More light entertainment

I have been doing lots of lovely hand stitching over the last few weeks accompanied by some very interesting TV series that I thought I would share with you in case you. Both have been on UK channels recently but I have watched them on Netflix and DVD.

The first is inspired by a book I read some time ago called Jambusters by Julie Summers  which is about the work of the Women’s Institute. It was about the contribution made by women to the war effort though their preserving and other activities, particularly in rural areas.

The TV series is called Home Fires and was an excellent piece of drama with a great cast.Sadly the series was cancelled after two seasons but you can get it on Netflix and there are to be a series of books continuing the story which I shall definitely read.

Being interested in all things historical I loved looking at the 40s fashions, there were some great Fair Isle jumpers and beautiful tailored clothes as well as some fab floral pinnies!

HOME_FIRES_Fashions

Julie Summers has written a blog post about the fashions and also a book, Fashion on a Ration linked to an exhibition at the Imperial War Museum.

This vintage clothing blog has also got some more great pictures of the cast in costume. I also found a lovely Vintage Pattern blog that has links to free patterns for jumpers like these gorgeous ones below.

HomeFires Patterns

The other TV series was one my lovely daughter mentioned to me and then very kindly bought for me, I loved it and watched the whole thing in a day and a half. It is called Brief Encounters and is the story of women who work for Ann Summers selling, ‘exotic lingerie,’ and ,’marital aids’, in Sheffield in the early 1980s. Again a fabulous cast and the soundtrack was brilliant, a real blast from the past as 1982 was the year I left home and started college so I danced to all of those tunes many times!

Not quite such fabulous fashions in the 1980s, there was some very big hair in the series and a few really loud outfits but a great comedy with some very important storylines about love and family.

A CPL production for ITV.

Pictured: 

This image is the copyright of ITV and must only be used in relation to Brief Encounters.

What I loved about both series are the storylines of women fighting to overcome their barriers, many things that we take for granted now, to be able to go out to work, earn their own money, contribute to the family and generally have a say in how their lives were led. Even though 40 years separate the two series some of the things that happen in the later one are sadly no different.

I have also been reading an excellent series of books. I was told about them by a friend many years ago who knew I liked history and recommended them. The series is called the Moorland Dynasty by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles.

They trace the story of one family from the 1400s to the present day. I bought the first 3 books some years ago and rediscovered them in my bookcase and got hooked, only to find that there are now 36 in the series! I am currently enjoying book 16 which is set in the Regency in the 1800s.

They are again full of descriptions of the fashions as well as filling in all my history knowledge gaps. I am loving the details of ladies fashions such as this one below.

Regency Fashion

The family have a lot of strong female characters, most of which who defy convention by doing such scandalous things as running away to sea, nursing soldiers after the battle of Waterloo and refusing to marry the, ‘right man’.

I do love a good book and a great TV series. There is nothing nicer than spending the evening with a bit of stitching and some great stuff to watch, it makes me very happy. What have you been watching or reading lately, anything good?

I am off to the lovely Simply Solids this weekend for a class,my first visit to their new shop so I am very excited! I am going to be making some Scrappy Trip Along blocks for a quilt like this one.

Scrappy Trip Along quilt

We then have a Wool and Wine craft evening at a friend’s house so that will be a lovely day. Hope you have a good weekend and thanks for visiting.

 

 

 

 

 

Knit one, purl one

Hello from damp and windy, (as usual), Yorkshire. I have had a busy time just lately with some very exciting things to do, namely helping Ellie move into the house she has just bought! I went down to Worksop last weekend and with Kerry and another friend James helped her move some of her things then the removal men came on Monday.

All very good, she is very pleased to have bought a lovely house in a little village not far from work and has been busy buying furniture and things for it this week. I am going down again next weekend to help her do some painting.

Meanwhile on the crafting front I have cast on some knitting. It has been about a year since I last did any, I put together the mouse for Ava which involved some finishing but have not knitted for a long time as I have had tendonitis in my left wrist which has been painful. I was inspired however by the fact that we have a new baby in the family so got some of my stash out and have cast on this cute cardigan from an old magazine so excuse the creases!

baby cardigan pic March 1

Am knitting the 6 month size so will have to finish it by August which should be fine, I have two weeks in Spain at Easter so will be sitting on the terrace in the sun with it.

baby cardigan knitting March 1

I have also made another little pouch, this one has some hair bobbles in and is for a friend’s daughter’s birthday. Same design and tutorial as before, Jedi Craft Girl

Blue linen pouch 1

The bow fabric is from the mini charm packs I bought at Quilt Festival last summer and it is lined with red linen which works well with the blue.

Blue linen pouch 2

The linen is all scrap from making kit for the boys.The deal is that I make things for them in return for a bottle of wine and the fabric left overs which seems like a very good deal to me 🙂

Blue linen pouch 3

I love the ric rac braid and thought that the motif on the charm squares was very appropriate for hair bobbles.

We are coming to the end of term now and teaching is slowing down and the evenings are getting brighter so I am feeling very springlike, apart from the rain the last few days, and am looking forward to the summer starting. Roll on warm days and camping!

Hope that you have a good week ahead, see you all in a couple of weeks for an update on a newly tried design, I made my first Dresden this afternoon and it went very well! Just needs the centre finishing and some backing and I can share it with you.

Thanks for visiting and see you soon.

Change of plans

Hello everyone, hope you are all ok. I am here and not in Worcester visiting my sister and we did not go to Budapest either as sadly my Uncle John died the week before last so I have been to Spain instead to be with the family for his funeral.

It was all very last minute and slightly chaotic but I made the right decision to change my plans. We knew on the Weds night that Mum was not going to be able to come here to go to Budapest as he has been very ill for some time and she could not leave her sister Maureen so I was all ready to fly out on my own on the Sunday as she still wanted me to go and enjoy the holiday.

He died on Friday morning and I made the decision Friday night to cancel the holiday and booked a flight to Spain for the next day and arrived Saturday night.All the family came from England so though it was a very sad time we were all together which is the most important thing to be able support each other and my Aunt Maureen who has been so wonderful and brave during his long illness. Thank God for the internet so we could all get flights with little time to plan.

The reason I was going to see my sister in Worcester with Mum was that we have just welcomed a new member to the family, my nephew Sam and his partner Paige have had a beautiful baby girl called Ava Grace and we were going to meet her. We will postpone that until later on in the Summer when Mum comes over next.

So it has been a very emotional few weeks, very happy and very sad and just brought home to all of us the value of family and the love and support that they give us at the start and the end of life.

I have made Ava Grace a mouse as a gift, you may remember I was knitting various mouse parts some time ago and here she is, designed by the lovely Julie of Little Cotton Rabbits once again.You can buy the pattern for this and all the other animals here.

ava-mouse-1

This is my first mouse and I am very pleased with her, I am calling her Ava after her recipient and although I had some trouble with the nose the rest of the knit was fine and I am very pleased with the lacy dress and the very cute little tail!

ava-mouse-2

ava-mouse-3

ava-mouse-4

I also made some pincushions a while ago to add to my ever growing pile, these may go to Yarndale to be sold or they may be given as gifts but I love making them, so quick and easy.Patterns for the strippy one is here and the other came as inspiration from my Pinterest board here. There were no instructions for this one so just made it up as I went along!

linen-pincushions-1

Am not going to be very productive over the next few weeks as I have a huge amount of marking to do which may take up weekends as well and some other sewing that needs to be completed but will keep revisiting my Pinterest pages to remind me of all the pretty things that I really want to be doing.

Take care and keep happy and thanks for visiting.

 

 

Pinspiration and perspiration

Hello, hope you are all looking forward to a nice weekend whatever you are doing. I am planning to make some pincushions, have got so many lovely ones saved on my Pinterest board that it is time for some doing rather than just looking.

I have got my friend Sharon’s dog Ted staying with me for the weekend while she and Sarah are at Yarndale  so Jake and I will be taking him for walks later on.

Jake is home with me for a few months until he hopefully goes to Japan next year. He is starting a Japanese course the week after next and in the meantime is working part-time doing bar work and dog walking so he is getting very good at canine control!

Have been working hard over the last couple of weeks getting the last of the baskets finished for Sarah to take to Yarndale so just thought I would show you the last few.

yarndale-baskets-1

I got this fab vintage sheep motif from Ebay, sadly only had the two, really love the pattern on the sheep.

yarndale-baskets-3

I also made another mini basket to put the needlebook and pincushion I made last year in, I also made a pink one of these a while ago.

yarndale-baskets-2

Along with the other baskets I made earlier and the Liberty and linen pincushions I had quite a lot of things for the stall so am very pleased.

liberty-pincushions-1

I do love the combination of Liberty fabric and linen and so will definitely make more things using that combination. These are the ones from last year that I made for Yarndale.

liberty-needlebooks-1

liberty-pincushions-1

I also still have lots of lovely themed stitching and vintage print material to make more as gifts for crafting friends. I also definitely need a couple more for me for craft room storage, you can never have too many cute fabric baskets 😉 and there is a gap on my shelf now these have gone to Yarndale.

baskets-april-2016-10

Sarah is selling copies of her latest pattern book at Yarndale, not only does it feature some gorgeous patterns again, this time inspired by the Beaubaton Castle from Harry Potter but also Ellie modelled again for Sarah and her picture is on the front cover!

beautiful-knits-book

This would make a fab Christmas present for a knitting friend so do go and get some from her website here. It is great value and there are some beautiful designs as usual, the woman is a knitting genius.

I love the promo picture for Yarndale this year, look at the cuteness of this sheep!

yarndale-picture

I now have an I Pad, courtesy of work which has the Pinterest app on it and I am loving the fact that I can add things from the suggestions really easily. I came across this wonderful site the other day, Gentlework.

Christine makes the most amazing things from vintage textiles and I have been so inspired by the beautiful things on her site. Do go and have a look at them, they are really delicate and inspired by nature and just lovely.

Right off to make pincushions – see you later and thanks as always for visiting.

 

 

Knitting geniuses and a knitting numpty

Hello everyone

I have made a start on the Sarah and Ann’s Knit Along, in fact I have made 3 starts on it 😦

My great excitement last year about being able to knit in the round meant that I thought that I would have no problems with the pattern.

It is a very well written pattern but for some reason I started knitting backwards from rear of the needles rather than the front so ended up with it being back to front.

Anyway lovely Sarah helped me out at knitting group so I have started again. I have chosen two of my favourite colours and my favourite wool Debbie Bliss Sublime.

Sarah's knit along 1

I am going to be in Spain all next week so hope that I will get chance to do more work on it. At the moment it is just two not very impressive rows!

Sarah's knit along 2

If you would like more information about the Knit Along you can go to the Ravelry group and look at the discussion. Sarah and Ann have a video introducing themselves on Youtube as well.

It is really lovely to know such talented people, their designs are stunning. I have already told you about Sarah’s Elven Reckoning book but she has other really lovely designs as well including lots smaller designs for hats etc.

Here are a couple of my favourites, pictures from her her web site. Firstly the Alexandria fingerless gloves .

Alexandria+Gauntlets-logo+1

Next the Bella cowl. Wouldn’t these make lovely gifts especially in matching yarn.

Sarah's Bella Cowl

I don’t know if I would ever be able to do any of Ann’s designs, they are amazing and so pretty but maybe beyond me at the moment, especially if I can’t work out which way round I am knitting!

This is the stunning Hedgerow jumper – picture from Ann’s Ravelry page   , isn’t it just beautiful.

Ann Kingstone Hedgerow jumper

A group of friends knitted themselves one each, it looks fabulous in any colour, again picture from Ann’s Ravelry pattern page.

Ann Kingstone Hedgerow group shot- small

I have made good progress with the mouse though so am not feeling like a complete numpty. It is so cute – just look at the lovely furry yarn and those little ears!

Mouse parts 1

Mouse parts 2

I have knitted most of the little ballet cardigan as well, this has been really quick to do so I think that all my little girl animals are going to have to have cardigans now, it is so sweet.

Ballet cardigan

I am nearly all packed to go away, just my knitting to add and I am also taking my beautiful Printemps fabric for some hexi making.

I shall catch up with you all when I get back in a couple of weeks. Meanwhile have fun and thanks for visiting.

Joining in

Hello everyone, hope that you have had a good week so far, I am so glad it is nearly Friday, that is excellent news 🙂 I have had a lovely week but weekends are always better!

Given that I didn’t actually finish the Block of the Month we started last year within the knitting group I am possibly a little optimistic posting about a couple of collaborative ventures I have discovered recently.

However I am working on the basis that I am doing it more for all of you who read my blog than for me and who knows I might win the lottery soon and need lots of things to fill my time with 😉

Anyway being a new year there are lots of great things happening that you can join in with, I am going to share a couple with you now and I have more in my favourites for a later post.

The first one is a mystery knit along being organised by my very talented friend Sarah from knitting group and her equally talented friend Ann. I am definitely doing this one and it will help to have one of the designers on hand if needed!

The knit along is for a pair of fingerless mittens and it is called, ‘On the other hand’, as for each section you get two pattern options, one from Ann and one from Sarah.

MKAL_Ravelry_group_banner_1

The link above takes you to Ravelry where you can buy the pattern and join the group and the first part gets released on the 5th Feb.

There are also some lovely free block of the months to inspire me. I have never done any of Lori Holt’s designs but love the look of the Quilty Fun and Farm Girl Vintage and she has got a new design called Bloom.

Bloom Sew Along

Isn’t this quilt just so pretty! The pattern does use Lori’s Bloom templates but I think you could make the flowers without those as well as the instructions are very clear. Picture from Lori’s blog.

Bloom Quilt

The overall pattern is free from the Riley Blake site and Lori is giving step by step instructions on her Bee in my Bonnet blog

The fabric is her new Calico Days range and it really is, ‘bloomin gorgeous’, look at all this, pity I am trying to be good and not buy anything! Again picture from Lori’s blog.

Calico days fabric

I have a whole weekend of lovely crafting planned, how unusual 😉

Will catch up again soon, meanwhile thanks very much for visiting.

 

 

 

What I did on my holidays … or what I did in 2015

Hello everyone, inspired by lots of other people doing review of activities posts I thought that I would take a look back at what I managed in 2015.

I don’t do New Year’s resolutions, (except for the perennial one of doing less housework and more fun things), but do like thinking about what the year might bring.

I did set myself a number of goals for that year, 12 quilt blocks with our Block of the Month organised by Helen from knitting group, 26 books to be read and 17 sewing projects from the Sewing Bucket List.

I didn’t get any of them completed fully but on the positive side this means I still have things to work on for this year 🙂

I finished 5 of the quilt blocks and have another one cut out but have been having a few issues with my new machine 😦 so need to spend some time sorting that out before any serious quilt making happens.

I have enjoyed the challenge and it has made me a lot more accurate and confident about piecing and if I hadn’t been doing so much other sewing would have managed all of these.

I have read lots and lots of books this year but got diverted from the list so ended up only completing 11 out of the 26.

My current favourite diversion is my discovery of Debbie Macomber, I really enjoyed watching the adaptation of her Cedar Cove series on Netflix in the summer and as usual picked up a couple of her Blossom Street series in a charity shop in Spain recently and am now hooked! Appropriate for a series that starts with the story of a yarn shop.

Blossom street novel

Have ordered four more of these to take to Spain for my next holiday, yes Alison what happened to not buying any more books until all the ones you had were read?

As for the sewing list 7 out of 17 and again lots of other diversions off to stitch Jenny’s beautiful designs and to make lots of medieval kit and a couple of extra things for the sewing room.

Other things I accomplished not on the list, lots and lots of hexagon piecing, my favourites being the pincushions and needlecases with Liberty fabric.

And learning to knit in the round, the wristwarmers and the little knitted pincushions were my first success with this.

The discovery of Jenny’s embroidery which gave me lots of beautiful things to stitch, my favourite so far are her birds, this one is now in my craft room.

So challenges for 2016 then. Well to finish all these lists, to improve my skills at making quilt blocks.

I still have lots of lovely things I want to make for the craft room and think that single blocks to use as mini quilts is probably a better option than trying to make anything bigger.

2016 will definitely be a year of more embroidery and challenging myself to use different stitches.

As for knitting goals definitely lots more of Julie’s little animals, the mouse is coming along very well and love the speed at which I can complete them.

What about you, any challenges that you want to tackle in 2016?

Have a lovely week ahead and thanks for visiting.