Sewing with a view of the sea!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Spiritual stitching

One of the things that was so brilliant at Exeter was the level of information given about all of the textiles on display. As well as a dedicated display of ecclesiastical garments in the centre of the cathedral there was information all around the site about the work.

The Company of Tapisers was formed in 1933 and although the individuals are anonymous there was a real sense when visiting of the human hand behind the work.

Some of the interpretation was very poignant as with this beautiful banner piece of the Virgin Mary.

This was a stunning and very unusual piece, seating along the length of the chapel telling the history of Exeter.

Everywhere there was so much lovely work, from kneelers to altar frontals. It really enhanced the experience for me to be able to read the additional information and I gave my thanks to the staff after the visit.

One thing that I am passionate about is the human story behind textile creation. The novels that I am writing are all based around individual pieces of textiles and the women involved with them. The history of textiles is the history of people, whether it be to celebrate, or simply to keep us warm. It is just so fascinating to me how all of these things are made, and why they are made.

I am so pleased that I have so many friends that share my passion for textiles, and that Ellen is so keen. She has made some stunning things recently, one being a very lovely crochet cushion cover that I am keen to learn how to make as I think it would look great in my new van.

I went to her crochet group last night and that was lovely. She is helping to run workshops with a friend of hers, Vic, who is a very talented creator so are you are in the Nottinghamshire area I can thoroughly recommend Made by Torty B. Her workshops can be found here and are great for beginners or more experienced crafters.

It will have to have a very good sort out of all of my new craft space soon as the machine will have to be found a new home and there might just have been a few purchases made while I have been in the UK. Some storage shopping is on the cards I think!

I hope that you are all enjoying life. I am so looking forward to the next few months of beautiful spring and summer weather. I have promised myself that there will be a new outfit for Whitby and a new dress for Tewksbury so need to get organised and fit all that in.

Have fun, take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting and commenting, it is always lovely to meet my readers!

The delights of Worcester

Kerry came down to visit me so we had a jam packed weekend visiting the majority of what the city has to offer in the way of historical and heritage properties. There is such a wonderful mix of architecture here, Tudor, Georgian and Victorian, as well as the riverside walks and the canal heritage so it is well worth a visit.

Saturday was mainly Tudor at first with the Tudor House Museum and Greyfriars, both on the same street where there are other wonderful Tudor buildings, including some lovely places to eat. The Tudor House Museum was originally three cottages and the displays concentrated on the importance of the trades in Worcester, very much textile related with the production of broadcloth and glove making dominating.

The museum has been extensively restored as it has been a pub, and café owned by the Cadbury family in recent times, so there is a nice mix of history in the small space and some lovely reproductions of costume and artefacts as well as the historical collections.

I have previously posted some pictures of the Tudor group at Greyfriars but this visit was for a tour which told the history of the property throughout its 400 some years. This was very interesting as it ended up being used as slum dwellings, with other tenement housing built within the garden. The restoration in the later 20th century was by a brother and sister, Elsie and Matley Moore, who were passionate collectors and she was a keen needlewoman. Therefore there is an extensive collection of beautiful textiles.

This is one of my favourite pieces, above the fireplace. I love the colours used in this piece. I think this is one of Elsie’s own embroideries.

I also really loved seeing the little touches of her life, such as the worn pincushion next to the chair, and the collection of needlework tools in a display case.

The library was also beautiful, in a different way to the libraries in other Trust houses. This was full of well loved books, but still with some beautiful decorations on the spines. I wish all books looked like this today, rather than just name and title on the spine. I think that they look so exciting!

We had a quick look around the city museum as well, where they have a display devoted to Worcester Sauce, as well as some lovely military costume. We were very admiring of the braid on the tunics here.

I loved this painting of a Spanish girl, making me homesick for my adopted country as these type of outfits are still worn for fiestas.

I have been busy booking lots more coach trips with mum so will have more adventures to share with you in May and June, the Spanish do love a good costume and I will be there all over the Easter weekend which is always exciting.

Our last heritage venue was the amazing Georgian Guildhall built in 1721. This is a beautiful public building in the centre of the town which is free to enter, and is used for weddings as well as official business.

The ceilings in the Assembly Room and the Council Chamber were stunning and I can imagine there must have been some amazing events there in the Georgian era. I am of course channelling my inner Bridgerton here as we eagerly await the second series in a couple of weeks!

After a quick stop for tea and cake at the same vintage café I visited last time, we had a lovely wander around the canal basin. We then had a drink in the oldest pub in Worcester, and ended up in a very lovely restaurant called Bill’s. I must admit to choosing it partly based on the décor, (as I did in Edinburgh), but the food was delicious as well.

A very lovely day out and it was brilliant to catch up with Kerry. We will next meet at my first re-enactment event of the season in July. I do have more pictures from Sunday to show you as well, but I will leave that until next week.

I am pleased to tell you that the moses basket is done, and to confirm that I intend never to work with jersey ever again 😉 It is too stretchy and slippery so I am going to confine my future makes to my favourites of linens, denims and Liberty, as well as some nice, non slippery fabrics for Steampunk, and no velvet.

I have already mentioned that I have been spending lots of time reading cross stitch magazines through my wonderful Readly app and I have been inspired by one article to buy a gorgeous pattern to stitch for my sewing room/bedroom in Spain.

It is from a French Company called Jardin Prive and is called ABC de la Brodeuse, pictures from their web site. It is so cute and I love all the Quaker inspired motifs.

It will take a while to stitch but I have also ordered the band to stitch it on from Willow Fabrics as I needed a metre of it.

I also treated myself to this lovely Christmas design to use the individual motifs for future ornaments. I am going back with all sorts of wonderful things to add to my craft stock so will definitely have to sort out my storage as soon as I get back!

This week’s task is to make up the knitted rabbit as we are meeting with my niece at the weekend for a little do, not really a baby shower, but more a family lunch. There will be some baby related gifts though and I am making the nappy cake, out of real nappies and lots of ribbon and cellophane.

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

Ashmolean treasures

In the summer when we went to Oxford we visited various museums including the Ashmolean and I wanted to share with you some of the wonderful textiles there. There were various exhibition sections and one of my favourites was Mediterranean Threads, showcasing 18th and 19th century Greek embroidery.

The light was understandably not good enough to take many detailed pictures, but they have got a detailed look at the exhibits at this link here. This was one of my favourite pieces, there is so much detail here.

There was also some stunning Japanese silk embroidery, the sheer scale of the pieces and the fine work never ceases to amaze me, I was lucky enough to see an exhibition of this on one of my visits to China and it is incredible work.

I have been really enjoying reading the theses about Bess of Hardwick and the museum had some treasures from that era as well.

The sweet bags I have seen before but the most interesting was this set of wooden serving boards for sweetmeats, that had verses on the back that could then be read aloud.

This set comprised 12 boards in a storage box and dated from 1600. I can imagine that Bess may have had something similar for her table at one of her many houses.

We ate at a stunningly decorated restaurant one evening, Comptoir Libanais, that we found by just walking past. The food was as stunning as the décor and you can see more at their Instagram. I can heartily recommend a visit if there is a branch near you. I love the use of colour and tiles everywhere.

Craft wise I am still knitting, am onto another rabbit at the moment, but have plans to do some more cross stitch soon. Last summer I discovered Readly, a fantastic app that gives you access to lots of digital magazines for one small monthly fee, so I have been enjoying looking at lots of embroidery and cross stitch magazines. I used to do mainly cross stitch when the children were young but have not done much for years apart from the Christmas ornaments. I have found some gorgeous little caravan and camper patterns in one of the magazines so am planning to start that soon.

We have spent part of this weekend preparing the campervan as we are off on a little jolly to the Peak District tomorrow. I was looking back at the other post that I did about Oxford earlier and was reminded that was my very first retirement trip, although it took place before had officially finished work for good. This upcoming one will be my seventh adventure, (counting all of the camping ones last summer as one big one), not bad for just over 6 months of retirement! It makes me very, very happy to be able to do the things that I had planned and I am very grateful to be able to do this.

We have various walks planned including one to the Dragon’s Back, near Buxton. I doubt the weather will give us views like this but we are excited to be away and outdoors anyway. Picture and walk details from here.

I hope that you have all had a good week and have not been too battered by storms if you have been in the UK. It was interesting having a driving lesson in high winds yesterday but everything was fine here. Have a good week ahead, have fun, take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

Caceres – traditional costume and incredible embroidery

As I have mentioned there were many palaces in Caceres that have been turned into museums. One of the first that we visited was the Fundacion MCCB, set up by two local residents Mercedes Calles and Carlos Ballestero. As well as some great photography and paintings by local artists about fiestas within the city, there were also some gorgeous artefacts and paintings.

The one that I loved the most was a painting of a young girl, wearing the most amazing traditional costume, she looked so happy that I was thrilled when I managed to buy a small mirror with the image on in the gift shop.

There was also some information and personal items from the couple, Mercedes was born in 1915 and clearly had a very interesting life. I would love to find out more about her, and as I am planning to write a book set in Spain one day, may research more about the area in the future.

One of the other palaces held a brilliant collection of traditional costume from the surrounding area. What was especially lovely was that there were photos of people wearing the costume next to each item.

This was particularly interesting when looking at how they sat wearing the very full skirts. This is where ethnographic sources like this are so vital.

This wonderful hat was used for everyday wear to shade workers from the sun, rather than just being for fiestas.

This photo shows the local people at the opening of the museum in the early 1920s. Even though the picture is blurry it is wonderful to see them all in their best clothes for the occasion.

There were so many lovely embroidered costumes from the surrounding villages, each one slightly different but all with an emphasis on colour. It was really interesting to see this, as previously I have only seen the sorts of costume that are worn at the large fiestas, which are more based around what looks like more formal hooped dresses.

The following day we were lucky enough to see the local folk group who still wear versions of these costumes, complete with matching masks at the moment!

The linen work was incredible, I could have been there for hours just looking at these pieces. They were so finely done and it was very interesting to see the same motifs come up as I have seen in many other countries, and reinterpreted in a lot of Quaker inspired cross stitch designs.

As well as other displays of weaving, spinning and embroidery, there was the ubiquitous Singer sewing machine.

I love seeing these in museums, it always makes my little heart so happy to see them and to think about the women who may have used them. I have more pictures from another Caceres museum to show you but will save those for a later post.

Life here with my sister has settled into a nice routine. I have finished two creative writing courses and have started two more. One is a group class with the WEA using Zoom and I am really enjoying it. I never wanted to have a Zoom meeting ever again, after last year’s teaching. However, it is much more fun when you are a student, rather than the teacher worrying about losing people in the ether. There are lots more courses that I like the look of so will do more in the future. It is lovely to study informally with no deadlines or pressure, and I am finding that it is really helping with the progress with the first book.

It has been very cold here, though sunny, so apart from trips to the gym I have been cuddling up with cat, writing, knitting and sewing and generally enjoying the peace and quiet. Jacky and I have just booked an amazing trip to Scotland for August, we are going to Loch Lomond, Skye, Harris and Lewis, and North and South Uist, following in the footsteps on many of my favourite travel vloggers. We also have camping in the Peak District booked for February half term. So we have lots of exciting adventures to look forward to!

I hope you are managing to stay warm, or cool, depending on which season you are in. Have a good rest of the weekend, and a great week ahead. Have fun, take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

Actual crafting going on!

You’d think I would be posting a bit more about actual makes now I am retired, especially as this is supposed to be a craft blog. I have always posted about travel but obviously that has been the main priority of the last few months, although there has been a little bit of making in between all of the adventures.

The big news is that I have finally learnt how to crochet, after several previous attempts. My lovely daughter Ellen was very patient with me, and after lots of encouragement I got to grips with at least two stitches. I still need more practice on trebles, but have been watching some further videos on Craftsy as I got a very good deal on a year’s membership. I decided to make a project while practising my double crochet, and am very proud of what I have done as my stitches are quite neat. The lovely sparkly variegated wool is from our trip to Alnwick earlier this year.

This is a little pouch for my new crochet hooks, as well as the couple I have bought here, I have a set waiting for me in the UK so hopefully Ellen and I will have the chance to do some more crochet when I spend time with her over Christmas. She is now a crochet genius, and has made so many wonderful things.

As I mentioned last post, some things are more difficult to find here. Wool is no problem as all of the Merca China, (a cross between a pound shop and a homewares shop), have a good selection and there is a lot of basic haberdashery. Fabric shops are few and far between, and the postage and import duty since Brexit makes it very expensive to get mail order, so I am going to have a good stock up when in the UK.

I bought this lovely wool, and some Christmas fabric, at the little craft market I mentioned in my last post. The wool will probably be either some crochet, or dresses for animals. I love variegated wool and the rainbow one is so bright! The other ball is very subtle and beautiful shades so I might use that for crochet if I can decide on a good pattern.

The red fabric is going to be used for this year’s set of ornaments. I was looking for something quick to stitch and decided on some Scandi inspired ones before I found this lovely fabric. I am using one of Jenny of Elefantz’s stitching patterns here. The holly fabric will go to back some cross stitch ones that I have had in progress for a few years.

I have also finally completed another Little Cotton Rabbits project, another elephant this time. This is Edward, and he is my 21st animal and my 5th elephant. He is a present for one of my old colleagues, for her grandson. I love making the little outfits and am now pretty confident at the removable shoes. My current LCR knit is a fox and I will be trying the slippers for the first time for that one.

I will be back next week after our latest adventure, we are going to have a really hard time choosing what to visit, I have been doing the research this morning and there are so many museums and palaces, very excited now.

I hope that you have a good weekend ahead, whatever you are doing have fun, take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

Glorious goldwork of Guadix

It never ceases to amaze me what you find in the very small village and town churches in Spain, the altars, the icons and the sheer scale of things just leave me in awe, but even I was not expecting to find such exquisite and detailed goldwork in the Guadix pueblo.

The cave house area, although now a very popular tourist destination and with houses selling for well above average prices for Spain, was originally the area where the very poorest lived. Those who could not afford building material literally dug their own houses out of the hills. There is a short article here on more of the history of the area if you would like to read more, we visited Jose’s cave while we were there and it is a fascinating look at how people live. He just asks for a donation for your visit and has a very welcome fridge full of cold drinks for sale and also sells local honey.

Around the area there were various references to a priest, San Pedro Poveda, and I looked him up. He worked in the area providing education and set up teacher training to combat illiteracy in the area. His organisation was named after St Teresa of Avila, who is related to the order that I portray as a re-enactment character. Sadly he was executed for his beliefs at the start of the civil war in Spain. It is lovely to see his name and work remembered here.

We visited the church before the cave houses, I really loved the simple iron cross outside and the shadows that it made against the while walls.

Inside it was amazing, many of the icons that are used in the religious festivals were on display, and as always the costumes were stunning.

Further into the church there is a cave area and a cave house linked to that. They also had a little display of belen, nativities, from around the world. I loved their belen which is all set around cave houses.

Just around the corner from the cave house, in a little hidden room we came across the most amazing piece of goldwork that I have ever seen, even accounting for the marvellous work in Lorca.

I think what made it most amazing was its location. Not only was it so unexpected, whereas Lorca has many organisations creating the beautiful costumes for their Easter parades, but I have no idea why such a piece had been created for this small church. It looked to be very recent, and too large to be worn, though there was what looked like a priest’s cope and mantle beside it in the case.

The amount of work that has gone into this piece is amazing, many of the motifs are lilies, the symbol of the Virgin Mary, and have silverwork and shading, as well as goldwork.

I could not find any further information on its origin, only a small sign that I couldn’t translate so have no idea if it was made locally. A truly stunning piece of work and a testament to the skills of the makers.

I was sorting out my patterns yesterday and I have about 5 other goldwork pieces that I am intending make during retirement. I have only done a few, some as gifts, but one has come with me to Spain, my Tudor Rose.

This was made many years ago, in 2009 according to the blog post, and was based on one in the Elizabeth Hoare collection at Liverpool Cathedral that I blogged about here. This took me about 50 hours so I have no idea how long the goldwork in the church would have taken.

I mean to make a companion piece based on a pomegranate, which was the symbol of Catherine of Aragon, as well as being the symbol of Granada. Happy times with lots of lovely craft things planned! Today is a public holiday here so I am having a quiet day in, going to do my usual Spanish language practice, some knitting and then a bike ride later.

I hope that you are enjoying whatever you are doing this week, I will be back later on with more pictures from the Galera trip. Have fun, take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.

The kindness of strangers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Reasons to be cheerful, Parts 1,2 and 3

I remember Ian Dury and the Blockheads very well, the song, ‘Reasons to be cheerful part 3’, was one of my favourites as a teenager. Given the recent announcement about further restrictions things are looking a little less than cheerful here in the UK. However I have had a good week teaching both online and on campus. I am nice and cosy staring at the foggy day outside, and there are lots of lovely things to be thankful for.

The first one is that I have just knitted a doughnut! Well I have actually knitted two but this one is the first to be fully finished with all its little beads. This is to go with the little mouse below. These are so quick and easy to make and from a free pattern from Julie’s Ravelry page, which is linked below.

I know I have said this before but I am so happy to be able to create, it soothes me, makes me feel in control when things seem to be going crazy and makes me so happy.

Who could not be happy seeing the completed little mouse here. This is many relaxing hours of work and I love her.

She is going to a friend’s grand daughter so I hope that she will be happy with it too. Her name at the moment is Mia but I am sure that she will get a new name when she arrives in her new home.

The t-shirt dress is a supplement to the top down jumper pattern and this is the second time that I have knitted this top. It is a really easy pattern to follow and makes much neater sleeves so I am now using it as the top of a little animal dress that I am knitting as well.

The rucksack comes from another of Julie’s patterns with lots of bags and I am looking forward to making more of the different versions.

The second reason to be cheerful is community. I am so thankful for all of the different communities that I belong to, both real and virtual. I love being able to stay in contact with people and to be inspired by them and their creations. Every day of the past few months my spirits have been lifted by looking at a blog post, or watching one of my travel vloggers.

One of the communities that I absolutely love, which fills with me with such joy, is the Little Cottons Rabbits one on Facebook. Ironically Julie, the wonderful creator of all the patterns and the group, was one of the very first blogs I ever started reading. She has brought such joy to everyone through her patterns and her new community. There are over 3,000 members now worldwide and it is one of the best bits of my day seeing what others have made.

Julie has recently released a removable shoes pattern and I have bought that and the boy ram this month. Pictures are from Julie’s Ravelry site.

The third reason to be cheerful is hope. At the start of restrictions in March I was concerned about family, when I would see them again, and how they would cope. I have luckily been able to see most of them, and have really appreciated that time. I have especially valued when it has been where we have been able to go away and spend time doing exciting and amazing things.

I have just completed another little camper van embroidery and have another on the go. This is a free pattern from Flamingo Toes and she has lots more hoop art patterns here. Doing these gives me hope that one day they will hang in my little camper van as we go off on our adventures together.

My plans for the rest of today are to do some Christmas ornament making. I have a couple of quieter weeks coming up so want to get most things done by the end of November, rather than in a rush in December as usually happens.

I was able to go and visit my local haberdashers on Wednesday, just before they had to shut again for a while. I needed more wool for the next few projects so while I am still going into work I took advantage of being able to stock up. You never know when plans will have to change these days so a good supply of everything is essential 😉

My lovely sister took me to the supermarket on the way back from our recent trip so I have enough lovely food and wine so just need to ensure that the crafting stocks are in top condition as well.

I hope that you are all coping and finding your own reasons to be cheerful, even though things may be a bit gloomy at the moment, as the saying goes, ‘this too shall pass’. Take care, stay safe and thanks to you all for visiting and being part of my community.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Take care, stay safe and thanks for visiting.