Hello everyone, hope you are all ok, another dull and damp day here in Yorkshire but a great excuse to sit in and do some stitching – not that I really ever need an excuse!

I did take Ted the dog out for a walk yesterday, only 20 minutes as by then we were both soaked to the skin, lovely August weather.

I am about to start on a very special project, details of which I can’t reveal fully until it is done but will keep you updated of progress here and if you could channel your good wishes for its success that would be greatly appreciated.

Like most women of my generation I learnt to sew at school though I was not keen at all, mainly due to a very stern sewing mistress and an overemphasis on procedure rather than creativity.

I seem to remember an awful lot of tailors chalk and tacking and don’t think I actually ever finished my final garments, which were a striped brown and cream blouse and brown cord skirt.

I loved the cookery classes, that seemed to me to be much more creative and I went on to take both an O and A level in that subject.

I still love cooking and even living on my own for most of the year really enjoy experimenting with new recipes.

My grandmother sewed and made most of our clothes when we were children, my sister and I were mostly dressed in identical outfits, sorry no photo evidence available as I do remember some cute poncho and kilt sets and her making me hotpants at one point!

It would have been something similar to this – currently available at this link eBay vintage poncho if you fancy it.

Vintage poncho

I did lots of altering during my later teens and twenties, mainly dying and refurbishing of charity shop clothes being was a huge fan then, as I am now, of a bargain for a good cause.

I was very fond of buying plain black pumps, the sort you wear for PE in school, and sewing bows and beads on to them when I was a poor student, then you could have a lovely pair of customised footwear for £2.

However I didn’t really do much actual garment making until we started re-enactment, apart from the Christmas that I made whole wardrobe of outfits for Ellie’s Barbie doll :-)

I don’t still have that pattern, (do still have the knitting pattern book with the ski outfits for Barbie in), but they were something like this gorgeous collection of gowns available from here – Barbie pattern . And while searching I found this Pinterest board with lots of links for free Barbie doll clothes patterns.

Barbie patterns

Having the whole family to clothe for events and children growing quickly meant that I learnt to follow patterns again and think I have done an ok job at what I have made. Here are some of my completions from the last few years.

chaperon - front

chaperon - back

ellie-pink-dress

ellie - turquoise dress

jake-ashby

jamie-new-shirt

shirt-neck-detail

Two of the outfits I am most impressed with myself for making are two of my ladies outfits complete with head dresses. I don’t wear these much any more but did enjoy making them.

black surcoat and torque

yellow-dress-and-torque

The fit is not brilliant in some cases but people are generally impressed that we make our own kit.

Lately I have mainly made men’s kit, shirts, hose and brais, they are so much easier than ladies’ outfits ;-) and have invented my own patterns for those by drawing round existing garments like t-shirts and trousers and altering them to suit period clothing. I am pleased with what I have done and the recipients are happy so feel confident with that type of sewing.

Then there was the challenge of the checkerboard surcoat this season, I was very happy with the result of that and so was Jamie.

Jamie's surcoat

This new challenge is to make a wedding outfit for my brother’s partner Amanda. They are getting married in October on his 50th birthday after 25 years together which is brilliant :-)

She has asked me to make her a jacket, part of the ceremony is outdoors so she will probably be wearing a cloak as well for that.

Final details are not decided but we are meeting up to do that this week and go fabric shopping next week. It will be something Victorian inspired in a nice silk or brocade.

I am a bit nervous but very pleased that she has asked me, she said she would rather have something made by me as I understand what it is she wants and likes the fact that it will be made with love, even if it may not be the most perfect garment in the world!

This will count as the fulfilment of number 9 on the Sewing Bucket List – a project from a printed pattern.

So far I have only done number 2 – something for him, (lots of those with all of the kit I have made), number 14 – something with applique or embroidery, I am counting all those linen and Liberty pincushions as the hexagons are appliqued to the linen and part completed number 4 – a quilt or blanket for charity which will be the final result of the Quilt Block of the month that I am so far behind on!

So will be doing regular progress reports for you on the outfit.

Take care and thanks for visiting.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Liberty pincushions 1

Liberty Pincushions 2

Liberty Pincushions 3

Liberty Pincushions 4

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

Liberty Pincushions 5

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

Knitted Pincushions July

Knitted Pincushions July 2

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

Hello everyone and welcome to Yorkshire where I am pleased to tell you that time travel has indeed become possible!

We have whizzed through what was left of summer and have gone straight to November where the swideways misty rain is in full force. Hopefully the time travel will work the other way and we might get back to those few days in June that were sunny at some point.

We had a good weekend at Peveril Castle , we learnt from experience last year that taking all of your camping kit up the hill to the castle along with all the armour and weapons the boys feel they need, (and spares just in case), leads to some hot and bothered knights and ladies.

You can see from this picture just how high it is – a stunning location to do a show in.

Peveril castle

So we booked a campsite to stay at in the valley and so had a very pleasant two nights with food and drinks at the local hostelry and showers – a real luxury as we are normally on a quick freshen up with a bowl of water and a babywipe!

Saturday was perfect weather, the boys had set up on Friday night so we had a very lovely morning sat in the shade at the bottom of the castle doing our head dress talks then took a slow walk up for the afternoon tournament.

The view was spectacular as these pictures show – I think this is one of my all time favourite re-enactment pictures, really stunning!

Peveril - helms - small

The ladies looked beautiful as always, this is Ellie and Sadie, one of our newest members. The pictures were taken by one of the staff member’s mother who very kindly posted them on Facebook.

Peveril - ladies 2-small

Peveril - ladies 1-small

We also had a friend with us doing some posed shots, here we all are in the lovely Saturday sunshine!

Peveril - group - small

And I love this one of Ellie, Sadie and I – that backdrop is stunning, we are so very lucky being able to go to such lovely places.

Peveril - ladies and nun -small

Saturday night we discussed plans for Sunday in the pub, the forecast was bad so we spent the first hour of Sunday taking all of the equipment down from the castle in relays, in the brilliant sunshine which made us wonder if the rain would be arriving but it did by midday :-(

The afternoon was spent with all of us huddled under the porch at the back of the visitor centre trying not to leap on the brave people that came out that day and get them to try on head dresses and do some sword training.

It was a pity that we could not have done the full show but this is England and we have had a particularly rainy season this year, all of the events have been a bit wet at some point and I am still drying out tents from a couple of weeks ago as we have not had the sun during the week either.

Much as I love re-enactment I am very happy to have the next few weekends at home so can concentrate on some of the stuff for Sarah’s stall at Yarndale, the linen and Liberty pincushions are looking really cute so I am now working on matching needlebooks. Will post some pictures of finished items at the weekend.

Thanks very much for visiting and see you soon.

Sharon and I really enjoyed our recent trip to Spain, it was between 35 and 40 degrees while we were there, a little bit different to Yorkshire, so we did a lot of staying in the shade.

We did a couple of trips to Cartagena and to Elche, both cities I have been to before but there is always something new to see including the restored Roman amphitheatre and these beautiful Art Deco buildings in the side streets of Cartagena.

Spain July 2015 Cartgena 1

Spain July 2015 Cartgena 2

Spain July 2015 Cartgena 3

Spain July 2015 Cartgena 4

Spain July 2015 Cartgena 5

I went on my first ever Spanish train!

Spain July 2015 Train

Spain July 2015 Market

From the train I could see this lovely Art Deco market hall in one of the little towns that we passed, would love to go back and take some close up shots one day.

We also went on a catamaran trip around the bay, the sea was so gorgeously turquoise.

Spain July 2015 Cartgena 6

Spain July 2015 Cartgena 7

Spain July 2015 Cartgena 8

In Elche we found a new café with a lovely vertical garden and misters spraying out cool water from under the umbrellas – much appreciated!

Spain July 2015 Elche cafe

Spain July 2015 Elche apartment

Spain July 2015 Elche bench tiles

Spain July 2015 Elche cathedral 1

Spain July 2015 Elche cathedral 2

Spain July 2015 Elche door

Spain July 2015 Elche park bench

Spain July 2015 Elche roof

Spain July 2015 Elche square

Spain July 2015 Elche tiles

Spain July 2015 Elche window

One of the clothes shops in Elche, Zara, is built inside the old theatre and they have kept the stage and ceiling décor.

Spain July 2015 Elche Zara 1

Spain July 2015 Elche Zara 2

Sharon was very busy knitting the sample for Sarah, she knitted on the terrace, the beach, bus coach and train.

Spain  July 2015 Sharon knitting

We had lots of gorgeous tapas, tried a few new places out including a traditional bodega in the village where you can buy your wine and sherry on tap, plastic bottles supplied, for a couple of Euros a litre. I do love that country!

Spain July 2015

Sadly am not going back again until Jan as mu Mum is over in October for a family wedding and I am hopefully going to China for work later in October so will have to wait a while for more cheap wine ;-)

We are away this coming weekend at Peveril Castle, (the one with the very steep climb), for a show with our group. this time we have booked camping at a campsite in a nearby village to save having to take everything up the hill!

Looking forward to some lovely views and hoping for very good weather as it is a little exposed!

Take care, have a good weekend whatever you are doing and thanks for visiting.

Hello, hope that you are all having a nice weekend, I am enjoying a weekend at home, catching up on a few household things and crafting of course ;-)

Last year was the first time we had a little craft session to start ornaments early, a Christmas in July,  and we had another one yesterday at Sharon’s house with tapas and delicious ice cream from the local ice cream parlour and café.

Apologies for some reason even the pictures are the right way round in my photo editing package they won’t display properly in here so are sideways on!

Emily and I made cones and I borrowed her idea of finishing mine with a ribbon and bead decoration I had in my stash.

Crafternoon July Emily 1

Crafternoon July Emily 2

Crafternoon July cone

Crafternoon July cone  2

Helen was busy making a hexagon snowflake using fabric from Simply Solids’  new Christmas fabric stock, this is going to be one of their sample items for the shop.

Crafternoon July Helen 1

Crafternoon July Helen 2

She especially wanted me to take a picture of her cute cat earrings, the body bit moves as if the cat is dancing!

Crafternoon July Helen 3

Crafternoon July Helen 3

I also finished another of the gorgeous quilted baubles, as I thought these have been very addictive, am having to ration myself and make sure I get on with other stuff as well.

Crafternoon July bauble
I am busy finishing the linen pincushions for Sarah’s stall at Yarndale  at the moment so hope to be able to post pictures of some completed ones later on in the week.

Enjoy whatever you are doing, take care and thanks for visiting.

We have just had a fantastic weekend at Tewkesbury Medieval Festival, camped not only with our group but also with friends from the Falchion re-enactment group so have had a great time with lovely boys to keep us company and make us laugh.

There was also some splendid new kit to show off. Paul had painted the most detailed surcoat for his 15th century armour, here he is in camp and walking onto battle with myself and James who were watercarrying.

Tewks - Paul's surcoat

Tewks 2015 - battle walk on

Jamie has recently taken delivery of a new set of armour and a brigandine from Armour Services Historical, this is so beautiful and I love the rivet patterns on the brig.

Tewks - new kit

Tewks - Jamie new armour 2

Tewks - Jamie new armour 3

Tewks - Jamie new armour 4

I was able to deliver the brais and shirts I had been making to their new owners and have lots of other people asking for kit so have a busy few months planned.

However I have got a poorly wrist at the moment, think it is carpal tunnel problems so am on light duties only and cannot knit at all :-(

I am going to be working on the quilted ornaments this weekend as that does not involve much wrist movement and hopefully with a bit of rest and some wearing of my support splint should be back to normal soon!

Sharon and I had a lovely time in Spain, it was very hot – up to 40 degrees – so we spent most of our time in the shade but she got lots of sample knitting done for Sarah and really enjoyed the visits we did, will post some pictures this weekend.

Take care and thanks for visiting.

I am so lucky to live here, not only do I have wonderful scenery and fantastic hills, rivers and canals to go walking but also a really great group of friends who I met through the knitting group Wool and Wine.

It is lovely to know people who are very happy to spend Saturday afternoons, (and into the evening as we didn’t finish until 10.30 yesterday), making Christmas ornaments with me in June ;-)

There were four of us yesterday, Debbie and Fiona have not been before and Sharon and Ted came as well.

crafternoon

crafternoon 2

crafternoon 3

Ted did try to help bless him but the lack of opposable thumbs, (and the fact he was really more interested in the cake), meant that he didn’t get very far.

crafternoon 6

The rest of us were very productive and in between eating cute little cupcakes, courtesy of Marks and Spencer, and drinking a little fizz we made an ornament each.

crafternoon 5

crafternoon 4

Debbie’s was the Christmas flower that I adapted from the brooch kit I bought last year from Teazle.

crafternoon 7

This was my second quilted bauble using a mixture of holly and star fabric and a double ribbon border.

crafternoon 8

crafternoon 9

crafternoon 10

Fiona made her first ever bauble using the polystyrene shapes, she chose this lovely Scandi style fabric as she and her husband run a furniture company selling vintage mid 20th century designs called Scandi-Mod  so she loves this style.

crafternoon 11

crafternoon 13

Sharon made one of the new style quilted baubles, isn’t it pretty! She is now hooked as well, they are so addictive and so easy to do.

crafternoon 14

crafternoon 15

I started another in gold and decided that I really liked the shape of the design that was emerging without offsetting the pieces so I carried on layering them and ended up with this which I think is beautiful.

I just need to add the border out of the same gold as the middle fabric and a bit of bling. This one might have to stay with me :-)

crafternoon 16

I have to finish a tabard for Jamie this afternoon to protect his new 15th century armour, pictures of that after we have seen him at Tewkesbury and then have a bit of socialising to do before we go to Spain, it is my birthday on Tuesday so am seeing family before I go which will be very nice.

Will be back blogging in a couple of weeks after hopefully lots of lovely relaxing at the pool and the beach and lots of sun which I am really looking forward to, June is proving to be quite wet here in Yorkshire!

Take care and thanks for visiting.

 

The last property we visited, Kedleston Hall  in Derbyshire was quite a contrast to the amazing amount of objects and sad state of disrepair at Calke.

From the drive through the beautiful grounds to the splendour of the rooms built for entertaining this was a palace, with Roman inspired décor and a wonderful collection of Indian goldwork.

Kedleston -park

Kedleston Hall

Kedleston 2

Kedleston 3

It was built in 1760 by Robert Adam and so looks very much like Nostell Priory which we visited a while ago.

The house was the family seat of Lord Curzon who was Viceroy of India between 1899 and 1905 and part of the ground floor is a small museum with a fantastic display of goldwork and silverwork, mainly cases that contain commemorative scrolls from places he made official visits to.

Kedleston -goldwork

Kedleston 8

Kedleston 9

Kedleston 10

Kedleston 11

Kedleston 12

There is also a beautiful beaded dress that his wife once wore inspired by peacock feathers and a painting of her in the dress.

Kedleston -peacock dress

Kedleston - Lady Curzon

The main reception rooms of the house are like stepping into the Pantheon in Rome, (we were lucky enough to go to Rome many years ago when Ellie was studying Classics), and the hall and side rooms are so splendid.

Kedleston - main rooms

Kedleston 15

Kedleston 16

Kedleston 17

Kedleston 18

Kedleston 19

The house has been restored and there were so many gorgeous rooms decorated with the stunning combination of blue and gold, this is one of the bedroom walls with silk wallpaper.

Kedleston -wallpaper

A truly beautiful and very stately home!

I am busy planning my crafternoon for this coming Saturday, which means digging the box of Christmas ornaments out from the back of the store cupboard.

Hopefully I will have chance to post pictures of our handiwork before I leave for Spain, am off there for a week and Sharon, my friend from knitting group, is coming with me which is very exciting.

I love being in Spain and it will be nice to share my favourite places with her and we are also looking forward to some relaxing time on the terrace, at the pool and the beach giving our knitting a little holiday as well!

Take care and thanks for visiting.

In between marking and knitting Sarah’s sample I have been having a little browse around the internet for Christmas ornaments for the coming Crafternoon.

I do love the internet for getting ideas, what would we do if it broke? I would be so sad without reading all the lovely blogs and watching You Tube tutorials.

Anyway I found some pictures of a gorgeous ‘quilted’ bauble which looked very complicated but isn’t – and thanks to this   Quilted Xmas ornament tutorial  managed to make one, isn’t it pretty!

quilted xmas ornie

quilted xmas ornie 2

I think they might be my favourite ornaments so far, it is a hugely therapeutic make and takes very little concentration so will be doing many more of these.

quilted xmas ornie 3

quilted xmas ornie 4

I know I said that the Suffolk Puff bauble below that I made one of late last year would be my gift ornament of choice this year but these are so stunning I will have to make more. Plus they use up lots of fabric so I will be able to clear some of the stash! All good.

Suffolk puff bauble

I found this Quilted Xmas ornies Pinterest board  with lots and lots of other examples of them on so will use this for inspiration.

If you prefer written instructions this is a Quilted Xmas ornies written tutorial  and they use a feature fabric for the centre fussy cut rather than the folded pieces.

These would make a lovely gifts for younger relatives and I have seem some examples with names embroidered on the centre piece or cross stitch motifs.

Now off to Ebay just to stock up on a few more Christmas charms, miracles of internet shopping!

Take care and thanks for visiting.

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.

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