A very long term project

Hello everyone

Like a lot of people I have been thinking about projects for this year, and more specifically my WIPs.

I don’t have many thankfully and most are things that I have done that need an end purpose like some of my experiments with different techniques.

A while ago I discovered the joys of English Paper Piecing and the delights of the mini charm pack. I have thoroughly enjoyed making lots and lots of hexagons, some with an idea in mind of an end product others to be filed for further inspiration.

One of my recent rediscoveries going through the WIPS box, I only have the one and it is quite small honest, was these lovely hexagons pieced from a mini charm pack of Moda Printemps that I bought from Simply Solids.

Printemps fabric 3

I had also acquired some further fat quarters from the Quilt Show in August and my Quilt Cabin workshop in the summer so have quite a bit of this gorgeous fabric but what to make with it?

Printemps fabric 5

Printemps fabric 2

Musing on this a couple of weeks ago I came across a charm pack on Ebay at a very bargain price so added that to the stash – yes I know I should not have been looking for more fabric, just for patterns but you know how it goes.

Printemps fabric 1

I have also just found some more of the fabric on Ebay at a great price so ordered 3 fat quarters early on Saturday evening from Simply All Sorts.

I was absolutely delighted when they messaged me on Sunday and told me that as they had reduced the price of those fabrics at 10pm that evening, after I had ordered, they were going to refund me the difference! What brilliant customer service and to say thank you I ordered another fat quarter which ended up only costing me £1.

I have now decided on a quilt but this is going to be mainly handpieced, which is why it is going to be a very long term project.

I would love to own just one large quilt for me and am in awe of the people who make them in a week but I am thinking a couple of years for this one.

I was browsing for inspiration again yesterday and came across these three lovely designs using the fabric. This one comes from Susie’s Pinwheel Cottage blog and I love the design she has created. Isn’t this so pretty!

Printemps Quilt - Pinwheel Cottage

This one is from Shannon’s blog and uses a pattern called Picket Fence. She is such a prolific quilter and makes the most gorgeous things, go take a look.

Picket Fence Primtemps Quilt

I really like the idea of using the charm pack as it is for some of the blocks as in this design above as it is such beautiful fabric and doing all pieced blocks would not let the design shine through. The Moda picture below shows all the colours and designs in the range.

Moda Printemps colours

As I already have five hexagons and love making them and they are so portable to take away with me I think that most of the other blocks would be hexagons, not sure yet if I will applique them on to a background of try and piece round them to make blocks.

I also love the idea of Dresden blocks, have never made one but they look feasible but am not certain how they would blend with hexagons.

The free pattern that came with the fabric range has got large Dresden Plate blocks with hexagon centres but I am not sure I like that design.

However this version from Bella Rose Quilts looks amazing with the background quilting. A bit beyond my skills at the moment!

Bella Rose Printemps Dresden

What do you think? Anyone tried the two together?

Anyway I shall enjoy the process and the excuse to do more hand piecing, am getting better at machine work but hand stitching will always be my preference, especially on cold winter days when I can snuggle watching TV.

Thanks for visiting and see you soon.

 

Lovely presents

Hello everyone

I have been waiting a while to get some good pictures of the great things I got for Christmas this year.We had a nice sunny day yesterday so I was able to get pictures of my new craft room treats.

You may remember me saying that I had bought a sewing machine themed cotton reel holder and had the matching hook set on my wish list, well guess what my lovely children bought me for Christmas!

Xmas presents 1

This was a total surprise and I was delighted, Ellie said she thought the link on my blog was a hint but it was just really for me to remember where it was from as it was quite expensive and I was going to save up for it. So thank you brilliant children :-)

I am using it at the moment to hang bags from and on it is another one of my gifts on it, this knitting bag on the left from my brother Ben and his (now wife!) Amanda.

Xmas presents 2

The girls at knitting all thought that we should get t-shirts with this on as it is so true! They got this from Not On The High Street.

Xmas presents 3

My lovely friend Kerry always gets my great gifts and this year she bought me this diary from my wish list. Look at all the quilty joy that is in here.

Xmas presents 4

This rainbow quilt is brilliant and I love the look of the rail fence cushions.

Xmas presents 5

Xmas presents 6

She also, ‘gifted’, me some fabric that she bought some years ago at Harrogate but has never used and I was very pleased.

I would be pleased with Christmas fabric anyway but there at the bottom is the red version of the gorgeous stuff I managed to get five fat quarters of last year at Harrogate.

Xmas presents 7

When I brought it home I was thinking how great it would be if I had some more of the red as well and now I have!

Not much crafting to share with you this week, mouse is still a WIP but I have recently finished another of Jenny of Elefantz’s designs, this one in the variegated thread again.

Elefantz heart stitching 1

I think the thickness of the thread looks really good with the flower design. The heart is cut from some batik.

Elefantz heart stitching 2

Am finishing off the mouse this weekend so will be knitting the cute ballet cardigan tomorrow then need to get some tulle for a tutu so that I can make it up next week.

Hope that you have a very enjoyable weekend, it has just started snowing here so I am staying snuggled under the fleece enjoying my hygge home!

Take care and thanks for visiting.

 

Tiny Norwegian Houses

Hello everyone, hope you are all well and planning a lovely weekend. The sun is shining here in Yorkshire and we have blue skies which is a bit of a miracle for January so a walk might be in the plans for later on.

I have always been fascinated by tiny places to live, I have plans to buy a caravan when I retire and some of my happiest homes have been small, bedsits and little flats.

I am currently loving the tiny house movement and all the gorgeous things that pop up on my Facebook feed.

Look at this one for sheer inventiveness, it looks like something out of a fairy tale. This comes from a company called Spa Hungary.

Tiny house resized

I have found lots of lovely pictures on this Tiny House blog as well, love the look of this cabin from the Isle of Wight.

small-beach-house-exterior resized

small-beach-house- exterior resized

When we were in Oslo my favourite houses at the Folk Museum were two tiny wooden houses from the early 1900s, built side by side.

The amazing thing about these was although they were probably only not much bigger in terms of floor area as modern tiny houses 9 people lived in one and 8 in the other.

As always it was the little touches that made it home that were so amazing, these houses had been moved to the museum so they were not the original belongings of the inhabitants but still so beautiful.

Three of the family slept in this tiny loft bedroom accessed by a ladder. The ‘bathroom’ was a small bowl and mirror tucked behind a curtain at the bottom of the stairs, and the toilet was out in the yard.

Norway Folk Museum small house 2

There were lots of space saving ides like these hangings for trays.

Norway Folk Museum small house 1

Norway Folk Museum small house 3

And evidence of beautiful embroidery to make the place feel like home.

Norway Folk Museum small house 4

Norway Folk Museum small house 5

Norway Folk Museum small house 6

Both of the houses had little sewing areas with vintage sewing machines. I have one just like this which has its own table to stow it in. Sadly it does not work anymore but is a very lovely heirloom.

Norway Folk Museum small house 7

Some of the family would sleep on the sofas in the lounge.

Norway Folk Museum small house 9

There were photos of some of the families that lived there, all in their Sunday best!

Norway Folk Museum small house 8

Norway Folk Museum small house 10

It may seem strange that people now willingly choose to live in tiny houses but I can see why this is such a good idea and most of the people doing it are choosing mortgage free lifestyles either as their first homes or as retirees.

I do love my own house but sometimes I think it seems very big for just me and is very full of ‘stuff’. Why do I need 10 wineglasses when at the most there are only ever 3 people in my house drinking wine at the same time?

Of course the contents of the craft room are exempt as that is not stuff, that is the retirement fund!

Have had a lovely week at work and also managed to get quite a bit of knitting done, all body parts for one rabbit completed and am now onto the mouse which is exciting as I have not made one of those before.

Hope that you have a lovely weekend and week ahead, will be back with some pictures of the lovely presents I had for Christmas, craft related of course ;-)

Take care and thanks for visiting.

 

Norwegian Embroidery

Hello again

One of my favourite parts of the Oslo Folk Museum of course was the exhibition of traditional folk costume, the bunad, and some wonderful examples of the embroidery including Hardanger, a traditional type of whitework from Norway.

Norway Folk Museum embroidery 3

There were examples of wool embroidery on costumes and accessories.

Norway Folk Museum embroidery 2

Norway Folk Museum embroidery 5

These baby’s caps were a combination of wool and redwork embroidery.

Norway Folk Museum embroidery 4

There was also blackwork, excuse the fuzziness of the picture below but I wanted to show you amount of stitching on this beautiful head dress.

Norway Folk Museum embroidery 6

Norway Folk Museum embroidery 1

We also saw a bridal outfit like this one below and lots of the beautiful jewellery that is worn with the costume.

Norway Telemark Bridal Crown -small

Norway Folk Museum embroidery 7

There are more beautiful images of Norwegian bridal crowns here , it really struck me how much the head dresses and the silver jewellery resembled the Miao Chinese folk costume that I saw when I went to the Ethnicities Museum in Beijing.

Miao Chinese Folk Costume

We saw quite a few people wearing their traditional costume on Christmas Eve in Oslo, particularly in the cathedral where we went for the afternoon service.

This website has got lots of photos of people wearing their bunads at an event held at the Folk Museum in 2012.

They were also on sale in one of the department stores, with packs of ready prepared shirt material and embroidery patterns.

I was also very pleased as many years ago when we visited Sweden I bought some beautiful metal clasps that I have used for medieval costume. I only have this one left.

Norway cloak clasps 1

But I discovered that they are used in the bodice of the bunad so was able to buy some more sets, I now have two each of these beauties.

Norway cloak clasps 2

I have been doing a bit of research and thanks to Pinterest have found so much inspiration for Scandinavian embroidery. There are some gorgeous designs here

And if you want more information and pictures about the wool embroidery this is an excellent source looking at costumes from Northern Norway.

Well I will leave you know and get on with some actual embroidery rather than just adding to my to do pile! Will be back soon with the last of my Norwegian loveliness posts.

Have a lovely rest of the weekend and thanks for visiting.

 

Just a little something to brighten my day :-)

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.

Positive thoughts

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.

 

More homemade with heartstrings

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.