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Hello again

I spend a lot of time travelling to all sorts of beautiful parts of the globe so it was lovely to have week in my gorgeous country appreciating (along with many tourists from all over the world) what England has to offer.

Our first day was spent in the Cotswolds where I grew up and the visit to Bourton-on-the-Water brought back many happy memories of paddling in this stream, seeing the pretty cottages and visiting the model village (which Kerry loved just as much as I did when I first saw it).


Bourton 2

Bourton 3

We then went to Snowshill Manor, a National Trust property in the Cotswolds, quintessentially an English manor house with beautiful gardens but home to a very eclectic collection by the last owner Charles Paget Wade.


Snowshill 3

Snowshill 4

Snowshill 5

There was everything from samurai warrior suits to old bikes, including many beautiful Oriental chests from his travels. One room had a lovely collection of textiles including what looks like a piece from a Layton jacket!

Snowshill textiles

Snowshill textiles 2

Snowshill textiles 3

I particularly liked this sampler book showing miniature garments, no information on its maker but I think it would be a for a similar purpose to the one that inspired the Blackbird Designs book, ‘A Stitcher’s Journey’, which I posted about previously, to show prospective employers your needlework skills.

Snowshill textiles 4

Snowshill textiles 5

Snowshill textiles 6

A lovely day out – and all in the best of English summer sunshine!

Thanks for visiting, more historic loveliness soon!

Hello everyone

I hope that you have been having a lovely and happy week in this run up to the festive season. This has been my last week of teaching for the year so we have had some Christmas dos and I have now finished teaching for the next few weeks :-)

I have been spending this weekend with my lovely friend Kerry, we had a very nice relaxing night in last night having a few glasses of wine and a catch up and today visited a Tudor house, Haddon Hall  near Bakewell, that we have had on our wish list for while.

It was absolutely beautiful, not only was it a gorgeous day but the house itself was so lovely, a wonderful place with a great hall and plastered long gallery as well as a wonderful chapel with original wall paintings and the  kitchens had been restored and really well interpreted.

Since Ellie started working for the National Trust I have paid even more attention to how things are displayed and labelled in the historic places I visit, listening to her has made me think more about all these issues about the visitor experience.

I think Haddon Hall have done a wonderful job, especially of the Christmas decorations – we loved them, see what you think in these pictures.

As well as all the Tudor things the drawing room had a lovely old hexagon quilt which I think dated from the 1920s.

Haddon Hall 1

Haddon Hall 2

Haddon Hall 3

Haddon Hall 4 jpg

Haddon Hall 5

Haddon Hall 6

Haddon Hall 7

Haddon Hall 8

Haddon Hall 9

Haddon Hall 10

Haddon Hall 11

Haddon Hall 12

Haddon Hall 13

Have not done a huge amount on the crafting front this week due to all the festive dos, had a lovely meal out with my Marsden Knitting group this week where we all exchanged hand-made ornies – need to take a good pic of the lovely ornie I got on my tree.

Still working on the knitted hat and on an Xmas gift for a family member. I finished another gift this week but can’t reveal that till after Xmas.

I am spending this week working from home then we go to Powis Castle for Xmas – am very excited and am hoping for snow! Jake has just arrived home for the holidays so we both have a few more dos this week then we shall be off!

Will post next weekend to wish you all a Merry Christmas – till then thanks for visiting.

Hello there

Hope that you are all having a nice weekend, I have been very busy with decorating since early this morning so have decided to have a nice sit down and do a post with a cup of tea before I go and cook.

Ellie has gone back to University – we helped her move in to her new house on Thursday and left her to unpack.She has got a bigger room this year which is good as she had a lot of stuff! It is a very nice house with a brand new kitchen (not at all like student digs in my day!) so I’m sure she will be very happy there.  

I had a good journey back just sitting stitching  another JBW Xmas ornie with a cup of tea, looking at the lovely views out of the train window now and again. It was a very lovely couple of hours and I really enjoyed it. I do love using trains, I’m sure that driving is very useful and I can see the advantages sometimes but I was very happy sitting and relaxing with my stitching and reading my book.I felt very peaceful and mellow, it was great!

I have treated myself this week to some new books that have been on my wish list on Amazon for a while so I thought that I would show you them (in the absence of any finished stitching – do have two Xmas ornie WIPs which should be done soon!) I do love reading – again another one of my fave things to do and am very sad that the book below is the last in the series at the moment. I started reading the Elm Creek Quilt series  last year on the recommendation of a friend from knitting and I love them, they are a wonderful mix of quilting patterns, history and the story of the women who make the quilts.

New Quilt book Sept

This book as you have probably guessed is about the American Civil war and picks up the stories of the lives of some of the quilters in earlier books such as The Sugar Camp quilt and The Lost Quilter. I really hope that there are more planned for the future!

My other great pleasure is of course finding out more about the history of needlework and this is a book I have had on my wishlist for a long time, I noticed last week that there was a very cheap second – hand copy for sale so snapped it up. The book is a history of American Needlework written by Rose Wilder Lane, the daughter of Laura Ingalls Wilder of ‘Little House on the Prairie’ fame. It was Rose who encouraged Laura to write all her books, being a successful author herself and I can’t wait to get some time to study this in more depth.

Needlework Book 1

Here is just a little taste of the lovely stuff inside, some red embroidery, traditional patchwork blocks and an applique quilt from the Brooklyn Museum.

Needlework Book 4

Needlework book 3

Needlework Book 2

I have also treated myself to some new JBW patterns  from Sew and So  – yet more little Xmas ornies! I love these as they are so quick to stitch.

New JBW Sept

My last treat is some new silk thread from The Silk Mill  to stitch all these ornies with – an Xmas colour pack and some extra greens as they are having a 35% off sale until the 5th Sept – to good to miss. That has not arrived yet but will take a pic of it when it does for you so you can admire the silky loveliness!

Well I do hope you all have a lovely week ahead, we are gearing up for the start of a new term with Jake back at college this week, my new students will arrive the week after so it will be all go then, no time for being mellow but I will try to factor in lots and lots of stitching time!

Thanks for visiting.

I 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!)

Farm Quilt Top

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.

Temple Newsam 1

Temple Newsam 2

Temple Newsam 3

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.

Arabella Stuart

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.

Margaret Layton

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.

March 2015
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