Thanks for calling by. I hope you enjoy what you see, feel free to leave a comment and call again to catch up on my news.

Monday, 24 December 2012

It's Christmas!

Just a very quick post to wish all my followers a very very happy Christmas and I'll see you all in the New Year. Hope that Santa brings you lots of mini/stitching presents to fill 2013 with joy!

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Stitching news

Two blog postings in one day ... whatever next!
I thought I'd keep the miniatures and the stitching separate, so here is the latest update on the stitching I've been doing.

I've been doing a little more Bargello embroidery. This design is called Jacobean Spires and it's a sample for the 17th century project we're working on at the Embroiderers' Guild.

Also as part of the same project we're producing a large group piece of the Tree of Life, a popular motif in 17th century embroidery, and members are making individual motifs all worked in crewel embroidery, which will be cut out and added to the tree. This is my leaf.

I finally finished the second of my needle lace grid samplers. I started these back in October when I went to my lace tutor's studio in Wales. They're going to be book covers for my files of lace patterns and samples.

This is the other book cover, using a more contemporary style of needlelace and needleweaving.

This is the piece of lace I'm currently working on, which is destined for either a box lid or a cushion cover (no final decision made as yet).

And finally, I thought you might like to see some of the things I bought at the Knitting and Stitching Show in Harrogate a couple of weeks ago.

I got these three fat quarters of beautiful French fabric  ...

three packs of fabric squares for patchwork, together with matching threads and sequins in my other favourite colours of the moment - gorgeous autumnal shades in peaches, golds and browns. Lots of patchwork obviously going to be happening here in the new year!

My miniature bookends and Christmas

I finished the 48th scale bookends! Cute aren't they? You can't get inside but, as you can see, they're supporting all my little books from Petite Properties and I love them.

There are more houses of this scale waiting in the pipeline but it will be after Christmas now before I make a start on them.

I've made a start on my Christmas minis. There are trees for the Tea Rooms, the Retreat and a small one for the 24th Scale Georgian Manor House...

... and I also got out the Christmas Kitchen room box to assess what I need to add to that.

I have some more goodies already waiting to go into this display but I'll keep those to show you another day. It all looks a little tidy for my present taste so there's quite a bit of work to do in here over the next couple of weeks.

The sewing room roombox has some new additions ...

I fitted the ceiling light in place, finished filling the cupboard, covered the mannequin with lace, set up the cutting out table and the sewing machine table, found a chair and lots of cats to play in here.

Do you see all these naughty little kittens? There are two playing with reels of ribbon on the floor, one supervising the fabric cutting, one in the basket of cloth and there's one on top of the cupboard, with another one just out of sight on the bottom shelf.


There's a cat behind the sewing machine, and another on the chair. There's still work to do in here with lots more bits and pieces to add and perhaps even more cats.

And here is my own naughty cat who looks just as though he's reading that list on my table.

I also completed my miniature embroidery frame. This has gone into the living room of the flat above the Tea Rooms.

I keep adding new pieces to this so you might notice there's a standard lamp in the corner, which wasn't there last time you looked around, a new plant on the bookcase and an orchid on the side table.

There's also a smart new cash register in the cake shop along with a box of scones and a jug of flowers on top of the bread display.

And herb pots on the kitchen windowsill.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Samplers galore

Yes ... my sampler book is finished! I'm really pleased with the results and have learned so many new techniques along the way - some I will definitely re-visit, others I probably won't. (never say never!)

The cover and first four pages are a mixture of cross stitch and back stitch.

A little sampler and blackwork

Blackwork sampler and Assissi work

More Assissi work and a page of Hardanger - I didn't much enjoy the Hardanger - all that thread cutting proved a little stressful

More Hardanger and a page of decorative darning

More darning and some drawn thread embroidery

A drawn thread sampler and a page of pulled thread embroidery

and the back cover is back to cross stitch and back stitch 

I also realised today that I never showed you the completed piece of Casalguidi embroidery that I did on the workshop at Gawthorpe Hall last month ...

Casalguidi is traditionally worked in white thread on white fabric but I just couldn't bring myself to do it. I very very rarely stitch in pure white - in fact I had to buy the thread for the raised bar especially for the workshop.

Last week's workshop at the Embroiderers Guild meeting was run by Linda Rudkin, who does the most amazing work with natural dyes and silk fibres. She showed us how to mould silk fibres around a variety of objects - I chose a pebble from my garden and a small bowl. Again, I'm really pleased with the results and will definitely be doing more of this.

Friday, 9 November 2012

A miniature bedspread

Today's post bridges the gap between my twin passions of stitching and miniatures. The lace bedspread that I showed you a couple of weeks ago is now finished.

and here it is draped on the bed from the retreat.

I bought some 1/48th scale bookends from Petite Properties the other week and of course I couldn't resist making a start on them. Cute aren't they?

This is the front. The two houses are mirror images of each other. These are the first buildings of this scale that I've bought and I'm amazed at the amount of detail in the kits.

I also finished the roombox for the sewing room - all decorated too.

Last week I was in London and on the Sunday I went around the Brick Lane and Spitalfields markets with my son and daughter, and daughters boyfriend. Some of the buildings in the area are ultra-modern, whilst others take the term shabby-chic to a whole new level. I thought I'd share some of my photos with you as I feel some of these buildings are just crying out to be copied in miniature.

Yes, that really is the house number on the door - crazy!!

Just across the road is this one which looks a bit like a strong room but with those quirky little cut outs in the panel above.

The shutters stop people staring inside but still allow light into the room.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

A sewing cabinet

I've made a little progress on my 12th scale sewing room - still no walls yet though, as you can see. Life feels to have been pretty hectic recently and I've just not managed to find the time to go down into town to buy foam board to make them. They'll happen eventually.

However, the table now has fabric draped across it and piled underneath it, the dressmaker's model has a coat of paint, and the sewing cabinet is filling up.

I rubbed the paintwork down a little on the outside of the cabinet to make it look a little more worn, and then lined the doors.

There are balls of wool and a jar of tiny buttons on the top shelf and rolls and bales of fabric on the middle shelf. The bottom shelf holds books and magazines.

This small drawer is filled with knitting patterns

and there's more fabric in the bottom drawer.

I've also been making a lace bedspread - not quite finished yet but enough for you to see I think.

This one is destined for the bed in the retreat.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Stitching workshops

I know it's been a while but my excuse is that I've been away stitching. A group of friends and I spent a whole wonderful week in mid-Wales at my needlelace tutor's studio. A truly inspirational place! The countryside is gloriously lush (especially after all the rain we've had in the UK this summer) and her studio walls and every available surface are lined with pieces of her work and then there are the threads - box after box of Oliver Twist and Stef Francis hand dyed threads, the full range of Finca Perle 16, machine embroidery threads, and I didn't even look at all the mixed media materials!

My purpose for the week was to learn how to do needle lace grids. I'd painted six small squares on each of two pieces of calico fabric and outlined them in tea-dyed cotton tape in readiness. They're destined to become covers for my sample books when they're completed. Want to see?

This one is complete now (just finished this morning) and is my attempt at a more abstract and less  traditional style of lace.  

And this is the traditional one, still on the pillow which I'm using to keep the tension even. The two centre squares are complete but the others all still need quite a bit of work.

This is another fun piece of lace which may well end up as a hanging ornament I think. The original plan was to turn it into a hot air balloon for the Guild of Needle Laces competition but I lost momentum on that and didn't get it finished in time so I don't think I shall bother to make the basket now. This was fun to do once the polystyrene ball was finally covered with single corded brussels stitch!

I finished the bargello needle case from the Saturday workshop, which I told you about last time I wrote I think.

And then this last week I went to Gawthorpe Hall in Lancashire for the first of two day workshops to learn how to do Casalguidi embroidery. First introduced in a tiny village in Tuscany of the same name, this style of embroidery seems to be enjoying a bit of a revival. I was interested to learn as it uses some of the same techniques as needlelace, but also borrows from pulled thread work, needleweaving and stumpwork.

We began by stitching the pulled threadwork background. Here I've just started to lay the coil of threads which will form the basis for the raised bar which is one of the main characteristics of this style of embroidery.

and here's my sample piece of the satin stitched raised bar. This will be covered next week in raised stem stitch and we're also going to learn how to make wrapped threads and needlewoven picots and triangles.

Oh, and last but not least, I'm still working away at my sampler book.

These are the pulled threadwork pages - still a bit of work to do on the bar sampler on the left hand side, as you can see if you enlarge the photo. Two more pages and the cover and this will be finished!