A little bit of history

Hello everyone, hope you are all well and happy. It is another damp and dreary weekend here in Yorkshire but that means plenty of time for catching up on blogging and crafting!

Regular readers will know I love visiting historic places, all places are special in their own way and all very beautiful but sometimes you come across something really special that is a real wow moment.

You may remember that Ellie worked at Hardwick Hall before she moved to Clumber Park, they have an extensive collection of Elizabethan textiles, some worked by Bess of Hardwick and some by Mary Queen of Scots, her husband’s charge in the years before her death.

We were wandering through our second Trust Property, Coughton Court , really enjoying the beautiful treasures when we came across a darkened room full of the most amazing things.

Firstly there was this beautiful chalice cover with the most wonderful Elizabethan goldwork, then a priest’s cope which was made by Catherine of Aragon, (another heroine of mine), and her ladies, no pictures as it was too dark but you can get a glimpse of it at the collections site here.

Coughton textiles 5

Coughton textiles 6

Then at the back in a case was this very simple chemise, embroidered around the neck, the chemise that Mary allegedly wore when she was executed at Fotheringay Castle in 1587.

Coughton - MQS robe 1

This was one of the most wow moments I have ever had at a property, one of those really goose bumpy moments when you realise you are actually really close up to the reality of history. You can see a full length picture of the chemise at the collections site at the above link.

It was also very interesting as all contemporary reports said that Mary wore blood – red undergarments, the colour of a catholic martyr, maybe this was under those red robes.

You can read more about Coughton and the family history at this great blog post  from the very informative Tudor Stuff blog. The family were staunch Catholics and so had a bit of a rough time during the reformation but managed to retain their beautiful property.

There were also some other lovely costumes in portraits. The blackwork on the neck and sleeves of this robe and this lace collar were two of my particular favourites.

There was some very good interpretation using textiles as well, this is something that Ellie and I have noticed as a growing trend in Trust houses and one that we really like. I think it is far more interesting to read something set in the context and also from a practical point of view easier as the print is larger and several people can be reading the information at once.

This was a dinner party at which the guests were all members of the estate who died in the First World War. A very touching and lovely way to remember them, with their photos as place cards and their stories on the back of each chair.

Coughton - textile interpretation 1

Coughton - textile interpretation 2

I will be back soon with more lovely Trust stuff, now off to make another little basket, have resisted the urge to make more for a few weeks but they are so cute and this will be a present for a younger relative.

Hope that you all have a lovely weekend whatever you are doing and see you soon. Thanks for visiting.

Absolutely love it!

Hello everyone

Am very excited this week as the Splendid Sampler  people have not only released the most gorgeous paper-pieced block but also a great bonus idea of what to do with it.

The block was released on Thursday and is called Stitching Fashion and it was designed by Charise.

Charise stitching_fashion_pic_yellow -small

I have visited her blog before and love her designs. She has step by step instructions at this post and you can download the pattern from the Splendid Sampler here.

There is also a Periscope video here by Alyssa from Penguin and Fish.

It was obviously very popular as there have been so many beautiful blocks made since then. All pictures come from the Splendid Sampler site and the Facebook page and are by,  (in no particular order), Carrie, Debbie, Lydia, Maria, Maudy and Amanda, brilliant work ladies.

Charise also has an Etsy shop with many more gorgeous paper pieced things. I was looking at her Flickr group  as well and came across this fab idea made with one of her other patterns for a vintage dress that could just as easily be made with this one.

Barbie Doll Tidy

This is by Miss Ginny from England, you are a star and I love this!

As is that wasn’t enough excitement yesterday a bonus project for this block was released, this cute notions pouch available from Craftsy here. Charise also has her patterns for sale here as well including some lovely free vintage blocks.

SplendidNotionsPouch - medium

Don’t you think this would make a great make up bag gift as well without the spool , or storage for all those Barbie shoes and accessories. Makes me wish Ellie was little again as I used to love making things for her Barbie dolls.

We once spent the Easter holidays making an entire Barbie flat out of large cardboard boxes, with real carpet and wallpaper and all the furniture made out of cereal packets!

I am going to go back and look at some more of Charise’s patterns, have never done any paper piecing as have been put off by all the little bits but look at the cuteness of this that she made as a block a while ago. I also really enjoyed making the sewing machine cover and that was 33 pieces and 9 hours but great sense of achievement .Photo from her Flickr site.

Charise paper pieced sewing composite -small

Right am off to spend the rest of the weekend hand sewing braid while watching mindless television! Have been super busy at work including working the last two weekends as well so really looking forward to doing very little that needs a brain.

Have only about 10 feet of the braid left to go on Ellie’s coat and that needs to be finished for next weekend as we have an event at Ashby de la Zouche Castle. And I get to finally go and see her new flat and the chapel at Clumber Park :-)

Have a lovely weekend and week ahead and thanks for visiting, oh and enjoy the Bank Holiday next Monday if you are in the UK, you never know it might even be sunny!

Spring resolutions

I don’t really make New Year’s resolutions. I have had the same one for the last 10 years now to do more fun stuff and less housework and boring stuff but have been inspired by the prospect of Spring and a bit more time and nicer weather to think about sorting and getting on with stuff.

I am not going to do this – that would be foolish and would not help support all those lovely  businesses run by hardworking women who share my passion for fabric.

Stash joke

So I am going to tackle the WIP pile! It is not very big but now that I am on a roll with the machine I am going to get the few projects that have been waiting for me to have some serious sewing time sorted.

I am not going to set a time frame for finishing everything but am going to try and complete one a month.

First one to be done is the cover for my new sewing machine. When I bought it in July I promised it a new cover and the poor thing has been languishing under its flimsy plastic one every since.

You may remember that I bought a lovely sewing machine themed spool rack last year and that my lovely children bought me the matching hook set for Christmas.

I found some great sewing machine panels that I thought would maybe look good as a hanging in the craft room and decided that one of those would make a pretty cover.

My chosen panel comes from the Snapshots Quilt Along  held last year by the Fat Quarter Shop blog. This is a great set of patterns and they raised money as well as for each download they suggested that you donate to a children’s hospital.

Here is a picture of the full quilt from Pat Sloan’s blog.

Snapshots quilt along quilt

The block is called Sew On and Sew On and there were some lovely versions made like these ones from the Flickr group by Pam Kitty Morning and Stamperville using the original colourway from the pattern.

Snapshots sewing machine - Flicker Pam Kitty Morning small

Snapshots sewing machine - Flicker  Stamperville small

I got as far as cutting this out last year and then the machine had a bit of wobbly, probably due to lack of nice cover so I had not had chance to sew it together.

So last Sunday I pulled all of the pieces out of the WIPs box and got them assembled.

sewing machine cover 1

The pattern suggests labelling each of the 32 pieces with Alphabitties, those little letter labels seen in the above photo but I don’t have any of those so used normal sticky labels cut into pieces which meant I could put dimensions as well as the pattern colour on to keep track while I sewed them together.

sewing machine cover 2

I found the video of how to sew the picture on the Fat Quarter shop blog very useful, it took a couple of hours but soon had this lovely picture.

sewing machine cover 3

I had thought I had enough fabric to do a single piece back as I had picked up some more of the turquoise print in a local craft shop a couple of months ago but when  I unfolded the fat quarter it had fade marks along all of the fold lines so I had to be creative.

I did a pieced back with some 1 inch patches from the rest of the scraps.

sewing machine cover 4

I just ended up quilting in the ditch, I know I did the machine quilting course a while ago but need a bit more practise before I ruin something I have spent hours on!

So here it is a back and front view over a chair and in situ, went for a simple side tied and bound finish with the last of the turquoise strips.

sewing machine cover 5

sewing machine cover 6

sewing machine cover 7

I am extraordinarily pleased with this, even though it took about 9 hours in total including hand stitching the binding it was well worth it and my machine is very happy!

I am counting this as another project for the Sewing Bucket List – number 11 a project from a PDF pattern.

I also love the camera block they designed for the backing.

Snapshots Camera block -small

Not much crafting will be going on here this weekend, we have Ofsted (government inspectors) due in on Monday at work so have been busy with prep for that and the things I didn’t get done this week I need to do tomorrow.

Roll on next weekend:-)

Hope you have a nice rest of the weekend and week ahead and see you soon, thanks for visiting.

 

May miniature madness

Hello there, happy 1st of May.Hope that you are all having all had a good weekend, I am thoroughly enjoying the extended weekend here.

It is not feeling very Spring like yet but luckily all the snow has melted. Could not believe it when I woke up on Friday morning as it was all completely white. Bizarre even for Yorkshire.

I have always been drawn to making little things, whenever I craft it always seems to end up being a small project, mini hexagon patchwork, cross stitch so small you need a magnifier to do it, knitting little animal parts, I am always making tiny things. Ellie’s Barbie dolls used to be well kitted out with clothes:-)

Maybe it is because I don’t have much time and like to get things finished, or maybe I was a pixie in a previous life but most of my projects seem to end up small. I take great inspiration from crafters like Amanda Jean of Crazy Mom Quilts  as she loves making things out of tiny scraps.

This weekend I excelled in making small things, I started with a basket (another!) and wanted to use up a small piece of the fusible foam that I had left. This became a basket which is only 3 inches high – so cute! I used Perle thread to topstitch which gives a great definition to the top edge.

bags may mini 3

Being a make do and mend sort of crafter I used the cut outs from the bottom of the bag again to make a pincushion only this time decided to add from my scrap drawer and use half square triangles so here is a very tiny pincushion.

Pictures show bag and front and I suppose it is a Bow Tie block.

bags may mini 4

This is only two inches across and I am very pleased with how neat my seams are, even the one underneath the button has great matching. I might crack this piecing lark after all.

bags may mini 6

There was a small piece left over from cutting as well so I thought a little needlebook would be nice, this is just less than two inches wide and is lined with batting and has a little bit of felt inside. Both pincushion and needlebook have detachable straps as well.

bags may mini 7

I am very pleased with everything even though it did take hours to make as most of it needed to be hand stitched as it was too small to machine. And look I am using stash less that a week after it arrived in the house, before it has time to go off:-)

bags may mini 8

I did make a normal sized one as well, this is the very cute sheep fabric, look at that one knitting.

bags may mini 2

bags may mini 1

The pattern, Friends of the One Hour Basket by Kelby Sews, is very well written and easy to follow but I have made some adjustments to the process that I have detailed here in case they are useful.

  • When I cut out the squares from the bottom of the padded exterior section I tack the bottom and side seams flat, this seems to make it stand up easier without rocking.
  • I tack the handles into place before sewing the lining so that they stay still as I found the first couple slipped out of place when I pulled the lining up.
  • I hand stitch the lining inside at the top rather than topstitching, I am not the neatest machine sewer and like not having a line on the patterned fabric.
  • I iron the bag again at the end, both on the inside which makes the lining stick down to the other side of the fusible fleece and carefully around the outside, trying not to iron my hand as I hold it😉

With my extra day tomorrow I am going to do something different and make something for my sewing room, something I have been meaning to do for a while, don’t know how far I will get but watch this space.

Hope you have a great Bank Holiday if you are in the UK and commiserations if it is just a normal Monday for you. Thanks for visiting and have a great week ahead.

 

 

‘What this old fabric? I’ve had it for ages darling!’

Do you ever feel that you have to hide your stash enhancements from your nearest and dearest? Luckily for me my family completely understand my need to buy fabric.

Well Ellie very much appreciates knowing that she can raid the craft room whenever she needs to and I don’t think Jake would be bothered unless I spent all of the food budget on fabric and didn’t feed him when he comes back for the summer:-)

I have recently been reading a great blog called Dresden Lane  whose tag line is, ‘sometimes I distract myself from buying fabric by sewing with it’, which I think sums up many of us.

Love this joke that I found. That is so me!

 

fabric buying joke

I have had a few lovely deliveries this week, one of the other compensations about not going away this last weekend for the re-enactment event was that I had more in my treats budget this month for fabric as I had a very economical weekend here at home.

As I mentioned I found some very cute sheep fabric – this grey one was from Thread and Loop and the red one from Marilyn’s Patchwork Mania , both from Ebay via an image search.

fabric April 3

fabric April 1

These very unusual sheep hexagons come from The Vintage Fabric Market  and I will applique them onto some linen.

fabric April 2

I was lucky enough to find some more of the lovely Makower Sew Retro Notions fabric, which is now out of print, both the small motif and the larger ones.

The small motif one on the bottom came from Lovely Jubbly Fabrics and the larger print from Fabrics and Much More.

fabric April 7

I was also really pleased to find some more of some of my favourite type of designs, this blue with little red roses comes in several colourways and versions and I also bought a similar fabric in purple.

fabric April 4

This along with an ivory version of the lovely French sewing notions fabric that I used last weekend in grey comes from a site called Always Knitting and Sewing. I think this might be my favourite sewing notions fabric, I love the detail in these adverts.

fabric April 6

fabric April 5

This shop has lots of the very pretty ditsy flowers and floral prints that I love and some very pretty bundles, so tempted but am being good for now! Look at these lovelies though.

bundle-10-fat-quarters-cream-floral-Always Knitting and Sewing

Pink fabric - Always K and S bundle

I am trying to buy more sets of fabric, I have had a tendency in the past just to buy random things that I like and have ended up with a very eclectic collection where nothing goes together.

I have a very random assortment of dinosaurs, cats, elephants, rabbits, tigers, penguins and owls and lots of other novelty things that I can’t yet find as use for. At least Mum has done something good with the dinosaurs now but still have a bit of menagerie to rehome!

My plans for this weekend are to turn some of this into baskets and to get on with some medieval kit – still got 30 feet of braid to put on Ellie’s outfit and a surcoat to make, though thankfully not as complex as the checkerboard from last year!

Hope you have a lovely weekend and enjoy the Bank Holiday if you are in the UK – yippee an extra weekend day:-):-)

Thanks for visiting.

Serendipity and other happy things

Serendipity is one of my favourite words. It means, ‘the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way’, and I particularly love it when I get crafting serendipity.

This happens a lot as I am always finding great things on blogs or fabric that goes really well with intended projects which was what happened at Simply Solids on Saturday.

Last month’s Stichery Club by Jenny of Elefantz included this cute design, picture from Jenny’s website. I have already used the little birds on my Happy Happy block but want to make the whole thing as well at some point.ELEFANTZ the topiary tree

So I was very pleased to see this fabric on the shelves at Simply Solids.

Machine quilting course 13

They had lots of different colours but I thought this was very pretty. I can use the centre of the flower for the main design and the rest for the surrounding fabric. I think it will make a cute bag.

There was also a great machine quilting resource mentioned at the course, Leah Day and when I got home and found her website I realised that I had come across her before.

Her Free Motion Quilting Project  has shared 365 designs for quilting and they are all in the gallery here. Each design also has a video showing you how to do it, an incredibly generous resource.

I have added her book to my Amazon wish list as think that would be a very useful addition to my quilting library.

Leah Day 365 quilting designs book

She also has two other books that just have the beginner and intermediate designs in them so think I might start with those. You never know though after my recent success I could become a machine quilting genius after all!

I have also just ordered this PDF pattern from Acorn Quilt and Gift Company  , it  is one I found from a link from Jenny’s website I think and I have wanted it for ages but was not sure what I would do with it.

Betsys Closet In Stitches

A friend from knitting group has just had a baby girl and I think that one of these designs would make a gorgeous baby card so am planning to stitch that in Spain as well.

It is so cute and  I love the quilted border as well. There is also a fully appliqued version as well which is just as lovely.

Betsys Closet applique

Look at this little dress, and the quilting around it. One day maybe!

Betsy Closet Sunday Dress

Am fast approaching project wish overload as there are so many things that I want to do. I take comfort from the fact that the end of the teaching year is only a couple of months away and that means getting home at a reasonable time and in the light so my productivity always increases then.

And the fact that I am using this blog partly as a retirement resource for me as well for the time when I can devote all day everyday to crafting!!

Meanwhile hope that you all have a lovely next couple of weeks, I am very lucky and will be doing lots of resting and crafting so I hope that you have fun and will see you all soon.

Thanks for visiting.

Kaizen and the art of machine quilting

Hello everyone, hope that you are all well and happy.

I have just finished reading the book Ellie bought me last week and at the end Cassandra talks about, ‘kaizen’, the Japanese philosophy of continuous improvement while being happy with what you are doing now and that just about sums up my machine quilting course at Simply Solids yesterday.

In fact I would go further and say that I am very happy with what I achieved. Last summer I did a course with Gillian Travis and though it was mainly about applique she was encouraging us to use machine quilting and embroidery to finish our work and she talked about ‘drawing with the machine’ but I was too scared to try.

This was partly why I booked onto this course taught by Charlotte Jeffrey who blogs under the name Quiltification. She also has a Pinterest board here.

She started by showing us some of her work and it is gorgeous. I love the contrast of the simplicity of this piecing on the quilt made with ombre squares in contrast with the amazing quilting including her, ‘mandala’, design.

Machine quilting course 5

 

She also brought this beautiful one that I didn’t get chance to get a picture of at the course so this is from her website. I love these heart shaped leaves.

Quiltification quilt 1

She was very encouraging and in no time at all I had moved from wonky lines and writing my name to curves and then freestyle daisies. It was really brilliant and has given me so much confidence.

We started practising on calico and then I decided to do a little test on some silk and I love it so much I brought it home, bound it and will be using it as a coaster, I have created a little piece of art and I am very pleased:-)

Quilted coaster 1

Helen from knitting group was there as well, she is very good with a machine and created these beautiful samples, love her writing practise!

I also bought a little bit more stash, it would have been very rude not to and almost impossible to resist the temptation when you are sitting surrounded by gorgeous fabric all day.

This is the latest Bonnie and Camille design from Moda, ‘Vintage Picnic’, there are some beautiful prints here in five different colourways.

Moda Vintage Picnic all colours

 

Can’t decide which is my favourite print but I do love this cross stitch inspired one.

Vintage picnic cross stitch fabric

 

I bought a charm pack as I like having all of the colours in a range to choose from.

Machine quilting course 14

Machine quilting course 12

There are some gorgeous quilt patterns for the design, these are two of my favourites, Nantucket and Summertime.

Vintage picnic quilt pattern 1

 

 

Vintage picnic quilt pattern 2 Summerville

Had a fab day and am looking forward to doing some more quilting courses with Simply Solids in the summer. I always really enjoy going on courses and it is such a beautiful shop. I also always come away with something lovely:-)

Their new schedule will be posted on Monday so I will be booking myself a little something, maybe as a birthday treat!

Have a very packed week ahead, sadly not  practising machine quilting  :-( but then am off to Spain for two weeks so shall be doing lots of hand stitching, reading and knitting in the sun.

I am also going to celebrate a late Mother’s Day and an early birthday with my wonderful Mum so am very much looking forward to that.

We are having a little trip to Madrid as well so will be no doubt posting some pictures of beautiful buildings when I get back.

Until then take care and thanks for visiting.