A bunch of flowers

I have had a very lovely weekend, full of crafting and good company so I am feeling very happy. You would have been able to see some photos of all the beautiful flowers in bloom here at the moment, the rhododendrons and clematis are all out and I was planning to take some photos on the way to my Simply Solids workshop yesterday for you but it started raining heavily so I just ran for the bus instead. Never mind I do have some floral treats for you in a bit.

First the workshop and the new shop. It opened in September but due to working lots of weekends this was my first visit. It is huge compared to the old one with a separate workshop area and so much fabric, and zips and lovely, lovely things.

Simply Solids new shop 2

Also my lovely friend Helen has started working there part-time so I was able to have a catch up with her as well. Here she on the left is with Lisa, one of the shop’s owners.

Simply Solids new shop 1

Do go and visit if you are in the area, it is is Slaithwaite, another pretty little village about 4 miles from Huddersfield. They also have online shopping.

The workshop was great, I made a block in rainbow fabric, the block was a lot simpler than I thought it would be, using the sewing strips together into a tube then cutting strips apart technique, so would definitely make this one again.

Scrappy Trip Along block 1

I will use this block for a kid’s bag, at least they won’t notice the less than perfect matching of the squares 😉  solids are so unforgiving but I love the colours.

Scrappy Trip Along block 2

I have been working on the lovely vintage embroidery log cabin blocks that I showed you last time,I ended up making five and am turning them into a bag for me.

Vintage log cabin block 11

This is the completed quilt that Hen House made from hers and I think more of these would make a very lovely quilt indeed. Not sure I have enough Liberty to do that as only have scraps so that may have to wait.

Hen House vintage embroidey quilt

Here are the blocks in detail, I have tried to use Liberty that co-ordinates with the central embroidery and love the scrappy nature of these. Not my usual style of have everything matching but I love them. These four will go to make the front of the bag with some denim from a recycled shirt.

This one was a bit bigger than the others so is going to be a pocket on the back for things like sunglasses as this bag is coming to Spain with me in August.

Vintage log cabin block 1

Vintage log cabin block 2

I am working at home a lot this week marking so am hoping for a little late afternoon crafting each day if all goes well. Hope that you have a nice week ahead. Thanks for visiting.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Rainbow brights

One of the good side effects of rain and sun together is of course when we get rainbows. Though this weekend had a mix of weather I didn’t see any rainbows but had one in the craft room anyway.

Inspired by the rainbow Dresdens on my Pinterest such as this one below I decided to make a rainbow Dresden one a few weeks ago and finished it into a pouch today.

Rainbow Dresden

I have not got much yellow or red fabric so struggled a bit with anything patterned.I have photographed this next to a gorgeous stack of rainbow solids that I have had for a couple of years and not cut into yet. They just look too pretty all tied up!

Rainbow pouch 1

The lovely yellow with red flowers is a a magazine freebie from a while ago and I really like pop of colour among the plain fabrics.

The middle looks far more wonky here than it does in real life. I appliqued the Dresden onto the blue fabric for the pouch then added the middle bit with applique as well. At least you can’t see any of the stitches!

This is a pencil pouch which is a present for a friend’s little girl so I have put some things in it for her, the lining is a plain red from my stash. Pouch tutorial from Jedi Craft Girl as before.

Rainbow pouch 6

I also made a lovely bright mini Dresden before I went to Spain which is destined for the top of a pin cushion, this is the smallest one I have made so far at 3 inches across.

Mini bright Dresden 1

The fabric is from a mini charm pack from a while ago and I have used one of the lovely lacy circles gifted from a friend that I have put on other pincushions and bags.Just perfect for a little contrast.

Mini bright Dresden 2

I have had a very perfect Sunday and finished it with a little bit of fabric playing. I know I said I wasn’t going to start anything new before finishing making up all the pouches and bags but I was just having a cup of tea and a Pinterest browse mid craft and came across this picture from Hen House. Hen’s is one of my very favourite blogs, I love all her vintage makes.

Vintage log cabin with Liberty

Well before you knew it the vintage cloth stash and the Liberty had come out and I was making log cabin blocks. Not enough has been completed to show you yet but I am very pleased with the results so far.

Hope that you have all had a good day as well and thanks for visiting.

More inspiration!

It is another wet and grey weekend here, I am secretly quite pleased as I had planned a sewing weekend so feel no guilt at not venturing out 🙂

Now that I have given Mum her birthday and Mother’s Day presents I can show you some of the latest lovely things I have been looking at. I am being very good and am finishing off things rather than starting new projects, apart from some hand stitching for evenings, but I have some new things on my wish list.

The first present was a new book, Quilt Petite, I think I found this as a recommendation on Amazon and then I went and looked at the blog of the author, her name is Sedef and the blog is called Down Grapevine Lane. She lives in Australia with two very cute kids and produces the most gorgeous things and is generous enough to have lots of tutorials on her site.

Quilt Petite Book 1

The book is just the sort that Mum loves, she does not read blogs and likes doing small projects so this is perfect for her. There are so many cute things like this Dresden pillow and hexagon doll quilt and the cutest thing of all is that pillow with the little girl’s feet and the rabbit!

She had a sew along for the book so you can see all of the lovely things that people made here. I am planning to make a Teddy Taggie Blanket for Ava from her tutorial, they look like really lovely quick makes.

The second book that I bought for Mum was All Points Patchwork by Diane Gilleland. She loves English Paper Piecing and this is a great book for extending skills.

All Points Patchwork Book 1

I love these pentagon flowers and the other ideas for combining shapes.

All Points Patchwork Book 2

All Points Patchwork Book 3

I am using the blog post that I wrote in Jan to remind me of all the things that I want to do and have just started another of The Splendid Sampler squares, this is the one by lovely Jenny of Elefantz and I am making it for my craft room.

31-splendid-sampler-jenny-reynolds-block-collagev2

She has just posted a gorgeous tutorial for using a vintage doily to make a needlebook, it is so lovely, you can find it here. Picture from Jenny’s web site.

ELEFANTZ doily needlebook main pic

So I hope you have all got a lovely weekend planned. Enjoy yourselves, whatever the weather and thanks for visiting.

 

Angle experiments

I have had a lovely time playing with Dresdens in my craft room over the last weekend. I have learnt a lot and made some pretty things.I am very much an experimenter when it comes to my crafting and am trying to expand my techniques. I never like to follow patterns or ideas directly and prefer using these as basis for a bit of creativity.

This is why I have ended up with such a variety of sizes, rather than actually following any instructions I just kept thinking, ‘what if I do this….?’

Which explains the giant Dresden, this measures 17 inches across and is a result of seeing what happens when you use the other end of the new Dresden ruler! I am not sure what this is going to be, was thinking bag but maybe a cushion cover with a large crochet piece in the centre from my stash and even a few Suffolk Puffs!

Large pink Dresden 1

This is the first one, the blades are 3 inches in length with the narrow end of my new ruler, worked out that you need 20 of these to complete the design so just kept adding fabric.

Medium Pink Dresden 1

Medium Pink Dresden 2

And this one is the, ‘what if I make it wider at the top’, experiment. done with a 2 length inch blade but wider at the top so only 12 were needed. I am not sure about the linen blades here, loved them but have now decided to applique this onto a linen pouch so may need to swap them out for a contrast fabric.

Doesn’t it look lovely with a bit of my vintage crochet in the centre?

Small Pink Dresden 1

One of the reasons I have been able to just play and add blades as needed is that I have been very naughty and bought new fabric, sush don’t tell the kids 😉

I bought two beautiful packs from a new supplier of ditsy florals that I found a while ago, Always Knitting and Sewing.

At the time I posted this wish list pic from the web site, and though I didn’t realise it when I ordered this it mostly what I bought.

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

They came as two bundles, with ten 10 inch squares of beautiful quality fabric in each bundle,  very good value at £5.99 each. There is lots of choice of other colours as well. I ordered one cream and one pink bundle which has given me lots of beautiful things to play with. Aren’t they just absolutely gorgeous 🙂

This is one of my very favourite ones and as I need a new make up bag and have some more linen coming think I will save this for me!

Dresen Rose and Hubble fabrics 5

Most of their stock seems to be Rose and Hubble and Moda and I love all of it. I am very tempted by this beautiful colourway.

Red fabrics - wish list

I have also started another Sew Illustrated project, this one using one of the sewing motifs from the book and one of my favourite sayings, ‘Sew many projects, sew little time!’ This will be a pouch, again either for me to keep or a gift.

Sew Ilustrated spool pouch 1

Love using up my Liberty scraps on these and hope that they do look like spools.

Sew Ilustrated spool pouch 4

I do really love this time of year! I am able to go to work and come home in the light, the rhododendrons are just about to bloom and it is nearly time to go to Spain again 🙂

Also with my new role most of my teaching finishes next week, that means lots of marking for the next couple of months but that can mostly be done from the comfort of my sofa.

Then I have to do some serious work on my doctorate over the summer, but that still leaves plenty of time for crafting in the late afternoons, so along with the plan for my doctorate I have written a crafting plan for the summer.

So I am a very happy bunny. Hope that you are all having a nice Spring (or Autumn), take care and thanks for visiting.

Quilty maths and a sheep in progress

Hello and hope that you are all having a very lovely weekend, after the busyness of the previous three I am having a very lovely time in my craft room. Last weekend I was helping Ellie paint her new house which went very well and this weekend I have a whole weekend devoted to sewing 🙂

She has a very lovely bathroom, very much a spa style gorgeous pamper place in grey so I made her this little pouch as a house warming gift.

Grey linen pouch 1

The grey linen, lining fabric and crochet lace are all from my stash and the little squares are from the Moda mini charm packs that I bought at the Quilt Festival in the summer.

I have been hard at work on Dresedens applying my maths knowledge to working out sizes and angles. It has been very much trial and error as I have not looked at any patterns just done some cutting and gone for it.

I have taught maths for most of the last 29 years and trained lots of maths teachers over the last 15 years and have always told them about the maths in crafting such as quilts so have been putting it into good practice.

Last week I made this lovely piece, was surprised how easily it went together and turned it into a mug rug for my craft room with the addition of one of my vintage crochet motifs.

I have just purchased a book that has been on my radar for a while, Sew Illustrated,  by Minki Kim and Kristin Esser and was inspired by all the lovely things in it to do something similar today.

Just look at all this cuteness, particularly liking the baskets and the little house bags, after making so many house pincushions can see this as a way of using up more ideas for fabric combinations in a more practical way. Need to find something cute for fussy cutting the door!

Sew Illustrated book 4

Sew Illustrated book 6

This is my work in progress sheep knitting notions bag, probably for Sarah’s Yarndale stall if I don’t decide it is too lovely and has to stay with me 🙂 I have been hand embroidering the sheep’s legs and head tonight while watching the third series of the excellent Grace and Frankie on Netflix.

Sheep knitting acessories bag 1

Sheep knitting acessories bag 2

Sheep knitting acessories bag 3

Have also made a couple of other Dresdens, one a little bigger than the above and an experiment with the other end of my new Dresden ruler that has ended up being rather on the large side 🙂

More on that in a future post, meanwhile happy crafting, 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.