Crafting friends

I am very lucky to have lots of  lovely friends who do all sorts of crafts who I have met over the years of going to embroidery and knitting groups. Recently one of them , the very talented Barbara, came for lunch and a crafting session. Barbara was the person who inspired me to do crazy patchwork with her amazing tea cosies and I have shown you some of her work before. She is a very creative stitcher and is always trying out new things. She does not have a blog but I will find out where you can see more of her work on Flickr and post the link.

We had a lovely lunch and the got down to the serious business of exchanging fabric, ideas and having a little show and tell. Barbara has been participating in some private exchanges with some other crafters that she has met through her Flickr site and had brought this wonderful Victorian inspired crazy patchwork piece to show me. Apologies I have forgotten the maker’s name (it may be Maggie)  but I know she lives in Australia.

Barbara - exchange piece
Look at all that wonderful stitching and little charms!

Barbara has been working on these techniques herself including printing pictures on to fabric and look what she brought me!  

Barbara - gifts
Pressies for me!
The needlebook case on the left has gorgeous little rosebuds stitched after the picture and the little bag with me on is so clever! What I forgot to take a pic of was the bottom of the bag – she has lovely sparkly pink shoes all stitched in metallic thread and Barbara has written ‘girly shoes’ next to it – she is a fabulous machine stitcher and I am very, very pleased with my gifts. thank you again Barbara!
She also brought along a sample she has made using her new flower foot on her sewing machine.
Barbara - flower stitching
The piece includes hand dyed silk carrier rods and hand stitching as well as machine
Aren’t the colours in this gorgeous – just what you need on all dull day – I told you she was clever!
Barbara made a little tree ornament while she was here and we exchanged some Xmas fabrics – I have been cracking on this weekend with my Xmas crafts , have finished putting together the quilt wall hanging – now I just need to quilt it. I was going to machine quilt most of it but don’t thick it will fit under the machine now the wadding is quite thick so will hand quilt in metallic thread instead.
Barbara - making tree
A live trial - Barbara seeing if she can follow my tree making instructions
In the exchange I got some fabric with trees on so I have put it to good use and made some little bags for my craft fair stall – I also made 3 more with some robin fabric that I had in my stash – I have to get rid of some of the fabric to justify my expenditure at Harrogate you see!
Xmas tree gift bags
Just got to add ribbon ties to all these

A couple of days later I got this lovely parcel in post from Barbara with even more fabric and some very cute charms which was very well received.

Barbara - fabric
Flower fabric with sequins
Barbara - charms
Need to think of somewhere to use these - look at the tea cups - very cute!

I have finished and posted my second Autumn exchange – this one to Oklahoma in the USA – will post pics of both when they have been received.

I managed to get to two of my knitting groups this week which was great – haven’t been for while to one during work and it wa so nice to see everyone again. All in all a wonderful week!

And I am off to Spain tomorrow – yipee! Am packing lots of knitting to take with me hoping to finish off a couple of the Xmas gifts while I am away. Will post when I get back.

Thanks for visiting.

Quilt Love

Well I had a lovely time at the quilt group sewing day on Saturday. I went armed with my selection of lovely Xmas fabric and my brand new rotary cutter and came away with the pieces for an Xmas wall hanging which I put together yesterday and edged this evening. All that is left to do now if to buy some wadding so that I can layer it and quilt it at the weekend.I adapted a quilt pattern that I have had in my folder for a long time – it was originally meant to be made of 12 blocks but I only wanted a small hanging so just made 4. The pattern is based on two different nine patch quilt blocks with four of the nine patches being split in half.

Xmas Quilt 1
My nine patch block and my new best friend - my rotary cutter

You then join the blocks and applique a tree where the four paler blocks join. I plan to sew brass Xmas charms in the pale blocks around the tree and to put some beads on the outline of the tree after it is quilted.This hanging will go in my hall on the wall opposite all my little baubles which are made of this fabric.

Xmas Quilt 2
The completed four blocks with appliqued tree
Xmas Quilt 3
Close up of the tree in contrasting Xmas pressie fabric

 I love the bauble fabric from Makower  which has been in my stash for a couple of years – I am hoping to get more of this at the Harrogate show.

I really enjoyed the day , everyone was very friendly and helpful , especially Jackie and Davina ,who I sat with, and they taught me how to use the rotary cutter properly and lent me a larger cutting mat and their rulers which made life so much easier. I am going to treat myself to these essentials tools – may wait till the Harrogate Knitting and Stitching Show  in Nov and add them to my shopping list for that if I can wait that long!

I am amazed at how quickly the piece came together, being so used to hand stitching which takes me weeks sometimes. Davina cut out and made an entire quilt top for a child’s bed in one day. I think I will really enjoy this new crafting! I won’t stop hand stitching or knitting as I like to do that in the evenings in front of the TV but now I have got my new machine I will be doing much more with it. I have always been a bit nervous of sewing with a machine – I learnt to use a hand-operated machine so electric ones always seemed too fast and I have not really used them for anything apart from costume making.It has always been a bit of a love hate relationship as I seemed to spend half my time battling to get the thing to work! But the new machine is very lovely and I envisage many happy hours together over this winter!

In other exciting news I have won my first ever blog giveaway! I was looking at my blog with a friend earlier today who had come round to look at setting up a blog for our branch of the Embroiderers’ Guild and was showing her how you could see where people come from to get to your blog and noticed a lot of people clicking on my blog from Greedy for Colour , Kate from New Zealand’s fab blog, and then realised it was because I had won the pincushion giveaway that she ran for her recent birthday. I am very thrilled, especially as her work is amazing so thank you very much Kate! Do go and visit her blog and admire the loveliness.

Am getting on very well with the little Xmas tree patchwork ornaments for my craft fair – assembled another two tonight after adding the border to my hanging. Will be doing some more of those at the weekend as well as finishing my Xmas hanging and the next Monday we are off to lovely sunny Spain for a week during half term ! Can’t wait – especially as it is absolutely pouring down here at the minute and the weather forecast says we are in for a very cold spell at the end of the week.

Hope you have a nice weekend , see you when I return  – thank you for visiting.

Jazz, cake, ducks and a sheep called Baahney!

I have just had a wonderful weekend helping out at the Marsden Jazz Festival . I was there all weekend (out till well past my bedtime on Saturday as I was stewarding at the late night event!) and finally got home at 10 on Sunday – a bit tired but very pleased that all went well. I saw a few bands play which was great but most of my time was spent manning the box office selling tickets and a bit of whizzing round Marsden checking that bands were ok and the punters were happy – oh and collecting money so that we can run the festival next year!

This year was the 19th year that the festival has been run and there were over 60 live music events over the weekend – every pub and club in and around the village hosted at least one band – many had four or five so it was an absolutely massive feat of organisation – I only joined the committee in July by which time most of it had been done but it all went very well. There were 12 ticketed events which was why we were running the box office but all other events were free.

It was so much fun and I am very, very grateful to all of the committee for being so welcoming and making me feel so included.I also made some new friends from some of the other volunteers which was great.

Music wise I got to hear my fave combo String Fellows , Jacuzzi 500, the Huddersfield University Band and a bit of Blue Toots, Jackie Dankworth (who I also got the chance to meet – she is lovely and very beautiful as well as having an amazing voice), Dizzy Club and Orchestra DC Dansette. It was a really buzzing weekend!

I was also interviewed live on radio for Two Valleys radio  in their ‘Caravan of Love’ on Saturday about being a volunteer – have yet to listen to that yet but the broadcast from the whole weekend  is on their website so will try to find my bit .Pic of the caravan below – isn’t it fab!

The 'Caravan of Love' that Two Valleys Radio use for outside broadcasts

There was also cake – lots of it keep us going all weekend (and fish and chips and lovely pie and peas – great Yorkshire grub!) – I had to take a pic of this  little cupcake which was being sold by one of the local cafes Crumbals – how cute is this – and it tasted very lovely!

Marsden Jazz 2
The Jazz Festival cup cake - limited edition -all eaten now!

Marsden is a very pretty village with the River Colne running through it and many of the events were centered round the river including a Duck Race ( yellow, plastic ones not real ones ) organised by the National Trust. I love feeding the ducks whenever I visit.I took this pic on Sunday when it was lovely and sunny!

Marsden jazz 6
The River Colne in the centre of Marsden

Marsden is also famous for its sheep who roam around in the village , invading people’s gardens and eating their plants, lolling in the middle of the road and generally being woolly and the sheep is a feature of the Jazz Festival publicity – being on all the posters and T-shirts. This year one of our merchandise items was toy sheep and I couldn’t resist buying one – who I have named Baahney in honour of the festival committee chairperson who is called Barney. Here he is manning the box office with us.

Marsden Jazz 1
Baahney being very helpful answering customer queries

Anyway back to crafting news – I have just taken possession of some fab knitted items – not made by me but by one of my students, the very talented Juliet who runs her own business selling knitted hats – these are Xmas pressies for the family babies – how cute are they! Thanks very much Juliet – excellent work.

Juliet's hats
A pair of strawberry beanies

And I have finally (big drum roll….) joined the local quilting group – something I meant to do about 18 months ago and kept being too busy to make it but I went tonight and listened to an excellent talk by Vivien Finch who showed us some of her vast collection of quilts including many vintage ones.I had a very warm welcome from all the members which was lovely and I will be joining them on Saturday for a sewing day so I will get the chance to cut out my Xmas hanging.

Am also planning a trip to the one of the local museums for their knitting afternoon on Sunday so am looking forward to another textileiciuos weekend! Hope you have something nice planned.

Thanks for visiting.

Wartime Quilts and knitting update

Hello there 

We have had a very lovely weekend here as my daughter Ellie has been up from Uni visiting – we have been for a bit of retail therapy, out for a couple of lovely meals and finally got to go to the Quilt Museum  in York! I wanted to go to see the Wartime Quilts exhibition which is only on for a couple more weeks – Ellie really likes that period and since I like quilting particularly for the history side of it I thought that it would be really interesting to see this display and it was. 

There were about 15 quilts on display – mainly those that were made by the Canadian Red Cross to send to families who had been bombed out of their homes. All were very utilitarian being made of dress fabric, suit fabric and in one case pyjamas and all well-worn which obviously means they were well used and appreciated which was lovely to see. There were also comments with the quilts from those people who had received them – mostly when they were children and that was very moving reading their accounts.There was also a quilt made by German prisoners of war which again was very thought provoking.The patterns used were varied, Nine Patch, Dresden Plate, Fans, Hexagon Flowers and lots of Crazy Patchwork with some lovely embroidery. As usual no photos were allowed so am sharing this one from the web site. 

Wartime Quilt
This quilt included a V for Victory fabric

I know I have said this before by I am constantly reminded how textile history is our history – it is not just about someone’s hobby, or an outdated craft – these carefully preserved artifacts tell stories about the reality of all sorts of very sad and in other cases very joyous occasions. We use the expression the ‘fabric of our lives’ and in these many pieces that I see in all sorts of exhibitions, historic houses and museums we see just that. 

I have also been busy on other domestic fronts – Ellie and I made huge batches of veg chilli which is now in the freezer for the final supper at the end of the Marsden Jazz Festival  which is this coming weekend. I volunteered to cater (I miss doing Scout Camps!) for our Sunday meal. I have got my rota of duties (mainly doing the office and band liaison) which is great as I will get to watch about 6 different bands over the weekend so am really looking forward to that. We went out to Marsden last night for a final meeting about the involvement of the local community radio station and them the kids joined me for a very lovely meal at Mozarella’s pizza and wine bar there. 

I have also been busy on my knitting and stitching – I have made up more patchwork trees and tree kits and have finished the first of my Autumn exchange pieces – I have tried a new form of finish this time using my new sewing machine (which is still working wonderfully!) but cannot show pics till it has made its way to the USA – am posting on Fri. 

Have finally made up the second version of the baby cardi using the Sublime wool (first version is here) – all it needs is a button and ribbon.For details of the pattern click here . 

Anna - Mae's cardi
Knitted in gorgeous Sublime turquoise wool

I have also have started on a new set of wristwarmers as an Xmas pressie – these are the Frothy Gothy Wristwarmers  from a freebie on Ravelry – a very easy and striking knit – I love all the little points and it is very easy to do. 

Frothy Gothy wristwarmers 1
A nearly completed wristwarmer
Frothy Gothy wristwarmers 2
Detail of the points

Well I have a busy week ahead at work and will be in Marsden all weekend jazzing it up! Please pray for fine weather for us! 

Thanks for visiting.