Making very good progress!

I am very pleased to report that the last few weeks have been very productive. After finishing off the Luna rabbit and the reindeer that I showed you in my previous post , I moved on to the rest of the wish list that I talked about here.

I have really enjoyed working on the lap quilt to use in Katy, partly as it involved lots and lots of hours choosing Liberty fabrics while watching sewing vlogs! I can’t think of a much happier way to spend my afternoons.

Katy needs to look as pretty as possible as she is going to be in the show field at one of the van life festivals that I am going to next year, as an example of a no-build micro camper, so I am planning to take this back to the UK once it is all quilted up.

I had debated taking it as a quilt top and then buying wadding and putting on the backing there, but think that it will be easier just to return with it in July as I will have little else in the bag at that point. This will be hand quilted using perle thread so will be a job to do first thing when I return in April before it gets too hot!

I chose to use 6 of my existing blocks, made during lockdown when I was doing the Riley Blake block of the week challenge. I then added 6 new log cabin ones from the vintage tablecloth stash.

I am so pleased with how these turned out, they are so pretty and the colours of the fabric go so well with the Liberty.

I have chosen to sash the blocks in white. I will just have to be careful not to get it dirty, but nothing else looked as good. I have bought a lilac sheet from the charity shop for the backing ,and the border will be Liberty as well.

I have also added to the diamond in a square blocks as they were slightly smaller, and I thought they needed a border similar to the others.

I have made really good progress with my blackwork design . This is based on one of the plasterwork designs from the Alhambra in Granada, and can be seen at the bottom of the panel below.

This was very quick to stitch as it is very small. It only measures 24 stitches and so is only about 2 and 1/2 inches in total. The border will take longer, and I still have to do the gold thread details and the beading.

I am modifying the pattern as I go along, it is too small a scale to do some of the things I drafted, so I am making alterations and will re draw the design once I am finished. I am really enjoying my first attempt at pattern design and am very pleased with the outcome.

I am thinking of gold thread stars in the ‘petal shapes’ rather than black boxes as they didn’t look right.

The last project I have been working on is the Rainbow Rascal dolls. The pattern can be found here at Dollytime on Etsy.

This is such a quick and easy knit as the jumper is knitted as part of the body. The head and legs are also included in this piece. The shoes are knitted separately but then sewn on.

I love the clothes, especially the cute little waistcoat. I had the perfect tiny heart buttons in stash for that.

This is Poppy, and Violet is about halfway done, so she will be coming with me to the UK to finish off, along with some wool to make more reindeer for someone who didn’t win them this time.

I am hoping to use some of the Little Cotton Rabbits patterns to add extra outfits and make smaller versions of the very cute rucksack these animals have. Here is one I made a while ago for a bear. I think I might need to make some donuts as well!

I am leaving for England next week and have some very exciting adventures planned for the next few months. I don’t want to jinx anything by saying too much but fingers crossed we may get to do some of the postponed trips, and some extra European loveliness before being back in Katy on tour in March.

I have missed her, and my adventures in her so much, so although it will be sad to leave everyone here, much excitement, and catching up with friends and family awaits 🙂

I feel so very, very blessed to be looking forward to 2023 with all of the things that I have ever dreamed of. I am so happy in my new life and so looking forward to planning and doing lots of new things.

So I leave will leave you with my very best wishes for a Happy New Year. I will be celebrating with our now traditional evening at the Chinese restaurant here on La Marina, with lots of fireworks which I love. I hope you have a very good time and a brilliant start to 2023. I will see you again soon, hopefully with much loveliness to look at. Until then, have fun, take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

Tis the season …..

To hold Christmas ornament workshops again! Well in my world we can do it at any point and as long- time readers know I have held workshops in July before now 😉

However this week was the workshop at my lovely sewing group. Last year the group did baubles with folded ribbon and some of them brought theirs from last year to show me, more of that later.

This year it was mainly trees with folded ribbon that people were doing, although one member did an egg, and another a bauble using the cutting into the ball technique. It was, as always, a lovely morning full of activity and sparkly ribbon.

The folded ribbon baubles that Isla and Teresa made last year were just stunning. I love the colour combinations and all of the different patterns that you can achieve with quite a simple process.

I did think that I had given up on the bauble making, partly as anything I make for friends now has to be easily posted, however after I got back from the session I got a message from a local sewing shop asking if I would do a workshop for them next October 🙂

That gives me a great reason to restock on all my pretty embellishments when I get back to the UK and make some more samples next year doesn’t it?

All of the Christmas makings are now finished so I am getting on with rest of the to-do list that I have set myself, with a few extras thrown in. I am having a quiet pre-Christmas week and have nothing planned for the week between Christmas and New Year, so will be happily ensconced in my sewing space.

I am making some more Barbie outfits, using the same pattern that I have made many times before. I spent the first few weeks of lockdown in 2020 making these gowns, and love the flexibility of the design in that it looks so good with different types of fabric and beads . There will be an evening coat of velvet to go with the dress.

These patterns are reproductions of vintage ones and can be found on Etsy at GailsDollEPatterns. They are instant downloads and very easy to use.

I am also making good progress with my Liberty log cabin squares using some vintage tablecloth material for the centre pieces. This is the bit I love the most about making these squares, deciding which of my Liberty stash I will use 😉 It also gives me chance to catch up on some sewing vlogs.

I will share progress with the Rainbow Rascals knitted dolls at some point in the future as I need to do a proper photo shoot. I am really enjoying knitting them as they are so quick and easy and I am planning two dolls and a lot of wardrobe changes for them.

I hope that you are all happy and busy whatever you are doing and are looking forward to Christmas if you celebrate it. I will be back before then with seasonal greetings, until next time have fun, take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

A rabbit, a quilt, some reindeer and many baubles!

Now that I am settled back into my Spanish life I thought that I would set a few targets for this visit here in terms of crafting that I want to get completed. I have a mix of things that I have to finish, and ones that I want to do, some of which have been on the WIP pile for a couple of years. I do also have WIPs that have been around for far longer but we won’t discuss those just yet 😉

The first thing that has to be completed is another fundraising ‘name the animal’ for the local foodbank charity. You may remember that earlier this year I made a Luna Rabbit complete with changes of clothes for the Jubilee Fundraiser.

For this next ‘name the animal’ I have chosen to make this adorable pair of reindeer from Little Cotton Rabbits. I have not made the reindeer before but they are the same pattern as the fox, which I made two of last year, with modifications to the head.

I will be giving the two animals with a Christmas outfit and a change of clothes.

I already have the Christmas jumper for the boy and a pretty textured dress so just need to make a Christmas dress and a jumper and trousers set. I have a month for this so there needs to be knitting happening every day!

I am determined to sew up as I go along, I made this jumper some years ago and look at the mess that is left to sort out with all the ends to work in!

The second thing that has to happen is that I got a commission for a Luna from someone who didn’t win in June. I am going to make them a boy rabbit with a change of clothes.

The plan is to make the rabbit out of the top linen in this photo above then use the paler linen for the short and the grey flannel for trousers. The grey is an old scarf of Jacob’s and the paler linen is a charity shop shirt.

I am also using these charity shop finds for this other shirt and trousers. Hopefully these will be very quick to do as I can make a couple of outfits in a day.

We are having a few workshops at sewing group so there will be WIPs from that. We had the first one this week, learning how to make purses. I have looked at this type before for Steampunk but never done one.

This week’s workshop was just talking us through the make and sewing the clasp on a ready prepared purse but next week we are going to learn how to make the purse. I think these would make lovely gifts.

I am going to be running a workshop in December to make my beloved Christmas decorations. Over the years I have made so many different kinds of things using polystyrene shapes. This year we are going to be doing either trees, cones or baubles at the workshop.

Of course I stupidly gave all my previous ornament stash away before moving here, convinced that I wouldn’t be doing anything like this again. It all went to good homes, to various charity craft projects, but luckily the local Chinese markets have stash and I found a Christmas shop locally with the lovely ribbons in the picture below so all is good!

Lastly, if I have time after all of this activity, I would like to make a lap quilt for Katy. During lockdown I participated in a block challenge and I made lots of lovely things including these Liberty log cabin blocks.

I would love to make some more using motifs from my vintage tablecloths.

Many years ago I made a bag out of four, using one of Jacob’s old shirts for the outer fabric.

The plan is to use these 6 flower motifs above, and the 4 existing log cabins blocks and some sashing to make a little lap quilt for when I am sitting reading and it is not warm enough for the fleece blankets. I have until July to do this so that should be plenty of time lol!

So that should keep me out of mischief for a while. I also plan to stitch the first of my own Blackwork designs, that I showed you in this post. Fingers crossed I can find the time to do the other goldwork design I mentioned in that post as well, though that will not be done until next year.

What about you, what are your plans for this season? I always feel that autumn is a very good time to start thinking about new projects. Normally I am hastily putting together Christmas ornaments this season but those have all been done already.

I think it is the 35 years as a teacher that means that I always see autumn, rather than spring, as the start of things. Although there are no visible signs of autumn here really I still feel a sense of renewal of possibilities. Outdoor swimming is coming to an end, and I am looking forward to more cycling. I did 27km this Thursday with a friend, which I was very impressed about, my longest ride for about 14 years!

I hope whatever your plans you are having a lovely time. Have fun, take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

Making lace while the sun shines

We have had a fantastic morning joining in with the local lace makers’ day in the nearby town of Guardamar. One of our sewing group, Vivienne, has previously shown us her amazing tulle lace work and she organised the tickets for us to join her and the lace group she runs.

I had not heard of lacemakers’ days before but they are common in Spain, there is more information and a short video at the link above. Whenever you go to the fiestas there are the ladies with their lace mantillas, so I knew that lace was very popular here but did not realise how popular it was still to hand make it. Some of the ladies were making the mantillas, others panels or fans.

We particularly admired the group above who all had matching customised trollies to carry their lace making equipment in.

I love this circular design. I don’t think I could ever do this type of lace though, look at all those bobbins to keep track of! I am bad enough with two knitting needles and often start knitting backwards if I put a piece down.

There must have been about 200 people at the event, from as far away as Gandia which is about 90 minutes drive from here. We had a table and were working on our own projects, so we got the chance to meet, and practise our Spanish, speaking to some of the other women who came round.

I took English Paper Piecing. That really helps develop your language skills trying to explain how to paper piece! Lynn also took her work, she has made excellent progress with her cushion that started as a hexagon at our workshop a couple of weeks ago.

There were also some stalls so I took the opportunity to stock up on some more Christmas ornament fabric, and some embroidery thread.

I also picked up the cutest little fan charms. Many of the lacemakers were making fans and Vivenne did have some fans for sale, with an offer to design a pattern for me. However, I really need to finish some existing projects before I take up tulle lace, amazing though it is. I also got these very cute little lapel pins. I am going to leave one in my craft room and take the other one back to the UK to add to my seamstress Steampunk hat.

This is Vivienne’s fan, designed using characters from children’s books.

This is Sue’s beautiful lace stole, she is now making a fan to go with it.

This one was from another member of Vivienne’s lace group, Claudia.

The charity event where I was doing, ‘Guess the name of the Luna rabbit’, went very well yesterday and I sold the 50 guesses of the name really quickly. I have even got a commission to make another one when I come back in October. It was a lovely afternoon, celebrating the Jubilee and raising funds for the local foodbank.

Here is Scarlett in her Jubilee outfit, the winner also got three other outfits as well.

We had an amazing week in Galicia last week, such a magnificent part of this wonderful country and so very different to my lovely, and now very hot, La Marina. There will be lots of stunning Galician scenery coming to the blog soon, just as soon as I have sorted through the 327 pictures I took!

I have just less than 4 weeks left now so really need to get stuff done, time has really flown by as it does when you are having such fun!

Hope you are all having a good time whatever you are doing, have fun, take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

El grupo de costura (The sewing group)

One of the things that I wanted to do when I got here was find some crafting friends. I thought that there must be a group in a place as big as this, with so many retired women and so after some searching I found a post on the local Facebook page. There are actually two groups, a knitting and a sewing one, but many people attend both. So every Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday mornings I go to the local Escuela de Adultos, which is the adult education and social centre at one of the shopping areas here.

I am so glad that I met these lovely people, not only are we having a very good time actually crafting, there are workshops so we are learning new things, and there are social events. We have been out for a group lunch, are going to be involved in a local crafting day next weekend, and are planning some more events in June as well.

I have posted before about the mannequin pincushion and the following week after Eileen’s workshop we took them all back for a group photo. I love the variety of these, particularly the creativity with the necklace and Sue’s beautiful shawl.

Last week I did a workshop on English Paper Piecing. There are a few people in the group that have already done this, and some are very experienced so I took some of the more unusual pieces such as apple cores and clam shells. There were four complete beginners and everyone was able to complete at least one shape to use as a coaster etc. Lynn, first in the row in the picture below, is now hooked and is planning to make a cushion!

Debbie is a very experienced and talented quilter and she brought her apple core coaster back the following week to finish off. I had taken some of my stash to share with the group and she has used some of the Christmas fabric that I had to make this lovely design. Her stitches are so tiny and neat!

I really enjoyed doing the workshop and have offered another one in the autumn for the pine cones/Christmas trees made of ribbon as we can get the polystyrene shapes and ribbon easily here. In fact I used to take back ribbon from Spain to make most of mine in the UK. Many years ago I wanted to go part-time at work and set up Stitches of Time as a business and re-train as a crafting teacher. Life, as they say, got in the way of that. I would never want to go back to teaching but love sharing skills with others.

I have always loved being a member of craft groups and over the years have met so many wonderful and supportive people. Especially here, where many of us have been new to La Marina, or are on our own, it is brilliant to have the company of like minded people. I always think crafters are especially friendly and welcoming to others. I am lucky to have family here but many people come just with themselves and a partner to start their new lives in the sun so it is brilliant to have a way to make friends.

When I moved to Marsden I met a group of very dear friends who were not only great fun to be, with but a very much needed support during lockdown. It seems strange to think that two years ago we were planning socially distanced meet ups in each other’s gardens when the first lifting of restrictions said you could meet in groups of six. I remember my friends arriving each with their own glass and bottle, and not having too much to drink as we were not allowed inside to use the toilet!

One of the recent social events here was afternoon tea at Linda’s house where she gave us a tour around her craft rooms. I though I had a large amount in my old craft rooms but Linda has the entire under – build of her house, (like a basement but open to the outside), and three rooms full of things. It is not so much a craft room but a very well stocked haberdashery. It reminds me of the ones we see at the open air museums such as Beamish. As you can see she loves tins so I am going to look out for some nice ones for her when I am back in the UK.

What is also lovely is to have local knowledge. Certain things are more difficult to get here, probably a good thing or I would go over my craft budget each month 😉 so it is great to know which market has a good craft stall, or where you can get things like interfacing. There are also frequent trips back to the UK so people can do some imports, as since Brexit delivery costs are so high and you have to pay customs duties on all packaging. Some expats sneak Marmite into the country, we bring back Aida and quilt wadding!

Last weekend was all about finishing the cushions and making some underwear for the Luna for the Jubilee fundraising, as the consensus at sewing group was that her skirt was too short for no knickers! I was quite happy to stay indoors, not that it was raining but I have had a very active week and enjoyed my sofa time with a good drama series.

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

Sewing with a view of the sea!

I have had a very lovely first week back in Spain. I have been out a lot as we have had family visiting from the UK so have spent a few evenings with my cousin and her children and been busy sorting the house and garden. It always takes me a while when I get here to remember where everything is, as I keep discovering things I had forgotten I owned !

I spent yesterday sorting out my new sewing space in my bedroom, and had a lovely afternoon using the new machine with a view of the sea and the windows open so that I could smell the orange blossom. It is a beautiful time of year here, they have had a lot of unseasonal rain and some dust storms over from the Sahara but that has meant that many more wildflowers are in bloom.

I do need to buy some more furniture for storage but have just got this lovely little drawer unit which is perfect for when I am at the machine as it holds all of my threads and tools and has enough space for the essentials on top.

At the moment the wardrobe on the left of the first picture holds all of my sewing and knitting supplies in some plastic drawers and hanging units but I would like something more custom with easier access so that I can keep everything tidier.

I am currently using my table from the dining area which is brilliant as it folds out to a really large space which is perfect for cutting out so I will buy another one for the lounge and move this one permanently into here.

The first job was to make a new pincushion for this area, I gave most of my sewing supplies to Ellen for her upcycling project, including nearly all of my pincushions which is a great excuse to make some more! I found this piece of applique when I was sorting my WIP pile.

I stitched it last year as a postcard for the Crafting During Coronavirus research project that I took part in but due to the general busyness of life at that point never managed to finish it and send it off. I just backed it with one of my favourite Liberty prints and stuffed it with cushion filling, et voila a nice big pincushion! It is pictured here next to the little scraps basket Facebook helpfully reminded me this morning that I made 6 years ago.

I think the sentiment I stitched is perfect for my new sewing room. I have been thinking a lot about that time as we have just had the second anniversary of lockdown. I was so worried that my family would be badly affected and that all my plans to retire and move to Spain could go wrong, so it is good to have a reminder of not to lose hope when things look difficult. I am so grateful to be here and for everything that has happened in the last nine months.

I have also kept some of the stitched gifts that I have been given over the years and this beautiful needlebook is now in place to hold all my hand stitching needles. It was made for me many years ago by a very talented friend, Barbara, at my old embroidery group.

I am working on a new outfit for Luna at the moment. I really enjoyed making the Luna and clothes last year but then got a bit stuck as to who to give them to. My cousin’s children are a little too old for those kind of gifts and though the newest member of the family is expected any day now, it will be a while until she can have one.

Moving to Spain and joining a new knitting and sewing group has meant that I have whole new outlet for things in terms of donations to charities that other members support here. This Luna will be going to raise funds for the local food bank in a ‘name the rabbit’ competition to be held at the Jubilee celebrations in June. She therefore needs a new outfit in red, white and blue, which I am hoping will be finished this afternoon. Having all the windows open made it a bit breezy so I was glad of my pattern weights that my very talented daughter Ellen made last year.

I have also been replanting all of my pots so the terrace is looking bright and colourful again. I have spent the last two evenings sitting out there reading with my candles and solar lights lit. It really is my happy place and I love the quiet and peace there in the evenings, especially after all of the excitement of the last month!

We are hopefully off on a trip this coming week, it is my wonderful Mum’s birthday tomorrow and this is her birthday trip, to Granada. We will be going by coach so will get chance to travel through the mountains again which will be wonderful. I will of course take lots of pictures and will have so much to share with you when I get back.

My next post is going to be a very special one, over two years in the making but everything finally came together this weekend so I can share that with you now. More will be revealed next time!

Until then I hope that you have a lovely weekend, and enjoy the celebrations and Easter Bank Holiday if you have one. Have fun, take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

The value of reflection

As a teacher, and a teacher trainer for 15 years, I use and teach about reflection and its value, and have always enjoyed learning from my experiences. Like many other people, I have been thinking a lot about the last year as we come up to the first anniversary of the UK lockdown.

One of the reasons why I love having a blog is that it allows me to look back on my past makes, trips and life in general. One of the practical advantages is that I can always find where I sourced things from, but also it serves as a reminder of all of happy times. Unlike a diary, this blog is not about everything that happens, but the public facing positive things in my life

I have been reminded of the value of reflecting this week twice, once by my very good friend Sarah, whose blog I read this morning. She has written about her year here, and many of the things that she says I can very much relate to. She writes about her appreciation of living here in Marsden, with the beautiful countryside on our doorstep, and the advantages of not having to commute to work.

I am eagerly awaiting lambing time so I can go and see the little cuties like this one last year. Hopefully the weather will be beautiful again so we can go for lots more walks as well.

Like me Sarah’s life has changed a lot. She works at a university, in addition to being a GP, so she too has been working from home a lot. We have shared the frustrations of not being able to talk to colleagues easily, and missing the things we took for granted a year ago, like going to conferences and just spending time with people.

She has also completed far less projects than she thought she would this past year, and I can share that feeling as well, where did all that extra time go? I think for me, a lot of it went into thinking, and into connecting with others. I have certainly spent for more time talking to relatives and friends this year, on the phone and video calls, just reassuring each other that it would be ok in the end.

Early on in the lockdown I started taking part in a research project, I can’t actually remember how I found about this, maybe through an Instagram or blog post? It was run by Naomi Clarke, someone who I previously had come across as a crafter as she is an avid paper piecer. The project was called Crafting During Coronavirus and the involvement was to keep a diary for a number of weeks, recording what I was doing and how I was feeling. This is part of her PhD work on why people sew.

I really enjoyed being involved in this, I have kept diaries many times before, and being a diary, and only for Naomi to read it was good to be able to write about some of my frustrations of that time. I re-read them recently and we were all trying to get to grips with online teaching over the summer and feeling totally out of our depths. I have become quite adept at it all now, not that I want it to continue but feel very proud that I managed to get my head round all that complex stuff that was introduced last summer.

Naomi contacted me again this week, with another part of the project, which is to create a postcard to my past self. It is to be a crafted postcard so I think I should definitely make it using Liberty. One of my little lockdown treats has been spending what would have been travel to work money on more beautiful fabric like these from Duck Egg Threads.

I think it will have to be hexagons as well as you know how I love them. Not that I have done much paper piecing this year at all, that is one of the things that has not been achieved, overtaken by Barbie couture and Little Cotton Rabbits knitting! These are some of my favourite hexagon creations, made some years ago for Yarndale, so I think the postcard will have to be linen and Liberty.

She has asked us to think about what we would say to our past selves, from our current selves, knowing what we know now. Being a huge fan of any time travel time type stories I have been thinking a lot about what to write. Almost a year ago on the 21st March I wrote a blog post about the start of lockdown. I titled it ‘It was the best of times, it was the worst of times’

I think that what I wrote then still is very true today, but even more so. I consider myself so lucky to have all of my wonderful friends and family, who have been so supportive over the past year. There have been some lovely times, like going to Whitby and Northumberland with Ellen, and Aysgarth with her and Jacky. I will put that in the postcard, along with the power of positive thought and prayer.

My focus in that post, then as now, was on crafting. The immense comfort that I have had from knitting, sewing and embroidering over the past year cannot be underestimated. I know others feel the same, judging by the amount of knitted animals that have been created in the last year on the Little Cotton Rabbits Facebook page. This Egbert, who I finished last July, wearing the first set of striped jumper and dungarees. I am now on my third jumper so have really got to grips with top down knitting.

My stressful meetings, complex concerns about the job and the students, and worrying about my family, don’t completely go away when I craft but it makes it all so much easier to bear. The blog also serves as a useful reminder that I have failed so far to use any of the fabric that I bought on that trip that I posted about last March for Barbie dresses. I have made lots, as you know, including these two made at the very start of lockdown, but just not with that fabric. Oh well, at least it doesn’t go off, does it!

My plans for this weekend are to finish another striped jumper for a little animal and to create the fabric postcard. I also have lots of little DIY tasks to do, Ellen will be up again next week the last weekend of decorating, then it will only be a couple of weeks of finishing touches before the house goes on the market. Exciting times 🙂 What is even more exciting is the Easter holidays, I am not promising much in the way of crafting, due to the house prep, but you never know.

I hope that you are having a nice weekend and that things continue to be positive in the weeks ahead as well. It is strange to think that we may be on the way to a more normal life. I was sat in a friend’s garden this week, in the sun, having a cup of tea. Over a year ago that would be commonplace but I was so grateful just to be able to be there and have a chat with her. It is, as always, the little things that make a difference.

Take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

The kindness of strangers

It never ceases to amaze me how kind bloggers are in giving away free patterns for things. I know sometimes that is to promote things like a new fabric line, but you don’t have to buy anything to be able to take advantage of their generosity and I love collecting ideas. They will all be for future makes as I have enough to keep me going in live projects until about September.

I say strangers but I do think of these people as friends, well imaginary friends though the wonderful Jenny of Elefantz and I have corresponded by e-mail. She is always giving away beautiful designs and this year she has two things for everyone.

The first is her Posies Block of the Month Quilt. These are gorgeous little stitcheries that would make great gifts appliques onto a bag or lavender sachet if you didn’t want to make them into a quilt.

Each one is very quick to do and I love the combinations of colours that she has chosen. All pictures are from her website.

She is also producing a magazine this year, The Homemakers Heart, and the first edition is full of lovely things. I knew I would love it as soon as I saw the cover, this looks so much like my craft room stash (picture from Jenny’s website).

This month’s edition has the first of a days of the week stitchery set, a quilt block and a journal cover as well as recipes and other delights. It really is gorgeous and is totally free! Thank you so much Jenny 🙂

Lori Holt of Bee in my Bonnet also has a new quilt design out called Flea Market Flowers. I love Lori’s designs and this one really appeals to me because of the Dresdens it uses.

I had a flurry of Dresden making a few years ago when I got a ruler free with a quilt magazine and made lots of pouches with them on. I loved combining them with vintage crochet.

Not only do you get the free quilt pattern and a step by step weekly tutorial with such lovely pictures but there is also a download for the quilt info pack which includes this notepaper and clip art set. You can download them from the links on this page here.

We are so lucky to have the internet for all these lovely things and such wonderful people sharing their talent through it. It all makes me very happy.

It is another very busy week here, with more snow. We have had so much more this year, I think it is Nature’s way of giving the children a break from all the online home schooling they are having to do during lockdown and there were lots of them enjoying it today.

I managed a long frosty walk up on the hills yesterday lunchtime which was lovely. I am trying to get as much exercise as I can do and it was sunny and gorgeous, a real promise of Spring.

I hope that you are having a good week, I shall be back at the weekend hopefully to share some more loveliness with you. Meanwhile have fun, take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

New sources of inspiration … as if I need any new projects :-)

I am on leave at the moment which is wonderful. I am also self-isolating since we have had a couple of positive cases at work. That is not quite so wonderful but does mean I have an excuse not to go out at the moment. The weather has been variable anyway so I am very content to stay in and knit and sew. Fingers crossed I will be released back into the wild later this week and hopefully will be taking a little trip away with my sister.

The self – isolation, of not just myself but colleagues does mean that more of our teaching is moving online from next week. We have tried really hard to keep things going on campus but sadly it has got to the stage that this is not possible for some of the classes. On the bright side that means less travelling to work, which saves time and money so I have decided to use that to invest in some more small businesses that I have found via Instagram.

These were suggested to me and as you will see, they could not be more perfect for me. I have made many similar projects over the years, mainly for sale at Yarndale and love working with these shapes and fabrics.

I am not sure when I will start these projects, they may have to be retirement projects as I am still in the middle of all of the knitted animals. However they will not go off and I will be really looking forward to doing them.

They are both creators that use English Paper Piecing, I love working with hexagons, as you know if you have been reading this blog for a while, but look at all of this gorgeousness from Elise and Emilie. The pictures are all from their Pinterest page here.

They have various different versions of EPP flowers, the Starflower which is the top picture, Mayflower in the middle and Dillyflower which is the third one. Don’t you just love that bottom picture with all the colour and joy 🙂 Just the thing to brighten a wet Autumn day.

They are all utterly gorgeous and would make fabulous little gifts when used on needlecases or pincushions. I think the Dillyflowers would make an amazing quilt. The company are based in the USA but supply digital downloads through their Etsy site.

The other one is called Vintage Sewing Box and it was this gorgeous Hexagon Sewing Box that I fell in love with, again available as a digital download from her shop. Pictures from her website.

I really love this Hexagon Sewing Case as well and that is going to be my next purchase.

She has so many wonderful creations on her blog which I am going to spend lots more time reading, and lots of free tutorials here, including these gorgeous little needlecases. She also has a Youtube channel with lots of very helpful tutorials.

They are all definitely people who are my kindred spirits, look at all that gorgeous Liberty fabric! Absolute heaven and I am very happy to be able to support some more small businesses.

I hope that you are having a good week, I had forgotten just how tiring the start of term is, so it is amazing to have a bit of a relax and still be in my pjs at 11am in the morning. I hope that you have a good time ahead, with lots of relaxation planned as well.

Take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

Sea, sky and spectacular textiles

We had an amazing time at Bambrugh, the weather was fantastic and the location wonderful with so many stunning views.

My friend Jo, who I have known since Polytechnic in the 1980s, is lucky enough to actually live here. Her partner is a member of the castle staff and they live in the gatehouse. Her photos of the beach during lockdown where she took daily walks were one of the reasons I wanted to revisit the area.

We also met one of the people we know from re-enactment, Dave the moneyer, he has been there all summer with his Viking set up. It was lovely to see him, chat about events and know that at least he has had a good season.

After visiting the castle we had a picnic on the beach and a walk (and paddle) along to the end where there was a wonderful maze like path back through the overgrowth to the other side of the castle.

When we return next year we shall visit some of the beaches further down which give the opportunity for more of these stunning views. Since we returned I have had many photo prompts from the castle Facebook page and these are just some of the amazing photos taken in the area. The final photo is by Jamie Dobson, I don’t have any information on the others.

Inside the Great Hall of the castle was a patchwork hanging that was really fascinating. It consisted of applique as well as a large area of patchwork made of diamonds. The hanging itself was around ten feet high and looked like an immensely time consuming piece of work. Although there was no label with the piece that I could see further research came up with the fact that it was made by Russian prisoners during the Crimean War. I should have guessed that it was a military uniform piece as I have seen similar in quilt exhibitions before.

I would love to know more about the piece, how many people were involved, how long did it take? Who designed the piece and where did they get the inspiration from? I would assume that this was a pattern and techniques they were familiar with from home. That is both the joy and the frustration of seeing such pieces in historic locations. I always want to know more about the people behind the work and little is recorded.

While I was doing the searching for more information I came across this amazing piece of embroidery from a textile artist called Rachel Wright. Photo from Pinterest. 

This was a commissioned piece and you can see more of her work on her Instagram page. She also has some items for sale on her Redbubble site and I particularly love this bag, might just have to treat myself!

We ended the day with another campfire, a game or two of cards, and another amazing sunset. Such simple pleasures but we were so grateful to be able to be there after all the restrictions this year.

We are lucky to live in such a beautiful country. I always travel in the UK a lot but the one advantage (there are so few!) of the current situation is that other people may have had the chance to appreciate our countryside more this year. 

I am hoping that in a couple of weeks I may be able to do some local travel as I have some time off coming up. I have a very large amount of holiday this academic year due to working nearly every Saturday and so having a day off in lieu each week that I need to use. I still have leave carried over from earlier in the summer that I could not use. We have an excellent bus service here so may do some more local exploring. 

Meanwhile there are knitted animals to finish, the mouse is almost done and is looking very cute so far, my first pair of stripey stockings and I love them!

Take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.