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Hello everyone

Hope that you are all ok and not too battered by wind and rain. In Yorkshire we have been having very dark days and lots of colder weather, it is lovely to stay inside at this time of year and snuggle up with some stitching. I spent all of yesterday with my fleecy blanket and some hand embroidery in front of the TV which was brilliant.

I have been reading some very inspiring letters this week, written during the American Depression of the 1930s and contained in a beautiful book, The Farmer’s Wife 1930s Sampler Quilt.

Farmers wife book

I had seen this book on various blogs and had been tempted by it for the beautiful hand piecing but told myself I didn’t need another quilt block book.

Then I read the info and realised that it was actually reproductions of letters from the Farmer’s Wife magazine of the era and since I love anything that ties history and crafting together got a copy.

fabric and farmers wife book Nov 8

The letters were obviously published to try to inspire and support women living through that time of poverty and uncertainty and talk of the joys of a simple life, growing your own food, valuing time with family, (and putting that first above cleaning!) and the beauty of your surroundings.

I have really enjoyed reading them and plan to make a few of the blocks for a hanging in my craft room, I think they would look lovely out of the Liberty scraps I have.

fabric and farmers wife book Nov 9

I also have some new fabric to show you, bought last week at Simply Solids. This I just had to add to my Christmas fabric stash because it is so cute, look at these reindeer! This is from the Festive Modern Christmas Collection by Makower.

Fabric Nov

fabric and farmers wife book Nov 2

This one below will look lovely with some of the bird embroidery designs from Jenny of Elefantz, I am doing well with my hanging for the craft room so will be back to ornament stitching next week.

I am intending to use this and the Makower snowflake one as surrounds for more pretty Noel birds. This fabric is called Evergreen Marshmallow Goodwill by Basic Grey.

fabric and farmers wife book Nov 3

fabric and farmers wife book Nov 4

My lovely friend Helen also gifted me this – she thought it would well for the Steampunk costumes that we are making for later next year, I love all the whimsical things here. I don’t know where this fabric comes from though.

fabric and farmers wife book Nov 5

fabric and farmers wife book Nov 6

I think all of this fits in very well with one of my favourite letters from the book a woman talking about how she was having a bad day and saw this quote from the bible, ‘Whatsoever things are lovely….think on these things.’

It is very soothing to have lovely fabric and lovely things to look forward to when it is cold and dark and I am very lucky to have lots of lovely things in my life, hope that you are too!

One very lovely thing is happening this week as we are having graduation.

There is always a great sense of achievement for my students and their families on this day and it is lovely to meet so many parents, children and partners who have supported my students along the way. Most of them are mature students and like the farmer’s wives in the book have so much to do as well as study.

The best bit for me is when the staff line up on the way out of the hall and clap them all as they leave, that always makes my day as they are not expecting that and is great to see the smiles on their faces as they pass us.

I do have a great job and am very thankful for it, despite the funding cuts and stresses of teaching it is a very lovely thing to do ;-)

Hope you are going to have a great week ahead with lovely things in it, see you soon and thanks for visiting.


As regular readers know I do love buying books, am trying to be good about buying novels as I have so many to read already but the temptation of Amazon is hard to resist!

However I have allowed myself the purchase of two lovely books by bloggers that I am going to use as Christmas presents.

One is from the lovely Nana Company blog  by Amy Sinibaldi and is something that I had my eye on for a while.

The Sweetly Stitched Handmades  has got so many lovely ideas in for using Liberty and linen and some great gift ideas.

new books Oct

This bear cushion is one of my favourites, isn’t that brilliant! Such a simple idea but so cute.

new books Oct 2

I also really love the spot trivet, there have been lots of these on social media and they are all gorgeous.

new books Oct 3

And look, stacked hexi flowers! What a great idea.

new books Oct 4

The other book was one from a new blog to me, Why Not Sew?, where Erin makes lovely vintage inspired quilts.

I found her blog and her book through Crazy Quilt Mom’s pincushion party where she had made the cutest little bird pincushion and really loved the book Sweet Treats , you can see everything that is in the book at this post here.

All of the designs feature cute little birds and these are some of my favourite ones. Isn’t her stitching so good, especially love that last one with the umbrella!

new books Oct 5

new books Oct 6

new books Oct 7

new books Oct 8

new books Oct 9

Am making good progress with all my WIPs, lots of things got halted because of the need to make kit for people, the things for Yarndale and the wedding outfit but am now back on with the block of the month challenge that we had set ourselves.

I completed May’s block this weekend and an extra one to use up the fabric I had so that I can make the first 6 blocks into a lap quilt as a Christmas present.

I will then start on the blocks from June which will be a second lap quilt using some gorgeous fabric I bought at the Birmingham Quilt Festival.

I am really enjoying our challenge, even though I am so behind, and it is definitely making me more confident with my quilting skills, my piecing is far more accurate and we have done some blocks that I would never have attempted on my own.

Pictures when I have put it together as a quilt top, hopefully some time in the next week. Have a lovely week ahead whatever you are doing and thanks for visiting.

Hello there, hope that you are all well and happy and are doing something nice.

I am looking forward to a wonderful weekend of sewing, I have just finished up two more Christmas ornaments and have a present to finish later and then just may have a play with the latest addition to my retirement fund.

I saw three ladies at the Birmingham Festival of Quilts who had brilliant t-shirts on with the logo, ‘I have a retirement plan, I plan to quilt’. I always tell the kids that one of the reasons I buy fabric now is so that I will have enough when I am living on my pension, well it won’t go off will it?

I would not have bought this were it not for my friend Debbie who came to knitting with this lovely and incredibly cheap fabric from our local haberdashers, only £2.20 a metre, you just have to buy some at that price!

Xmas fabric oct 15

Xmas fabric oct 15 3

Xmas fabric oct 15 4

Xmas fabric oct 15 5

Then there was this that was a little bit more expensive, (so I only bought 1/4 metre lengths of this), the latest Makower print.

Xmas fabric oct 15 1

It is going to be the best sort of weekend as it is followed by half term, (yippee :-) :-) !) I am not off anywhere as I saw all the family last weekend but am working from home for most of it that so that means late starts and early finishes and lots of time for nice cooking and crafting.

I am very much in soup mode at the moment as I have had a horrible cough and cold and not felt like eating much else so have purchased the pumpkin for the annual soup!

Sadly it is raining which means that I won’t be going out, but more excuse to stay on the sofa, under the fleece and sew – what a lovely life.

Here are the Christmas ornaments that I finished yesterday, another one of Jenny of Elefantz’s wonderful designs, this is an adaptation of one of the designs in the Nov Stitchery Club set.

Elefantz Christmas Hearts stitchery

I altered the little flag to say Merry Christmas and am very pleased how neat the little letters have come out, Jenny’s designs are great for practising neat stitches. Just ignore those bits that aren’t so neat at the bottom of the bird ;-)

Xmas bird ornie 1

Xmas bird ornie 2

Xmas bird ornie 3

The little brass charm is from Stitch Direct.

I think these would look great in redwork stitching with that Makower snowflake fabric above so that might have to be my next set.

I have also treated myself to this book, it has been on my Amazon wishlist for a long time and once I have finished all the outstanding block of the month challenges, which I am hoping to do this week, I will be making a couple of runners for my house.

Xmas blocks book

Xmas blocks book 2

I have taken the decision not to do any craft fairs this year, what with making stuff for Sarah’s Yarndale stall and the wedding outfit and the possible trip to China with work that sadly did not happen, I felt that I would be too rushed so all my Christmas crafting this year will be for me!

I have already made most of the gift ornaments, that’s what you get for starting in July lol.

Have a very lovely weekend, thanks for visiting and see you all soon.

Am having a lovely weekend sewing, Jake has gone back to Uni so it is very quiet here now.

I am just finishing off the last few bits for Sarah’s stall at Yarndale next week but have popped in to share with you the very exciting news that her book of designs is being published and is available for pre-order.

Sarah's book Front-Cover

Not only does it have some stunning designs in it, Sarah is hugely talented and very creative and there are some beautiful things, it also features my lovely daughter Ellie with elf ears!

She was very, very excited to be asked to model for this, (unaccustomed as she is to having her photo taken of course), and had a brilliant day with the other two models, my friends Suzi and Helen from knitting group, in a local park which has a lot of dells filled with ferns and made a brilliant setting for the designs.

There is a little video showing the location and an outtake from the shoot here – the girls challenging their inner Charlie’s Angels!

Unfortunately the elf ears had to be added post -production as the make – up artist was not available that day but she looks fab in them.

I think this is my favourite picture of Ellie.

Ellie as an elf

Though this one is very lovely too – she is actually wearing one of my flower head dresses in this picture ;-)

Ellie as an elf

So go and take a look at all the wonderful designs in the full book – it is available on Ravelry and on Sarah’s Alder Sign website, it would make a lovely Christmas present for a knitty friend.

I can’t wait until my wrist is better and I can start knitting again. I think I am going to make a shawl like this beautiful one modelled by Suzi, or maybe a jumper for Ellie as she did request one of the ones she had modelled.

Suzi as an elf

Copyright for all pictures belongs to Sarah.

I am going to be having a lovely day again today, more sewing in front of the TV and it is Channel 5’s, ‘End of the World Weekend’, with lots of disaster movies. I do love a good disaster movie :-)

As long it is not really the end of the world as that would be sad, given the amount of work that Sarah has put into her book ;-) and the fact that Ellie and her best friend from Uni are going to Spain tomorrow for a very hard-earned week of R and R in the sun.

Hopefully we still all be here next week, I have a busy week ahead as the trainees are in all week so little crafting time but lots of fun planned around that.

Have a good week ahead and thanks for visiting.

We have had a very nice if damp weekend away at the Tatton event and this morning went to visit Dunham Massey, a National Trust property with a special exhibition which was very interesting.

It links in with several books that I have been reading about the role of women in the First World War and is called Sanctuary from the Trenches .

The story that is told is of the Stamford Military Hospital set up during the war at the property and of the nurses who worked there, particularly Sister Catherine Bennett who was matron and Lady Jane Grey, the daughter of the Stanford family who worked as a VAD during the war.

It is a very well put together display using both historical artefacts and interpretations, including lovely text printed on articles such as sheets, socks and bedside tables to tell the story of the men who spent time at that hospital.

Dunham Massey 1

Dunham Massey 2

Dunham Massey 3

Dunham Massey 4

Dunham Massey 5

Dunham Massey 6

My friend Barbara has recently done a talk on knitting for the First World War – the Knitting and Crochet Guild based in Huddersfield has some artefacts that were knitted for soldiers. I thought this reproduction of a note from a knitter was very thought provoking.

One of the rooms was displaying artefacts from the lives of the nurses who lived and worked there including their training manual.

Dunham Massey 7

Dunham Massey 8

Dunham Massey 9

Dunham Massey 10

Dunham Massey 11

I have recently read a very good fictional trilogy which I have just bought copies of for Ellie called Daughters of War by Hilary Green dealing with a similar story of women volunteering for duty during the war in Gallipoli.

Dunham Massey 12

In the kitchen at Dunham Massey there were some costumed volunteers who were knitting for the troops, they very kindly allowed me to take pictures.

Dunham Massey 13

Dunham Massey 14

Dunham Massey 15

On one of our recent Trust visits we got lots of lovely books from one of their second – hand book shops, one of which was an amazing book called, Diary of an Ordinary Woman, by Margaret Foster , edited from the diaries of Millicent King, born in 1901 who of course experienced both the First and Second World Wars and kept a diary of her life from the age of 13 until the age of 93.

Dunham Massey

It would have been a really interesting book if it had been a work of fiction but was all the more poignant for being a true story.

A very interesting, thought provoking and moving morning.

Hope that you have had a good weekend whatever you have been doing, see you soon and thanks 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.

I keep telling myself not to buy any more fiction books at the moment as I have such a large pile to read and a great local library.

However I keep seeing great new titles which fit with this challenge and WH Smith has this habit of doing a buy one get one half price offer. And they look so pretty on the shelves, all that literary loveliness just waiting for me to take home.

So I failed to resist temptation on a recent trip out for a placement visit when I popped into WH Smith for a packet of mints and came out with two titles – one has not been read yet but is also for the challenge.

This is book 13, a book with a female heroine and is Miss Carter’s War by Sheila Hancock. I know of Sheila as an actress and think that this is her first fiction book.

Miss Carter's War

I really enjoyed it but it was very different to what I was expecting. The ‘blurb’ gives the impression that it is about the heroine’s experiences just after the Second World War but it covers a much longer time frame with lots of references to the social history that I grew up with.

I also found it very interesting as a story about a teaching career as a lot of the things the heroine experienced were things that I have been through in my now 28 years of teaching. Can’t believe I have been doing it for so long – and still love it!

While waiting for our recent flight to Copenhagen, (which was delayed by 3 hours) , Mum and I just went for a browse again in WH Smith and despite me asking her to restrain me the same thing happened again. Slightly less guilt this time as we went halves on the books we bought.

This was one of our purchases which I have just finished,  book 18 which is a book with a blue cover, Mrs Hemingway by Naomi Wood. It is the story of Ernest Hemingway’s four wives and their relationships with each other as well as with him.

Mrs Hemingway

I have not ever read any Hemingway though know of his interest in the Spanish Civil War so have always meant to read him and will add him to my list now as I was very interested in the descriptions of his writing in the book.

The early parts of the book also have Scott Fitzgerald in as they socialised together and The Great Gatsby is also on my list to read and to see the latest film adaptation.

It took a while to get into the book as I was not very sympathetic to the characters at first but by halfway through I was hooked, partly due to the descriptions of their lifestyles from the 1920s to the 1940s where most of the book is set.

Again I think I liked it because it is another side to a story you know, of how the war affected people, in this case Ernest and his third wife who worked as war reporters.

So far I have read 8 out of the 26 books in the last four months, (as well as quite a few other non-challenge books), and have been enjoying the slightly different focus. I hope that you have found the reviews interesting as well and it has inspired you to read different things.

A couple of weeks ago at knitting my friend Emily gave out copies of two books that she had been sent for World Book Night, the idea of this is to distribute copies of the books you are sent to people who then pass it on to others, something Mum, Ellie and I do all of the time.

There were a couple of people said they didn’t really read and I thought that was so sad. I couldn’t imagine a life without books, or blogs which I consider just as wonderful as reading fiction. They did take books and hopefully will get hooked which is what the campaign is all about.

Hope that you have a lovely Bank Holiday weekend if you are in the UK , we are off to Ashby de la Zouche Castle for an event.

I am very pleased to say that I have this afternoon finished the surcoat I have been making for Jamie. Much more time needed than I had first allocated partly due to needing to sew the lining in 3 times ! Will be back next week with pictures of it in action, (I do hope it fits!)

Take care and thanks for visiting.

Book challenge number 22 is a book with pictures. As well as making things I love to read about the history of craft and none more so than the history behind quilts.

I have a growing collection of books on quilt history, both in the UK and US, and this is my latest acquisition which I have absolutely loved reading.

Wisconsin Quilts – History in the Stitches by Ellen Kort is a brilliant book as not only are the quilts wonderful but this was part of a special project to document quilts so they were brought by the current owners, often the descendants of the original makers.

This means that there are the stories and sometimes the pictures of the women who made them which is amazing as so often that information is lost.

Wisconsin Quilts

As expected many are stories of hardship, of women leaving families as new brides and moving west, to Wisconsin and then sometimes further west to Wyoming and Oregon as well in search of a better life. The quilts are beautiful and so detailed in their execution, all hand pieced and hand quilted.

These are three of my favourites, a Star of Bethlehem from 1856, a Rose Wreath from 1865 and a Grandmother’s Flower Garden Path from 1932 during the Depression.

Wisconsin quilt book

Wisconsin quilt book 3

Wisconsin quilt book 4

There are lots of deaths of children from disease and of husbands from accidents, injuries and later the Civil and First World Wars.

The quilts that they made so different from the ones we make today, from whatever they could find in the way of fabric, saving and reusing every scrap where we have the luxury of yards of new fabric to choose from.

This quilt was made from advertising flannels given away with tobacco products in the 1920s.

Wisconsin quilt book 2

One of the quilts was made in England from scraps of velvet fabric saved by one of the needlewomen who made Queen Victoria’s bonnets.

Unfortunately too dark for me to photograph properly it travelled to the USA with its maker Kitty Weekes in the late 1840s when she went to join her brother Thomas and his friend George in Wisconsin. She helped clear land and build a house and married George in 1855 at the age of 44.

There are however so many similarities between us and those women, quilts made for celebration such as births and weddings, quilts made with friends for company, quilting being a little bit of ‘me time’ at the end of a hard day, though my hardest days at work cannot compare to being a pioneer farmer’s wife in the 1800s.

There are also quilts made to raise funds for war efforts, both the Civil war and the First World War like this one – an autograph quilt to raise money for the Red Cross.

Wisconsin quilt book 5

I have been watching the Poldark series on BBC TV and many of the Cornish miners emigrated to Wisconsin when the mines began to decline and worked in lead mines there.

This is how the West was truly won, the hard work of all those men and women who set out alone and worked through cold winters and lonely times.

The book is a brilliant portrayal of the social history of a new state covering the late 1700s to 1943 and a really interesting read.

I have recently finished another book about emigration which has a personal connection so will post about that another time.

Thanks very much 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.

The focus of this challenge was a book with a great first line and I kept thinking of one of my all time favourites, Pride and Prejudice, ““It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.”

Not knowing how I was going to beat that I pondered for a while then came across this in our  staff room book exchange.

Me and Mr Darcy looked like it might fit the bill and I loved the opening line, “it is a truth universally acknowledged that a single girl in possession of her right mind must be in want of a decent man, there’s just one problem….”

Me and Mr Darcy

I have read Alexandra Potter’s books before and enjoyed them and after the last two wanted something a bit lighter to read. I have loved all the other ‘based on Pride and Prejudice’ adaptations such as Bridget Jones (not read the zombies one though, don’t like zombies!).

One of my favourite movies is the Bollywood version – Bride and Prejudice with the beautiful Aishwarya Rai which has some brilliant scenes with excellent dance music. Here is a link to one of my favourite dance scenes on You Tube.


It was a great read and a realistic romantic novel if that makes sense, I liked the heroine and thought that the rest of the characters were well written, the way the Darcy and Elizabeth storyline was adapted was very clever as well. All in all an enjoyable read.

Am spending the rest of this weekend doing alterations on one of Ellie’s medieval dresses and finishing off more hexagon gifts (and expecting my lovely son home this afternoon!)

It is sunny Spring day, still chilly out but the crocuses and daffodils are in bloom here so it is very pretty. Borrowing Ted the dog to take for a little walk later as well.

Happy life! Hope you are all having a good time and thanks for visiting.

November 2015
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