The delights of Worcester

Kerry came down to visit me so we had a jam packed weekend visiting the majority of what the city has to offer in the way of historical and heritage properties. There is such a wonderful mix of architecture here, Tudor, Georgian and Victorian, as well as the riverside walks and the canal heritage so it is well worth a visit.

Saturday was mainly Tudor at first with the Tudor House Museum and Greyfriars, both on the same street where there are other wonderful Tudor buildings, including some lovely places to eat. The Tudor House Museum was originally three cottages and the displays concentrated on the importance of the trades in Worcester, very much textile related with the production of broadcloth and glove making dominating.

The museum has been extensively restored as it has been a pub, and café owned by the Cadbury family in recent times, so there is a nice mix of history in the small space and some lovely reproductions of costume and artefacts as well as the historical collections.

I have previously posted some pictures of the Tudor group at Greyfriars but this visit was for a tour which told the history of the property throughout its 400 some years. This was very interesting as it ended up being used as slum dwellings, with other tenement housing built within the garden. The restoration in the later 20th century was by a brother and sister, Elsie and Matley Moore, who were passionate collectors and she was a keen needlewoman. Therefore there is an extensive collection of beautiful textiles.

This is one of my favourite pieces, above the fireplace. I love the colours used in this piece. I think this is one of Elsie’s own embroideries.

I also really loved seeing the little touches of her life, such as the worn pincushion next to the chair, and the collection of needlework tools in a display case.

The library was also beautiful, in a different way to the libraries in other Trust houses. This was full of well loved books, but still with some beautiful decorations on the spines. I wish all books looked like this today, rather than just name and title on the spine. I think that they look so exciting!

We had a quick look around the city museum as well, where they have a display devoted to Worcester Sauce, as well as some lovely military costume. We were very admiring of the braid on the tunics here.

I loved this painting of a Spanish girl, making me homesick for my adopted country as these type of outfits are still worn for fiestas.

I have been busy booking lots more coach trips with mum so will have more adventures to share with you in May and June, the Spanish do love a good costume and I will be there all over the Easter weekend which is always exciting.

Our last heritage venue was the amazing Georgian Guildhall built in 1721. This is a beautiful public building in the centre of the town which is free to enter, and is used for weddings as well as official business.

The ceilings in the Assembly Room and the Council Chamber were stunning and I can imagine there must have been some amazing events there in the Georgian era. I am of course channelling my inner Bridgerton here as we eagerly await the second series in a couple of weeks!

After a quick stop for tea and cake at the same vintage café I visited last time, we had a lovely wander around the canal basin. We then had a drink in the oldest pub in Worcester, and ended up in a very lovely restaurant called Bill’s. I must admit to choosing it partly based on the décor, (as I did in Edinburgh), but the food was delicious as well.

A very lovely day out and it was brilliant to catch up with Kerry. We will next meet at my first re-enactment event of the season in July. I do have more pictures from Sunday to show you as well, but I will leave that until next week.

I am pleased to tell you that the moses basket is done, and to confirm that I intend never to work with jersey ever again 😉 It is too stretchy and slippery so I am going to confine my future makes to my favourites of linens, denims and Liberty, as well as some nice, non slippery fabrics for Steampunk, and no velvet.

I have already mentioned that I have been spending lots of time reading cross stitch magazines through my wonderful Readly app and I have been inspired by one article to buy a gorgeous pattern to stitch for my sewing room/bedroom in Spain.

It is from a French Company called Jardin Prive and is called ABC de la Brodeuse, pictures from their web site. It is so cute and I love all the Quaker inspired motifs.

It will take a while to stitch but I have also ordered the band to stitch it on from Willow Fabrics as I needed a metre of it.

I also treated myself to this lovely Christmas design to use the individual motifs for future ornaments. I am going back with all sorts of wonderful things to add to my craft stock so will definitely have to sort out my storage as soon as I get back!

This week’s task is to make up the knitted rabbit as we are meeting with my niece at the weekend for a little do, not really a baby shower, but more a family lunch. There will be some baby related gifts though and I am making the nappy cake, out of real nappies and lots of ribbon and cellophane.

I hope that you have all had a good weekend. Have a good week ahead whatever you do and as always, have fun, take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

Caceres – traditional costume and incredible embroidery

As I have mentioned there were many palaces in Caceres that have been turned into museums. One of the first that we visited was the Fundacion MCCB, set up by two local residents Mercedes Calles and Carlos Ballestero. As well as some great photography and paintings by local artists about fiestas within the city, there were also some gorgeous artefacts and paintings.

The one that I loved the most was a painting of a young girl, wearing the most amazing traditional costume, she looked so happy that I was thrilled when I managed to buy a small mirror with the image on in the gift shop.

There was also some information and personal items from the couple, Mercedes was born in 1915 and clearly had a very interesting life. I would love to find out more about her, and as I am planning to write a book set in Spain one day, may research more about the area in the future.

One of the other palaces held a brilliant collection of traditional costume from the surrounding area. What was especially lovely was that there were photos of people wearing the costume next to each item.

This was particularly interesting when looking at how they sat wearing the very full skirts. This is where ethnographic sources like this are so vital.

This wonderful hat was used for everyday wear to shade workers from the sun, rather than just being for fiestas.

This photo shows the local people at the opening of the museum in the early 1920s. Even though the picture is blurry it is wonderful to see them all in their best clothes for the occasion.

There were so many lovely embroidered costumes from the surrounding villages, each one slightly different but all with an emphasis on colour. It was really interesting to see this, as previously I have only seen the sorts of costume that are worn at the large fiestas, which are more based around what looks like more formal hooped dresses.

The following day we were lucky enough to see the local folk group who still wear versions of these costumes, complete with matching masks at the moment!

The linen work was incredible, I could have been there for hours just looking at these pieces. They were so finely done and it was very interesting to see the same motifs come up as I have seen in many other countries, and reinterpreted in a lot of Quaker inspired cross stitch designs.

As well as other displays of weaving, spinning and embroidery, there was the ubiquitous Singer sewing machine.

I love seeing these in museums, it always makes my little heart so happy to see them and to think about the women who may have used them. I have more pictures from another Caceres museum to show you but will save those for a later post.

Life here with my sister has settled into a nice routine. I have finished two creative writing courses and have started two more. One is a group class with the WEA using Zoom and I am really enjoying it. I never wanted to have a Zoom meeting ever again, after last year’s teaching. However, it is much more fun when you are a student, rather than the teacher worrying about losing people in the ether. There are lots more courses that I like the look of so will do more in the future. It is lovely to study informally with no deadlines or pressure, and I am finding that it is really helping with the progress with the first book.

It has been very cold here, though sunny, so apart from trips to the gym I have been cuddling up with cat, writing, knitting and sewing and generally enjoying the peace and quiet. Jacky and I have just booked an amazing trip to Scotland for August, we are going to Loch Lomond, Skye, Harris and Lewis, and North and South Uist, following in the footsteps on many of my favourite travel vloggers. We also have camping in the Peak District booked for February half term. So we have lots of exciting adventures to look forward to!

I hope you are managing to stay warm, or cool, depending on which season you are in. Have a good rest of the weekend, and a great week ahead. Have fun, take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

We interrupt this travel blog to bring you some Christmas stitching!

I have been frantically stitching ten ornaments in the last few weeks and last night put the final stitches in the ribbons and breathed a sigh of relief. Two of them only needed a little finishing and making up but the others were done from scratch.

I did post a while ago about using some of Jenni of Elefantz’s bird designs with some new Scandi fabric but it was difficult to stitch them neatly enough on the felt I had so I decided to go with my tried and trusted JBW Designs.

I forgot to take pictures of the first two as I have left them in Spain for my aunt and mum but this one above that I did for them is one of my favourite designs and I will have to stitch it for my little tree in Spain. I kept a few of my ornaments to take with me and bought a tiny tree so I did have that up for a few days there before I came back. The picture is of my cute children when they were very small!

I love this design, most of the JBW Designs have these little motifs in them which are so cute. Some of the others I have stitched are similar to this, such as the tree one below.

This comes from another JBW Design set, I stitched all three of these this year, each one twice.

The last ornaments I completed were from a new book that I got from Create Nostalgia. They have the best selection of Judy’s designs in the UK and I was able to get this brilliant compilation from them. It is great value at only £19 including postage, as individual design cards retail for about £5 each.

I am planning to stitch more of the cute stockings and little mittens for next year’s ornaments and might find time to do some more of these for me.

As I mentioned previously I did not save any of my Christmas fabric when I was having my sort out of what to take to Spain so I needed to order some more when I got here. I found a great selection packs on Ebay at Fabric 4 Craft . The best thing was that they sell packs of small squares which are perfect for ornaments or little patchwork projects. I particularly love the fabric with all the little motifs on below.

I have been volunteering at the foodbank with Ellen for the last few days. It has again been a very interesting time and nice to do something very useful and worthwhile. They have been doing some more social media recently so here is a photo they did with my lovely daughter on the left.

I am off on a little UK tour tomorrow, mainly in Huddersfield but I will be having a mini break in Manchester and visiting a few museums there.

Until next time have a good week and weekend, have fun, take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

Falling down a Pinterest rabbit hole again!

I was just checking something on my Pinterest this morning and some very gorgeous embroidery appeared on my feed. I don’t know why it came up as I have not searched for anything like this but of course I had to go and investigate.

It is French redwork cross stitch but what I really loved was all the needlework themed designs, especially when they were combined with the buttons and charms.Really beautiful ideas here.

French redwork 2

French redwork 3

French redwork 4

French redwork 5

French redwork 6

French redwork 7

French redwork 8

I also came across some printers’ letter trays that people were using to display their embroidery, isn’t this a lovely idea?

French redwork 1

French redwork letterpress-sampler

I do have some very similar patterns in my stash and love the idea of red thread on linen and combining it with charms and buttons, I can see a needlebook design to add to my things to make list.

These are all on my Pinterest cross stitch feed if you would like to go and have a look at them. I did find a few photos of patterns and a couple of links to free designs.

I shall be posting about my latest make tomorrow once I have had the chance to take some pictures of it, I am very pleased as I have written a long, ‘makes for 2018’, list and have already finished one!

Hope that you have had a nice weekend, thanks for visiting.

Teeny tiny stitching

I have decided to carry on with the Christmas cross stitching, my aim is to do one a month and then by next December I will have all twelve I need and it won’t matter if I hurt my arm or am really busy!

They are mostly very relaxing stitches but the one I am working on at the moment is quite a challenge as it is so very tiny.

Plum Pudding Cross Stitch 1

I am stitching this on evenweave linen so I don’t know exactly what count it is but here is my little finger for size comparison.

Plum Pudding Cross Stitch 3

I have stitched this one before and it is lovely if a little fiddly to do, especially the white topping to the pudding which is difficult to see in the evenings, am just onto that bit with a second one now.

Plum Pudding Cross Stitch 2

Plum Pudding Cross Stitch 4

It is a JBW Design called Plum Pudding and I don’t know if I will carry on and make 6 in total for the friends who I give to as I group or stick to two or three, we shall see.

I have also been doing some not so tiny stitching with another of their designs which I have not done before, a snowglobe one.

Snow Globe Cross Stitch 2

That is a much more manageable size, here is another shot with the little finger for comparison and it is stitched on sparkly aida for extra festiveness.

Snow Globe Cross Stitch 3

Snow Globe Cross Stitch 1

It still features the same lovely little motifs as well as part of the design which make them really special. I usually buy these designs from Sew and Sew , who have a sale on at the moment but Wye Needlecraft also have a good selection including this one.

In other exciting news Mum and I have booked a mini break to Seville for when I am in Spain at Easter. I has been on my wish list for a long time and can’t wait to go, it looks amazing! Pictures from Google.

Alcazar-of-Seville

Seville-ES

I have been writing a chapter of a book for work this weekend so have not had much time to sew but here is a sneak peek of what I have been working on, a new venture for me, a little doll for a special little girl who will be one next week.

Doll in progress 1

More on this when she is already to meet the world.I hope that you have had a nice week and a relaxing weekend, take care and thanks for visiting.

 

 

 

 

 

A bit of festive stitching

I have had a really great weekend, my tree is up and I have been sitting finishing my ornament stitching while watching the snow fall gently down, not enough to give us a snow day tomorrow sadly so I will be back at work. Many of my friends who live further South than me have had more snow so although we have had some the transport will still be running tomorrow.

This is the last week of term though and I have some holiday coming up so that is good, I am really glad to get to the end of the teaching time.

Not that I don’t love my job and my students but this term has been a very busy one and a poorly arm has not helped so really looking forward to doing nothing, (by that I mean lots of reading and stitching and watching TV ), and spending time with family.

I finished four ornaments to the point of being stitched and stuffed this afternoon so I could take pictures and have another three that I finished later on. These all need their hanging ribbons added but am pleased with how they look so far.

Xmas ornies Dec 17

Two of these, the top one and middle right, are JBW designs, the others are from a sampler called ‘I Still Do’, by Ink Circles.

Xmas ornies Dec 17 5

This one is Merry Miniatures 1 from JBW – in the UK her designs can be found here at Wye Needlecraft. In the US they can be found at 123 Stitch. The bell charm on this design is from Rinhoobead on Ebay.

Xmas ornies Dec 17 3

This cute little tree I have stitched a few times and it is from JBW’s Christmas Keepsakes 2 designs. They have so many pretty tree designs and I love the way that the designs are made up of smaller motifs.

Xmas ornies Dec 17 2

Xmas ornies Dec 17 4

These two motifs are from a large Quaker sampler that I have had for about 11 years, it is meant to be an anniversary sampler but I bought it for all the snowflake like motifs. The Ink Circles web site does not have this design listed any more but still has lots of other lovely stitching.

This is a real return to my roots and it is very fitting that this is my 10th blogaversary as on one of my very first posts all those years ago I put up this picture of some cross stitched ornaments that I had been making to fund raise for my trip to Nepal.

I still have all those lovely snowflake designs and think I might make them again for next year’s ornaments as I have enjoyed my return to cross stitch a lot.

Xmas ornies from first post

I have also just realised that I still have some of the Christmas fabric that I mentioned buying in one of those first posts, that makes it almost vintage lol! I am very proud of the fact that I have bought no new Christmas fabric this year at all, the first time that has happened for 10 years.

Have no major crafting plans for the next couple of weeks, need to finish off a few things from the WIPs pile if I have chance and then will spending time with Ellie and the rest of the family and meeting my great-niece Ava for the first time, will finally get to give her the rabbit that I knitted for her!

Take care and thanks for visiting , will return next week with a the rest of the ornament finishes for your perusal! Don’t forget to like this or any post up until the end of the year to enter into my giveaway.

 

 

More things for the stitching wish list

I had a lovely time yesterday helping Kerry with the pattern for the groom’s outfit for her wedding next year. Although I could not help with any cutting out I did help with amalgamating two patterns into one design and advice on buttons and fabric placement.

It is nice just to have someone to share ideas with when you are making really important things and it was great to have a catch up as well.

Still slow progress with the cross stitched ornaments but I have been collecting new patterns so I thought that I would share some in case you have a yearning for pretty snowflakes or some Scandi designs in your life.

I have created a new Cross Stitch Pinterest board, Pinterest wasn’t around when I was last seriously cross stitching so it is wonderful to browse so many lovely things. I love snowflakes so was really pleased to find these beautiful designs at X-Stitch Magic.

Cross stitch snowflakes 1

 

This next one has no source or pattern but I love the look of the snowflakes on linen, I don’t know if my stitching is neat enough for me to do this as really need counted fabric.

Cross stitch snowflake tree on linen

This is beautiful as well, will see if I have any linen colour aida to replicate something similar. Not certain of the source for this but it may be this blog, she certainly has some beautiful cross stitch.

Cross stitch snowflake cushion on linen

This is a gorgeous free chart as well from Kissy-Cross . Again it looks beautiful on the linen colour fabric with the touches of red and green.

Cross stitch reindeer

This lovely free Scandi style sampler available is from here.This would be great to personalise with a family name or just to say Merry Christmas

Cross Stitch Scandi Sampler

I am planning another Slow Stitching Sunday and am hoping to finish one more ornament in the coming week.

I also have to finish my Steampunk pirate hat as I am away next weekend with Ellie at Steampunks in Space at the National Space Centre so very excited about that. I will return with lots of fab costume pictures again.

Meanwhile take care and have fun with whatever you are doing. Thanks for visiting.

 

Slow Stitching Sunday

One of the blogs I regularly read, Tanya’s, often has a reference to Slow Stitching Sunday, hosted at Kathy’s Quilts blog , which is all about taking your time to hand stitch rather than machine stitch.I usually end up spending part of Sundays slow stitching anyway as I love relaxing on the sofa watching movies, just the thing after a busy week at work!

I have been mainly doing slow stitching this week anyway, and am getting much better at left-handed stitching, and left-handed typing, cooking and everything else. I am very pleased to tell you that I have managed to complete an ornament this week 🙂

I  have been experimenting with different ornaments for this year as I usually make 10 as gifts for special people plus new ones for my tree. I made this lovely Dresden one a while ago, I have backed it with a felt  circle and stuffed it under the backing.

Nov - Xmas stitching 5

I do like it but it was very fiddly, each blade is only 2 inches long and about an inch wide before being folded and the middle is not that neat so I have added the charm to disguise that.I could not see myself making another 9 of these so will keep this for me.

So I have gone back to good old cross stitch, this was the first thing that I ever really got into after enjoying needlepoint but finding it took a long time and when the children were little I used to make birthday cards for them and friends as well as lots and lots of Christmas stitching.

I have completed three designs so far,this one I found part completed in a box, I have no idea of where the pattern came from, just completed it from what I had already done and added little seeds beads.

Nov - Xmas stitching 3

This little tree is from one of my favourite designers,  JBW Designs , I have made quite a few of these over the years and love the way the little motifs are included in the design.

Nov - Xmas stitching 4

This is the one that I have been working on very slowly this week, it is taken from a larger Quaker Christmas motif design from ByGone Stitches and does still need some beads adding. It wasn’t until I had finished the centre and two of the star bits that I realised that it is not symmetrical but decided to leave it as it was.

Nov - Xmas stitching 1

I love the full design and one day might have the time to stitch it all.

quaker-christmas

All are stitched on sparkly Aida and everything comes from stash! I am making a serious attempt to use what I have in the craft room these days, partly on the grounds that I hopefully only have just over four and half years until I retire and sell up and move to Spain so need to use the stash rather than have to move it all.

So I am looking forward to an afternoon of loveliness with lots of cups of tea and indulgence in some of my favourite things. Hope that you are all having a lovely weekend and thanks for visiting.

 

Ladies from Lichtenstein and other delights

As we expected the Steampunk event at Lincoln was amazing, we were again in awe of all of the costumes and I have so many pictures to show you. I have come back with lots of ideas for new costumes for both Steampunk and festival wear.

There were a group from Lichtenstein who won the fashion show last year and they were there again this year, with new costumes. We loved these dresses as it just shows how varied things can be made from the same fabric.

These were their new outfits, how beautiful!

Steampunk Lichenstein new 1

Steampunk Lichenstein new 2

Steampunk Lichenstein new 3

The loveliest thing is chatting to people about their outfits and the pride that people take in having made things themselves. I talked the lady in purple about her fab, and very comfy, shoes and to the lady in the pink hat who told us how she made it. She did a fantastic job and it looked amazing.

There are lots of people dressed in things they have bought and they look wonderful but I really love meeting the people with the more quirky outfits and will develop that for my future outfits.

This lady I met last year with a gorgeous cross stitched butterfly dress and this year she had based her outfit on the nursery rhyme, ‘Mary, Mary quite contrary, how does your garden grow’.The work that had gone into this was incredible and I loved the grass background fabric, inspired!

Another lovely one was this outfit based on crazy patchwork, I talked to the woman who had made it all herself and she said that the ribbon embroidery square was her favourite one.

Steampunk patchwork 5

Another wonderful quirky one was this patchwork of knitting and buttons, with peacock feathers and a wig and a fab top hat, just love it!

Then there were the absolutely stunning ones like these dragon and dragon egg costumes.

Steampunk costumes 4

This lady was there last year in a peacock dress and her new dress with wings was amazing. Her bodyguard also looked stunning.

I will return with another post with our outfits once I get a ,’before’, picture from Ellie as she transformed a dress of Kerry’s into her outfit. I was pleased with mine, not as fantastic as some of the others but I felt good and had my picture taken quite a few times which was a nice complement.

Take care and thanks for visiting.

 

 

Hexagon challenge

You all know by now how much I love hexagons and am in the process of making a full size double bed quilt from some using the Grandmother’s Garden pattern.

Well we were really thrilled to come across some wonderful miniature needlework during our recent visit to Nunnington, they have a series of miniature rooms that are part of their collection.

Nunnington -miniature needlework 3

Rather than being one dolls’ house these are lots of different rooms like this grand staircase in the picture above and most contained amazing examples of miniature cross stitch and needlepoint.

Nunnington -miniature needlework 2

When Ellie was little we bought her a dolls’ house and spent many years furnishing it and I stitched rugs and and made bedding for it. When she went to University we gave it to the family across the road who had 8 girls and I am sure they must have loved playing with it.

Nunnington -miniature needlework 4

Now she has her own house she has decided she would like to have another dolls’ house and has bought an antique cabinet to house it in, similar to the many we have seen in historic houses.

I said I would make some rugs etc for her but we also came across this miniature hexagon bed quilt in the display so I am going to attempt something like this for her. I have no idea if it has been paper pieced or not. I can’t imagine how you can cut paper and fold them that small as each must be only 1/4 cm across. I may well have to make my pieces bigger!

Nunnington -miniature needlework 6

There were also miniature sewing tools and work in progress like this needlepoint frame and lace making pillow and tatting.

Nunnington -miniature needlework 1

Nunnington -miniature needlework 5

Nunnington -miniature needlework 7

All wonderful stuff and so cute! I have been looking for information and as usual there is lots of inspiration on Pinterest so after Yarndale will have a go at a mini, mini, mini quilt. I have found a site that sells tiny papers as well!

I found this amazing mini quilt show on Pinterest, no idea who created it but look at the tiny loveliness here.

Mini quilt show

This weekend we have the Steampunk event at Lincoln, sadly our medieval show has been cancelled due to structural problems at the site BUT that means two whole days to enjoy the Steampunk and marvel at all the lovely costumes. My very talented daughter has been working on a fabulous costume for this year so all will be revealed next week!

Take care and thanks for visiting.