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.

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Works in progress

I don't have anything finished to show you this week so thought I'd better show you some of the pieces I'm currently working on. Yes, that's right, ... some! I know!

I don't know about you but I sometimes have periods when I'm feeling a bit down and unable to settle to anything and that's when I dip into my sketchbooks and pattern books and delve into the corners of my mind to see what might inspire me to pick up a needle and thread. It's not that I'm not already working on things of course - just that none of them are quite what I want to do at that time. And so I start on something new.

I'm not admitting to how many of these started and unfinished projects I currently have in my workbasket but here are a few of them.

First of all, this is going to be a new bag. The idea behind this project was to use up all the odds and ends of tapestry wool that I have left over from previous projects - hence the jumble of colours. The front is all finished

and the back will be mainly diagonal stripes. But the stripes are more boring to stitch than the hearts were - so slow progress is being made on this at the moment.

 Now, I want you to meet Magda. Magda is a new project which has grown quickly. I spotted the pattern, which was intended for bobbin lace, at the Knitting and Stitching Show in Harrogate in November and fell instantly in love with her. I just knew that she'd be perfect in needlelace so here she is. Her hat, which has been worked separately, has a red silk ribbon around the crown. She'll soon be finished as I work on her a little each day.

This crocheted afghan has been in progress for a long time but I finally got around to stitching together some of the many hexagons I've crocheted - a twist on the traditional granny square blanket and it will be very cosy in the cold winter evenings ... if I can just get it finished.

In and amongst all this I'm working on some hem-stitched napkins for my daughter. I'd hoped to have them finished as a Christmas present but I obviously didn't start work on them soon enough and they're taking far longer to stitch than I'd anticipated, but at least she'll have a 'down payment' on the set of six that I've promised her.

And last but by no means least, here's a photo of Willow taking his afternoon nap on the silk comforter on my bed.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Lace butterflies

A very quick little note today with a promise of more very soon, but I really wanted to show you these pieces.

I know that here in the UK this is not a very seasonal post but I recently finished the third of these butterflies, which will be mounted, framed and then will probably find their way into my Etsy shop after Christmas.

This will be a new direction for my shop as these are not dolls house miniatures, as you might guess. They will, however, I hope, bring a little colour in these cold winter days.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

The Faeries book

Do any of you remember the poem by William Allingham entitled The Faeries? My favourite uncle used to sing the chorus to me when I was very young and the poem has been in my mind recently so I made a book to fit with the words.

Up the airy mountain, down the rushy glen,
We dare n't go a-hunting for fear of little men;
Wee folk, good folk, trooping all together;
Green jacket, red cap, and white owl's feather.
Down along the rocky shore some make their home,
They live on crispy pancakes of yellow tide-foam;
Some in the reeds of the black mountain-lake,
With frogs for their watch-dogs, all night awake. 
High on the hill-top the old King sits;
He is now so old and grey he's nigh lost his wits.
With a bridge of white mist Columbkill he crosses,
On his stately journeys from Slieveleague to Rosses; 
Or going up with music, on cold starry nights,
To sup with the Queen of the gay Northern Lights.
They stole little Bridget for seven years long;
When she came down again her friends were all gone. 
They took her lightly back between the night and morrow;
They thought she was fast asleep, but she was dead with sorrow.
They have kept her ever since deep within the lake,
On a bed of flag leaves, watching till she wake.
By the craggy hill-side, through the mosses bare,
They have planted thorn trees for pleasure here and there.
Is any man so daring as dig them up in spite?
He shall find the thornies set in his bed at night.
Up the airy mountain down the rushy glen,
We dare n't go a-hunting for fear of little men;
Wee folk, good folk, trooping all together;
Green jacket, red cap, and white owl's feather. 
The words aren't all very comforting are they? and I can't quite decide whether I entirely like the faerie folk ... but I have certainly enjoyed making the book. 

Sunday, 10 November 2013

A little stitchery

Just a few little pieces to show you this week. Last week I went to York for the day - a very beautiful, and very old city - even though it rained all afternoon.

I spent a long while in the Quilt Museum looking at two fascinating exhibitions (no photographs allowed), one of the different reasons why people have made quilts through the ages, and the other of woven tapestries, which was, if possible, even more fascinating.

I also visited Viking Loom - a wonderful embroidery/quilting/beading/craft shop, where, of course, I was tempted and, weak-willed-woman that I am, bought this lovely little embroidery kit designed by Josephine Storey.

Entitled "It's Windy Through the Garden Gate" and stitched on hand painted silk fabric. Sweet isn't it? I think I shall make a box for it to sit on top of.

For Christmas last year my daughter bought me a bundle of Liberty tana lawn scraps and I've been gradually piecing them together to make a table topper for my glass dining table (or it may be a lap quilt depending on how cold the winter becomes).

The pieces are just stitched together at the moment - they still need to be quilted. I love the randomness of this little quilt.

This year I returned to the Highlands of Scotland for my third holiday on Rannoch Moor. This is the hotel where I stay - just at the point where the road ends by the railway station.

 I love moorland and Rannoch is my idea of heaven on earth - nothing for literally miles around.

The path through the forest, which eventually leads to the mountains...

... and the loch - a perfect spot for sitting on a pile of rocks and thinking, or for just sitting and enjoying being alive in such a beautiful place.

The moors inspired me to make a little needlelace purse

I stitched it in many different shades of purple for the heather and the mists on the moor,

and lined it with gold coloured silk for the sunshine...

and on the back a patch of wild flowers and some needleweaving for the trees through which I watched the sun rise from my bedroom window.

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Casalguidi workshop and a tea shop renovation

Yesterday a friend and I ran a workshop at our Saturday Stitching group on Casalguidi embroidery. There were twenty ladies taking the class - which was quite a lot to teach - including one lady who had only ever worked cross stitch before. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves however and they all managed to work a small oblong of four sided stitch for the background and a raised stem bar. 

You can see these stitches in the sample below ...

The raised stem bar is the fat 'sausage' shape in the centre. We also showed them how to do the bullion knots over the ends of the bar. We'll show them the woven picots (the leaves) and buttonhole triangles (the flowers) next time. This was the piece that I worked when I first learned this kind of embroidery at a workshop at Gawthorpe Hall in the North of England.

Since then I've played with the technique a little

Lots of woven picots on this piece.

Here I've entwined the wrapped cords through a square of hardanger embroidery.

And although this isn't really true Casalguidi, this little bag does use some of the elements. The four sided stitch background is there, together with buttonhole bars and wrapped threads but this time I've incorporated lots of beads to give a bit more modern effect.

The technique was traditionally worked white on white but those of you who know my work will already know that I don't really do white embroidery - hence the colour in all of my pieces. I do love those hand dyed threads!!

I started this morning to clear some space on my workbench in my garage in an attempt to see what (if any) miniature items I might need to buy at next weekend's minis show at Pudsey. Inevitably I got sidetracked as I came across some pieces that I'd been making for the tea room renovation project. So the projects are now better organised, even though my workbench is still fairly full. I won't show you. I'm sure you all know what a cluttered workbench looks like :-)

Some pieces made their way into the apartment above the tea room however ...

 The bedroom is just about complete now I think. The bed looks inviting with its patchwork quilt, folded blanket, smart cushions, hot water bottle and nightdress case.

I added a dressing table and stool and, although I still need to add a few accessories to the dressing table, it fits well against this wall.

A little leather handbag, pretty bottles and boxes and a beribboned hat top the combination wardrobe and chest of drawers and a parasol and set of floral patterned luggage complete this side of the room.

The attic room needs more items and it still looks a bit too clean.

The tea room itself now has six newly painted chairs though I may repaint the green one, which I reclaimed from another project. The trolley needs painting too and there will be shelves and pictures on the walls.

I added a small collection of tiny wooden mushrooms/toadstools to the kitchen window to echo the collection I  have on my own windowsill.

Friday, 18 October 2013

A lace mask and some miniatures

Yes, I have actually been working on some miniatures. I know its been a while but other things (like holidays and visitors, exhibitions and competitions) have been getting in the way. However, this week I've been working on the quarter scale cottages. These are semi-detached and will have a thatched roof eventually, which will make them the only thatched cottages in the street but that's ok.

 The right hand cottage is quite large with four rooms and rendered walls

The one on the left just has one room downstairs and one upstairs and I've given the exterior walls of this one a stone finish.

This is the smaller cottage. It still needs a few pieces of furniture - a small table to go with that dining chair and an armchair by the fire I think as well as a comfortable rug by the hearth and some pictures on the walls to make it look a little cosier.

 The larger cottage already has its dining table (just noticed that dining chair that has fallen over).

 The furniture in this cottage has a 1940s feel - including the fireplace in the sitting room.

 There will be a settee and armchair in this room too - eventually.

Even the bathroom is a little old fashioned with that high cistern toilet.

The kitchen is small but I've managed to squeeze in a cooker and a sink unit with cupboards.

This is the lace mask. It's taken me a while to work out exactly how to fix it onto the plastic mask that I had bought for the purpose and I finally covered the front of the mask with gold lame and the back with red silk dupion, then stitched the lace onto that. I have to admit to being pretty pleased with the final result of this piece which has taken countless hours of work.

Oh ... and this morning I also framed this piece.

This was a kit from Stef Francis with a small embossed metal panel in the centre - and now hanging on my lounge wall.

Have a great weekend everyone.
I'm leaving you with a little autumn colour in the shape of a potted maple in my garden. In real life it's even redder than it looks in this photograph - really scarlet. It cheers me even on the gloomiest day.