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Hope that you have all had a good week. It has been a busy one for me and very little crafting is being done at present, partly due to the start of term but also I am trying to rest my wrist as I still have a problem with tendonitis which is quite painful.
However I have lots of photos from trips out over the last few months, mostly involving lovely textiles so I thought we could look at some of those over the next few posts instead!
Sharon and I recently visited Cannon Hall House and Gardens. We used to go there a lot when the kids were little as they have an excellent farm but had never been in the house.
The reason for our visit was an exhibition of costume from the Downton Abbey TV series.
There were some really lovely pieces, starting with some of the very simple outfits worn by the cook and Lady Sybil in her role as an Army nurse.
But then they got more elaborate. It was lovely to see them in the room settings with the all important afternoon tea laid for Lady Violet, I did love her character, she was so witty with her put downs!
The daughter’s costumes were beautiful, but they were all so tiny, they must have only been size 6 or 8.
Two of these ones in the drawing-room were made for the series.
This one was an original 1920’s dress and was worn by Lady Sybil in the series.
Though the below stairs costumes were very plain the housemaids who would be in the family rooms had some pretty detail on their aprons.
And for serving dinner they had lovely black dresses and lace aprons.
Though nowhere near the glamour of the dresses worn by Lady Sybil, Lady Edith and Lady Mary. I love these, ‘new fashion, looser more unstructured gowns.
Having worn corsets and very restraining dresses in my medieval roles I can really appreciate how the women must have felt to be able to wear this rather than the Edwardian costume of their parents and grandparents.
I always love seeing the laundries at old houses as well, when I was little my grandmother had a tub with a mangle, it did plus in so the water was heated by electric but I used to love using the mangle!
Sharon and I ended the day with visits to a couple of garden centres and of course some afternoon tea and cake!
I think I could easily live the life of a Downtown Abbey daughter, not that I don’t appreciate all that feminism has done for us but lots of time to read, embroider and take afternoon tea, I think I could cope with that ;-)
Meanwhile I shall content myself with organising Crafternoon Teas for my friends – we have another one coming up in a few weeks so chance to get the cake stand out again.
Hope that you have a nice weekend planned, take care and thanks for visiting.
Hello, hope that you are all having a nice week, I have been busy stitching away at my hexi pincushions and needlebooks, in between some sorting out of the craft room.
One of the many quilting blogs that I like reading is called, ‘In Color Order’ , run by Jeni Baker who regularly contributes to quilt magazines that I read.
I have long admired those quilters who have their stash organised by colour as mine was piled in a few boxes which meant getting everything out if I wanted to find something for a specific project.
Not any more! My lovely friend Sharon has been doing a bit of sorting in her own craft room, when we went round a couple of months ago to help her with a stash sort I admired these drawers and said if she ever wanted to get rid of them I would buy them off her, (she had two sets so still has some herself).
They arrived on Monday and then something else arrived yesterday – more on that later – so I had a good sort out in the craft room yesterday and I am very happy with the result :-)
I also got the chance to declutter this area, this old shelving unit is very rickety and was just getting used as a dumping ground so things have been made much neater by its removal and it will now have a new home in the shed.
I also got chance to put up some new pictures and pin boards for my quilt blocks, thanks to our block of the month challenge I now have four of those – more to come as I am still behind, (given that it is the eighth month of the year ha ha), so will take some pictures of those once I have finished a few more.
This very cute little embroidery was in one of our local charity shops so had to come home with me for the vintage embroidery wall.
It was only 75p and the amount of work in it is amazing, look at the detail of the little mother mouse tucking up the children and the picture on the wall.
The other arrival for the craft room was very exciting – took a bit of getting out of the box!
I have a new sewing machine, a very sooper dooper, 80 stitches brand new quilting machine with an extra-large additional plate for doing machine quilting, lots and lots of feet for quilting and automatic needle threading :-)
I was not really planning to buy myself a new machine at this point though was getting very frustrated with my 5-year-old Janome which just kept losing tension and jamming all the time.
Had put it to one side for a service and got out the older spare machine but when using it this week for a small piece of finishing realised that the reason that I had retired it was because of the faint burning smell when you use it!
Was just doing a little browsing of new machines as you do and came across this little lovely, reduced and with free quilting accessories so treated myself to a very early Christmas present.
Well I do have the special sewing to do and it would be nice to spend more time actually sewing than sorting out a machine!
Looking forward to spending more time this weekend practising with all those lovely embroidery stitches. Hope that you have lots of nice things planned and thanks for visiting.
Hello again, today I wanted to share the rest of the pictures from the Festival of Quilts, these are mainly the modern and art quilts.
Unlike the traditional ones where the inspiration are blocks or wholecloth patterns that have been taken from lots of different published sources these really showcase the very wide and varied arts of quilting and the different inspirations that people use.
I love both types of quilting, I think traditional ones are my favourite just because I favour traditional things more but these examples below are stunning in their execution and really show some serious quilting skills as well as design skills.
This first quilt is called, ‘Marshwood Vale’, by Kate Dowty and was one of the most popular on display. A really unusual quilt with amazing quilted trees on top of the fabric landscape.
I think this one below was my personal favourite from the non-traditional quilts, this is , ‘Wish You Were Here’, by Tracy Aplin.
It still has some traditional elements like the hexi pieced centre and border but I love the quirky touches such as the appliqued sayings, (one of which is ‘it is Pimm’s o’clock?’ ), mini bunting and washing lines.
You can’t see in my picture but each corner is finished with a little caravan as well, a really unusual edging.
I have just found her Pinterest Boards and will be going back to them – so many pretty pictures and some of caravans! Especially this board her, ‘My Quilts’ , one – go and have a look at her, ‘Love of Liberty’ quilt – divine!
I love caravans, spent many very happy holidays in them as a child and am hoping to buy one myself when I retire and this quilt is a wonderful representation of that very British holiday!
Sharon has been on few quilting courses and one of her tutors is Gillian Travis who won second prize with this very unusual machine embroidered wool quilt called, ‘Jumpers’. This is beautifully executed and very original.
The lovely thing was that Gillian was wearing a shirt made from a print of a photo of the quilt as well. Here she is in that in this photo taken from the Facebook page of the Quilt Cabin in Hebden Bridge where she regularly teaches. Really wish that I could go on one of her courses but they are usually in term time.
I was also very impressed by the Tent Makers of Cairo exhibition – not modern in the designs or the beautiful applique that makes up each pattern but in the sense of it being good to see men quilting.
These wonderful quilts are based on the traditional embroidery done for the inners of tents and were really stunning.
There were a few men at the show – Luke Haynes was exhibiting and we spotted Kaffe Fasset wandering about but the festival stats page shows that 97% of the visitors are women.
Come on boys get quilting, this is an amazingly versatile and relaxing hobby and it would be great to see more men doing it and crafting in general. Far more interesting than football ;-)
My stitching is going well, just adding beads and doing the finishing touches and then can reveal all. Am sorely tempted to keep this one for me but will see, really need to build up the pile of Xmas pressies and though I have lots of WIPs have very little finished.
Of course if I spent less time blogging and reading blogs and Pinterest boards and going, ‘ooh how lovely’, I would get more done lol. My excuse is that my wrist is still a bit painful and needs rest.
Are you like me, lots of projects on the go? Trouble is I keep seeing new stuff I want to do and thinking I have far more time than I really do. Apparently it is only 19 more Fridays until Christmas!
Take care, keep busy and 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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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, 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.
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.
She especially wanted me to take a picture of her cute cat earrings, the body bit moves as if the cat is dancing!
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.
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.
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!
There are gorgeous grounds and gardens and a church with beautiful Victorian stained glass windows.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.