Happy World Embroidery Day!

To be honest I didn’t know it was World Embroidery Day today until one of the textile companies I subscribe to e-mailed me about it but it is, so many happy stitching returns to you all.

I was just about to start some new embroidery this evening so that is fortuitous. I have a new project that I will share with you in a bit. If you want to know more about World Embroidery Day you can find out more here. I particularly like the part of this description that says…

‘To embroider is a peaceful occupation. It can be traditional made from a common
remembrance, drawn designs, from a pattern, or from your own imagination. You embroider for joy, beauty, decoration and for the creation of identity.’ 

I am sure that all of us who embroider share those sentiments. The lovely Karen from ‘Did You Make That’ has recently taken up embroidery and talks about the different emotions different crafts give us in this post here. I love all of my crafts for different reasons, some can bring frustration as well as joy (the black velvet jacket that never was) but mostly they bring me peace and sanity in a frantic world.

I have been doing a little bit of crafting over the last few days, mainly as respite care from the increasingly frantic work on the doctorate which is due in exactly 2 months from today!

We have had some more people leave work under our latest voluntary redundancy scheme including my very best friend.We have worked together for 15 years and shared wonderful times together. I am very, very happy for them all as they  are off to enjoy retirement or adventures travelling the world but I am very sad to see them go so I made a couple of pouches as gifts for special friends.

Liberty star bag 1

Liberty star bag 2

Liberty star bag 3

These are from some of the blocks I made last year which have been waiting to be turned into something special and details of how to make the bags can be found in this tutorial here. The beautiful lace zips come from Buddly Crafts and I shall be ordering a little restock very soon.

Liberty block bag 1

Liberty block bag 2

The embroidery is part of a new hat for the Steampunk Asylum event in Lincoln over August Bank Holiday. I had contemplated making a new jacket but with the focus needed on the doctorate and a few minor household issues (one involving an expensive boiler repair!) decided that I needed something that would not add any stress.

So I am wearing the tablecloth jacket again but I am making a tea party hat to go with it. I had done some planning for this a while ago for another hat that I have not yet created but am well on the way with it.I loved wearing it last year with the sewing themed hat and it deserves more outings.

Steampunk event Alison 5

I will devote a whole post to the creation of the hat when it is completed but meanwhile here is a sneak preview of a very cute felt cupcake that will be part of the tea party. I have really enjoyed making these, as with the felt flowers it is a joy to work with all the lovely colours of felt and add little beads and embellishments. I used this tutorial to help me and found lots of different ideas and videos for all types of felt food.

Felt cake 1

Felt cake 2

In other exciting news with the help of my wonderful children we repainted the kitchen at the weekend and my daughter very enthusiastically Marie Kondoed the contents meaning I have far less clutter. I was very good and let lots of things go.

We also had a surprise visit from a herd of cows in the back lane. They were being escorted from a farm up the road when they made an unexpected right turn. This picture was taken as they were being escorted off the premises which is why is is a bit blurry. This is why I love living in Marsden, there is never a dull moment 🙂

Cows 1

Well I will love you and leave you and get on with some more of the hat, the embroidery is for a little sign that will say ‘everything stops for tea’ for the front. Take care, thanks for visiting and have a happy week whether you are embroidering or not.

 

A mini Hardwick Hall

Our last day of the staycation saw us at Gawthorpe Hall in Lancashire, another National Trust property. I have visited twice before but Mum and Ellen had never been. I particularly wanted Ellen to visit as the house was designed by the same architect as Hardwick, where she used to work and is a beautiful miniature version with an amazing textile collection. There are some historic rooms open but much of the public space contains the textiles collected by Rachel Kay-Shuttleworth.

Gawthorpe 1

Gawthorpe 2

Gawthorpe 29

Rachel lived there from 1886 until 1967 and collected over 30,000 pieces of textiles, from all cultures and for all uses.

Gawthorpe 24

She was an avid embroiderer and promoter of arts and crafts of all kinds which she taught to keep the skills alive.

Gawthorpe 13

This small display of ecclesiastical goldwork reminded me of my visit to the Elizabeth Hoare collection in Liverpool.

Rachel believed that creativity had health and and social benefits. I like to think that she and I would have been very good friends if I had ever been able to meet her, she sounds wonderful. The collection is maintained by a charity and works with schools and local communities as well as stitchers.

I love this display of her desk in one of the rooms, her stitching is on the walls and in the drawers are all the sorts of things she would have used, I love seeing this very personal side of stitching and can imagine her writing articles for embroidery magazines and deciding on new projects here.

There were some very similar pieces to those in the Women Travellers exhibition at Bankfield Museum that came from Eastern Europe and Asia.

Gawthorpe 22

Gawthorpe 23

Gawthorpe 21

The displays have changed since I last went about 5 years ago and there were so many wonderful pieces of whitework and lace on display.

These are two things I have never done but am fascinated by the delicacy of the work and think that the shawls and collars are beautiful. Maybe one day I will be able to incorporate something like this into a Steampunk costume.

Another thing I loved were these hexagons that she had collected, they had been fussy cut and posted to someone, probably as gift.

Gawthorpe 3

I think it is so exciting to see actual papers made of scraps, you can just imagine the sender making these and sending them to a special friend. There were also some hexagon needlebooks and you know how I love a good hexagon!

Gawthorpe 4

Gawthorpe 5

Rachel’s personal rooms also contained this wonderful bed with crewelwork hangings, I am really looking forward to the day when I have a hand- made quilt on my bed, I have one as a work in progress but it will probably be a retirement project as have not touched it for about a year. Luckily fabric does not go off!

Gawthorpe 30

Gawthorpe 31

There was also a display of contemporary embroidery inspired by the collection with some beautiful whitework pieces and silk embroidered birds and insects.

Gawthorpe 27

Gawthorpe 28

This case of needle work tools was also inspired by the collection.

I have been embracing Rachel’s philosophy very much this week, we are right in the middle of marking season, with the added work on my doctorate and so it has been wonderful to sit and stitch in the evenings. I have been working on a table decoration for my Make do and Mend display and so have been quietly doing chain stitch while watching Netflix, very soothing after a hard day of thinking!

I have transformed a man’s shirt into a blouse for my display as well and am now busy working on other aspects, luckily both Jake and I have worn through socks recently so I will be able to demonstrate my darning mushroom and darning egg and I have just got a copy of a vintage pattern for making some patchwork slippers so that is my next project for the event.I am really enjoying the research for the event and have been doing lots of very interesting reading. I have also just won an auction on Ebay for some clothing and food ration books to add to my artifacts which I am very excited about. I will do a post all about that in a little while but my next post will be all about the Haworth 1940s event that Ellie and I are going to this weekend.

We are very excited, Howarth is such a cute village, home to the Bronte sisters and I have not been to this event before, though we have done a Steampunk one there a few years ago. The tablecloth jacket will have an outing as I have decided it is a great example of Make do and Mend and I will be putting on my false eyelashes and red lipstick for a bit of 1940s glamour. I am aiming for something like the gorgeous Gene Tierney here.

Gene-Tierney-makeup-1940s-

As with when we do Steampuk it always seems strange to be wearing make up and costume as I am so used to medieval re-enactment and shapeless clothing and all my hair covered. It will be lovely to be able to have a bit of 1940s style and I can’t wait to see all of the gorgeous outfits there.

Hope that you all have a nice weekend planned, take care and thanks for visiting.

 

I’m a Barbie girl ….

Do you remember that very irritating song some years ago that started with this? I recall the lines about it being fantastic and plastic and it did remind me at the time of my own fun playing with Barbies as a child.

I loved making clothes and houses for Barbie when Ellie was little. I made an entire apartment out of cardboard boxes, including all of the furniture and we loved doing that together, visiting the DIY shop for large samples of wallpaper and using old carpet and fabric scraps.

I have decided to make some Barbie clothes as presents for the younger cousins this year as all of them have the dolls and enjoy playing with them but don’t have an extensive wardrobe. I am hoping I might be able to do a little bit of knitting for them as well, I have not knitted for ages but think my wrist would stand some small items.

I have bought myself a model for fitting purposes, she came from the local charity shop.I thought I might be able to make a pattern from the jeans she is wearing.

barbie model 1barbie model 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I do have a knitting pattern book from ages ago and have been looking up some new resources which I thought I would share with you. You can see that the owner of my doll also had the same knitting book, the ski jumper is identical and look at those fab 1990s disco outfits. I am sure I had some jumpers that were very similar at the time!

barbie knitting pattern book 1

barbie knitting pattern book 2

barbie knitting pattern book 3

barbie knitting pattern book 4barbie knitting pattern book 5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was also looking at Barbie sets on Ebay and was so tempted.They had the original Country Camper on Ebay which I remember getting for Christmas one year and was thrilled, that obviously sewed the seeds for my love of camping and camper vans.

barbie country camper

There is a newer version as well which is fantastic, look at all the options you have here, and a pool!

barbie new camper 1

barbie new camper 2

This Sprucecrafts site has got links to ten other sites with patterns or tutorials for clothes.My favourite link out of all of them is this one Craftiness is not optional, not just for the wonderful blog name but also for all of the beautiful and very simple and adaptable ideas there are here.Pictures below are from the blog.

barbie dressbarbie skirt 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have also found a pattern for a little knitted shrug from this site.

barbie shrug

I am really looking forward to making some cute skirts and dresses with some of my Liberty fabric and my collection of lace, crochet and vintage embroidery. I was lucky enough to get these three new tray cloths on my charity shop trip as well and Barbie clothes will be great for using up the tiny scraps.

vintage traycloths jan all

 

I am planning to make more of the Liberty edged vintage log cabin blocks as below with these as well as eventually I would like enough to make a quilt.

vintage-log-cabin-block-11

I think it would look really cute to try and make some skirts for the dolls with the embroidery on the bottom using the tray cloth designs. If I can make it work for a whole jacket I should be able to do it for some Barbie skirts!

vintage traycloths jan 4

 

Progress on the Steampunk Vampire hunter outfit is going well, I finished embellishing the hat and umbrella some weeks ago and have bought some new lace gloves and the black skirt in the same design as the red and purple ones.

I am really looking forward to Whitby next weekend, not only is it a chance to spend time with Ellie. Kerry and James but I can’t wait to see all the lovely outfits that everyone is wearing there.

I was very pleased, after fruitless hours of searching on Ebay for bottles and printable labels, to find this gorgeous perfume bottle that I am going to use as a holy water bottle. It was in a local shop for the bargain sum of £2 🙂 Isn’t it beautiful? I am going to hang it from my belt.

steampunk whitby holy water bottle 1

steampunk whitby holy water bottle 2

I will take lots of photos for you and be back soon with those. Meanwhile have a lovely week ahead and thanks for visiting.

It was the last few days before Christmas ….

And all through the house there was lots of activity, making the last minute baubles, finishing off a cross stitched ornament and lots and lots of cooking!

I think I am done now. I am now making a few more baubles just to experiment with ribbon, some may be gifted next year as I think I am going to give these again for 2019, (nothing like getting ahead is there, though I may well find something new to make before then.)

Xmas ribbon baubles 1

I do love the way these ribbon ones have turned out, they are a lot quicker to do than the fabric ones as I have used less layers but they still look lovely. Some of the decoration at the ribbon intersections is pins and some little metal balls pinned on.

Xmas ribbon baubles 2

Xmas ribbon baubles 3

Xmas ribbon baubles 5

Xmas ribbon baubles 4

Earlier in the year you may remember I had a churn dash block craze and I made these two ornaments for my cousins then, I love the way that they have come out but didn’t realise until taking the pictures that the red fabric for the backing is on sideways – oops! The little charms are from Ebay here.

Xmas churn dash ornies 1

Xmas churn dash ornies 2

Xmas churn dash ornies 3

I did not get chance to make lots of other things this week as I have had a lot of marking to do so still have some pouches to stitch together after Christmas but luckily not everything sold at Yarndale so I have enough things for gifts.

I did manage a little apron for Ava my nearly two year old great niece. I have made similar ones from this tutorial here before.

 

I used the same fabric back and front to make it so it is reversible, the tutorial pattern has a pocket included but though I cut one out, (you use the armhole cutouts for the pockets), it covered up too much of the cute elephants on the design so it left it off. All of this came from stash and I think I have had the fabric for about 5 years, it came from my last trip to China!

I have made lots of delicious focaccia for the festive season along with a gluten free chocolate, ginger and orange cheesecake and some mincemeat blondies which are our new favourite thing here, they are like a very squidgy soft version of Christmas cake and will be delicious with the rum clotted cream that I am going to make 🙂

Our Christmas will be a little fragmented this year as Ellen is working tomorrow and Christmas Day and Jake is working Christmas Eve and Boxing Day so wonderful Kerry is coming tomorrow to take me to Ellen’s for two days and three church services, (two at beautiful Clumber Chapel), then Ellen and I are driving back here on Christmas Day after church to spend the rest of it with Jake. At least we will be together for a little bit. I am then off to Spain for two weeks.

So I shall say Happy Christmas to you all now as I won’t be around again until mid Jan, hope that you all have a very good festive season and a great New Year’s Eve. I will be at the Chinese restaurant in La Marina as usual, dancing and watching fireworks.

Take care and thanks for visiting and see you in 2019!

Sorting out the stock

We had a lovely last event at Caldicot Castle, the weather was mostly very good which always helps and it was great to see everyone one last time before the end of the season. As always I am sad in one way but with the colder weather on its way am looking forward to cosy nights in with the candles lit and lots of stitching!

We visited Gloucester Cathedral on the way home so have a lot of beautiful pictures from there to sort for you, lots more inspiration for embroidery designs.

Glos cathedral 1

I have spent part of the morning labeling all of the stock for Yarndale, I finished the last two pouches this week. As last year I have used a lot of Liberty but tried to do something different this year in case I have customers coming back who have bought in previous years.

Yarndale Stock 3

Yarndale Stock 2

This year’s new stock has been quilting themed with pouches and baskets with blocks and hexagons on.

Yarndale Stock 5

Yarndale Stock 4

I still have some things left from last year like these sheep themed knitting pouches as well so have a nice bag of goodies on its way to Sarah.

yarndale-sheep-bags-1

These pouches below all use recycled denim from old jeans and the lovely Liberty hexagon fabric for the bases.

Yarndale Stock 6

Yarndale Stock 7

The pretty flower zips are from Buddly Crafts and I need to order more stock as have now run out of coloured ones.

I have finished the large stitches sampler from Jenny of Elefantz that I was working on and have just started two smaller circle monogram designs of hers from last month’s Stitchery Club. You can buy just this design from her Craftsy page here and I am going to the finished stitching into pouches for Christmas presents. Picture from Jenny’s Craftsy page.

ELEFANTZ+monogram+circlet+cover.jpg

She has so many beautiful designs and I have just had a sneak peak at the Christmas stuff she is doing for next month. It is gorgeous and I am really looking forward to stitching them.

Term has started and I have had a very busy and very nice week getting to know all of the new first year students. It is so exciting for them and I really love this time of year, despite the very wet and windy weather, the trees look gorgeous and I have lots of nice things to look forward to in the next few months. Oh and I have just booked my flights for Spain for New Year so I am very pleased about that.

I am planning lots of stitching on the sofa this weekend while watching Netflix. I am currently enjoying watching Star Trek Voyager again, our outfits for Steampunks in Space in November are going to be based on the uniforms from this series so we have been busy collecting things for those.

Hope that you have a lovely weekend, take care and thanks for visiting.

I do like a good freebie!

I recently treated myself to a quilt magazine, I used to have subscriptions to three magazines but stopped as I had so many lovely ideas that I didn’t ever get time to make but bought this one because of the free gift of quilter’s graph paper.

Quilt mag

As you know I have been resizing blocks and thought this would help me. It is great as unlike ordinary graph paper it comes in one inch sizing with the option to use different scales. There was also a useful article on how to resize and add the all important seam allowances.

Quilt graph paper 1

I was just going to make some more churn dash blocks but there was an illustration of a Philadelphia block and I thought that looked pretty if quite fiddly in smaller scale. You do know how I love to make tiny things though so I worked out the measurements using my graph paper for a 5″ finished size block.

Quilt graph paper 2

Quilt graph paper 3

Philadelphia block 1

I completed it yesterday and am very pleased, most of the pieces match really well, not easy when some are only 1/2 ” across. This is on the pile of blocks to make into pouches and bags for gifts and Yarndale.

Philadelphia block 2

I am on with another couple of blocks today from one of my books. I have also just discovered this site with free Block of the Day cutting instructions so that  should keep me amused for a while!

I decided to have the complete weekend off work despite being away for the last two weekends as well. I have marked 142 assignments in the last 5 weeks and have 22 more to go but am feeling a little brain dead so thought a weekend in the craft room would be good for me. The weather is lovely today so we are making plans for our 6th BBQ of the year!

I have a quiet week ahead with just a few meetings and the marking to finish off so am looking forward to getting that done and then spending some serious time on my doctorate, after I come back from my holiday in Spain 🙂

I do love this time of year, the rhododendrons are in bloom and the sunshine makes everything look lovely. Hope that you are having nice weather where you are.

Take care, see you soon and thanks for visiting.

A bag in progress

I have finished the Liberty Churn Dash block with the Jenny of Elefantz stitching at the centre. It looks beautiful and now I just need to decide what sort of bag I am going to make it into. I think I want something more structured than the soft shoulder bag I made last year so will have to peruse the internet for ideas.

Churn dash and embroidery block 1

I am very pleased with the matching of the different elements on this block.

I want to use these lovely vintage lace bobbins as decoration on the top of the bag, I will probably just loop them round the handle.

Churn dash and embroidery block 6

I have also bought some lovely new Liberty fabric, this set is 5″ squares in two of my favourite designs, this is from ZuZus Crafts on Etsy.

Liberty fabric 1

This is Capel, I love the outline print on this design.

Liberty fabric 2

Liberty fabric 3

I think this one might be my favourite Liberty fabric ever, so ditsy and in my best colours. This is Phoebe.

Liberty fabric 4

I have finished stitching the headress for Kate so will get some pictures of that for you this weekend as we are doing a show at Ashby de la Zouche Castle. The weather is supposed to be very good so I am looking forward to another lovely event with my friends. This will be our first camping trip of the season so I am going to enjoy sitting round the campfire of an evening.

The frantic marking is still continuing so I have just got some very little works in progress for evenings, hemming a piece of linen to go with my new veil and a repeat of the last Jenny stitching that I did for a new pouch.

I have possibly got some time next weekend to get into the craft room so may have some more things to share with you then.

In the meantime have a lovely Bank Holiday weekend, thanks for visiting and see you soon.