Crafternoon creations

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.


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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.

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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.

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

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

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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.

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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.

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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 🙂

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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.


Marble and gold

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

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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.

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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

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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.

Ooh pretty!

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!

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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.

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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.

A wealth of needlework

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!

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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

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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.

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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.

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Calke - chairs

Calke - needlepoint

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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

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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.

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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.

Pattern and detail

I think my favourite of all of the Trust houses that I have visited recently has to be Tyntesfield near Bristol.

Kerry and I first went last year and then Ellie and I went there on our second day of house visiting after a night in a B and B at my old childhood holiday haunt Weston-Super-Mare.

It is such a treasure trove of pattern, being Victorian Gothic,there are so many gorgeous details everywhere you look.

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It also has the most amazing church built right next to the property, connected by a passageway, no mere family chapel, this is a full-blown piece of neo- Gothic ecclesiastical splendour.

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My favourite things in the church are these memorial crosses on the walls for the family members, they inspire me to do some goldwork based on these designs.

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I think I could very happily live at Tyntesfield, my furniture and furnishings would fit right in!

I have just had new business cards printed for upcoming craft fairs using a beautiful Gothic inspired image from Vistaprint which I am very pleased with.

Business card

We are off to Bolsover Castle for a one day event this Sunday to celebrate Father’s Day, it will just be our group Swords of Mercia there and the boys will be attired splendidly as usual.

No new kit expected for this one but I know some people have shiny new armour and splendid new surcoats they are working on for the next event in July.

Meanwhile I have multiple projects on the go, all different sizes and complexity to suit the occasion!

Hope that you have a good weekend whatever you are doing, take care and thanks for visiting.

Daughters of War

We have had a very nice if damp weekend away at the Tatton event and this morning went to visit Dunham Massey, a National Trust property with a special exhibition which was very interesting.

It links in with several books that I have been reading about the role of women in the First World War and is called Sanctuary from the Trenches .

The story that is told is of the Stamford Military Hospital set up during the war at the property and of the nurses who worked there, particularly Sister Catherine Bennett who was matron and Lady Jane Grey, the daughter of the Stanford family who worked as a VAD during the war.

It is a very well put together display using both historical artefacts and interpretations, including lovely text printed on articles such as sheets, socks and bedside tables to tell the story of the men who spent time at that hospital.

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My friend Barbara has recently done a talk on knitting for the First World War – the Knitting and Crochet Guild based in Huddersfield has some artefacts that were knitted for soldiers. I thought this reproduction of a note from a knitter was very thought provoking.

One of the rooms was displaying artefacts from the lives of the nurses who lived and worked there including their training manual.

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I have recently read a very good fictional trilogy which I have just bought copies of for Ellie called Daughters of War by Hilary Green dealing with a similar story of women volunteering for duty during the war in Gallipoli.

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In the kitchen at Dunham Massey there were some costumed volunteers who were knitting for the troops, they very kindly allowed me to take pictures.

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On one of our recent Trust visits we got lots of lovely books from one of their second – hand book shops, one of which was an amazing book called, Diary of an Ordinary Woman, by Margaret Foster , edited from the diaries of Millicent King, born in 1901 who of course experienced both the First and Second World Wars and kept a diary of her life from the age of 13 until the age of 93.

Dunham Massey

It would have been a really interesting book if it had been a work of fiction but was all the more poignant for being a true story.

A very interesting, thought provoking and moving morning.

Hope that you have had a good weekend whatever you have been doing, see you soon and thanks for visiting.

Pretty little things

I am working on a number of little projects in order to have things to sell at craft stalls later in the year, it is never too early to start making Christmas ornaments here at Stitches of Time 😉

I am also going to be having some ‘crafternoon’ sessions with my friends from knitting group as I did last year so we can all get an early start on our ornaments.

First one is in a couple of weeks and will be accompanied by crafternoon tea which will be an excuse to get the cake stand out!

As well as the knitted pincushions I am going to make lots of pincushions using Liberty fabrics and linen as due to making kit for the boys I have ended up with lots of large scraps ideal for this purpose.

liberty and linen

I have been inspired by creations like those by Amy from Nana Company – this book, Sweetly Stitched Handmades by her is on my Amazon wish list and think that the combination of Liberty and linen is a real winner.

Nana Company Book

Another thing I thought that would sell well is little jars of buttons, Ellie has bought me some for the last two Mother’s Days and they are such cute gifts.

mothers day gifts buttons

I have ordered a large stock of pretty little buttons to make up jars with fabric covered lids. Most of these came from an Ebay shop called Bead Bonkers UK.

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I am keeping these ones just for me though, aren’t they gorgeous!

Buttons June 5 for me

These charms are to put on the knitted pincushions and knitting accessories – most of these came from an Etsy shop called DIY Club which has some beautiful charms and ships very speedily from China.

Another one that I have used from Etsy is Beading Shaz who has wonderful charms like cupcakes and cute dogs!

Buttons June 6 knitting charms

This beautiful stack of Kona Solids has just come into my life as well, a subscription gift from a quilt magazine, would love to make a rainbow quilt or a Sudoko quilt as in this You Tube tutorial with it but since my list of WIPs for quilting is very long at the moment I will just keep it as an ornament for now!

Kona solids

It is so lovely to have more time to craft, now that teaching is over things have quietened down a lot at work so am looking forward to a lovely summer of making in between the marking!

Hope that you have all got lots to look forward to as well. Take care and thanks for visiting.

Barrington Beauty

The really interesting thing about the National Trust houses we visited recently is how each of them was so different in terms of their collections and the way that they were presented.

Barrington Court, which was also used for filming Wolf Hall, was the second property we visited and it is significant for being the first house that the Trust bought in the 1920s.

It was in a severe state of disrepair and was saved by the Lyle family who rented it from the Trust and restored it so that Arthur Lyle could display his collection of carved wood rescued from other historic houses. It has no furniture just information about the family and their restoration.

This makes it a really interesting and very beautiful property, you can just concentrate on the fabric of the building without the distraction of anything else, a sharp contrast to some of the other places we visited last week.

Barrington Court

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This carved ceiling is amazing, wouldn’t it make a great quilt pattern? One of my, ‘on the back burner – probably for retirement’, projects is a series of blackwork, goldwork, embroidery and quilting designs based on all the historic architecture pictures I have stored.

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There is going to be a display of some of the costumes used in the Wolf Hall series and we were lucky enough to be shown these by one of the volunteers who welcomed us when we went into the house, we told her what we did as a hobby and showed her some pictures of the costumes we make.

It was too dark for me to take pictures in the storeroom but I could see that there was some blackwork embroidery on the shifts.

That is the sort of detail that I love as it would not have been very visible during the series. I have found a lovely Wolf Hall costume video on the National Trust channel with details of some of the costume that was made.

This picture from the Evening Standard shows one of the dresses that we saw, worn by Anne Boleyn.

Anne Bolelyn costume

I will be back with more pictures from the rest of our visits later – meanwhile there is one of my favourite events coming up, Tatton Medieval Fayre, not only a gorgeous setting and a lovely friendly weekend but also only an hour from home! If you are in the area do come along – it will be brilliant fun.

Thanks very much for visiting.

Just beautiful

Hello everyone

I had such a lovely walk yesterday and thought that I would share with you these pictures of the beautiful flowers, I am so lucky to live here, we are surrounded by glorious countryside and it looks fantastic at this time of year with all the rhododendrons in bloom.

Rhodedrons walk

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I hope that you are all having a lovely weekend, have successfully cut out another shirt and will be sewing it up this afternoon. Hoping that the weather will be kind and allow us the first BBQ at home of the year!

See you soon and thanks for visiting.

Tudor splendour

Our first stop on the National Trust visiting holiday was Montacute House, we had wanted to visit this property last year but it was being used for filming Wolf Hall.


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I love the old books in historic house libraries, the covers are so beautifully decorated.

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There was not a large amount of embroidery on display but this crewelwork bedspread was one of the lovely things in the house.

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Not only is the property gorgeous in mellow stone, set in a quintessentially English village of the same stone, (decorated with bunting for their upcoming Summer Festival), but also they have lots of portraits on loan from the National Portrait Gallery of Tudor and Stuart costume.

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Some of the pictures didn’t have labels to say who they were but others were of suitable fame including Katherine Parr, the last wife of Henry the 8th.The detail of the fabric and embroidery is wonderful, especially the collar fabric.

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There was also a portrait of a woman wearing a similar jacket to the Layton jacket that I love, apologies for fuzzy photos as it was a bit dark. I have found a Layton jacket Pinterest board of these jackets and other Elizabethan embroidery, some in a museum near here that I am intending to visit over the summer.

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Am off out for a walk in a bit with Ted, my friend’s dog. It is a beautiful day here and all the rhododendrons are in bloom so we will have a lovely time, well I will, don’t think that Ted is that bothered about the beautiful flowers but there will be plenty to sniff at!

Then it is back to sewing, I have finished one pair of braies, (men’s undergarments), and have a shirt to cut out and sew this afternoon.

Hope that you are having a lovely weekend whatever you are doing and thanks for visiting.