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.

My sanctuary

One of the podcasts I listened to at the weekend was talking about the creation of craft room, this one was outside and was named Shedquarters and you can find the details of this at this post.

The owner, Portia was talking about sewing as a way of rediscovering herself after having a baby and of the importance of time to sew for her own sanity. Like many people I can really relate to this as sewing, embroidery, knitting and all forms of textile crafts are really important in my life as a way of finding balance.

I sewed and knitted as a teenager and during my college years and when I had young children, loved doing cross stitch then and made lots of clothes for Barbie! Then I went back to studying for my Master’s degree and for a few years did very little in the way of creative things.

When I started again I gradually bought more and more equipment that ended up being stored all over the house in various drawers until I moved here and was lucky enough to have the space for a dedicated craft room. I have posted some pictures previously but not for ages so thought I would show you all my ultimate happy place in my little house.

Craft room 3

This is storage for all my patterns and magazines as well as some practical bits like tools, pins and lace. I have had that stack of rainbow fabric on top of the bookcase for about 4 years and pretty though it is am going to have to use it up before it starts fading along the fold lines!The cake stand on the left holds cross stitched ornaments from when I used to do lots of exchanges and some pincushions.

Craft room 4

Moving along to the ironing station on top of the cabinet storing all of my larger pieces of fabric, lots of this is material bought for re-enactment, some of which I really may never use!

Craft room 5

The important bit, my machine, a Pfaff quilting machine that I bought 2 years ago with a specially large additional extra support to enable me to do machine quilting that I have never used! One of my targets for this summer is to get that thing on the machine and actually use it! Area complete with very important cup of tea without which no project can be completed.

Craft room 6

My colour coded small fabric storage, this houses quilting fabric and the units next to it all have pull out fabric boxes full of specific fabric types such as silks, Christmas fabrics, linings and interfacing and wool. The top of these units are my cutting area and work in progress area plus storage for scissors, pens, glue etc. Also handy I Pad for checking tutorials and listening to Podcasts!

Craft room 9

The work in progress area, this is usually a bit of a jumble, at the moment we have some stitching, some churn dash blocks and the materials for a headress plus lovely Liberty fabric. At the back is English Paper Piecing Storage and a box to store completed but not yet allocated shapes.

Craft room 2

These drawers are for embroidery silks, buttons and charms storage with the plastic boxes containing Christmas ribbons, more interfacing, polystyrene shapes for ornaments and sewing patterns.On the left are my collection of Steampunk hats!

Craft room 7

I use the pin boards for storing blocks that need to be made into something and my lovely lace zips.

I have been here nearly 6 years now so it has been very much a work in progress, starting with furniture I already had and replacing it bit by bit. Like Portia and her shed most of my storage comes from Ikea with a few charity shop bargains and storage solutions from a local DIY store.

I love being here, even if I can’t spend much time here in a week I will just pop in, say hello and reassure the room I will be back as soon as I can :-). From a practical point of view it is great to leave projects out knowing that I can safely return to them as they are without having to pack them away and risk losing bits or forgetting about them.

It is just fab, possibly my favourite room in the house, though I do love the rest of it as well.

What about you, where do you go to craft, where is your special space?

I am busy this week with a headress for a friend so lots of hand sewing through buckram which is quite a challenge as it is so stiff. It is coming along well though so despite sore fingers I am enjoying the creation, it is a long time since I have made anything like this.

Have a good weekend ahead.Take care and thanks for visiting.

Fashion not on the ration

Ellie and I share an interest in lots of periods of history, not just medieval and we are particularly interested in WW1 and WW2, from lots of different aspects.

One of the birthday presents I bought her recently was the book Fashion on the Ration by Julie Summers which I intend to borrow from her once she has read it! We both love making and re-purposing garments and the ‘make do and mend’ that people did during WW2 is really fascinating.

A few weeks ago she invited me to take part in a WW1 event at Clumber which is happening next weekend called, ‘Bonnets to Breeches’, celebrating the work of the WW1 Land Army Girls.

I did a bit of research on the uniform as had only come across WW2 outfits before. This site was very helpful so I took my main inspiration from here and went charity shop searching. I was lucky to find most of what I wanted in one shop in town and then a nice hat and shoes in our local charity shop.

WW1-Womens-Land-Army-Recruitment-Poster-Art.IWM-PST-5489-c.1918

 

ww1_landswoman_cover

I also found some great images with a Google image search including this one of the armband that they wore.

WW1 Land girls 7 badge

I made my own version last night.It is a darker green than it looks in this picture.

WW1 Land girls 6

Today I have been working on other aspects of the costume. I bought some men’s wool trousers to adapt for the breeches.

WW1 Land girls 1

I cut the legs down to just below knee height then made a casing for elastic.

WW1 Land girls 2

WW1 Land girls 3

Here they are with and without the lovely knee high socks and my charity shop shoes.

WW1 Land girls 4

WW1 Land girls 5

I have been listening to podcasts as I have been sewing, I wrote about the Love to Sew podcast last week and today I have been listening to some more, including a very apt one all about refashioning garments.

There is a yearly challenge run by Portia from Makery blog  which involves doing this with a specific type of garment and I was very interested to hear her talk about all the ideas behind it.

I love making things from old finds but have not really considered using them to refashion clothes for me, apart from the Steampunk jacket in progress made from tablecloths, but I will definitely follow up this as an area for future makes. I would like to try some sewing of things for me to wear.

I have had a very productive weekend apart from this as well, more churn dashes as have become a little bit obsessed with them but am making some different ones, not just Liberty ones.

It is back to marking assignments tomorrow but I am hoping to get an early finish and sneak in a couple of hours in the craft room. Hope that you have all had a lovely weekend and thanks as always for visiting.

A little more quilty maths

I have spent a lovely afternoon experimenting in the craft room. I did say I was maybe going to make another Churn Dash block and I decided to do just that but with a bit of a difference.

I had a serendipitous moment earlier on in the week where I realised what I could do with some stitching that I had done a while back, (just checked back on the blog and it was Nov 2015!),designs by the lovely Jenny of Elefantz. I had ‘filed’ them meaning to quilt them into a hanging for my craft room but they were on the side next to a Churn Dash black waiting to be fettled when I suddenly thought I could combine the two.

I am working on an outfit for the Steampunk Asylum event in Lincoln in August and am making a jacket out of vintage embroidered tablecloths. I wanted a bag to go with it but wanted it to be sewing themed so thought that this motif would make an excellent design for the bag front , so very true for all us seamstresses despite the occasional stress when your bobbin thread runs out or the machine jams!

-elefantz-stitching-saves my mind

I have been using this tutorial from Crazy Mom to make a 4 and a half inch block but the centre was only 2 3/4 inch square and I needed it to be 4 inches to fit the stitching in. I did a quick search for bigger patterns but decided it was quicker to make my own so I cut it out of paper to check the dimensions.

Churn dash resizing 1

You possibly can read my scribbles but if not the measurements are –

Centre block – 4 inch square

Corner blocks – 2 1/2 inch square – two of these from background fabric and two from contrast to make the HSTs. Trim down to 2 1/4 inches once sewn

Scrappy strips – 1 1/4 inch by 4 inches – make 4 of these

Background strips – 1 1/4 inch by 4 inches – make 4 of these

The rest of the assembly is as Crazy Mom outlines. I have managed to get most of it done but had to stop to make tea so will finish next weekend.

Churn dash resizing 2

I may use the other two motifs below in the bag as well. I intend to add embellishments such as charms, a couple of old lace bobbins and some small wooden spools and decorate my purple top hat in a similar fashion to complete the outfit.

elefantz-stitching-make do and mend

elefantz-stitching-sewing machine

While sewing I was listening to a podcast from Love to Sew. I have been meaning to start using podcasts as well as music while sewing and this is a lovely one by two women from Canada who are a pattern designer and a fabric shop owner.

A very productive day and I am enjoying catching the last of the sunshine sitting by the open back door as I type. Back to work tomorrow, someone has got to fund the fabric stash but on Lottery this week I won a Lucky Dip for Weds so fingers crossed. If I do win the first thing I will by is a full set of rainbow colours of Liberty 🙂

Take care, have a nice week and thanks for visiting.

 

More of the same but different

I am having a very good Bank Holiday weekend, it is a bit like the very best version of a Groundhog Day. The weather has been so beautiful here, glorious sunshine three days in a row in Yorkshire! This is a minor miracle so people have been going a bit giddy and there are folk out in summer clothes and a fair few cases of sunburn.

We have had two BBQs already, we are making the most of it as we didn’t manage to have even one at home last year. In fact our old BBQ had rusted so badly it was no longer safe to cook on so we have not replaced it and are using one of our little portable camping ones instead which cooks really well.The chairs are showing signs of wear as well so if we do get a decent summer it may be time for new ones 🙂

May BBQ1

Jake and I spent a few hours getting rid of all the dead plants in our pots that have not survived the five months of snow and I bought a few replacements locally but need many more. It was so beautiful outside with the hills looking beautiful in the evening sun. It makes such a difference to have good weather.

May BBQ2

I have been busy in the craft room as well, making more pouches with the Liberty. I have made another Churn Dash block and used the new Liberty hexagon print as well. I make sure that every bag or pouch is different in some way so that they are all truly unique and love playing around with different fabrics.The larger pouch has an ordinary zip and is made with this tutorial from Jedi Craft Girl  and the lace zip one is from a tutorial at Emkie Designs.

May pouches 1

These are made using recyled denim for the main body as well as I like to reuse where I can. That offsets the fact that I may just have bought a little more Liberty this week. Well it is so pretty I just couldn’t resist.

cat-sewing

I really like the way that the hexagon print works in this bag and am very glad I bought it, I first saw it last year so have been really restrained only getting it now 🙂

As well as being unique my creations are sometimes imperfect, I didn’t notice until I had completed the block that there was a bit of a mismatch on one of the corners of the block but by that stage it would have been really difficult to alter it. Hopefully the pretty fabric will distract the recipient of this gift  from noticing.

Someone once told me that Islamic carpet makers always weave an imperfection into their work as only God is perfect. I don’t know if this is true but I think it is a nice way to think about those little imperfections that are part of hand made things.

I am looking forward to the rest of my last day of the three with more of the same crafting, may make another Churn Dash block this afternoon or may experiment with something else. I am also going to have more washing drying outside, my 5th load this weekend! That may not sound exciting to some people but it is a bit of a miracle here.

Then we will round it off with more BBQing. We have to make the most of it as the forecast is rain and low temperatures for the end of the week but Jake has set us a target of having 20 at home BBQs this summer. We shall see how plan works out!

I hope you are having a lovely weekend as well and have a great week ahead, take care and thanks for visiting.

A significant amount of crafting

After the comparative wilderness of the last few months where it seemed that all I posted about was how little I had done I seem to have completed a huge amount in the last two weeks.

I have shared the scrappy churn dash blocks with you briefly in a previous post but wanted to share all of the photos here and give you the link to the tutorial on Crazy Mom’s blog.

This is the first one I made which I turned into a bag.

Churn dash bag 1

I have not had much success with many of the bigger quilt blocks I have done as often the points don’t match but am doing ok on these with  few minor errors. Really love the colours and how quick and easy they are to do given their tiny size and complexity.

Scrappy churn dash 1

I am adding the hexagons to the middle of the blocks as they seemed a bit bare without them.

I have just had a delivery of some new Liberty from Billow Fabrics as I was short of longer pieces and found this beautiful print of hexagons.

Liberty hexagon fabric 1

I am planning to make some bags with a hexagon flower on linen and this on the bottom. Sarah has had her stall confirmed for Yarndale so I will be making things for that again.

Liberty hexagon fabric 2

I have also got this lovely bundle of fabric.

I have just finished a pouch made from some stitching I did in Spain, those long coach journeys came in handy for completing this beautiful design from Jenny of Elefantz. This is from her November 2017 Stitchery Club and I have used Cottage Garden Variegated threads. This one is for me to store all my chargers in when I go away.

Bird and hexagon pouch 1

The Cottage Garden threads are difficult to get in the UK and I am running out so I have bought some Caron Waterlillies from Sew and Sew to stitch this design again. It is so pretty and the thread colours are beautiful.

Caron Waterlilies 1

Caron Waterlilies 2

I am going to be spending a very happy day tomorrow working on all of these projects with some watching of the brilliant , ‘Under the Dome’, based on a Stephen King novel, a very exciting series on my Amazon Prime. The best sort of weekends!

Hope that you are having fun as well, take care and thanks for visiting.

 

Seville – a feast for eyes and palate!

I have had an absolutely wonderful time away and not only did I get to relax and do very little except read, spend time with my lovely family and go to the beach, mainly for drinks but also an afternoon sitting in the sun, but also got to visit Lorca for the Easter celebrations and a mini break to Seville.

I saw all three of the girls and gave them the dolls, they were very pleased and Emily, Lola and Ruby- Rose, as they were named, have gone back to England with their new owners.

I will post lots more photos as I sort them but here is a little montage that sums up some of the highlights.

Unlike Budapest where sometimes our options for food were sometimes a bit limited due to me being gluten free and Mum being not eating meat there was an abundance of choice for food. We both love tapas and there were so many wonderful tapas bars and we were determined not to order the same thing twice so over 2 lunches and 3 evening meals we had 19 unique dishes and came back with some wonderful recipe ideas.

The other three pictures in the montage are of one the beautiful courtyard gardens that are such a feature of the architecture of the city,  some of the tiles in the Real Alcazar and the ceramics and tiles at the Plaza de Espana There were tiles everywhere and we could have bought so many wonderful reproductions of these designs.

I was catching up on blogs when I got back and was very inspired by a post by Crazy Mom with a Scrappy Churn Dash Block tutorial. I am not very confident with quilt blocks and this looked a bit complicated and I was going to finish off a pouch I have been stitching while I was away but my zip order has not arrived yet. So I just thought I would try one and made two on Saturday afternoon as they were very easy to do thanks to the excellent tutorial.

Churn dash block 1

 

Churn dash block 2

I have so many tiny Liberty scraps from all the hexagons I have made so used that for the scrappy parts and love the way they have come out. I decided to put borders on them as well and have turned one into a basket and the other will be used on a pouch.

Meanwhile it is back to work tomorrow and our first re-enactment of the year next weekend, Bolsover Castle for St George’s Day, the dragon will be back!

I will hopefully get a chance to post more pictures this week, hope you all have a good week ahead. Take care and thanks for visiting.

Lots more inspiration

I have not done a single stitch in anything since Monday. I have been so tired by the time I have got in from work and had tea that I have just looked at a few blogs and gone to bed with a good book, on Weds that was at half past 8 as I couldn’t stay up any longer! I have done lots of nice reading though.

So there will be nothing to show you this weekend. I am going to make another doll sometime soon as my cousin saw the pictures I posted on Facebook and said her daughter would like one so I will be working on that for her birthday.

I have been getting lots more lovely ideas though and the very talented Lori Holt of Bee in my Bonnet never fails to inspire. Her new pattern and sew along has just started and it is even more cute than the last one! All pictures are from Lori’s site.

Bake Sale 2 Quilt small-01

This one is called Let’s Bake and it is just gorgeous! I love baking, last Sunday I made some really yummy cranberry, apricot and white chocolate cookies and I am going to make some more this weekend as they lasted about 3 days, well we had to eat them before they went hard 😉  So I really love all the block designs here.

You can download the pattern guide from here and it is really detailed. It does use a set of shapes which are a bit difficult to get in the UK but I think you could work it out from the diagrams if you don’t have them. There is some great embroidery on the blocks as well.

This is one of my favourites so far, it would make a great design for a mixer cover wouldn’t it?

Mixer block

I love these little gingham cross stitch squares that edge the quilt.

Let's Bake cross stitch

The new fabric collection is called Bake sale 2 and is really nice, I especially like the cake stand design and the text fabric but am being good and not buying random fabric just because I like it.

Bake Sale fabric

She also has lots of other side projects, such as this pie tin pincushion and these lovely pot holders with crochet on, both would make great gifts if you are building up a gift stash.

Lori Holt Pincushion

Bake Sale pot holders

Jenny of Elefantz has been having a discussion about aprons on her Gentle Domesticity Facebook page and has recently been making some new ones and I think some of these designs would look beautiful on an apron so I really should make myself a nice one. Most of mine are very plain and boring and very stained now so I would love a new pretty one.

Ellie and Kerry are due for a quick visit tomorrow which will make a nice break from marking. I am hoping to get a couple of free hours later on Sunday to at least choose the fabrics for the new doll and maybe get a bit of cutting out done.

Hope that you all have a nice relaxing weekend and thanks for visiting.

Thinking ahead

I always like to have a little think at this time of year what I am going to try and get done next year craft wise. I did the same thing in early Jan last year when I had a little review of what I had made and the plans for the year ahead.

Some of it I have achieved like more pouches and bags of different sorts including how to make Dresdens. I have made some really lovely ones this year that I am very pleased with. Must do some more of these with crochet and vintage embroidery.

 

I have also done a lot of cross stitching in the last few months, still hoping to do more including some more lovely snowflake inspired things for next Christmas.At least if I start them in Jan I will not have the frantic finishing rush that I have had this year.

Progress with some of the larger items will be ongoing such as the hexagon quilt. I have made all 60 of the hexagons, am now on the slightly less glamorous job of removing all of the papers then I have to applique them to background squares and then hand quilt and put together.

Hexi stack 2

I need to finish the Steampunk jacket made from the vintage tablecloths which has been on hold, it is not needed until August but you know how time flies! There is the hat to decorate to go with that and I need some festival clothes for August as well.

There will have to be new stuff of course! I am still so tempted by all of Lori Holt’s lovely work and really want to make some applique things based on her designs. Probably not the full quilt but look at all the lovely things in her latest Bee Happy Quilt. I love that car and caravan!

Bee Happy Quilt

Then there are always Jenny’s designs. I did finish the sampler block this year, that just needs making into a hanging. I also have a couple of other ones of hers completed but not made into anything that I will share when finished.

I would love to do some more of her Christmas designs from this year’s Stitchery Club for next year. Picture from Jenny’s blog.

ELEFANTZ Christmas stitching

I also need to make some things from my birthday book, Happy Flower Quilts. I intended to include some of these designs for pouches but did not have time so would like to do some of these as gifts.

I would love to be able to paper piece as well like Charise does, she has some beautiful designs and it is just the sort of fiddly work that appeals to me. Isn’t this just gorgeous, picture from her blog.

Charise Apple bag

I am looking forward to the last weekend of stitching before Christmas, have still got one more ornament to make and then two to finish off before I can pack them all up to send off. Teaching has finished now so apart from a huge load of marking I can relax and get into the festive spirit.

Mum arrives this week then we will be going down to Ellie’s and then to meet my great niece Ava for the first time, really looking forward to that and to spending lots of time with Mum, my sister and the kids playing games and relaxing. We are going to be at Clumber a couple of times so will hopefully have some lovely pictures of that for you.

Will pop in next week to wish you all Merry Christmas, don’t forget to like this or any other post to enter my giveaway.

Take care and thanks for visiting.

 

 

 

 

 

More things for the stitching wish list

I had a lovely time yesterday helping Kerry with the pattern for the groom’s outfit for her wedding next year. Although I could not help with any cutting out I did help with amalgamating two patterns into one design and advice on buttons and fabric placement.

It is nice just to have someone to share ideas with when you are making really important things and it was great to have a catch up as well.

Still slow progress with the cross stitched ornaments but I have been collecting new patterns so I thought that I would share some in case you have a yearning for pretty snowflakes or some Scandi designs in your life.

I have created a new Cross Stitch Pinterest board, Pinterest wasn’t around when I was last seriously cross stitching so it is wonderful to browse so many lovely things. I love snowflakes so was really pleased to find these beautiful designs at X-Stitch Magic.

Cross stitch snowflakes 1

 

This next one has no source or pattern but I love the look of the snowflakes on linen, I don’t know if my stitching is neat enough for me to do this as really need counted fabric.

Cross stitch snowflake tree on linen

This is beautiful as well, will see if I have any linen colour aida to replicate something similar. Not certain of the source for this but it may be this blog, she certainly has some beautiful cross stitch.

Cross stitch snowflake cushion on linen

This is a gorgeous free chart as well from Kissy-Cross . Again it looks beautiful on the linen colour fabric with the touches of red and green.

Cross stitch reindeer

This lovely free Scandi style sampler available is from here.This would be great to personalise with a family name or just to say Merry Christmas

Cross Stitch Scandi Sampler

I am planning another Slow Stitching Sunday and am hoping to finish one more ornament in the coming week.

I also have to finish my Steampunk pirate hat as I am away next weekend with Ellie at Steampunks in Space at the National Space Centre so very excited about that. I will return with lots of fab costume pictures again.

Meanwhile take care and have fun with whatever you are doing. Thanks for visiting.