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Things have quietened down a lot at work  which means that I am home earlier, have more chance to work from home and thus more time for sewing which all makes me very happy :-)

We don’t get the same school holidays as school teachers do so I am still working all summer but at a nice relaxed pace with lots of weekends free now.

As I am still having a bit of pain in my wrist I am avoiding knitting and too much machine sewing so am embarking on a few embroidered pieces.

I recently found Jenny’s Elefantz blog and embroidery designs, cannot remember how but think it was a link from another blog and she designs the most wonderful things so I had to go and buy some patterns. Some of these will be stitched for me and some will be gifts.

Elefantz The Stitchin Machine stitchery

Elefantz Make Do Mend stitchery

This will be my first project which I am starting this afternoon and I have the perfect backing for it in my stash.

Elefantz A Stitch In Time stitchery

She is an amazingly talented and generous designer as she has loads of freebies on her site as well. She has done so many lovely free block of the month sets over the years and currently has a Vintage Kitchen series. Look at these beautiful designs.

Elefantz Stitchery

Elefantz Block4 The Vintage Kitchen

Not only are the designs really lovely but they use very simple stitches, most are backstitch or satin stitch but she makes the most gorgeous things with the embroidery. My embroidery skills are limited, I would love to learn more complex stitches but for now I don’t have to.

I love the fact that she combines stitching with applique and quilting and I was also very impressed with this design which combines my hexi love with beautiful roses.

Elefantz Ring o Rosey stitchery

She also posts pictures of what people make with her designs on her blog and that gives you loads of ideas for different colourways.Here is the link to her Craftsy store  if you are interested, they would make lovely Christmas presents for stitchers.

She also has a monthly Stitchery Club and I am seriously tempted to subscribe to that, even I don’t do all the designs now I could consider it part of my retirement fund!

Also it is nice to support fellow designers and craftspeople in their business endeavours, I love knowing the person behind the work, that is one of the lovely things about buying re-enactment goods it is very personal shopping.

I am also enjoying reading all about her life in Australia, I have decided to read all her posts from the start in 2009. I quite often do that with interesting blogs, to me it is like reading someone’s autobiography and I love seeing other places around the world.

I have been a long time follower of Katrina in New Zealand’s A Kiwi Stitching blog which is great for a mix of stitching ideas and photos of the beautiful places around her home and of Mary Kathryn’s,  Impie, Hattie and Bea blog and webshop, she lives in the Rocky Mountains and posts beautiful photos of her surroundings.

I have recently found another Colorado blog Tanya Quilts in Colorado  , she is a very creative and very prolific quilter who amazes me with her output.

Another new one for me is Anna Scott Embroidery, lots of beautiful goldwork here that she designs and sells patterns for and pictures of the Australian vineyard where she lives.

Here in the UK I love Julie of Little Cotton Rabbits  knitting designs and her garden and walk pictures, she is a really good photographer and of course the animals are amazingly cute.

I have the patterns for some of the latest to make when my hand is better, she now has mice and cats to knit as well as rabbits, elephants, foxes and monkeys!

I also really enjoy Helen from Hen House’s  vintage style quilts and collectibles and her trips out in the South of England, she loves the 1940s and often visits events and vintage fairs in costume which looks fantastic.

I really enjoy blogs that combine beautiful crafting with information about life in other places, a bit like having lots of pen pals around the world. Although I don’t comment on people’s posts very often I do love the sense of being in touch with fellow knitters, stitchers and quilters.

That is one of the best things about the internet, the sense of community that it gives.

As well as the opportunity to buy cute things of course ;-) , I may just have indulged a little bit in some charm buying recently, will let you see what I have been acquiring soon.

Right there appears to be sun in Yorkshire, (a minor miracle), and the washing machine has just finished so I will make the most of it and see if I can get some stuff outside. Not to tempt fate but it may be 20 degrees and dry today which is great for August round here!

Thanks as always for visiting and I hope that you enjoy reading my blog as much as I enjoy visiting all the others.

Hello everyone, hope that you are all well and enjoying the prospect of your weekend.I have had a pretty productive few days even with still being on light duties.

Have cut back on my planned sewing and knitting for the time being to give my wrist a rest and have been enjoying the delights of the Liberty stash packs that Kerry and Ellie bought me for Christmas from Very Berry fabrics.

I have nearly run out of some of the prints so will be looking to restock when we go to the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham next week. We have a girly trip planned with some of the knitting group, I have give them strict instructions to them to restrain my fabric buying though ;-)

I was very late to the love of Liberty party, it was only really when I went to the brooch making workshop last year that I realised how useful the little prints could be and since then have been inspired by blogs like Nana Company.

So here is the fruit of my labours, have still to put together the needlebooks as I am busy making more pretty hexagons for these which it is a little bit addictive.

That and a boxed set on Sky and I am very happily entertained! Am currently avidly watching Falling Skies, a series set after an alien invasion which is very edge of your seat stuff.

Liberty pincushions 1

Liberty Pincushions 2

Liberty Pincushions 3

Liberty Pincushions 4

I have given each pincushion some little coordinated pins, these were recently obtained from EBay, don’t know which I like best, flowers, hearts, drops or leaves as they are all so pretty.

Liberty Pincushions 5

I have also been finishing off the little knitted pincushions, have added charms and altered the one I made earlier using ribbons to do the divisions rather than thread which I think makes it look very cute.

Knitted Pincushions July

Knitted Pincushions July 2

Well I shall love you and leave you now and get back to the hard slog of television and stitching!
Thanks, as always, for visiting.

I am working on a number of little projects in order to have things to sell at craft stalls later in the year, it is never too early to start making Christmas ornaments here at Stitches of Time ;-)

I am also going to be having some ‘crafternoon’ sessions with my friends from knitting group as I did last year so we can all get an early start on our ornaments.

First one is in a couple of weeks and will be accompanied by crafternoon tea which will be an excuse to get the cake stand out!

As well as the knitted pincushions I am going to make lots of pincushions using Liberty fabrics and linen as due to making kit for the boys I have ended up with lots of large scraps ideal for this purpose.

liberty and linen

I have been inspired by creations like those by Amy from Nana Company – this book, Sweetly Stitched Handmades by her is on my Amazon wish list and think that the combination of Liberty and linen is a real winner.

Nana Company Book

Another thing I thought that would sell well is little jars of buttons, Ellie has bought me some for the last two Mother’s Days and they are such cute gifts.

mothers day gifts buttons

I have ordered a large stock of pretty little buttons to make up jars with fabric covered lids. Most of these came from an Ebay shop called Bead Bonkers UK.

Buttons June

Buttons June 2

Buttons June 3

Buttons June 4

I am keeping these ones just for me though, aren’t they gorgeous!

Buttons June 5 for me

These charms are to put on the knitted pincushions and knitting accessories – most of these came from an Etsy shop called DIY Club which has some beautiful charms and ships very speedily from China.

Another one that I have used from Etsy is Beading Shaz who has wonderful charms like cupcakes and cute dogs!

Buttons June 6 knitting charms

This beautiful stack of Kona Solids has just come into my life as well, a subscription gift from a quilt magazine, would love to make a rainbow quilt or a Sudoko quilt as in this You Tube tutorial with it but since my list of WIPs for quilting is very long at the moment I will just keep it as an ornament for now!

Kona solids

It is so lovely to have more time to craft, now that teaching is over things have quietened down a lot at work so am looking forward to a lovely summer of making in between the marking!

Hope that you have all got lots to look forward to as well. Take care and thanks for visiting.

Hello everyone, I hope that you did have a very nice weekend, mine was productive and I am posting today to share with you my latest creations.

I have told you before about my love of pincushions, like most crafters I have several and love making them but these are my very first knitted ones :-)

knitted pincushions May

I am making some things for my friend Sarah of Alder Sign Designs  as she has a stall at Yarndale this September and these are the first two from the production line.

I took inspiration from all the lovely things on a pincushion Pinterest board here and another Pinterest  search for knitted pincushions, (there are some seriously cute crochet ones out there, must learn to crochet next, my life will not be complete until I can make a granny square pin cushion!).

I didn’t follow a pattern, just made it up as I went along so I have put a tutorial here for you in case you want to make some yourself.

1. Using 2.5mm double pointed needles and 4 ply yarn cast on 45 stitches. Thicker yarn and/or larger needles will give a larger pincushion – these measure approx. 8cm inches in diameter.

2. Distribute the stitches evenly between the 3 needles.

3. For the purple pincushion knit in stocking stitch (all knit rows) until work measures 9cm in length.

Purple pincushion

4. Leave stitches on needles and using long tail of thread and large eyed needle gather all stitches, pull tight and fasten securely

Knit for winter mitts May 6

5. For pink pincushion knit in stocking stitch, (all rows knit), until work measures 4 cm in length then knit in moss stitch, (knit 1, purl 1) ,for 6 rows. Then knit in stocking stitch for a further 3.5 cm in length.

knitted pincushions May 2

6. Finish as for purple pincushion in step 4.

7. Stuff firmly with polyester toy stuffing and then using length of yarn and large eyed needle pick up stitches from cast on edge to gather. Pull tight and fasten securely.

8. For purple pincushion – use a length of embroidery thread , (all 6 strands), or similar threaded onto a sharp needle. Stitch to attach thread to gathered up centre.

9. Securely wrap thread around the body of the pincushion to form eight segments. Pull tightly as you do this and secure each time you take thread back to centre with a stitch.

10. For both pincushions stitch buttons at centre of pincushion (top and bottom) to cover gathered join. Pull tightly when stitching to flatten pincushion. I did both buttons simultaneously then left thread tail inside of body.

11. Add co-ordinating pins!

knitted pincushions May 3

knitted pincushions May 4

One of my favourite bloggers, Mary Kathryn, has just made some gorgeous embroidered linen pincushions, go and have a look at her post about them, if she shipped to the UK I would have bought one as they are just beautiful.

I have just ordered some more buttons and charms from Etsy as well to decorate the next few batches of accessories , I really love these little decorated buttons that I first saw at Yarndale last year.

I am going to test out one with a lace pattern border this week to improve my skills at lace knitting in the round!

Take care and thanks for visiting.

I blame Amazon, all you are doing is checking if they have a book and putting it on your wishlist for future reference, a sewing book recommended by one of my new favourite blogs,  Did You Make That?

Then when you are updating your wishlist there is a little message that says, ‘get yourself a little something’ , and you think, ‘no Amazon I am being good’, as I have 27 books in the, ‘to be read pile’ , already.

But then you see that something you have had on your wishlist for ages has gone down to a ridiculously low price AND it is being sold by one of the charity book sellers and it is Easter and you don’t really like chocolate so no-one has bought you any so it is really an Easter present to yourself :-)

Anyway it is done and it is on its way and I could have worse vices than a small book addiction I suppose.

I have bought Flower Power Patchwork which was reviewed in one of my quilt mags a while ago, looks like it will be really good for using some of my beautiful Liberty fabric.

Flower Power Patchwork

It is a gorgeous weekend here and I am very much enjoying the sunshine, I replanted my hanging baskets yesterday and they are looking very pretty.

April flowers

I have also made very good progress with the re-knitting of the cuff for the #knit for winter mittens that I first blogged about a couple of days ago.

Knit for winter - Cuff knitting

It worked much better with the Debbie Bliss yarn and I have now picked up all of the stitches and am ready for the knitting in the round stuff.

It doesn’t seem to fit very well on the circular needles, seems to be a bit too small for me to actually knit with – maybe I am doing something wrong but think I need to use the DPNs instead, shall wait until knitting group on Tuesday for more advice.

Well must go now as the bin men have just been which means I can put the washing out for the first time this year – very exciting, my life is so rock and roll ;-)

Thanks for visiting and enjoy your sunshine if you are lucky enough to have some.

Hope that you are all having a great Easter weekend, I am very much enjoying myself pottering around the house, the weather has been kind so done a little garden tidying and lots of knitting while catching up on some of my recorded TV. Have finally finished game of Thrones (just in time for Season 5) and Wolf Hall.

I have had guests for the last few weekends which has been very nice but I am also very much enjoying quiet time alone (Jake is still here for the holidays but is happily amusing himself with the joys of online entertainment).

I was talking to him last night about blogs etc and was surprised that he had never used Pinterest, I was explaining the pleasure I get from being able to look up sewing, knitting and quilting inspiration and then later on in the evening while doing a bit of catching up of my favourite blogs I came across this amazing board which I though I would share with you.

It was linked to by Melissa of Happy Quilting – I found her website as a link from Crazy Mom Quilts , one of my favourite quilting sites.

She has lots of lovely boards with her quilting on but this Quilts, Quilts, Quilts Pinterest board  she has linked to set up by Maryland Quilter has no fewer than 170,865 pins on it, enough to keep you amused for a while! There is some amazing stuff out there and I am in awe at the skill levels of people.

Meanwhile on the actually productive front I have finished the fairly tricky lace pattern for the first cuff of my #knit for winter mittens but unfortunately it is not working with the wool.

Knitting April 2015 - finished cuff

It is beautiful wool but is variegated with a lot of different colours and is just not going to work on this small an item.

Knitting April 2015 - variegated wool

I should have realised before but sometimes it takes a while for things to sink in and it was only when I finished I realised that I am not happy with the fact that the seam for the cuffs is going to have such a drastic colour change.

Knitting April 2015 - cuff joined

Am starting again with some Debbie Bliss Rialto four ply that I got as part of another de-stash, re-stash from knitting group and will save the other wool for a larger scale project, I think it would make a lovely hat for the #knit for winter campaign as the colours are beautiful but it needs a larger scale to show it off.

Knitting April 2015 - Debbie Bliss wool

I also think that this smoother wool will work better with the lace pattern as well as I am not happy about the untidiness of the top of the pattern here.

Knitting April 2015 - cuff detail

Also cast on for a simple knitting group project (one that I can drink wine with!) This is a moss stitch cowl from a Let’s Knit freebie booklet from a few years ago with some Rowan wool cotton, again from the de-stash, re-stash and this will be donated to the #knit for winter campaign as well.

Knitting April 2015 - rowan cowl

Knitting April 2015

I am really looking forward to the week ahead as my lovely Mum arrives on Weds and we are off to Copenhagen on Friday for a few days, will post lots of Scandinavian historical stuff when I get back!

Take care and thanks for visiting.

 

Well sadly my friends couldn’t make it this weekend – probably a good thing as I have still got the tail end of the nasty cough and cold bug I have had for a month so I have been snuggling up under a fleece on my stitching sofa watching TV and hand piecing.

Much better for me than wandering round my beautiful but below freezing Yorkshire!

I have recently discovered the joys of quilting videos on You Tube, as we have been doing the Block of the Month challenges and I find it difficult to follow written instructions so I thought a would share with you a few of my favourite channels in case you have not discovered this marvellous resource, it is like having a Quilt Guild in your very own home.

Firstly the McCalls Quilting Channel. I have really enjoyed watching this Quilt Along learning loads of new techniques.

 

Next is the Fons and Porter Channel, I have seen Mary Fons in lots of magazines and this channel has useful basic tips videos as well as interviews with quilters like this one.

 

I found this Missouri Star Quilt Company Channel today and they have some brilliant videos on all types of blocks and whole quilts. Wouldn’t this one make a great quilt for a gift!

 

I have always loved watching videos about quilting and have been a fan of The Quilt Show but didn’t realise that there was so much free stuff out there as well.

Another thing I am a bit late to the party with is Craftsy, I have signed up from some fab free online classes for Block of the Months.

There has been great excitement here on TV this week as it is the start of series 3 of The Great British Sewing Bee! If you missed it here is a link to it on BBC iPlayer.

I would not like to participate (my sewing is far too slow for that) but would love to have day in the workshop with all my sewing friends.What a fab venue for a day out surrounded by all that lovely fabric – and the little café with all-important cake nearby!

Here is a picture of one of the contestants Deborah Simms with the beautiful fabric she chose for her final garment of this episode.

Deborah Simms Sewing Bee

Little Black Duck Blog is following the series with useful tips and tutorials for each episode – this is the post about this week and making trousers.

This blog by Angela Kane also has some great tips of techniques from Series 2

Hope you find these useful, back to the sewing now- must spend equal time doing as watching or nothing will get finished ;-) ! See you in a couple of weeks and thanks for visiting.

Last weekend as well as the hand stitching on the hexagon car quilt I decided to go and have a play with some other quilt blocks, inspired by how much I enjoyed making the Dutchman’s puzzle block for our block of the month challenge.

I don’t know why but whatever craft I do I always choose very small-scale projects, my cross stitch is on small count fabric (so small I usually need a magnifier now!), I knit little arms and legs for bunnies and nothing bigger than a baby cardigan. It seems I am going the same way with quilting as most of what I have done so far is baby quilts and hexagons.

Partly it is lack of time, as I have limited time to finish things because they are usually gifts small means achievable so less WIPs hidden away.

But I do like small-scale so I thought for my practising last week I would use one of the Moda mini charm packs that I bought a while ago from Simply Solids. I have used up the other two already in the wash bag I made for an Xmas present and the hexagons I pieced from the Printemps pack (see kids I do USE the fabric in that room, it is just sometimes more sneaks in somehow!)

Simply Solids shop -mini charm packs

I have two of these ‘Playtime’ 1930s inspired prints and I thought if I keep making a few blocks every so often I will eventually have a small quilt at least!

I wasn’t following a specific block just wanted to practise my half square triangles and stitching accuracy for those 1/4 inch seams but I have ended up with something that looks a bit like a Pinwheel block – albeit a bit random in terms of the fabric placement.

Quilt blocks Moda charm squares 1

Quilt blocks  Moda charm squares

Quilt blocks  Moda charm squares 3

I also decided a 9 patch would be good (God alone knows why) which involved cutting an already small 2 1/2 ” square into four pieces so excuse the slightly wonky finished article!

Quilt blocks  Moda charm squares 4

The miniaturising effect must be rubbing off as yesterday afternoon I rushed up to the sewing room to start on the Feb block of the month challenge, this is my only free weekend in Feb so I wanted to get a good start.

It must have been my haste that led me to create a pretty well pieced (only one triangle lost its point) but rather small block, the target was 12 inches and mine ended up as 8 inches. Turns out when you divide 12 by 3 the answer is 4 NOT 3 – who knew? Well supposedly me as I do actually teach Maths – oops.

However it will look lovely with an extra border to cover up the missing points and I am going to try it again this afternoon WITH 4 INCH BLOCKS!

My lovely Ellie sent me a fabric care package this week with a beautiful card, she is so kind. I had not been feeling well when she spoke to me a couple of weeks ago and work had been a bit stressful so she sent me this to cheer me up.

Look at this beautiful print, in three colourways! With matching solids! Thank you so much, you are a wonderful daughter as well as a great friend :-)

Care package fabric 2

Care package fabric 3

Care package fabric 4

Care package fabric

While browsing Justine’s blog (she of the marvellous Simply Solids shop) I saw this 2015 bucket list that she had found on this blog Whip Stitch by Deborah.

Sewing-bucket-list-2015

I like lists and it is nice to have a focus and extend your skills so I am going to add that to my challenges for this year, some of them can already be fulfilled by things I have planned (Number 2 by all the medieval kit I have planned for friends) but others on the list I have though about doing but not done (Number 12 I want to make a bag for me).

So it is going to be a busy and fun year, 26 books, 17 plus sewing projects and 12 plus quilt blocks. And we are just sorting out our re-enactment events for 2015 and so far I have 10 events! 2015 is going to be a very good year :-)

Right better get off the laptop and on with the actual stitching now then if I am for achieve all this. Take care, have a nice week and thanks for visiting.

I love reading, it might even be more of a favourite thing to do than play with fabric and thread :-) Books are my constant companions and always have been, my childhood memories of the Saturday morning visits to the library every week and the joy that I found getting lost in the world of books have turned into an adult passion for reading.

It is the most wonderful thing to do and I am very bad at not resisting the temptation to buy them all the time, from Amazon, from charity shops, there is always room in this house for another book!

I came across this challenge while doing some blog catching up today – the original post is at this blog but I think I will join in and update my progress here and on the challenge Facebook page.

Here is the list of books.

26 Books

I think 26 in a year will be reasonable to do (given that on my holidays to Spain I can do 5 in a week!)

My first book will be one that I have just started – was thinking that this could have been number 2, ‘a book made into a movie’, but strictly speaking it is a TV series’, so this book will fulfil number 6, ‘ a book by an author you have not read before’.

Last year while on our National Trust holiday Kerry and I wanted to visit Montacute House but it was closed for the filming of a Hilary Mantel book , ‘Wolf Hall’, a novel about Thomas Cromwell. I love the Tudor period (would re-enact it if I had the time to make the costumes) so we promised ourselves we would look out for the TV series which started last week.

By coincidence there is a new charity book stall in my bus station – I was going to resist the temptation as I have so many books to read but didn’t and found a brand new copy of the book there. I decided to record the series and read the book first.

Number 1 on the challenge, ‘ a book you own but have never read’, will not be hard – I think I have 24 in my book stash at the moment!

Hope you might be inspired to join in, thanks for visiting.

I have just had chance to look at my blog stats review for 2014 and would like to say thank you so much to everyone for visiting me. It is lovely to know that my little bloggy ramblings have an audience and it is not just me waffling into the ether. The full report is below if you are interested.

I would like to say a special thank you to someone who always comments on my posts – a total of 51 comments in 2014 alone! ‘Virtuosewadventures’ I am particularly touched by your online friendship and would like to offer you a hand stitched gift of your choice from me.

Please could you e-mail me at alisonmryan@yahoo.co.uk and let me what you would like me to make you, I know you love sewing so maybe some little stitching goodie?

Thanks to all of you for visiting and making me feel loved :-)

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here's an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 22,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 8 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

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