Lots of lovely stitching!

Although I have not done much these past few weeks I have managed to get a few finishes done and a new project started. I am planning to make as many Christmas gifts as possible this year so have started in plenty of time, (I hope!).

This project was started in early June so it has taken a long time but I have really enjoyed it. It is another Jenny of Elefantz design of course from her Stitchery Club and I am going to make this into a folder to store part completed embroidery.

Jenny embroidery stitching 1

I loved doing all of the different stitches, some I had never used before like blanket stitch and I think they have all come out quite neatly for a first attempt.

The second one was a lot quicker and you can find the details here in my blog post if you wish to buy the design.

Jenny ring embroidery 1

I started this towards the end of last month and was originally going to put an initial in the middle but you know how much I love hexis and just thought the colours of this Liberty fabric were so suited to the embroidery. This will become another pouch.

Apologies for the fact that the photos look very blue! We have very little light today though we have had some beautiful autumn days with sun and blue skies. I am starting a second one of these tonight and will maybe put an initial in that one.All of the threads are either Silk Mill for the solids or Caron Waterlillies from Sew and So for the variegated threads.

I have another update for you at the weekend so until then enjoy yourselves, take care and thanks for visiting.

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Another glorious cloister

We stayed over in Gloucester on the way back from our recent trip to Caldicot as we really wanted to go and see the cathedral. I knew that it had the most wonderful cloisters and I really love these so was excited to see them.

The docklands area where we stayed has been redeveloped with a mix of conversions of the old warehouses and new flats, shops and places to eat so we enjoyed having a quick wander round there and on through to the cathedral area where we say a little shop and exhibition devoted to Beatrix Potter’s, ‘The Tailor of Gloucester. We saw a lot of her original drawings when we visited the Lake District in the summer, which I have still to post about.

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The cathedral itself is stunning, there are the most beautiful little chapels and stained glass windows everywhere.

My favourite was this painted one, which was done in the late 1800s and it gorgeous.

Everywhere you look there are altars and carved ceilings as well as some notable tombs including Edward 2nd who is portrayed by one of the members of our re-enactment group.

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The best bit for me was definitely the cloisters, not only the carved fan ceilings which were stunning, but all the beautiful stained glass.

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I took lots of pictures of designs as inspiration for the future book I intend to write of embroidery, goldwork and blackwork designs inspired by historic places that I have visited.

I especially love these little flower designs. I am not sure when they were made but they are clearly very old, you can see how bowed the window in the bottom picture is.

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We were also very excited as there was a film crew setting up for work on a new TV series, ‘The Spanish Princess’, about one of my all time favourite historical people, Katherine of Aragon.

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Look at the beautiful goldwork Tudor roses on these banners. I am really looking forward to seeing the series when it come out if I can find it as it is being made for American TV. Here is a sneak peek of the filming at Wells Abbey, the costumes look stunning.

Autumn is well and truly here and the trees look lovely. I have only today off this week as we have been continuing with induction for the new students so am just going to do a little bit of sewing this afternoon. Most evenings I have been far too tired to do anything more than about 10 stitches so am making very slow progress on my latest embroideries!

I have a quieter week ahead so will be able to spend more time on fun things. Hope you are having fun with whatever you are doing, take care and thanks for visiting.

Gentle (or frantic!) domesticity

The lovely Jenny of Elefantz has a Facebook group as well as her web page, called Gentle Domesticity, partly inspired by the book, The Gentle Art of Domesticity by Jane Brocket. I love seeing all the things that people have made on that page and she also gives free designs away there as well, as she is not only very talented but very kind. It is a closed group so you have to ask to join.

One of her latest freebies is a set of monogram pincushions, she is uploading them weekly and they are on her blog and we have just had the letter D uploaded. These ones will be free until the 4th Oct so if you are interested please check them out soon. This is the picture of Jenny’s D one from her blog. I love it , it is so neat and the stitching either side really of the letter really sets it off and I think the little teapot pin is wonderful 🙂

ELEFANTZ d pincushion SAL main

Jenny writes a lot about homemaking and domesticity on her blog and I really enjoy her posts about recipes and things she has made for her home. I love cooking and have really enjoyed being at home more over the summer to cook.I have just made the most delicious spinach, feta and butternut squash loaf for work lunches, the recipe is here if you want to try it and mine did look very much like the picture below! I love Sainsburys magazine and always get lots of great recipes from there.

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Another one of my favorite sources of recipes is the Tasty website and I like the videos that they have,they come up on my Facebook feed a lot which is where I got this recipe for chilli with cornbread dumplings which uses my favourite cooking implement, my slow cooker.

Now that term has started it is back to more frantic than gentle domesticity and as I am not going to be able to get home early in the evenings due to a timetable change I have been trying to streamline the menu planning and shopping. I have not tried any of these recipes yet but this site, Creme de la Crumb , has some really good quick recipes which are much appreciated.

Having been a full time teacher as well as a mum since Jake started school I have always menu planned but I have spent some time this weekend creating a spreadsheet with all our favourite recipes in categories so that I can easily plan a month’s worth of menus at a time.

I love looking at other people’s menu planning for new ideas, I am secretly addicted to all those videos on Youtube about people’s bargain food shopping and the menu planning and organising for very large families. I find it fascinating having a glimpse into people’s lives and am always getting new ideas for making things more efficient.I truly would love to have more time to spend at home, that is why I am so looking forward to retirement so that I can spend far more of my life practising the domestic arts!

I have had a really lovely domestic weekend sorting lots of things out in preparation for the busy times ahead. I hope that you have a good week and I will be back soon. Thanks, as always for visiting.

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.

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Yarndale Stock 2

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

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

Lorca, the goldwork in action

I am catching up with all the things that I have not posted about over the summer. At Easter, before the trip to Seville, we visited Lorca, a small city in the mountains a couple of hours from La Marina to see the Good Friday fiesta.

We have wanted to see this for a few years since we went on  our trip to see the goldwork museums. The four museums house all of the robes and banners that are used in this festival and we were absolutely amazed by them then. Two of the groups that organise the festival, the Blue and the Purple ones, are responsible for the religious side with the icons and the White and Scarlet organise the armies and other groups.

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We really had no idea of the scale of the festival though, what we saw in the museum was only a fraction of what filled the streets. We had a couple of hours wandering around watching everyone get ready and had drinks and something to eat before finding a spot to watch. It was quite bizzare seeing the streets filled with Roman soldiers and chariots and Egyptian girls!

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There are stands where you can buy seats for the parade so next year we will do that but we had a pretty good view of events from our little spot. We were right behind the camera crew so we could see a lot on their monitor as well.

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Apologies for the slightly blurry pictures but I wanted you to see the scale of the floats. As well as the Roman and Egyptian armies and their chariots there were horses racing up and down the street and the huge floats carrying icons , Roman Emperors, Cleopatra and her consorts and even the Pope!

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A truly incredible spectacle and the amount of work that went into the costumes is amazing. Some of the larger group ones were made by machine using ready made goldwork but most of the main characters are hand embroidered and it is truly stunning to see the mass of beautiful work that goes into this event.

A really great celebration of the art of the stitcher and another reason to love Spain! This is only a very small city and not famous for anything apart from this parade so we really wondered how they got to be producing something on this scale every year. We are going to go back next year and hopefully will book seats so we can have an even better view!

I am planning more pouch making this afternoon as Yarndale is in a couple of weeks and I need to get all my stock finished. Then it will be on to the Christmas ornaments, I have made a few of different types but need to decide on which will be the design I make six of for this year for my group of friends.I think I might go with baubles as have not done any of these for a very long time and have just acquired a huge stash of polystyrene balls from a local shop that was closing down.

Hope you have a lovely rest of the weekend and week ahead. We are off to Caldicot Castle for our last event so are hoping for good weather to end the season with.

Take care and thanks for visiting.

The second Steampunk jacket

Technically this is the third jacket I have made from a Steampunk pattern as Amanda’s wedding jacket a couple of years ago was from a Steampunk pattern but this is the second one for me.

I saw this pattern a while ago and thought it looked beautiful and it gives me a chance to wear more lovely lace! It is a McCalls Pattern M6770 and I bought it a while ago during one of the Jaycott’s pattern sales. Images from their web site.

McCalls Pattern 1

 

McCalls Pattern 2

My plan is to make the jacket out of some black crushed velvet that Ellie gave me a while ago. I already have one black jacket but it is a little too small over the bust so want something that does up as this will be used for events in November and Feb so it will be cold.

I met one of the Seamstress Squadron at Lincoln who had already made this and she was kind enough to let me take pictures and talk through the construction with me.

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The bustle part is actually a separate piece that ties round the waist but I am planning to adapt the pattern to attach it to the jacket and make the front a little longer.I will also not have the corset fastenings on the back or the gathered part on the sleeves which will make construction easier.

I did the same sort of pattern hacking on the jacket I have just made and it worked out fine. I may not have enjoyed my school needlework lessons all those years ago due to a very stern teacher who shouted a lot but I did learn the basics of how patterns work and have the confidence to alter them.

I will then make the skirt out of some pink velvet that I bought many, many years ago for re-enactment, in time for the Feb event. I am planning to buy a red version of the purple skirt as illustrated below for the Nov event as I love it so much and it will go fabulously with my new hat.At some point I think I will also get the black one as well.

Steampunk red skirt

The plan is to cut this out next week before things get busy at work as the sizing is always the most difficult part. I have had a lot of inspiration and practical help from the Love to Sew podcast. They have an episode on tissue fitting which was really helpful so I am going to try doing that before cutting out.They also have a great one on pattern hacking if you want some ideas for adapting things.

Wish me luck as I hate sewing with velvet though I love the way it looks! It moves around so much when you sew it but am determined to use up stash rather than buying any new fabric in the spirit of sustainability and trying to use up the many yards in my sewing room before I relocate to Spain in a few years.

Will update you on the progress, take care and thanks for visiting.

Bustles, blossoms and beats, the creativity of Steampunk

As always there were amazing costumes. I really love the fact that Steampunk gives people a chance to participate on any level, whether it be using things you have in your wardrobe and adding a top hat, or even adapting a wedding hat, re purposing charity shop finds, buying clothes ready made or tailoring/creating your own fantastic costumes.

This woman is a costume maker and her garments are always out of this world.I love the starry fabric of her dress.

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This white one below is a great example of putting things together, the costume is all ready made items and then it is set off by this amazing head dress.

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It is a very inclusive activity that can be done at any level, unlike re-enactment where there are unfortunately lots of authenticity rules, understandable but it does make it expensive even for a beginner.

For just a basic outfit you would need to spend about £100 even if you made all the garments yourself yet Steampunk can be done for next to nothing. My outfit this year, which was the most original I have done not using many things already in my wardrobe, only cost £67 to put together and that is including buying the skirt and hat that I have already worn to other events and to re-enactment lots of times .

I also love the fact that it is encouraging people to sew and to make, anything that does that is fantastic and every single one of the thousands of people who were there this weekend had done something creative which is so good for everybody.

There were some wonderful examples of this creativity, this woman’s costume was music themed. I really like her hat made of records and the bustle from sheet music!The attention to detail is wonderful, look at the music note fabric and the tiny piano on the back pack.

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I think the most original re-purposing I saw all weekend was this great set of wings made from ties, an adult and a child version, how fantastic is this!

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Although this top hat decorated with Lego people did come a close second.

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We loved this gown and hat with so many ribbon roses, we spoke to the owner about how she had made it and they were all hand made then glued on to gown.

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This was a fantastic Elizabeth 1st inspired neck piece, we loved all the detail on this.

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There was also a large contingent of Votes for Women themed participants, celebrating the centenary of the 1918  Representation of the People Act which gave some women the right to vote.

This lovely woman was one of the many who stopped and complimented me on my jacket, having seen the pictures on the Seamstress Squadron page which was so kind of them.

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There were some fabulous gowns as well such as these lovely ladies and the gentlemen with the matching waistcoat. We all especially loved the princess outfit in pale blue at the bottom.

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And so much colour, I love purple and these women looked fantastic as did the one who was wearing peacock themed colours and the other very bright Marie Antoinette dress.

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I have already decided that next year’s Lincoln outfit will be purple and turquoise, using the skirt and top hat I already have.

I had actually decided on this colourway before the event as I was doing some some hand stitching and brought down some threads in those colours and thought how wonderful they looked together. Not quite sure what the theme will be but will work on that.

It was not only the costumes that were marvelously creative but also the machines. From the cogged bustle which actually moved, the ever inventive backpacks, through the  mobility carts and wheelchairs to bikes there were some amazing adaptations, another reason why Steampunk is so inclusive.

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We are really looking forward to our next event, Steampunks in Space in November, and I have a Sci-Fi theme for that to go with my new hat. I had some money from Ellie and Jake for my birthday and I bought a dressage hat, similar to a top hat but shorter.

Then we will have Whitby in February where we are going for an overnight stay so can do two days! I will show you the jacket I am planning as my next make soon as I am allowing myself plenty of time for fitting issues!

It is a very dull and grey day here, not at all August weather and the leaves have started to fall from the trees so I suspect that summer is sadly over. I do love autumn as a season but have enjoyed the lack of rain!

Hope that you are having a nice week where you are, take care and thanks for visiting.