Be careful what you wish for …..

I mentioned to a colleague recently that a few weeks ago, before all of ‘this’ I came home late one night, cold and wet after waiting a long time for a bus that never arrived, tired and aching. I remember thinking at the time ‘I wish I could just stay here, not have to go out to work, just stay here and enjoy myself at home.’

So…. not that I think I caused this pandemic whole lock down thing but I did get my wish didn’t I? I have only left the house a few times since then for short walks and although it would be nice to be able to go somewhere I am enjoying the novelty of being in my house on leave.

I am usually away when I have leave so I have not spent this long in the house ever but am making the most of the enforced staycation. As I mentioned in the previous posts I am trying to get a good mix of sewing, reading, study on my online course and practical tasks done while I have the time.

My house has never been so clean and the garden has been done, I am just waiting for delivery of some bedding plants for my baskets, and today I painted the shed. I also got the garden table out in honour of what looks like a wonderful Bank Holiday ahead. Of course if we had been going to do a re-enactment event it would have been howling gales and packing up wet tents so we will all enjoy the fact that we are not doing that!

This week has been all about the Riley Blake block challenge for my sewing room time with a record five blocks completed up until today! You can see lots of lovely blocks over on their Instagram as we are now on Week 2. I have been using the Liberty stash as I want to add to my existing blocks, am going to eventually make these into a bed quilt.

The churn dash ones I was confident with and I am happy how they have turned out. I am using the same white on white print for most of these blocks, until it runs out, as I love the contrast between that and the Liberty.

Liberty churn dash block 3

This second block is the log cabin, a block I have never done before. Partly as I am not good at straight seams but I am pretty happy with the way that these have turned out. I used a tutorial from Citrus and Mint with very helpful diagrams.

Liberty log cabin blocks 1

I found it easier to cut 1.25″ wide strips from my length of fabric then cut them to size as I needed them as when doing the first block found that some of the pre-cut sizes that I had done were a little small.

The first two I used the white on white as a contrast row and then I did a more traditional layout with just three fabrics.The seams are not too wonky which is good!

Liberty log cabin blocks 7

Liberty log cabin blocks 8

Liberty log cabin blocks 9

I will make one more of these tomorrow, I am a little restricted for this type of block from Liberty as most of my stash is 5″ squares and the outer strips are around 6″ but do have a couple of pieces of longer fabric.My pin board for completed blocks is now looking very lovely ๐Ÿ™‚

Board with Liberty blocks

I am looking forward to next week’s block and to moving on to the next week of the fashion course. We have been looking at the Georgians this week, the embroidery on the men’s coats is amazing and I have been lucky enough to see lots of examples of these in museums, we saw some gorgeous examples on our recent trip to Liverpool. That was the weekend of the dreadful Storm Ciara, we really are having a challenging 2020 aren’t we?

I have recently discovered another historical costumer through You Tube and she does the most amazing Georgian garments. Go and have a look at the wonderful things on Sewstine’s blog, she writes really detailed step by step posts about her constructions and makes the most wonderful things. This is a reconstruction of a 1780s gown and she digitised all of the embroidery herself, made the gown and had a baby in the middle of all of this process, what a superwoman! Picture from her blog.

Georgian dress

So over the weekend I have plans for some more Liberty blocks, more Barbie dresses, another coat of paint on the shed and probably a walk. I am back at work on Tuesday so am going to really enjoy this extended time in the house. We are probably going to be on lock down for another four weeks or so and that gives me plenty of time for sewing.

I hope all is good with you and your families, take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

That was the week that was…featuring many gorgeous pouches

Well what a very ‘interesting’ week, somewhat confusing, and like most people in the world at the moment, with some points of stress. We are finding new ways of working remotely, I have spent a lot of time this week in virtual meetings with my lovely colleagues and students which has been really good. I am very used to working from home anyway as I do all my marking and doctoral work from the comfort of my sofa so I am thankfully used to organising my day and getting things done, and not being distracted by Netflix!

I am so grateful that I have had my sewing room to escape to and have made a point of finishing my working from home at a reasonable hour and spending two hours an evening in my sewing room. It is wonderful the peace and tranquility that I get watching my favourite You Tube costumers and stitching, it makes me forgot all of the outside world and I appreciate that now more than I ever did.

I have decided that as well as the Barbie dresses that I will be attempting to finish some of my pile of WIPs so completed one of those this week. This piece of embroidery was done some time ago and is one of Jenny of Elefantz’s designs from her previous monthly stitching club. The intention always was to use it for a small pouch and it had been laying in my WIPs for about 6 months.

Embroidered pouch March 3

I thought it might be useful to put a little more detail of the process for making up the pouch and other types of pouches here in case you are inspired, as they make great Christmas presents. Yes I know it is only March but if I am going to be in the house from now until September everyone is getting one of these for Christmas!

The first step is to cut your fabric and iron on some interfacing. I am still using up lots of recycled denim and an old navy linen curtain and in this case black interfacing, as I have some from the failed black velvet Steampunk jacket.

Embroidered pouch March 2

Embroidered pouch March 1

The size of the bag is somewhat dictated by the size of your zip so mine are usually 8 inches wide but can be as deep as you want. I have made some nice ones previously by adding a contrast fabric to the bottom of the bag as well.

bird-and-hexagon-pouch-1

I centered my embroidery using my quilting ruler, trimmed it to 1 inch from the edge of the stitching, used double sided fusible applique paper to attach it securely to the bag and then pinned the ric rac around the edges. This was hand sewn as I did not trust myself to sew a straight line while trying to keep the ric rac covering the raw edges.

Embroidered pouch March 4

Embroidered pouch March 6

Embroidered pouch March 8

The lining is a dark blue fabric from stash, I usually try and make the lining match either the zip or the outer fabric to avoid having to use too many thread colours. The zip was sewn on with lime thread in the top and navy in the bobbin. My zip insertion is never that neat so it helps if you can’t see too much of the stitching ๐Ÿ™‚ Zips are from Buddly Crafts, they come in 2 lengths (20 and 30 cm) and a wide variety of colours.

Embroidered pouch March 9

Embroidered pouch March 7

I used the bag tutorial from Emkie Designs as previously but there seem to be some issues with pictures on that at the moment so here is a link to Patchwork Posse for a similar tutorial. As you may know I love making pouches and am very tempted by all the different designs so will experiment with a few new ones over the coming months. This site, Sew Delicious, has got links for 20 different ones and I really love the patchwork versions like this one from one of my other favourite sites Charise Creates.ย 

Charise Creates 12-patch-pouch

I have just come across this one from Molly and Mama as well, you may know that I love Liberty with a passion and hexagons but had not thought of doing one with the zip across the front so I will add that to my list.Picture from their web site.

Hexagon-Lace-Zipper-Pouch

I am really looking forward to a live stream this evening from another historical costuming blog that I recently discovered, the lovely Marika from Enchanted Rose costumes is going to be making a dress so I am going to join in with as much as I can. Thankfully the internet means we can still interact with fellow seamstresses and I am hugely grateful for the online community as well.

I ‘may’ just have bought a bit more Liberty fabric and some lace, which will be delivered later in the week. Very naughty I know but it does make me happy and hopefully will help the small businesses a little bit, that is my excuse anyway ๐Ÿ˜‰

Today’s project is finishing off one Barbie dress and starting another, I am using up lots of fabric from stash including this gorgeous silk with a hexagon design left over from my sister in law Amanda’s wedding coat some years ago.

Barbie - hexagon dress 1

I mentioned that I have been inspired by this design using the same fabric from one of the doll couture blogs I posted about here.

Gene Marshall doll 2

 

I am doing the whole dress in the same fabric and will be using the pattern for the green evening gown in the top left of the pattern below. I am hoping that it will look very elegant.

Barbie Patterns 1

I am really enjoying working with the impossibly tiny pieces of this pattern, it is a lot easier than the blouse one and has gone together quite well. This pattern piece pictured above is about 2 and a half inches wide, a little different from making the celebration dress.

I have some leave next week, I decided to keep one week even though I am not going anywhere but my beautiful village as it always feel like a holiday to be here anyway, especially when the sun is shining as it is today. I will be enjoying the sanctuary of my craft room with a few short social distanced walks, easy when you mostly just see sheep ๐Ÿ™‚ I have so much leave this year as time in lieu from teaching Saturdays that I might as well use it up now as who knows when things will return to some kind of normal.

Meanwhile we will focus on all the positives, one of the nice things is that I will be able to blog more often which I really enjoy, and I hope you do too. Stay safe everyone, take careย  and thanks for visiting.

 

So many wonderful things to make!

I am making fairly good progress with my latest Barbie outfit but have had to ditch a little blouse today, note to self, thick satin does not work well on a miniature scale. I just could not get the seams neat enough as they were too bulky so will remake it with thinner fabric. I have managed to make a very cute little silk jacket though.

I have so many lovely things on the wish list, some of these will stay there for a very long time whereas others will probably find their way onto the ‘do now’ list soon.As you know I love all the work that Jenny of Elefantz creates and she has a new monthly series of stitcheries that I have recently subscribed to.

They are called Faith in Hand and are beautiful designs all featuring quotes from the bible. As well as the subscription she also sells them individually from her Etsy shop the following month.ย  This is one of my favourite so I think this will be the first to be made for me (picture from Jenny’s Etsy store).

Elefantz Faith in Hand

She also has a free block of the month with the 23rd Psalm again with gorgeous designs. She is so generous, there are always so many free stitcheries on her blog and I love visiting just to get updates on her life.

One of my other favorite places to go for inspiration is Lori Holt of Bee in My Bonnet. She has just finished a Vintage Block Along with some beautiful designs that she gives all of the very detailed introductions for accompanied by photos.

Lori Holt Vintage Block Along 1

The links for all of these blocks are at the bottom of the above link and I would love to make a quilt like this one day.I love that multicoloured star block in the top right of this second picture. (All pictures from Lori’s blog.)

Lori Holt Vintage Block Along 2

Her latest make is this gorgeous Vintage Housewife Sew Along .ย 

VintageHousewife-SewAlong_1

I really love the dress on the washing line as well as the cleaning stuff block.She has got some fab free clip art of the design in the guide as well as the overall plan on her first post in the sew along.

Vintage Housewife Quilt 1

Vintage Housewife Quilt 3

She has just made the first block which is this very cute oven.

Vintage Housewife Quilt 4

I would love to use some of these designs on their own as things like recipe book covers and think that this one below would make a wonderful sewing machine cover.I love the little quilt hanging over the edge of the machine.

Vintage Housewife Quilt 2

Ellen and I have a very exciting trip coming up next weekend as we are going to Liverpool to see this exhibition, An English Lady’s Wardrobe, at The Walker Art Gallery. Not that we need any more inspiration for beautiful costume but it looks fascinating. There is also an 18th century costume collection there as well! Exciting stuff.

I hope that you have a lovely weekend and week ahead. I am teaching tomorrow so will have to wait until Sunday to get back to the Barbie blouse. Take care and thanks for visiting and hopefully I will have lots of lovely pictures for you in the next post.

 

 

 

Inspired by Marsden

There are many things that I love about Marsden, the moors and reservoirs that surround us, the lovely village with its river and canal, all of the entertainment here and my lovely friends but one of my favourite things is the random sheep we have wandering around the village.

I love the way they just meander across the roads, they have a particular favourite grazing spot on the mini roundabout at the bottom of the road and they stop the traffic regularly as they cross from there. They do think they own the place so I was pleased to make some more of my lovely inspired by Marsden sheep bags for Yarndale.

Yarndale 2019 8

I love stitching these, they take quite a long time to do but look cute. I only had time to make three this year but hopefully people will like the colours that I have chosen.

Yarndale 2019 7

Yarndale 2019 6

Yarndale 2019 5

I also made two pouches with felt flowers on, these are very quick to do and I can see more of these being made as gifts.

Yarndale 2019 4

Yarndale 2019 1

Yarndale 2019 3

Yarndale 2019 2

I have been having a very productive time making Christmas gifts including some haute couture for Barbie so when those are finally finished I will be able to post about them. I have bought an actual pattern and am hoping that by practising on Barbie size I might improve my own dressmaking skills. I am having fun anyway!

I hope that you have had a nice weekend, it has been lovely today and I have just been for a walk to the reservoir in the wonderful autumn sunshine. I have made a slow cooker stew for tea and a delicious sticky toffee banana cake so all is right with my little world ๐Ÿ™‚

Take care and thanks for visiting.

Historic Scotland

We were staying quite a distance away from most of the National Trust for Scotland properties but did travel across to the other coast one day to visit the historic town of Culross.

We stopped for a cup of tea in a very cute little cafe and as I was looking out of the window I thought it looked familiar and I might have seen it in a film and turned round to see a signed picture from one of the stars of Outlander. I have really enjoyed this historical series, particularly looking at the costume, so I was really interested to hear about the locations that were used for the series.

The two pictures below show how the market square above was transformed for some of the scenes in one of the earlier seasons.

Scotland Culross_outlander

Scotland Culross-Outlander 2

The whole of the town is beautiful, there are such gorgeous cottages along winding streets leading up to the hill with views across the Firth of Forth.

We also visited Culross Palace, really a manor house rather than a place with amazing painted ceilings. No pictures were allowed inside so I only have ones from other travel sites.

Scotland Culross 12

Scotland Culross 11

Scotland Culross Palace

There was a gorgeous garden as well that goes all the way up to the hillside. There were some wonderful thistles and cardoons. The gardens were also used in the filming as they grow lots of traditional herbs there.

The most wonderful thing for me was that there is a Culross Needlework group who have been working on some gorgeous things to decorate the rooms. This picture is from the National Trust website.

Culross needlework - cloth

There were so many amazing examples of 17th and 18th century embroidery including sweet bags, pillows, pincushions, bed hangings and coverlets.

Sadly I have not been able to find many other pictures of their work apart from these few from the Trust website but there is an article about them here. They had also recreated one of mine and Ellen’s favourite pieces, the Layton jacket, which was in one of the bedrooms.

Scotland Culross_crewelwork_jacket_

Scotland Culross_detail_jacket_

With each piece there was information about the embroidery and the stitches used. It really made the place come alive and I hope it is something that the Trust encourages at other properties.

We also enjoyed a visit to Kilchurn Castle which stands in an amazing location at the end of a loch near where my friend lives. It was a gloomy and wet day when we visited but I can imaging the castle in all its glory and its location makes for some amazing photos.

We also met a lovely pair of Highland cows and had a chat to a photographer who works there taking amazing photos in all seasons.

Scotland 1 - Kilchurn 6

This is one of mine from across the loch through the rain in a very nice hotel where we had some tea and a chat to Jake all the way in Japan via the miracles of the internet.

Scotland 1 - Kilchurn 7

We ended our trip with a visit to Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s Hill House, which Ellen was particularly keen to see as they have built a box around it to preserve it from the weather. I love the Art Deco designs of Charles and Margaret Mackintosh and her wonderful artwork and embroidery.

A really excellent holiday combining all of my favourite things, camping, mountains, historic houses, needlework and of course family and friends. I will definitely be back soon!

Yarndale is taking place this weekend so hopefully Sharon and Sarah will have had a good time, I managed to make a few things for sale so I will be back in a while to post pictures of those. I am having a very relaxing and creative weekend. I was hoping to do a bit of walking but it has been so appallingly wet that I am quite content to stay in and watch the pouring rain from the comfort of my sewing room.

Hope you are all having a lovely time and are not too wet where you are, take care and thanks for visiting.

 

 

Finding my people

Long time, no blog! I hope you have all been having fun while I have been away. I had a wonderful time at the Leeds International Medieval Congress, both in the sessions and in meeting wonderful people and socialising. It was so lovely to meet people who were interested in the same things that I am. I made some very useful contacts including some people who sent me their research which was very kind of them. It is brilliant to know that there are people out there interested in the same things that I am and I came home very enthused about my doctorate.

It was wonderful to be in such a lovely environment. I stayed in student halls which took me back a bit, though they were much more sophisticated than in my day, more like Travelodge rooms. Leeds University campus is very similar to ours with a mix of different period buildings and these were my favourite ones. Quite fitting given my interest in textiles as they were the Clothworkers’ Court.

IMC Buildings 1

IMC Buildings 2

IMC Buildings 7

In the lobby there was a display of dyeing samples. I can just imagine the workers in the local textile industry coming to have lectures all about the different processes.

I went to quite a few really interesting presentations on textiles as well as ones on pilgrim badges and manuscripts. In total I attended about 36 separate presentations so I had a very busy week.

One of the most fascinating was about how they make facsimile manuscripts. There was a presentation and display by a company based in Germany, Zeireis Facsimiles,ย  where they showed the very complex process which was really amazing. They had some gorgeous reproductions including one of Mary Stuart’s book of hours below in the velvet cover.

IMC 6 Manuscript

IMC 1 Manuscript

IMC 3 Manuscript

IMC 2 Manuscript

There were also displays every lunchtime from the Brotherton Library, which is based at Leeds University. Those were fascinating, though some were not as ornate as others, but just amazing that they have survived this long.

IMC 10 Manuscript

IMC 9 Manuscript

I would love to go over and look at some of the manuscripts there so will try and factor that in to some free time after completing the doctorate.One other interesting thing was that they hold the collection of drawings from one of the major sources we use for costume research for re-enactment, by Herbert Norris, so I would love to look at those.

On the last day there was a medieval market with displays and stalls including one of my favourite textile people, Tanya Bentham from Threads of Time. She has the most amazing embroidery on her blog, Opus Anglicanum.

IMC Market 10

I also saw the lovely Jim of Trinity Court Potteries who I buy all my medieval ware from as well as one of my favourite thread suppliers, the Mulberry Dyer, who were doing a rope making demonstration. There was also book binding and falconry, it was just like being at a re-enactment event!

IMC Market 9

IMC Market 1

IMC Market 8

The combat displays were done by a very good group called Three Swords, you might recognise the heraldry on this shield as Jamie in our group also portrays De Warrene.

IMC Market 6

IMC Market 7

I loved the outfits that the Eran ud Turan group were wearing, such amazing fabric! They have a blog here which I am going to devote some time to as they have information about all the wonderful places that I want to travel to when I retire.

I have had a busy week since getting back from the conference, I made a shirt for Jamie as well as doing lots of sorting out and catching up from being away for nearly three weeks and then was off to the wonderful Tewkesbury event for last weekend. I will post about that next time as I need to collect some more pictures of the event first.

In other news the boiler has been poorly, it is nearly fixed but it is going to be quite expensive so I am glad that I have not got much else planned to do this summer. Jake is off in London today sorting out his visa for Japan which is very exciting, fingers crossed all will go well and he can start getting the final arrangements made.

I hope you all have a good week ahead, I shall be mainly working on the doctorate with a bit of work admin thrown in but plan to have some time at the weekend to craft. I seem to have quite a long to do list and really need to decide on an outfit for Lincoln at the end of August.

Take care and thanks for visiting.

 

Doing our bit for the war effort

We had a brilliant time at Clumber. Sadly the weather was not kind to us on Friday or Saturday, resulting in a very damp day of set up and for those who were in the field displays and Ellie and her team, a very wet first day and not many public visiting.

We were fine in the Parsonage and so were very busy on Saturday. Luckily Sunday was lovely and sunny and there were lots of people there enjoying the displays and the music entertainment.Due to the nice weather we expected to be less busy on Sunday but had visitors all day.

Clumber display 12

Clumber display 2

Clumber display 1

We very much enjoyed playing our new re-enactment roles of Margaret and Ann from the WI. It was very lovely to be able to sit and drink tea and chat to people in the beautiful surroundings of the Parsonage.

The really lovely thing about the event as Kerry said was that unlike medieval where we are giving people lots of information people were sharing their stories with us, their memories of rationing and the sewing and mending that their mums and grannies did and sometimes some very moving stories of their families during the war.

It was so interesting to hear all about their stories and to meet lots of different people. I didn’t get chance to see any of the events in the field during the day as we were quite far away from that part but we had a really nice chat to lots of the re-enactors on Saturday night at the beer tent and made a new friend who was doing a food rationing display.

Clumber display 5

Dawn (Mrs Mac) had a brilliant display and it was amazing to see how little food the actual weekly ration was, especially the bacon!

Clumber display 3

Clumber display 7

I love bacon and easily eat four times that in a week.We also loved the cardboard wedding cake which lifted off to reveal a small sponge underneath.

Clumber display 6

Clumber display 9

We had two tables, one for clothes rationing and one for the Make and Mend leaflets and there were some very good reactions to my ‘what will you spend your twenty coupons on?’ activity with a list of what things cost in coupons such as a raincoat for 9 coupons and underwear 2 coupons each.

Clumber display 26

Clumber display 25

Clumber display 24

I also had lots of my vintage textiles displayed and the transformed shirt as well as the knitting patterns. We were lucky to find some lovely vintage cups to have tea out of!

Clumber display 23

Clumber display 22

I am very glad that I took the crochet lace and pegs which were a last minute idea as I had lots of leaflets and they made a great display on the fireplace. I have also made a new set of marigold flowers for my hat which you can see at the front on the table.

Clumber display 20

Clumber display 19

Clumber display 18

Clumber display 17

Clumber display 16

Clumber display 21

Clumber display 15

Clumber display 14

Clumber display 13

Here I am demonstrating the use of the darning mushroom.The visitors were all very complimentary about the jacket and no-one thought it was made out of tablecloths. I am very inspired to make something else now, maybe a summer blouse.

Clumber event 7

I do have some other pictures of the event which I will share with you later, I am going to be away for the next three weeks, in Spain and at a conference so I will see you all when I return. I am really looking forward to some sun and to lots and lots of sleep! It has been a very busy few weeks but everything has been done now so when I come back things will be much quieter.

Take care and thanks for visiting.