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Hello everyone

As I told you in the last post I was very good, (well for me!), at Harrogate and only bought a little bit of the gorgeousness that was available.

As always I love seeing the fabric and this year particularly the thread stalls, the colours of the displays are so lovely, little rainbows of stitchy delight.

I had hard time choosing what to buy, I wanted some more threads as I am enjoying my rediscovery of embroidery, thanks to the wonderful designs from Jenny.

I managed to find some more of the Cath Kidston style fabric, not in blue but in a coordinating pink and bought some  Perle threads to go with it.

Harrogate K and S 2015 24

I bought some more embroidery thread from the bargain bin at Stef Francis, all this for £4.

Harrogate K and S 2015 23

And look at this beautiful fabric from Higgs and Higgs, bet you can’t guess what I might make with this.

Harrogate K and S 2015 25

And I was really pleased to find a stall with 5 fat quarters of one of my favourite Christmas fabrics ever so I bought all of it and a lovely gold print. I still have a couple of the quilted balls to make so this will be very useful.

Harrogate K and S 2015 26

I also stocked up on more red and green silk thread, all of the thread came from West End Embroidery, a company I have not seen before and they had a brilliant selection of speciality threads so I have added them to my favourites.

I also bought some more Christmas ribbons from my favourite supplier, The Ribbon Box. Several of these are new designs and all so pretty!

Harrogate K and S 2015 27

And I bought charms, I can’t resist charms and though I was really looking for more keys for my Steampunk outfit came away with these lovely embellishments and some more little charms for stitching gifts.

These were all from a Dutch company called Creatotaal who had an excellent selection.

Harrogate K and S 2015 purchases

Harrogate K and S 2015 22

Although I have enjoyed my year of quilting I have a bit of sciatica and that limits the amount of machine stitching I can do but not the hand embroidery, I have spent lots of enjoyable afternoons sat on sofa stitching and watching TV.

I really value this time on my own, many of the blogs I read are written by women with young children who are combining their craft with family life and I remember those days very well.

One of my favourite New Year holidays was when my children were staying with their grandparents and it snowed very heavily, forcing all plans to be cancelled for going out and I sat and stitched and watched films for two whole days.

It was bliss, much as I love my children that amount of, ‘me’, time was so rare then and I can now do that every weekend so I am very lucky :-)

I think 2016 will be my year of embroidery, I would like to also explore more crewelwork and goldwork as there are some patterns that I have been wanting to work on for a while.

It is also easier on my hands as I am still having some problems with tendonitis and arthritis which limits my knitting, I am falling apart at the moment ;-)

I have been particularly interested in the work of two designers, one of whom was exhibiting at Harrogate.

Nicola Jarvis does the most exquisite crewel work designs, some inspired by William and May Morris, many of birds, combining different types of stitching to produce gorgeous and very unusual work such as this blackbird from her website.

Nicola Jarvis - Blackbird

I bought a tea towel featuring some of her designs, am planning to hang it in the craft room as it is far too pretty to wipe things with and would love to work on some of her things next year.

Harrogate K and S 2015 Nicola Jarvis

Harrogate K and S 2015 19

Harrogate K and S 2015 20

Another crewel work designer I love is someone I found through a link from a blog,(miracles of the internet!) an Australian called Anna Scott who does really bright and beautiful interpretations of traditional crewel work flowers.

I am planning to buy one of her designs from her Etsy shop  after Christmas once I have finished the ornament stitching, she does PDF downloads which is very helpful. The only thing is I can’t decide between all the loveliness that is there.

Am very tempted by this one…

Anna Scott Crewel Work 2

Or this one ….

Anna Scott Crewel Work

So many brilliant stitching opportunities, we are so lucky to have all these lovely designers out there and the miracles of the internet to be able to look at their work and buy it!

I am working on the last few of my Jenny of Elefantz Christmas ornaments at the moment and have also been stitching one of her beautiful birds in some of my new thread.

I am combining the thicker Perle thread for the outline with single and double strands of silk for the running stitch and lazy daisies.

This is such peaceful stitching and so fast to complete. I always seem to take ages to do things but her designs are very easy to do and look so pretty.

Jenny Purple bird 1

All good and I am now feeling very happy that my colourful Friday purchases have gone to small businesses and designers and for things that makes people happy more than once, me when I buy it, me when I use it and the recipients of the gifts I make.

Hope that you have a very nice and colourful week ahead whatever you are doing, thanks for visiting and see you soon.

Hello everyone, once again I am blogging from the comfort of my sofa, under my fleecy blanket watching the rain lash down.

I think it is the tail end of Hurricane Abigail but whatever the reason today is a day to stay in, keep warm and celebrate the positives of this season.

I was left a comment in a previous post about Silverpebble and went to have a look at the blog. It is a gorgeously photographed one and the owner, Emma, makes beautiful silver clay jewellery.

I was particularly interested in her idea of bloggers coming together to celebrate the creativity that being indoors more of the time can inspire.

Winter is a time of cosy homes, candlelight at night and the excuse to eat cake and craft without feeling any guilt for not being out doing something energetic, or mowing the lawn, ( not that I have one anymore thankfully), so I am very happy to celebrate #Making Winter with my fellow bloggers.

Go and have a look at the links on the above post for other ideas of how to combat the winter blues, I really want to crochet some snowflakes like Little Conkers has, and for a very good cause.

If you use Instagram there are pictures there as well with that hashtag.

One of my goals for this winter season is to make more things for me, or specifically for my craft room. I love making things as gifts but my home contains very little of my own work and at the moment the craft room looks so pretty with all the quilt blocks up.

They will soon be gone as they are destined to become lap quilts as Christmas presents, (that is if I can get my new machine to behave as it keeps unthreading itself at the moment :-(  ) so I am working on some things to replace them.

So I have been putting together a little hanging from Jenny of Elefantz’s  sewing themed stitchery. I have used some more of the gorgeous variegated thread from Cottage Garden and plan to add a patchwork border and some hand quilting.

Craft room Elefantz stitching Nov 1

Craft room Elefantz stitching Nov 2

Craft room Elefantz stitching Nov 3

I love looking at other people’s pictures of their craft rooms and have been very inspired by people like Messy Jesse, look at this beautiful stitching space, picture from her blog.

She is also very kindly giving away a free pattern for the Summer Baskets mini quilt in the picture.

Messy Jessy free quilt

I did venture out yesterday to Ikea to get some new storage for the craft room and have been having fun sorting out the space again. Sharon was getting rid of a bookcase so I have now moved all the magazines and quilt books there.

Craft room Nov 2

I found some lovely  coordinating labels at Ikea as well so I know I know which patterns are in which files!

Craft room Nov 3

Craft room Nov 4

I have now got space on the units to use as a fabric cutting and sorting area. I bought more of the fabric storage boxes which fit inside the units yesterday.

It looks a lot prettier and more coordinated than the previous plastic boxes. There is also the added advantage that I can hide my stash, these could all be full of Christmas fabric and no-one would ever know ;-)

Craft room Nov update

I also bought some more of the very pretty little metal containers for my tools, these are actually candle holders and plants pots and I think they work very well for organising while looking cute!

Craft room Nov 5

So am looking forward to lots and lots of winter weekends of adding to the craft room walls and trying out new techniques for quilting.

On my list are some Dresden Plate designs, some Farmer’s wife blocks and possibly some of Lori Holt’s work – have been very tempted by both the Farm Girl Vintage work and some of her other designs , look at this one called Sew Day, how perfect would that be in my craft room!

Lori Holt - Sew Day

At this rate I won’t ever want it to be better weather, will be very happy to stay in and craft forever!

Hope you have had a nice weekend and have some lovely things to do with your time, take care, thanks for visiting and see you soon.

Hello again

I was reading Jenny’s blog again recently and was reminded that I wanted to give you all some more ideas for homemade gifts.

ELEFANTZ homemade stitched with heartstrings button

As you know I am a bit of a fan of Christmas fabrics and Christmas ornaments :-) and I think there is nothing nicer than a handmade ornament as a gift.

Years ago I used to cross stitch Christmas cards, pre blog so no pictures sadly, and loved doing it. However cards only tend to be used once then put away.

I got the idea for ornaments when my Mum started putting all the old cards out year after year so I thought why don’t I make hanging ornaments instead then they can be re-used.

So here are a selection of patterns and tutorials for your Christmas gifts, some by me others that I have found and love.

I now make at least 15 keepsake ornaments every year and they have become something that people always look forward to getting, it is lovely to go to friends’ houses and see things on their trees that I made years ago that even I have forgotten about.

Quilted Ball Ornaments

These are my 2015 special gifts for my friends from toddler group – 23 years of friendship and still going strong with sons and daughters now all in their 20s!

Quilted bauble

There is a great step-by-step tutorial here  and despite the fact that they look difficult they really aren’t. Great for relaxing in front of the TV as it is very therapeutic and you don’t need any sewing skills. Fabric is pinned onto a polystyrene bauble.

Christmas Stockings

These are ultimate cuteness and come from the lovely Julie of Little Cotton Rabbits. I would say medium level knitting skills and the instructions are brilliant. They are knitted flat and are very quick to do.

Knitted xmas stockings

Suffolk Puff Bauble

Again a great way to relax and you can embellish this with buttons, charms, pins etc as you wish. The base is a polystyrene bauble as with the quilted bauble.Detailed tutorial is here.

Suffolk puff bauble

Hexagon Ornaments

This is one of my designs combining my love of English Paper Piecing and Christmas fabric, I love adding charms and buttons to these.Tutorial on how to make them is here.

Hexi Xmas ornie

Cute embroidered hoops for children

Embroidered Xmas ornaments

I just had to share this one with you, no detailed instructions for this version but they look easy enough to follow from these pictures. There are some wonderful things in this 25 ideas booklet from 36th Avenue blog including these amazing cupcakes!Christmas tree cupcakes


Crazy Patchwork Trees and Hearts

I love using up all my scraps so have made some crazy patchwork ornaments over the years, here are some examples of little trees and padded hearts and a step by step tutorial for making the patchwork tree here.

Patchwork Xmas Hearts

Patchwork Xmas Tree

If you want to make the hearts just make a bigger patchwork sheet as below and cut hearts out from it.

Patchwork ornaments

Star Pentagon Ornaments

I have not made these yet but they look beautiful and very simple to do. This Create 4 Fun site contains downloadable PDFs for this and other ornaments.

Star Pentagon Ornament

Small Cross Stitch motifs

This free pattern is for a game but I think they would make lovely ornaments stitched and surrounded by pretty Christmas fabrics.

Small cross stitch motifs

There are lots more links to free cross stitch patterns at this site with a good selection for children’s ornaments.

Redwork Sampler

What could be more festive than redwork? This free sampler pattern from Bronwyn Hayes at Red Brolley    is so lovely and could easily be used for smaller ornaments. There are more redwork Christmas freebies at that site as well.

Bronwen Hayes _Christmasredworkembroiderysampler_1

Happy Christmas ornament making, take care and see you soon. Thanks for visiting.

Hello everyone, hope that you are all having a good week, back to normality this week which has been good fun though I do miss my craft room,especially when it is now looking so lovely and coordinated!

I have just finished making some more handmade gifts, the first one for me and also some for my lovely sister-in-law Amanda, it is ok as she doesn’t read my blog so won’t know what I have made her for Christmas ;-)

ELEFANTZ homemade stitched with heartstrings button

The stitching designs for all three pieces come from the lovely Jenny of Elefantz and can be found in her Craftsy shop.

The hexi flower stitch design is a freebie and I had just enough of the lovely Cath Kidston style fabric to make this gorgeous little needlecase.

Needlecase Jenny

I am very pleased as this was the first time I had ever done lazy daisy stitch.
Needlecase Jenny 2

The needlecase is lined with a white on white print and has a layer of wadding in between and felt for the needle storage.

Needlecase Jenny 3

I also used the decorative stitches on my new machine to quilt the back part.

Needlecase Jenny 4

Needlecase Jenny 5

For Amanda’s presents I used Jenny’s Stitchin Machine and Stitch in Time designs, I have already used the full Stitch in Time one for the paper piecing case for my Mum but just used part of it to make a cute little scissor pillow.

Needlecase Amanda

Needlecase Amanda 2

I have used some gorgeous variegated thread to stitch these as I thought it went really well with the fabric. It is called Cottage Garden Threads, this colour is 601 Tulip. They are an Australian brand and I got them from Quilted Hearts.

Needlecase Amanda 3

Needlecase Amanda 4

Needlecase Amanda 5

The lovely sewing notions print is one that I got from Simply Solids last year and made Amanda’s sewing case out of which I have put pictures of below.

I was lucky enough to find the last fat quarter of this print there last weekend so have some more of it for future gifts :-)

Xmas 2014 sewing case

Xmas 2014 sewing case 2

I really love these stitching designs from Jenny and am planning to do them again for me as a wall hanging for my craft room – they will look wonderful next to my new sewing machine themed wall rack!

Have a lovely rest of the week, see you all soon and thanks for visiting.

Hello again

Just popped in to share with you some things from the lovely Jenny of Elefantz’s blog. I am really enjoying stitching her designs and the bad weather and poorly chest have meant that on the positive side I have got two more stitch designs done this week, just need to do the finishing then I can show them to you.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and Jenny has designed a lovely bird with flowers, not as a fund-raiser but as a gift to anyone you know who is facing breast, or other cancers as a gift for support. It would also make a lovely gift for anyone who is having a hard time at the moment for any reason and can be personalised with any text.

ELEFANTZ DESIGNS booby bird BC awareness 2015 d

You can find the details at this blog post and download the design at her Craftsy store.

She is also encouraging us all to use handmade gifts this Christmas, I am definitely very much in favour of that and hope that you all are too. If you don’t craft yourself then find a local craft fair or look on Etsy  to support a craftsperson.

ELEFANTZ homemade stitched with heartstrings button

Jenny is doing a series of posts with great ideas for Christmas gifts that you can easily make from a variety of crafts. The first one is here and has links to free patterns for slippers, scrappy hearts, table runners, bags and baby gifts.

She has asked people to join in and share ideas for gifts so here is a tutorial from Very Berry Handmade, (purveyors of the lovely Liberty scrap packs), for a pincushion, because I love pincushions and everyone should have one, (or preferably more!) Picture from the Verry Berry blog.

Verry Berry pincushion

The tutorial is very clear with step by step photos and would be a great way of using scraps. You could also make this into a mug rug or coaster set.

Have fun whatever you decide to make, see you soon 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.

Hello everyone – welcome to another damp weekend in Yorkshire ;-)

This weekend I do have some outdoor activities planned, a little planting of the new things I bought while out with Sharon garden centre visiting yesterday and a walk with Ted, so am hoping for some bright spells to do those.

I wanted to share with you the first of my lovely Jenny of Elefantz stitchery patterns. I have just had my first monthly Stitchery Club PDF e-mailed to me and there are some gorgeous Christmas designs which I have started on as ornaments for family.

This earlier design is one of my absolute favourites and will be stitching it again in different colours to frame for my craft room as the sentiment is so good as well as the design being very pretty.

 Jenny of Elefantz stitches booklet

new sewing room - stitches booklet 2

new sewing room - stitches booklet 3

I am not sure where I got the tape measure charm from but the cute clock one is part of a set that Kerry gave me for my birthday.

The fabric came from the Barrington Patchwork shop that we found as part of our National Trust visiting holiday in early June, I knew it would come in handy for stitching related gifts!

new sewing room - stitches booklet 4

new sewing room - stitches booklet 5

new sewing room - stitches booklet 6

new sewing room - stitches booklet 7

I am intending it to be for carrying English Paper Piecing templates and this is going to be added to my Christmas gift pile.

new sewing room - stitches booklet 8

new sewing room - stitches booklet 9

It is a really easy and pleasurable design to stitch and am very pleased with my end result. The binding could be neater and I have attached it to the two sides differently but it is all about learning from experience!

I am also counting this as Project Number 1 on the Sewing Bucket List – a project for your sewing space, ok it’s not for me but I think it still counts!

I am very behind with projects due to the still poorly wrist, it is officially tendonitis and I have to rest as much as possible so will be extending the list into 2016.

This weekend’s crafting activities are to cut out and sew up the ,’toile’ for Amanda’s wedding jacket. On the advice of Karen from, ‘Did You Make That?‘, I am making a mock-up of the jacket from an old sheet to get the sizing right before cutting into the £30 a metre silk brocade!

Will give me a chance to play with my new machine which makes me very happy!

Hope that you have nice things planned as well. Thanks for visiting.

‘Than buy a bit of fabric or two… ‘, apologies to the Grease songwriters for my shameless adaptation of their classic sung by Rizzo, (one of my favourite characters from a movie ever, I so wanted to be that cool!).

Anyway I did buy a little bit and some fantastic accessories for crafting and my spending this event really emphasised what I say to the children about supporting small businesses.

I know that they think that is an excuse but in truth a large amount of my crafting money each year goes to small businesses set up by women like me who are crafting and selling whatever they create or source so as far as I am concerned I am supporting the sisterhood!

The fact that I get lovely things in return is a bonus ;-)

One of my best purchases was this set of papers from the lovely Jesse of the Messy Jesse blog. I would not have found this stall but for my friend Helen who was very excited that she had found her.

Quilt Show papers

Helen reads her blog and had met her in person for the first time that day and introduced me to the joys of lots and lots of pre-cut papers for all sorts of English Paper Piecing.

Jesse has just set up this side of the business, Sew and Quilt , and it was a real delight to talk to her, about how this was all part of the maths topic of tessellation and technically to do with the angles at a point, while patchworking we are all actually applying rules about the interior angles of regular polygons don’t you know! As well as some irregular ones like apple cores and clamshells, two patterns I have wanted to try for ages.

Having taught Maths for a long time I am always trying to find ways of getting people interested in it and have used quilts as examples before.

The back of her show leaflet was this really useful cutting guide which will go up on my craft room notice board. Another practical application of Maths.

Quilt Show purchases  - cutting guide 2

I also bought some more Liberty from Alice Caroline. Much as I am enjoying piecing the blocks for the Block of the Month Challenge my real passion is English Paper Piecing so with this lovely rainbow and the extra papers from Jesse I can patchwork to my heart’s content!

Quilt Show Liberty

She also had these cute handbag mirrors so I can see a few matching make up bags being made as presents. Isn’t this the prettiest business card ever?

I find it so relaxing sitting watching TV and piecing, whereas using my machine always gets frustrating when the points don’t match. Will persevere as love the end results but will mix and match techniques.

I love reading magazines for inspiration and have just changed my subscription as I like to vary them every couple of years. With the new Fabrications Quilting one I got this set of threads for free – how shiny! I had this magazine a few years ago and like the inclusion of embroidery projects as well.

Quilt Show purchases  - Fabrications

And another new one, Today’s Quilter  , was giving away this tote bag as well as first 3 issues for £3 , this sums up my idea of a perfect weekend and I am seriously considering stitching this saying and framing it.

Quilt Show purchases

I also picked up a copy of Australian Homespun, I like this magazine and was especially loving this quilt design on the front cover, what a great idea for using my vintage embroideries.

Quilt Show purchases  - Homespun 2

There was a little bit of Christmas fabric that snuck its way in as well from the lovely Sue at Springwood House Designs. She has a new design called Fun with Leaves, beautiful hand-made leaves which would look great in wreaths.

Quilt Show purchases - Xmas fabric

Am still working on the scissors stitching from Jenny of Elefantz  – have enjoyed it so much that I have subscribed to her Stitchery Club, it has been a long time since I have done any stitching and just love her work.

Would have had that completed but spent 4 hours on one quilt block over this weekend. I am so slow at this and am in awe of people who can piece a quilt in a weekend.

I got such a nice e-mail from her as well about my subscription and again am very pleased to be able to support a small business. I am eagerly waiting the 17th when I get my patterns, there is Christmas stitchery in this month’s set so I will be able to do a little bit of Christmas in August :-)

Right sadly the day job is calling so I had better go now. I love these summer mornings, I have been awake since 6.30 having a few cups of tea and bogging and it is so nice to have more time and feel like doing things, sunshine makes such a difference.

Thanks for visiting and have a nice week.

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 having a good weekend so far. I have a change of plans as unfortunately my back is not too good so will not be going to Bolsover but will be mainly resting on the sofa carrying on with some of my projects. Luckily I have enough to keep me busy for the weekend ;-)

On our whistle-stop tour of Trust properties we made our way back up North stopping off at two houses in the Midlands.

Calke Abbey was an amazing experience, billed as, ‘a very unstately stately home’, it was a treasure trove of history, the collection of the Harpur – Crewe family who owned the house for over 250 years and never threw anything away!

Calke - house

Calke 11

There are gorgeous grounds and gardens and a church with beautiful Victorian stained glass windows.

Calke - stained glass

The house is still in state of disrepair and the decision of the Trust was to repair enough to make it watertight and safe and not to restore but to display it as a country house past its prime, telling the story of those many British houses that suffered due to social changes after the first World War.

The house is crammed with things, an incredible amount of taxidermy, especially given that half of it was sold to pay death duties, and more importantly for me a huge wealth of textile beauty, particularly needlepoint.

There were touching displays of family possessions like this cabinet full of what look to be Edwardian children’s clothes and lace parasols.

Calke - cabinet

One of the first rooms that you visit displays some of the thousands of objects that are in the collection which are not usually out of their storerooms and looks at the conservation needs of the objects.

This 18th century embroidered jacket and waistcoat was among them and made Ellie and I wonder what other costume treasures the house has given that the family kept all their possessions.

Calke - jacket

Calke 13

This is one of the highlights of the collection, the perfectly preserved Chinese silk embroidered State Bed which was found still in boxes, having never been assembled since it was made around 1715.

State Bed

State Bed

These pictures are from the National Trust Collections web site as the bed is displayed behind glass in a dimly lit room to preserve its beauty.

There were so many lovely examples of needlepoint on chairs, cushions and fire screens and wonderful embroidered silk cushions – some pieces half hidden behind cabinets of stuffed animals and birds.

Calke 2

Calke 3

Calke 4

This group of chairs is displayed with only one uncovered at a time to stop them fading and the photo at the bottom is on display on a side table to show them all together uncovered.

Calke 16

Calke - chairs

Calke - needlepoint

Calke 17

There was also this beautiful silk bed coverlet that one of the volunteers had tried to research the origin of, the conclusion was that it may have been Indian and probably dated from the 1800s.

Calke - bed cover

Calke 8

One of the rooms had some of the children’s toys and at the foot of the doll’s house I spotted this sampler, excuse the poor light but you can just see the name and the date on it, Selina Crewe 1809.

Calke -sampler

Calke 6

Selina was one of the family and I managed to find a painting of her, again from the Trust Collection site. She died in 1838, 29 years after she completed this sampler so was not very old when she died.

Selina Harpur Crewe

It is rare to be able to see pictures of people who stitched the things that I see on my visits and I hope that she had a happy life and enjoyed her needlework.

I managed to find information about the fact that she married and had two children, a boy called Stanhope after his father and a daughter with the beautiful name Georgiana Jane Henrietta Eliza.

In my research for this post I found this great blog by one of the Trust staff called National Trust Treasure Hunt that has lots more photos of Calke and other properties that I will be going back to for a good browse and may inspire you for your visits.

Well I will love you and leave you now as I have sample knitting calling, I have started the mittens for Sarah and all is going well so far.

I have learnt how to do German Twisted Cast On this week so am feeling like a bit of a knitting genius again and have just had a delivery of new bamboo needles so am very happy!

Take care, have a nice rest of the weekend and thanks for visiting.

December 2015
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