Monday 30 September 2013

Rag Rescue ......

This is a recommendation for a site to buy vintage fabrics.

The lady who owns this business and does all of the work herself is Sandie and she is knowledgeable and extremely helpful.

You can buy little rag bags of bits, or, if you're lucky and Sandie has sourced it, you can purchase some larger pieces of delicious fabrics.

The website is easy as it is sorted into colours or sizes and you can see what is available and how many of something is in her lovely stock.

Enjoy a look.

Monday morning..... and the list is long!

Good morning to you all

Today is going to be busy.  I have written my list and it will keep me going all week.
I would like to do some more on the little house sampler and must do some more bits for Christmas too.  As you know I am getting ready for my trip to New England as well.

So today I am trying to be methodical in how I work.  It starts with my blog and coffee and then moves on.

The weather is very dull and uninviting, which is good as I will probably get more done by not thinking I would love to be in the last of the warm weather for this year!! If I try and do some hand sewing in the garden, or on my wicker chair in the conservatory, I confess, if a beautiful butterfly flutters past or I see a new flower budding .... like my roses who believe its May again, then I have to stop and take a peek!

I have been talking threads lately and as you know I favour the hand dyed and not mass produced ones.  I find it wonderful that even on a length of thread there are slight colour variations which give depth and life to a piece of work.  I would like to do more embroidery in my work and hope that people appreciate the time it takes, which would reflect in the price of something.  What do you think? would you pay more for a hand worked piece?

I love to work on vintage French linens.  The linen is wonderful to sew on and it is delicate but robust all at the same time.  You can lightly iron the piece after you have added your design and it looks crisp with a time worn feel about it.  Therefore I think that hand dyed threads go hand in hand with this fabric.  You can pick up vintage linen sheets at antique fairs or perhaps on Ebay or Etsy.  They are normally fairly large and you can cut one up to use in pictures or to use a panel of it on a cushion.

So today I leave you with a picture of threads that are hand dyed, and hope that I have inspired you to make something for yourself, or indeed to buy something beautiful for your home, or perhaps as a present for someone else that is unique and has oodles of history in its fabric already.

                                                         Happy Stitching !

Sunday 29 September 2013

Canterbury Shaker village ..... My lazy Sunday thoughts.

This is in the grounds of the Shaker village in New Hampshire. It is set in 1,084 square miles and is a wonderful place to visit.

This is the entrance to Canterbury Shaker Village.

It's now a non profit making preserved site for future generations to come and visit.  Most of the buildings
have been restored and the rest are in the process of being done.  They have set out the buildings as they would have been with actual things that belonged to some of the Shaker people.
There is an amazing sewing room which interests me so much.  There are pin cushions that bolt on to benches, incredible tools of the trade. There are vintage quilts around the bedrooms and lots of cabinets showing early sewing tools.
The 694 acres of forests, fields and gardens are under permanent conservation assessment. There are 25 original Shaker buildings and lots of their machinery and even sleighs for when the snow was bad.
Today there is gift shop and lovely restaurant for great homemade soups, pies and bread.  You can wander around the buildings and go inside.  Watch as people make beautiful shaker boxes and brooms and look at the most amazing wardrobes and storage built 100 years ago or more and that we today would love to have.
The Canterbury Shaker village says it is providing a place for learning, reflection and renewal of the human spirit......
I am lucky enough to be going back to this wonderful place and I love to look at the website for updates on courses there and talks on sewing and cooking and making of wonderful breads and so much more.
Take a look for yourself at
It's a lovely read for a lazy Sunday.

Friday 27 September 2013

Quilted Threads..... Heaven on earth.

Quilted threads in Henniker in New Hampshire.  This is where I will be visiting and fall into a peaceful fabric coma with all the other people who visit Becky and her ladies at this shop.

When I see this sign I am overcome with happiness!
I thought I would show you all some photos of one of my favourite places on earth.... Henniker a small town in New Hampshire. Its just a small town with beautiful clap board houses and a lovely  place to stay in The Colby Inn.  You can imagine my pleasure at seeing this sign as not only is it a fabric shop BUT its the biggest clap board premises in the town..... that means untold amounts of fabrics and goodies!!  have a look as there is an online store!  I highly recommend it!!

This is the Colby Inn at Henniker. A wonderful place to stay. Welcoming and home from home with a great restaurant menu.
This is my recommendation of the day and I hope you have a look at quilted threads.  They have a show case of quilts too.
Anyway back to my sewing.... But I just had to share this with you all.
Happy days!!

Macmillan day!

Good morning!

Well as the title suggests it is indeed the day that people have big coffee mornings and raise money for Macmillan.  This is a charity dear to my heart as we have a friend and neighbour who is battling with all sorts.  Three cancers in his body.  Now if you see him in the garden, doing a little weeding or pottering and he does not know you are there he is sometimes found leaning on his hoe.  I can tell he is breathless and more than likely in some pain BUT when you say hello his head pops up and you get a beautiful smile and a hello how are you! ... How am I, what about him? but no this man is always cheerful and asks how we are doing and what project I am working on and that he indeed would be very interested to see it.  In his working life he worked for Coates you see so sewing was his business.  When I purchased my new sewing machine he popped round to give it the once over :))

I try to take a leaf from his book daily.  He is always smiling and kind and never ever complains about how he feels.  He is a great and wonderful man and is, he says, married to the best woman in the world and not another woman could hold a candle to her!

So today after I have delivered all the cakes that I made ( I made some for my husbands work too so they can donate money as well) then I am joining a coffee morning at our local lovely coffee shop called Mocha Turtle and will enjoy a naughty cake and a lovely hour to raise money for such a worth while cause.

After which its back to my lovely sewing.  I must put some hours into the little house sampler and I must do some work on more Christmas stockings and ribbons as I do have a Christmas fair coming up in November that I have said I will attend.  Generally I only sell in shops around here and on Etsy but I do about 2 or 3 events in the year around this time and one in the summer.

This weekend I am not working at all and having a weekend with my husband.  I would like to go for a lovely walk in the New Forset and pop in to a coffee shop after..... It will do us good.  I love what I do ladies and gents but it involves a lot of sitting, so I hope the weather will be kind tomorrow because the forecast after that is rain, rain and more rain!

I will leave you with some cake pictures and I hope to show you progress next week sometime on the little house sampler.  I love the embroidery part and making something jump from the fabric. Until the details go in, it really looks flat and not much at all.  Its like painting when you build up the layers to give body and detail.... fabric art - its wonderful.

Have a very happy weekend whatever you are up too.

Bye for now.

 A basket full of pear and ginger little cakes.  Home grown pears and bite size pieces of crystallised ginger.

I put each one in its own bag and our coffee shop asked we put our name to them and a dedication. I sent two round to our neighbour and he was thrilled and gave me a very generous donation for the box.

Thursday 26 September 2013

Confessions of a stitch addict!

Good morning to all

I am thrilled that a few more people have joined me for my daily ramblings!!

Yesterday was a slight disaster on the stitching front..... I did not get much done at all.  I got side tracked you see. 

Firstly after taking a picture of my pear tree in the garden yesterday I thought I really ought to go and pick some.  The poor tree was bending and creaking under the weight of those lovelies!  So off I go with my big bowl and happily started picking pears..... then it happened a spider in the tree.  hmmmm some of you may say BUT my friends I happen to be rather terrified of these eight legged creatures.  So picture the scene ...... one frightened woman jumping about but to the world and neighbours who could see me or indeed hear this commotion, I probably looked like a nutter who had escaped from somewhere and was doing a victory war dance!!

Finally I rescued what I had picked and then had to inspect the bowl carefully to make sure there was no arachnids in there who may want to get indoors and then make it there mission to find me and terrorise me, dropping down on little bits of threads.

I need the pears as I am going to make some muffins this afternoon for a local coffee shop called Mocha Turtle who are hosting a coffee morning tomorrow in aid of cancer and I said I would contribute.  If you are local to Tuckton in Bournemouth please go along, its a very good cause.

Then I thought ok stitching time on the prize picture.  So I went to my vast thread drawer and proceeded to try and get just the right shades to embellish the house.  NOW I love my thread drawer its up there with my button stash! so that took over an hour because although I wanted the threads to be just right, I love going through it. I marvel at all the different shades and then get side tracked with my hand dyed shaker ones from America.  In addition to that ideas pop in my head for projects yet to come that would be great stitched in this colour with this colour to compliment it!!  I head for my sketch book so I can sketch it and write in the colours that I thought would look good..... other wise the thread drawer process has to start again!!

So finally that done I start to sew and then remember I owe my mum in law a phone call... so we catch up and laugh a lot.  She is my biggest fan, I believe, of my work and always interested in the next project.

To my horror when I look at the clock its now 2pm and that registering in the brain says ... Er! hello you are actually hungry......

I do finally get some stitching done but then break off to make the evening meal and well the day just vanished!!  I poured myself a glass of white wine and surrendered to the day!

I will upload a picture of the progress of the little house sampler early next week when there will be something to look at.  I managed to sew the chimney pot and roof with the invisible stitches but have to do it all before the embroidery part so there really is nothing to see right now.

So today I have a meeting at 11 oclock and I have to make some cakes this afternoon and finish my invisible stitching..... but tomorrow I hope the fun will really begin on making the little house look pretty and inviting. 

I always love to put a picture on here so I will leave you with a picture of my delicious stash of quilting threads..... Oh people I could re arrange and touch and look at these for at least half an hour!!!  Do not get me started on my vintage fabrics.... Its an addiction I know it BUT I do make things with all of it and not just stash it away for only me to see and marvel over.... So that's my defence ladies and gentlemen... I rest my case and hope you all are not to hard on me!

Bye for today.

They are beautiful are they not? You can see my problem in just leaving them in a drawer with out the occasional peek!

Wednesday 25 September 2013

New day .... and what a beauty!

Good morning to all

As I am sat here in my kitchen, doing this and drinking my cup of coffee, I am looking out of my window.  The garden has suddenly decided its Autumn.

The leaves are turning a magnificent colour, yet we still have good temperatures for this time of year!

I have written my list of what I need to do today and will be continuing with the sampler.  Today I will be adding detail to the house. this is all done by hand and takes time.  I will upload a photo later for you all to see the progress of the competition piece!

I love this time of year of pumpkin pie and getting ready for the open fire season.  This is it for me, I love my seasons.  I openly embrace each one.  Lots of people say oooh I would love to live where its hot all the time but I am afraid it would not do me personally at all.

This time of year the trees changing wonderful colours and walks in the New Forest with leaves crunching under your feet and finding somewhere to have a good coffee or hot chocolate suits me.
My other passion is cooking you see and seasons to me change the ingredients and its wonderful.  I discovered how to make a great pumpkin pie and some amazing muffins with pumpkin and spices along with a pear and ginger muffin. 

I hope you all have a great day whatever lays ahead for you and be safe in the knowledge I will be sewing away at the little house sampler!

Bye for now!

 The Autumn colour of the back garden.....
The pear tree with a stunning colour vine that's decided to go over the top.... must be cut away for the pears!  pear and ginger muffins coming soon ....

Tuesday 24 September 2013

Competition far!!

Hi everyone

Well today as I announced I am doing a picture as a prize draw, anyone who signs on to FOLLOW me on this blog will be in for a chance to win a picture that I have designed today.

Firstly as I said I have sketched out what I would like to do.

Here follows some pictures of the progress. This is a white vintage French linen sheet that I have chosen for the background of the picture.
This is a piece of the vintage French linen that has been cut out ready.
Vintage fabrics for the design. Ironed and ready to be cut out.
The border is cut from vintage quilt scraps.......

A little house has been cut out ready for applique.
This is the ironing and piecing process! This is where you look at it as its going to be when sewn together but before all the hand embroidery is done.

This is the planning and piecing part of the cottage house. 

So this is it so far and already five hours work has gone into this.  The designing and choosing fabrics. The drawing of the pattern and the cutting and piecing.  Tomorrow I will have to sew on the buttons and sew the house onto the fabric.  After which the embroidery detail will have to be done on the house.  There will be a garden added and also I am going to hand embroider the ABC..... So this is going to be a sampler for the person who wins the draw........

I will keep you all up to date with the progress of this and pictures will also be published, right up to the 'off to the framers' photo and of course the finished product.  I can imagine this is going to take about 40 hours to make ...... good job I love what I do!!

Bye for now....

Competition Time!

I have decided to do a competition.  The prize is one of my pictures and I will be making it and putting a picture on here.

I am going to do a draw of all the names who start to follow me on this blog.  The closing date is the 4th of December, this give time for the little bit on my Christmas journals to come out in the Magazine Homemaker on the 22nd of November.

If any body starts to follow me their name goes in a hat and will be picked out for the prize.   The name of the person will be published on here and I will get their address to send them their prize.  The picture will be made from vintage fabrics and will be framed.

Good luck to any one who would like to give it a go and join my blog.

Monday 23 September 2013

Making a unique picture

This is one of my pictures I have just completed. Its a Hare gazing as they often do. The words are "Friends are like stars you do not have to see them to know they are there"

I choose a piece of my French linen stash for the base/background of my picture.  Then I  apply my design to it.  First drawing and cutting out the hare. I stitch it firstly to the linen and then go around it in a little running stitch. A French knot for the hares eye and a vintage mother of pearl carved button for the tail.  I embroidered the words.  The rare carved mother of pearl button that I used for my flower is a very rare one and looks like a daisy head.  I have never seen one like it again.
I love doing these pictures from vintage materials and enjoy the designing of them.

I have lots of ideas for different pictures for the home, these are unique and not mass produced.

You could design and make one yourselves or indeed look on Etsy and purchase one of my designs.  I always take my fabric art pieces to a trained picture framer as I believe it makes all the difference.

I am busily designing more pictures, some of which I do keep for myself and hang in my home.  In the knowledge there is not another like it.  in addition my interest in history is satisfied as I always write down what age the Linens, fabrics and buttons are.  When I buy my vintage goods to make my stock, always I ask how old or what date something is.

My personal love of old fabrics and buttons, is I suppose one of the reasons I love what I do.  When a piece has been framed the history is protected behind non reflective glass.  The beauty of a button is for people to see, not in a dusty corner in a tin.

Happy days!

Saturday 21 September 2013

New England.

This is a wonderful shop in Lenox in America which I visited two years ago.  I love that they bombed the shop and it made me smile when I saw it.  It made me want to go inside even more.
I will be going back to the States soon and although I will not be going back to this particular shop, I will be visiting a wonderful shop called Quilted threads.  The excitement is building for me.

I always take an extra suitcase for stitchery and I have to confess I have already made an order for some hand dyed Shaker threads for my new embroidery designs for next year.
Some of the names are wonderful ...Pumpkin patch, celery, Old red paint, tomato, faded rose, Holly berry and dried thyme to name a few.  The shop, Quilted Threads is over two floors and is a typical huge clapboard house with a porch and has been converted into sewing shop.

They stock fabrics from all over the world that I have never seen before.  Its fabulous for my hand made ribbons that I fray and hand stamp.  You can not make ribbon from vintage fabrics as you rarely find three meters of vintage paisley.... unfortunately.

This is some ribbon I have made... not a great photo I am afraid but it says " Have yourself a Merry little Christmas.  Its beautiful when you wrap that special gift.  It comes in 3 meter lengths.

I love doing ribbon that is not bog standard. If you wrap a parcel in plain paper and tie a lovely piece of ribbon around it and pop in some berries or a candy cane, I think it looks  very beautiful, different and inviting.

I am happily making ribbons and making Christmas bits to sell.  I have two Christmas fairs to attend, one in November and one in December so I am trying to get my stock levels up.

Happy weekend everyone.


I have already said I love pretty things and if they glitter and sparkle all the better...... The magpie in me! These are my new pins that I use and they are lovely and sharp and very visible in vintage blanket for my Christmas stockings. Its just lovely when your tools that you need to use are pretty I feel.

Friday 20 September 2013

Sewing Room

 This is my improved sewing room, everything has a place! Are you impressed because I am! how long will this last LOL

This is my drawer unit for all my ribbons and lace.
Kilner jars I make, filled with pure wool for embroidery.

Vintage Kilner jar storage solutions

These are pictures of the vintage kilner jars that I find and make into storage with pretty pincushion tops.  I have these particular ones in my sewing room and store my threads in them, in colour types.

Also I use them for buttons and much more!

I love these. I actually love pretty things, I am drawn to them like a magpie to glittering things.
My lovely husband always says functionality over just looking pretty...... I feel with these beauties I have the best of both worlds.

I have at last finished sorting my sewing room and had a mad cull and got rid of what I really will not use.  When I first started my little business I was buying my stock of vintage this and that....... along with new fabrics.  I made costly mistakes.  Now though I know what is good and what people love to buy and what fabrics seem to be popular.

The difficulty in buying vintage is that you can only get what you can get and so my products are unique in the fact that the same fabrics and buttons and blankets can not be used.  For the buyer its the satisfaction that they have bought a piece of history which has been up cycled and is unique to their home.

At the moment I am busy with some magazine work and also trying to fit in making Christmas stockings and journals, along side ribbon making. My days fly by in a happy blaze of fabrics and designing.  I am very lucky with what I do and would like to thank Andrew, my husband for all his support and encouragement in this venture.  He listens tirelessly to my excited ideas and fabrics that I have got, what it will make and his hopes and dreams for me are amazing.

I am going to get one of my Robin Christmas stockings done this week and really should make up more Christmas journals.

Watch this space!!

At last!

Finally my blog is now out there. It could not have been done without the tireless help from Suzy of Quilted Happiness. Hours of her time and expertise on this has been spent, not letting me give up.  THANK YOU Suzy!

So today is the first day of my proper blogging days.  I hope that people will enjoy their read of my ramblings and thoughts.  In addition I hope you all enjoy the show casing of my creative makes, which are for sale on Etsy.

You can also find me on Facebook..... Homespun Stitchworks.

Now I can spend more time creating and looking for great new products to show you.

This is an amazing site. The lady in question is Suzy and what she does not know about making and teaching the most beautiful and stunning quilts, is quite simply not worth talking about.

Look at her photos of her quilts. Marvel at her long arm quilter.

I myself am taking quilting lessons from her and am learning so much. I am doing two lap quilts and can not wait to design one and just buy the fabrics.  My first two are from Moda charm packs.

Having seen Suzy compass design..... in my mind I am running before I can walk. Suzy is a great teacher and is enthusiastic and very supportive.


Thursday 19 September 2013

Christmas Journal design

This is one of my featured Christmas journal designs. There are different designs and are available to buy on Etsy.

Because I make these covers from mostly vintage materials, each design does differ and is unique. Once a button is used, generally I do not have another like it.  However, sometimes I am lucky enough to purchase say two or three of one design of button.

I started making these journals after making one for myself.  I love Christmas you see and like the reformed scrooge I keep it in my heart all year!
If I see something that will be a great little gift for someone or a stocking filler, I pick it up even in February.  Then I pop it away............ not remembering what I have and do not have. The Christmas journal was then born.

I start each new year with a list of names for cards and presents and put beside it what I have purchased. I do my shopping list in the journal and write in when I have bought the crackers etc.
No more finding things that I never gave to someone.  Then I draw a line under that year and start again.  This way I can look back and see what was in a stocking I gave and will then not replicate it in future years. There is only so many banana cases for pack lunches somebody needs!!

Have a look on Etsy under Homespun Stitchworks and find my shop.
This is one of my new designs for a vintage Christmas stocking. Its ice skates made from vintage paisley fabric and hand embroidered and has very old mother of pearl buttons which are laced with thread.
The stocking is made from a vintage pure wool blanket and I have covered some buttons in the same beautiful fabric as the skates.
Watch this space for two more Christmas designs!!


Well what a morning! my good friend Suzy from quilted happiness has helped me set up this new blog as the old one would NOT publish! she is a star and sparkles brightly!!!

I am going to upload some photos for you today and then start every day again.

Thank you for your patience to those people who have been trying to find my blog and could not.

First post

AHHHHHH! my first blog would not publish so no one has been reading ... so I am trying again. This is my tentative first post to see if it publishes.  If so I promise the reading of it will improve!!