the Saturday which involves the local dance school and local children who decorate brollies to carry (good job given the inclemency!).
There were even some very little children dressed as sheep which is the symbol of the jazz festival – so cute!
I am really looking forward to this weekend as an old friend of mine is coming to stay, Anita, who moved to Australia some years ago and has since become a very talented long armed and machine quilter is going to be here.
Have not seen her for about 3 years so lots of catching up to do. I have just been drooling over some of the new things on her quilting blog at Hillside Quilting.
Am still busy knitting bunnies will I ever stop! And am half way through my Autumn stitch for the Seasonal Exchange.
Here’s hoping for better weather than last weekend so that we can go walking and show Anita our beautiful surroundings. However if it rains we may just have to hole up in the craft room – shame Maybe she can teach me a thing or two while she is here!
Take care and thanks for visiting
Well Autumn is definitely here in the Colne Valley.
The last of the tents is drying out on the line ready to be packed away until next season and the air has turned colder.
I am often sad at the end of the season as I so love camping and re-enacting but am really looked forward to my second Autumn here.
Being so much more rural I can really see all of the changing colours of the seasons all around me and the other day I had a lovely walk along the canal to pick blackberries and took these pictures for you.
I also popped into the local charity shop (to donate) but came away with this beautiful tray cloth.
I am thinking of maybe framing some of these pieces as I now have far too many just to make things from them and think these might go very nicely in the kitchen.
The designs remind me very much of some of Kelly Fletcher from Materialistic- a very talented embroidery designer from South Africa who has some beautiful freebies on her Craftsy shop - look for the Bloomin’ Marvellous designs.
She also has some gorgeous designs for sale – really inspirational stuff!
I now have the ultimate luxury of a Sunday to do whatever I want to Jake has gone back to University (not that he was any trouble while he was here!) but I am home alone with only myself to please.
Shall it be Christmas ornaments, knitting more dresses for bunnies, stitching? Maybe all three! I am making a start on my autumn exchange piece today and have chosen some beautiful brown silks for the piece.
Or a walk on the hills? it is beautiful and sunny today so I might just don the walking boots and get out there
I hope that you are having a lovely day whatever you have decided to do.
Thanks for visiting.
I have found a new addiction, I think I am just going to keep on knitting these bunnies as they are such fun to do.
I have long admired Julie’s (Little Cotton Rabbits) work and was very excited when she released the bunny pattern on Ravelry a while ago.
Do go and look at all the ones she has made on her blog, I have got lots of inspiration from looking at the colours she uses and have got some different ideas for my next few.
My first bunny and 2 dresses are finished and I have cast on for the second one.
Julie’s original pattern has stripy legs and body so it looks like the bunny is wearing tights – I left that out of the first version to make it easier but am confident I know what I am doing now so will add underwear to the next ones!
Luckily I have lots of people to give bunnies to as we have lots of young children in the family now as well as friends with little ones so I will have homes for my bunnies to go to!
What I love about this is how quickly you can do it- am not a fan of large projects and the parts of the bunny are so quick even for a slow knitter like me.
As well as the basic pattern I bought the pattern for the extra dresses again from Ravelry, the spotty sleeveless dress pattern comes included with the bunny and the other dress is an adaptation of the cap sleeved lace hem dress. I also added the white border to the spotty dress as the original one was a bit short.
I made the lace hem dress looser by doing another repeat of the lace pattern, made it a lot longer by adding rows to the skirt, added a white band at the waist when I gathered it in by using decreases and used bigger needles to knit the top to make it looser.
I am now feeling a lot more confident about how patterns ‘work’ so know how to do these simple changes.
I have left the back of both dresses open as the bunny is a present for a small child and that makes it easier to undress.
Julie’s patterns are brilliantly written with lots of step by step pics on every detail including the stuffing so even the bits that look tricky, like the shoes, aren’t at all.
I am going to try some of the other designs for my next dress – the spotty one was my first go at colourwork and despite the back looking at bit messy it came out ok.
I am going to have a lovely time for the rest of the summer!
I have also been doing quite a lot of garden fettling – forgot to take a before pic but at the back of the house there was a very overgrown rockery with two foot high dandelions and nettles which now looks like this.
I have planted some clematis and jasmine at the back so hopefully next Spring I will have some lovely climbers up the wall. I don’t miss having my old garden at all but do miss my clematis.
The hanging baskets back and front are looking lovely – due to inclement weather we haven’t made much use of the new table and chairs but I’m hoping it will stop raining soon
I do love my new little house so much – just the right amount of gardening to do, planting nice things and a bit of weeding and watering and no hedges or lawns!
Right am off to do more knitting – thanks for visiting.
We have had a very, very lovely day today – not only going to Hardwick Hall for the day but because my lovely daughter Ellie works there had a brilliant ‘behind the scenes’ experience which was amazing.
Here is the Hall in the lovely sunlight – as a contemporary of Bess’s wrote when it was built – ‘more glass than wall’.
Here are some pictures of what the public gets to see.
The beautiful velvet heraldic embroidery created by Bess of Hardwick herself, the blue silk bed hangings, the Great Hall with its bed canopy.
But we also got to go up on the roof! This is the top of the hall and the view from one of the small banqueting rooms that are in the towers.
The best bit for me was going into the textile store rooms in the attic.Here are all the boxes with little pictures of the contents.
And here is Ellie opening one of the boxes for us.This contained a beautiful velvet hanging of flowers.
Another box had some more of the most wonderful of Bess’s heraldic pieces, here I am close up to this piece – no glass at all, heaven!!
I feel very, very priviliged to have been able to do this – thank you Ellie!
And we were able to see the Gideon tapestries that have been away for conservation that she has been helping rehang – go and visit her blog for more details of this. The pictures below show the before and after effects of the cleaning.
A brilliant day – I loved it!
Take care all of you and thanks for visiting.
I am off to Florence on Sunday with my Mum so there may be some pictures of medieval art and churches when I get back – you never know!
I am having a rare weekend at home indulging in some domestic bliss.
As I type this I am eating my lunch – the very tasty Olive and Chilli Sourdough bread in the picture below that I made this morning with dried olives from my friend Martin and Suzie’s Cowley’s Fine Foods accompanied by some delicious cheese from the local deli Radish.
The recipe is by Jo Wheatley and is from the Sainsbury’s magazine a couple of months ago.
I have been doing a little gardening – thankfully my lovely new house has virtually nothing to do in that respect but I have just been tidying up the pots and later I will continue making a medieval cloak for my friend Luke.
Embroidery wise I am working on a christening present for Alice, my cousin’s daughter at the moment.All will be revealed when it is finished!
Mum and I will be going to Plymouth for the christening next weekend as they have very kindly asked me to be a godmother which is very lovely!
This pincushion is from the Blackbird Designs, ’ A Stitcher’s Journey’, book and it is stitched on evenweave with Silk Mill thread. The charm is one I picked up at one of the knitting and stitching shows but you can get similar ones from Sitch Direct.
I backed it with some of the lovely fabric from my lovely friends Helen and Lucy at Material Goods and added a little pocket for scissors or an unpicker.
Well must be getting on with the sewing , hope you are having domestic fun as well, take care and thanks for visiting!
Hope this finds you all well and happy. I have had a lovely time away in Spain with my Mum and have got some fab pics to post of the Easter celebrations there which I will sort for tomorrow.
It has been a wonderfully sunny day today, I have two loads of washing dried on my line and this is in Yorkshire! It is a miracle.
We still have piles of unmelted snow though where we cleared the paths and the road, particularly on my side of the street as this does not get as much sun. It might be gone by May!
Hope this lovely weather continues as I have my first re-enactment event in 2 weeks time and my first camping weekend in 3 weeks – yippee!!!
It seems appropriate to post a picture of the Winter ornament that I made for the Seasonal Exchange group since the theme of this piece was snowflakes.
The design is a combination of a tree from the Cross Stitch mag from last year that I have made into a tree ornament for me and some snowflakes from the lovely Snow Poem design, once again stitched with Silk Mill thread. This piece is now with Lisa in Australia.
I am now stitching the Spring Exchange piece and also have been working on some new stock for my stall at Standedge, I found a cute pillow case today in my local charity shop so have been transforming that and some old jeans into a little handbag.
Will post again later this weekend, thanks for visiting.
Well I have finally got my stall at Standedge Loft Space and my membership as a designer maker. Am very pleased as I have wanted to sell things for a while and also it is a great way of supporting a local craft centre. My little stall looks very cute and I have got some nice feedback already.
It is a lovely space and I am looking forward to being able to spend more time there, especially over the summer.
There was a craft market this weekend and I bought this lovely fabric from my new friend Helen from my local knitting group. I am making a quilt for a friend’s baby and have used some of this fabric to add to my stash for that.
She and her friend Lucy run a fabric store called Material Goods in the next village – here is their card and link to their online store.
I have also been out for a few walks over the weekend – there is still a bit of snow up on the hills and lots of sheep!
I got my Winter Exchange this week from Kathy - isn’t it lovely – as soon as my partner has got hers I can post the stitching that I have done.
I am planning lots of lovely walks this week as I am on holiday! There will be lots of crafting too and some nice nights out catching up with friends. Ellie has been here for all of last week and Jake is here this week so I am being very social!
Thanks very much for visiting.