Monday 31 October 2016

Happy Halloween ...... and tiny stitches.

Jack O lanterns shinning bright
wishing you a Happy Halloween Night!

It is Halloween again and I am looking forward to seeing the little bumble bee .. if you have not been reading my blog for very long you will not understand so a very quick update.  For three years this
tiny tot has been knocking on my door trick or treating as a bumble bee and the first year she was three.. with her elder sister and her Dad hiding behind our car so she felt grown up.  Well she has grown as you can imagine and outgrown that particular outfit but to me she will always be the little cute as a button bumble!

I have tied sweeties in little orange and white bags with stickers  and tied with black and orange string... a bit of decoration and we are away.  Pumpkins and lights ready but today I will be finishing early so that from 3.30 probably I can welcome the tiny ones who come early and are so excited....

Until then and when I have to get my witches hat on and dress well its business as usual and stitching away ...

I have got out my embroidery and hand stitching and its all in a basket so I am going to sit and stitch all day until 3.  It is a bit chilly for me today so I have chosen some lovely herbal teas and one of them it my favourite which is cinnamon and it is so gorgeous to drink but it is also warming too,  I belong to Happy Mail ( I only write to two people Donna and Bekah) one is in America and the other in Canada but we also swap teas as well so I have a little selection going on.... If you are reading this Donna the one you sent me in my Fall/Halloween mail is going to be tried today ... grin.

Do you remember the photo I took above of the doll sat on a pumpkin .. its from Rosies Armoir and I
actually have this same doll.  I loved this photo and my doll normally comes out for Christmas but not this year ... Have a look at this .. she is out on pumpkins too.  Thank you Helen for the idea...

So she is out a good 7 weeks earlier than usual which is lovely and she looks fabulous sat on a pumpkin too.....

The trick or treat bags are ready and my costume is hung up so all is well.

I am continuing unpicking a Victorian  Suffolk puff quilt today and I am putting them up for sale on Facebook on my page for the love of Vintage so
if you are interested pop over and have a look see ...

I bought it at the West Country Textile Fair and thought that it would be better split up for creating purposes as some of the puffs were very worn ... I am thrilled with the result.  I am selling some and keeping some for my collection to create with.

When unpicked into sections for that purpose you can see how lovely some of them are and the sale
is underway .

If you fancy a look just go to Facebook and search For the Love of Vintage and you can look through the feed at some of the bundles .... If you would like some the instructions are there for you .. but you better be quick they are going quiet quickly ... They are rare and so pretty.  I have not washed it and left it for people to wash or not their own bundle.  I have washed some of mine and it was a great success and I am really happy with it ....

There a reds, pinks, beige and brown, green, cream.  Stripped and patterned and plain the fabrics are gorgeous ...

Anyway that is it for today as it is a short day and there is much unpicking to be done.

Have a lovely and safe Halloween and I will see you back here tomorrow ...

Happy Stitching!

Saturday 29 October 2016

Embroidery Kantha stitch textile holiday

Good Morning All

I hope you will enjoy this little film and watch with delight as I did.  It is worth watching and listening to the music whilst seeing how easy some of these lovely ladies make it look.

The things that you can create and I would imagine it would be as relaxing to me as English paper piecing is with hexagons right now.  I love the colourful ways that they work but equally it feel it would look amazing with white or cream on white or cream cotton... What are your thoughts on it.

Have a watch and enjoy and please let me know what you think.

Happy Stitching1 XX

Friday 28 October 2016

Vintage Darned Patches ....

Little mending stitches
weaved through with gorgeous
vintage coloured threads... its a wow.

The art of darning died a death when clothes became less expensive and we as a nation became a
throw away society.  I am here to try and convince at least some of you that it can look fabulous on
clothes .. a favourite pair of jeans or jacket and of course just to make it into some form of fabric art as well.

Different coloured vintage threads and or fabric could be added as a patch then stitch over ( even in the Kantha stitch way)  It can look really fabulous.  I found this picture of the jeans that had been patched and darned and it gives them such a great look.  I think the older generation might look at it in a different way but I see beauty and uniqueness in this inventive pass time.

This is a practical and beautiful art and can make clothes interesting, pretty and of course unique and in addition to that add it to a piece of fabric art and it brings interest and texture.  I have for a while collected school stitching sample books and there are some lovely darning techniques in some of them.  Of course then it was about being invisible and not letting anyone see that you have had to mend rather than buy new .. today it is a different story and looks sensational for different reasons and projects .. well that is my humble opinion anyway.

You could make shapes out of your darning say on a pair of thick tights you could darn a heart
maybe.  this example of socks I found on the internet to show you look really good and certainly children would love it to be different and colourful.

So I have shown you what can be done with clothes and given you some ideas but how about incorporating a little bit of darning in your work with either threads or wool .. beautiful colours and weaving it through to make it interesting and give texture ... I think that would look great.  So I have tried to find you some examples ...

The picture on the left is an example of patches and darning all in muted colours but of course you could go colourful ...

This is an example I found of colourful darning and patching and it looks really rather fun and pretty.
I think you must just let your imagination run around your head and see where it takes you.

Creative fabric and thread art is such an abstract way of stitching and you could stick with that or indeed just add a little and then you can embroider flowers and add buttons, ribbons and lace ... as I always say 'let your work speak for itself ' and you can make some unique and beautiful pieces for your home or as gifts for loved ones or friends.  I so enjoy getting a homemade gift.  You do not have to embark on a quilt or wall hanging for someone this Christmas but a little picture or tiny A5 wall hanging if you think the recipient would enjoy it ... You can cover a box with some and then it can be used in so many ways .....

As I said in my second part of the textile art blogs ... To build up layers of different fabrics, threads, techniques and stitches adds so much to a project and you can add old keys, buttons, trade cards as
well as lace and other finds you have found.  You can make a picture and incorporate different things and embroidery stitches with colours or muted it starts and stops with your own ideas and imagination and makes some gorgeous one offs can blend or you can go bold the choice at the end of the day is yours.

My last thought for today is also that you could cover a journal for someone with some fabric art and this would make a fabulous gift for  young and older.  I am a journal keeper for most things and when I receive one I am over the moon.

Well that is it for today and I hope you have enjoyed my stitchery ramblings and have got some ideas of your own.  If you do try some of these things please share if you would like because I for one would be very interested and I am sure lots of the readers on here would to.

Happy Stitching! XX

PS .... All photos except the first one which is from my collection were found on google and are not mine, it is just to give you an idea of what people have created with this great stitching technique ... it is not just for invisible mending.

Thursday 27 October 2016

Kantha stitch and embroidery...

The beauty of world stitching.

Kantha  is a type of embroidery in eastern South Asia, especially Bangladash and parts of West Bengal  and Odisha . In Odisha old saris  are stacked on each other and hand-stitched to make a thin piece of cushion. This is normally used above a bed cushion or instead of a cushion. "Kantha saris" are traditionally worn by women in Bengal.

Kantha stitching is also used to make simple quilts, commonly known as Nakshi Kantha . Women in Bengal typically use old saris and cloth and layer them with kantha stitch to make a light blanket, throw or bedspread, especially for children.

The technique used in Kantha is very rhythmic and is a sort of running stitch which, when you get into the rhythm of it can build up very quickly.  It is often used on soft cottons and your could put a few vintage hankies together and stitch them ... You could stitch different squares and stitch them together to make a wall hanging or large for a quilt top maybe.  You would need to tack the layers together and if you would like to do white on white then use a very bright colour tacking thread to help unpick it later.  You need to tack to stop movement of fine cotton.  If you wish to use bright thread to stitch then another bright thread for taking as white would get lost in a sea of  little stitches.

You can do a square of running stitch in lines or you can do little sections .. so  three stitches leave a gap and three stitches and continue.  Then when you start a fresh line stitch underneath the above say
four times to make little squares of the stitches.  Leave a gap and repeat.  Or go around and around like a maize that could look great and of course you could keep swapping thread colours too for interest.  You could make zig zags of running stitch and your square would almost look like a wave ..

The embroidered cloth has many uses including women's shawls and covers for mirrors, boxes, and pillows. In the best examples, the entire cloth is covered with running stitches, employing beautiful motifs of flowers, animals birds and geometrical shapes, as well as themes from everyday activities. The stitching on the cloth gives it a slight wrinkled, wavy effect. Contemporary Kantha is applied to a wider range of garments such as saris,,
shirts for men and women, bedding and other furnishing fabrics, mostly using cotton and silk.

When I was at the Victoria and Albert museum in London with our friend I saw some examples and it is beautiful especially when you make shapes with your running stitch like flowers, leaves, animals or indeed the paisley tear!  You can let your imagination run wild and it is another way of using vintage white plain hankies and maybe the top one of the layer it could already have some vintage embroidery on it to add to the design and interest.

This is a beautiful example of fish with Kantha embroidery and although we do not all have beautiful
sari fabrics we can use vintage cottons or hankies to do squares of interest and then hand embroider them together with colourful threads or indeed stitch them together on a machine, although I prefer the hand way, sat in a chair and you could stitch them together as you go if you wanted so that it does not seem like lots of work.  I think one of these day a wall hanging in this would be so great say a nine or 12 patch would look so pretty.

This is all running stitch just applied in different forms and as you can see it is so effective and pretty.

It is so versatile and easy because you can simply make patterns or pictures or indeed both and when the eye first looks at it ( well in my case) I thought wow that would take some doing but when I discovered its simply running stitch then my interest to try my hand at this Asian way of stitchery jumped to on my to do list asap......

You can use very fine linens but I feel the cottons work better and they are more authentic as well with its shear feel.  The important's I have been informed is the layers and tacking so it is well worth doing to keep the squares .. well square.

I hope you have all enjoyed this little insight into this beautiful embroidery and I think I may try and find a tutorial on this for this up and coming Saturday for us all to look at.

I hope you all have a lovely day and as always Happy Stitching! XX

Tuesday 25 October 2016

Hand stitching textile art .. A bird series in the making.

Some may wonder if hand sewing, with its seemingly endless stitches,
 has a real place in today's busy home.
Just a comfortable place, we reply,
 as the rocking chair in the nursery. 

Sarah Howard Stone

A great thought came to me over night and it something I am going to try.  I am going to hand dye some pieces of vintage linen and then make sure I use salt to keep the colour.  Then I am going to peg them out in the elements for a few weeks to naturally distress them.  This I think would be a great little exercise and to see what happens and be a great addition to some hand stitched textile art.

Then I thought if I were to distress a little on each piece and then mending it with tiny darning stitches in square patch shape or a heart shape to add interest to a piece.  All of these writings I have been doing on this subject have really got my mind into over drive with artist thoughts...

If you make a layered patchwork effect piece you could do rhythmic tiny stitches in one direction on a piece of fabric and then change direction on another to make it interesting and puffy quilted, this I think, would be brilliant and easy to do.. you could alter shades of embroidery threads and also use two or three strands and then just one to make it look different and interesting.  This form of slow and relaxed stitching is a very easy and relaxed form for us to enjoy when we have personal time to spare and can even be done whilst listening to music or watching television if that is your thing.  It is time sat and relaxing but with a purpose and creativity as well.

The other thing I thought of is you could also do some ink stamping on fabric as well.  You can get special ink that stays on fabric and does not harm it.  Then you could border it with pretty stitches.

I was in the garden yesterday filling the bird feeders and table, along with the nuts for Mr Squirrel and to my joy spotted Miss Muddy Beak my ever so friendly and gorgeous lady blackbird.  She was
perched on one of my shepherd crooks that I hang lights from and she had a little twig with berries in her mouth.  I did not have my camera with me, being that my hands were full of bird foods of every type imaginable and she was watching eagerly to see if I had any meal worms ... ( of course I did) and I thought I really must do a little series on her.  She is such a beautiful lady and so friendly and I feel she should have a place on our wall somewhere as to should Mr Red Robin, who again is so very friendly.  My husband calls me Mrs Doolittle and I guess I am.  Animals do tend to know some how if you would not hurt them in any way shape or form and this affords me some lovely time with nature who have chosen to trust me .... I consider myself humbled that they trust me so openly.

I would like these to be framed collages with mixed media and with frayed and tattered edges.  I have sort of already designed them in my head, helped with a few little doodles yesterday of ideas.  I have ideas so thick and fast that I need four of me to stitch and complete quickly...

In love with the idea of doing this little series and with the idea of doing some sort of textile layered art behind the embroidery bird I think it will look good.  Things hanging from their mouth like Miss Muddy Beak with her branch of berries and a bit of my whimsical imagination thrown in, I have high hopes.  With some lovely embroidery thrown in as well and maybe some felted something too from vintage wool.

The words for the Autumn one are going to be ....

The blackbird whirled in the autumn winds.
It was a small part of the pantomime.

I love this and of course this will be with her treasured twig of berries ... I am going to doodle what I would like to have in each one, Miss Muddy Beak will be famous!! I feel different little crowns on her head for each season would be fitting too, she is such a little princess of a bird and so very tame with me.  However she hates photos so it has been hard to take any, If I lift my phone up she does not like it and so this is just a waiting game and hope that she will eventually be happy that this black thing will not hurt her either!

My Mum used to be a very good artist but when I got her to draw her dog the other day it was not very good and I am not sure if it was that she could not be bothered or that she has lost the art, which would be so sad.  I am going to have another go by taking over my design journal and talking to her about this series and see if it excites her at all.  She has never been a stitcher and I do not get it from that side of the family but on my Dads side but she could always draw and would help with Art homework by suggestions so I hope to get her doing some bits to fill her day. Of course I have had a little play and I am not sure when I get round to it .. 1. Do I embroider or 2. Do I appliqué and embroider ... any thoughts? I am going to appliqué the crown that you can see in the picture above anyway and there will be some cream beads stitched to it  but do I appliqué the body too ( see the one I cut out)  then I can just tiny stitch detail feathers ....

The garden is sort of fading out of Summer now and Autumn is truly in residence with leaves
changing colour and falling as well.  The grass has slowed up with its growth and there is a damp chilly feel in the air.  The birds are always looking now for the food that we provide them with and I cut up some grapes the other day into little bits and they loved them, especially Mr Red Robbin, he loves to sit on the shepherd hooks in the garden and see what meals are provided for his pleasure!

Well also I attended the West Country Textile fair on Saturday and it was incredible with only three people stalling and the hall was full of wonder.  There was The Washerwoman the lovely Liz and Jack and then there was Donna Flower Vintage and Vintage to Victorian as well.  So I was in fabric, quilt and button heaven for a few hours.

I bought some lovely bits and bobs and will show you later on maybe next week but for now here is the Victorian Quilt that I bought from Donna Flower and I
brought it home and washed it by hand in the Bath and it is now dry and on our bed ... What do you think? personally I am in love ....  Plus it is warming too.

Well that is the news here from Homespun HQ today and I hope you have enjoyed your read.  Take Care and I will see you back here on Thursday.

Happy Stitching! XX

Monday 24 October 2016

Textile Collage Art .... Part Two

Creating *  Making  *  Stitching  *  Enjoying

I am so pleased with the feedback of part one of this and I hope you enjoy this next instalment.
So what to make then.  Well again this is all down to personal taste really.  I love making things for
the home like pictures and wall hangings and also I have started to add things to clothes.

So with an antique white skirt that I bought from Beyond France it has a beautiful lace hem but I am making patches to add on to the skirt to make it unique to me. Little things to stitch on and still be able to wash it.  Although I thought about a patch with paper as well but that I only safety pin it to the skirt and then remove that when I wash it ....

How about making a a simple pinafore dress from an old quilt and add buttons and embroidery, this is something I have not done yet but I am on the look out for an old quilt for this very purpose.  Once washed you could get a antique pattern and cut it out and with embellishment you could make it your own, unique and different dress. If you are no dress maker ( like myself) then starting with an old quilt already has pieces stitched together and this takes a lot of work out of it.  You could make one that just goes over your head or put a zip in or a button up one down the side a little way to be able to step into the dress.

There is a sample book that you could make with textiles, sayings and embroidery .. one step further would be a little book for a child with counting or textures and openings and fastening.  A little rag doll inside and a story .... imagination is a wonderful thing.

Also a book with bits of your favourite fabrics stitched in.  Even though you use all of it you could save a little bit to add to a book so that you always have a textile library in effect and you can look at
this from time to time, adding some embroidery or pin little notes inside.  You could also add some antique embroidery from old hankies, tablecloths or napkins and this would make a fabulous heirloom one day as well to pass on to family or friends ..

When creating a collage/sampler then build it up with different fabrics and textures adding stitching.  Your imagination can run wild with animals, flowers or literally a collage of shapes and fabrics adding stitching here and there for interest in a way that a painter of abstract would on a canvass.  It is about what pleases you or what you know to please a family member or friend.  I simply adore handmade gifts because it shows the lucky recipient that you really care enough to add time to the gift and that it is unique to them with a part of you stitched into it ..... A treasure.
How about if you have an old photo of a loved one and you make a fabric collage and then stitch the photo on to make an unusual and fitting picture that you can hang in your home.  Using different fabrics and embroidery, buttons and lace it would be a real talking point in any home and a wonderful gift.  It could be a person or pet or indeed a holiday snap of something you loved .. a memory.

Layering is good if you start with a piece of the thin cotton quilt wadding it can be torn to be slightly jagged and then you can add different fabrics one by one, over lapping them and adding texture and embroidery.  You can formally bind the piece you are working on, or indeed leave the edges raw to add to the interest when it is framed.

Appliqué is another way to embellish and add interest to a piece.  You can finger turn it and do invisible stitching or you can maybe split stitch around it to add even more dimension and interest.  If you do a flower you could stitch in French knots for the middle part or sew in tiny beads instead.

Vintage bits of patchwork that have never been made into a quilt can be great to add to a piece being that its old fabrics already in a row or even some antique suffolk puffs ( yo yo's) and again English paper piecing bits that would look fabulous added to a collage/sampler.

One piece of advice is if you have never done anything like this, is to start small and not make it too big to begin with.  Maybe start with some little patches to stitch onto a jacket or skirt.  If you fancy ago at a picture than make it A5 size to begin with or A4 and then you get the idea and the work is easy to handle.  When the base is all secure together if you are doing some embroidery I can not stress enough how good it is to put an embroidery hoop on to keep your stitching neat and taught.
A  great habit to get into is when you have finished embroidering that day .. take the hoop off and re load it again the next time you stitch so that it does not mark your work deeply.  

If it does need ironing and you do not want to flatten your embroidery or indeed you have stitched buttons on to it then it is simple to press.  Get out your ironing board and put an lovely thick towel on it.  Place your work on it upside down (so the back of the work is what you are looking at)  Then press it like that.  Buttons sink into the towel and do not break and it keeps all the layers and textures fluffy and plump.

Another piece of advice is put bits of fabrics together and look at it before you start stitching to check you like what you see and that they blend.  If you do something take a photo and then take away and add, and take a photo and keep doing this to look and see what you did and what you like the best.  It really helps you decide and of course my mantra ' let your work speak for itself ' it all helps before you start taking little stitches ...

The last thing I would like to advice is you use the right needle for the right job and always use sharp ones.  For stitching together use a 'sharp' and use 'embroidery' needles for just that.  There are beading needles and appliqué ones too.  They are a great investment and not too expensive.  If you are sewing it all together on a machine do not forget to start out by changing your needle so that it is sharp enough to go through the layers you are creating.  You could stitch around edges of fabrics layering as you go, or indeed free motion embroider with different coloured cottons.

Most of all enjoy yourself and enjoy creating something that is totally unique to you and in the colours and fabrics you love and enjoy.  Some of us love loud and bold others more delicate and muted .. the choice is yours.

Well that is it from me today and I hope you have enjoyed your read.  Have a great day and enjoy creating.  I would love to hear your thoughts and see anything that you have stitched if you are willing to share.

Have a great Monday and Happy Stitching! XX

Saturday 22 October 2016

Embroidery Flower with braided chain stitch by Handiworks ...... such a great tutorial.

Hand embroidery is such a
pleasant pass time and so
relaxing.  Just look at what you
can achieve .. This has an Asian 
influence I feel.......

This is such an unusual way of chain stitching but look at the results for filling in flowers and stems. This reminds me of some of the work that I saw at the Victoria & Albert museum in the Asian section and it has influenced me with some sketching that I have been playing with. I will talk more about that when I get my few days to design.  Wandering around this section of stunning fabrics and taking photos has given me some lovely ideas to design some things of my own.  

Why not make a warm drink and watch this little tutorial which is around 18 minutes long but it is so worth the watch and shows you what can be achieved, plus the music that accompanies this tutorial is so relaxing as well. I thoroughly recommend this to be watched to the end as I did .....

Hope you all have the most lovely weekend and see you here on Monday.

Happy Stitching! XX

Friday 21 October 2016

Hunting & Gathering ... for textile collage art.... part one.

Fabrics with history
the touch and the feel 
of textiles and patterns
this is an exciting way to begin.

Art is a personal thing, like a perfume or a book.  We all look at things differently enjoy different things. The hunting and gathering of pieces of fabrics, linens and quilt bits is a very personal to each person, depending on what we like.

Colours and textures differ from one person to another and we all see different things in nature, colour and textiles.  Some of us like bold and beautiful and others of us like more subtle fabric designs ( which is probably my category)  Although I am in love with reds as well.  I also love to wear red especially in the colder months as it brings a warmth to me.

Personally I see patterns and images in things.  I can look at someones curtains and see a face or an animal and it is how I see the world really and of course for someone that loves to design and stitch I feel it is a great gift to have.

The great thing about collecting old fabrics of all types is that there is sometimes a little worn patch or a pin has been left in for decades and there might be a little rust patch or fraying but to those of us
who collect and stitch, this just brings more into the mix.  We love timeworn or pre-owned because it has a little story and battle scares that we will incorporate into our design.  Patchwork pieces that still have bits of paper inside them ( on English paper piecing) 

One of my loves apart from vintage fairs is charity shops and flea markets to be able to rummage and search for a piece or two for my collection.  I will take it home and wash it by hand gently and press it gently with a clean piece of cloth over it so the iron does not touch this precious find.  

With pieces of old quilts they tell a story about fabrics of the time.  They were made out of necessity for warmth before central heating days and although later fabrics were bought for this purpose, very old pieces of quilts were made from old clothes and cloths and indeed some from feed sacks in America.  You get a sense of history and wonder at was this little piece a dress or shirt or indeed was it someones Grandmothers cloth and passed down ... to us collectors and makers this all goes on in our heads and makes our finds even more precious, there is something about treasure hunting that is so pleasing and is the first part of our joy of making.

Personally I prefer using old textiles to the new printed ones but some of you may prefer it the other way around and of course there is not right or wrong on this you can use what ever you like.  Some of you may be lucky enough to have some passed down textiles, lace and buttons and you can incorporate these if you like and this is a great way to display them and give them a new lease of life and not let them be seen in a tin or a drawer somewhere.  There beauty once more on show.

I love to find old embroidery done by another, like a table cloth or napkins and these can then be cut and added to give another dimension, texture and history to a piece .. there is no limitations and you can create all sorts or wonderful things.

Then there are the threads that we can use both old and new and to add stitching and embroidery to enhance and stitch together pieces of fabric is such a great thing to do.  You can stitch a saying or a quote, embroider a flower or a bird or indeed just stitch to add texture with different little stitches that represent nothing at all .. free expression.  I love to use vintage embroidery threads and cottons along with cotton á broder as well as the hand dyed shaker threads that I buy in the States .... A mixture is great and is the spice of life ...

If you get a piece of very old quilt that really has lots of holes and is very thread bare then you can unpick it to reveal layers of fabric from within ... these can be used to build up a textile collage and is what I like to call fabric archaeology it lets us explore the layers and textures and bits of fabric within.  It is fun and of course can give you insight into decades of fabric.  Then it is lovely, I always think, to add a date or circa to a piece that you create in embroidery .... I have a piece of old quilted fabric that I
bought from a very experienced and trusted lady who knows her fabric and dates.  This piece is very very delicate and not really holding together so I am going to unpick and add it.  I am reliably informed it is late 17th Century so that is what I am going to stitch on the finished piece when I get round to it.

I have been asked about the care and storage of precious fabrics and the biggest predators of our precious hoards are sunlight and moths ..... these should be avoided at all costs.  I like to wrap mine in bits of acid free tissue paper and write on it and put it in drawers or the clear clip boxes to stop the moths having a munch.  I do wash things and there are some who would never do this, but I dislike anything that smells of damp or dirt so I hand wash large quilts in the Bath and rinse and rinse them.  Then I do put them in a bucket to transport them to the washing machine for a little gentle spin.  This way they are fresh for beds.  I have some special gentle soap powder I bought in America for vintage fabrics and it smells of roses .... its a dream.  Hand washing small bits of quilt or fabric is easy and I find it enjoyable.  I have before bought a huge length of green paisley and it still has the clear protector on it so I did put it on a gentle wash in the machine to remove it and then gently dried it and pressed it.

Old blankets are a good buy when you can get hold of them.  When I started a few years ago I bought them from charity shops for about £1 as no one wanted them and I have a hoard of them.  I am so pleased I did as they go for £20 upwards now ... If you get a cream coloured one you can dye it to what ever colour you like or indeed cut them up and dye different bits in different colours for your collection to use whenever its needed.

Adding layers of different fabrics, linens and quilt pieces and then hand embroidery as well you can bring interest and texture to a piece of textile art.  It can represent something or nothing at all but the colours and interesting layers brings it together and makes a beautiful wall hanging or picture ...
Then of course there is mixed media where you can add ephemera and this can bring such texture and interest to a piece.  Old hand written envelopes or tram tickets, torn pieces of old maps or books, all of which when added make something so interesting to stare at.  I myself will add paper to a picture that is behind glass but not a wall hanging as it can then not be washed at all .. although you could gently use an attachment on your hoover weekly to get rid of dust .....
I sometimes stitch it on with a sewing machine or indeed by hand depending so again there is no right or wrong way.  I also think using antique trade cards is good as well either as they are stitched to your work or you could copy them on to the fabric paper and then incorporate them ...

Well I hope this has answered some questions for some of you that have messaged me and I thought I would answer with this blog.  Part two will be next week and this will be about the making of things with some ideas and thoughts of mine.  This is the base for a picture or a wall hanging but there are
lots of ways and ideas ...

I hope you have enjoyed this part today and have a wonderful weekend, tomorrow there is a fabulous tutorial that you really should not miss so please come back and have a watch.

Happy Stitching! XX

Thursday 20 October 2016

Quilt pieces and sayings .....

Simplicity is often the
best and more effective!

With me collecting some very beautiful vintage quilt pieces from America and not wanting to cut them up further I am so pleased that I decided just to add a very little something something to them.
 A little bit of stitchery and a button is the way to go and without disruption to any of the original hand quilting or fabric.  As the lady that I buy from saves pieces of otherwise not fit for purpose quilts with cutting around the good bits of the quilt, she saves some great pieces.  She said to me that if she did not cut them as she does she would get more bits of quilts but they would not look so good, and I am so glad that she sees it that way.  Often there is the original border around a piece and that is perfect for adding my stitching to as then there is nothing obstructing the original pattern and it looks so much better like that, I believe.

I have a nice pile now that I have written the saying, quote or poem on, and it is then all about sitting this winter and simply stitching them and putting a button on them.  It is a very simple but effective way to maintain the original beauty and then just a little personal touch, which in my humble opinion, just adds some Va Va Voom! and a little natural enhancement to each piece.  My words to live by 'let your work speak for itself ' .... its never let me down.

Whilst choosing the ones that I would like to keep for us I have obviously been looking at their every detail and wondering about them.  I have a huge imagination and I adore history, put these two elements together and you get me almost making up stories about each piece of quilt.  Who stitched
the quilt, was it one person or a sewing bee where lots of ladies sat around stitching it for a wedding gift maybe.  It happened a lot in America.  Then its about who owned the quilt too and the things that it could tell about living conditions and travels .... I simply love history.
(image found on google)

It is a little sad that the days are growing shorter and the evening seems to start around 6.30 ish but soon enough when the clocks go back the days will turn into evening around 4pm...  I really must look into one of those day light lamps or my stitching day will shorten too.  With my husbands hours of work I would then have to find something else to do and I refuse to do housework in the dark!!  That said I am a reader and of late I have not been reading enough.  I love reading novels as well as stitchery books or indeed learning about things such as buttons or hand dyeing fabrics with plants and veg/fruit.  So I have made it into my plan to read something daily .. keeps the mind going!

Red and white and blue and white colours seem to be my favourite right now and although lots of you may groan at this Christmas is slightly on my mind.  I am afraid when you make it has to be.  I can not complete several projects on Christmas Eve and then wrap them.  So I am looking at these colours for things to make as well.  Basically I have six weeks to complete some and four weeks for other things as I do have friends abroad and posting times are in November and I like mine to go when it is less busy and less chance of disappearing in what I refer to as the ether of Christmas posting.  

I have to say my lovely Mum is not well and her dementia is rattling on.  She needs more and more help but has enough about her to know she is in her own home and the fear in her face if we mention going to live somewhere where she has 24/7 care  distresses me.  There is me and my sister and also my Mums  sister who all help and we are now getting some help for her in her own home.  It has taken months of paperwork to sort it and will be starting soon.  She was not keen but its the only way she can stay in her flat with her little dog and so more and more of my time in a week is dedicated to her because after all she looked after us and made us what we are today.  I can take some stitching with me and also she loves to iron still, strangely enough.... The doctor said we should give her things to do so I take over say 10 T Shirts and say I am behind and can she help .... she loves doing it for me and we chat whilst she is doing that and I am stitching ...   We talk about her grandmother and I am learning so much about my Great Grandma that I never knew its fantastic. I have learnt who liked to sew in my family and where they lived, she remembers it all at the moment.

Are any of you sewing something for a present or even crochet or knitting? If so I would love to hear about it on here.  It is lovely to know about your projects and what you are creating, so please share.

So that is it today my ramblings are over so have a wonderful day and as always ......

 Happy Stitching! XX

Tuesday 18 October 2016

One stitch at a time .....

Beautiful things come together
one stitch at a time.

It has been a little hard to settle in this week and also having to catch up with my mum as well.  I
know that you just have to do one stitch at a time and it soon builds up.  I am going to write myself a little schedule to be able to be a bit more effective, with the evenings drawing in and stitching at that point being harder to do I feel that I will change my routine around a bit to make the most of the day light.

It has been great to hire two lads as gardeners and they come every two weeks and oh boy do they work and cover ground.  This has helped enormously with my time.  They have a petrol mower and the grass looks incredible.  Its one thing that we do not have to do now and it keeps it looking amazing .. The do everything and they are so thorough as well with weeding and keeping the holly bush trimmed.....

So that started two weeks ago and I wish I had found them sooner, but they are here now.  My sewing project baskets are lined up and I have now got to get my head down a little. It is really lovely that I
can get on with lots of personal stitchery before the end of the year and then start again in January with magazine work.

I feel some different things being designed and have lots of ideas bouncy around in my head.  Partly this is due to going to the V & A whilst in London with our friends and looking at gorgeous old textiles and at one point getting a scrap of paper from my handbag and scribbling down ideas, it did make them laugh.  I seem to see projects in so many things ... a cloud formation, an old tile, colours and trees and wild life and of course antique textiles from around the globe.  I was very influenced with Asia when I was in London and I am going to have a design day or two just to jot and plan for next year ... I do not want it all to go from my head and forget the thread that has started.

I think when it get darker in the day I will have a little play around with strips of vintage fabrics on
the machine as a base for hand embroidery and see where it takes me.  My water colours are out on my desk up stairs too just in case so this week is a finish off and get ready for next week in earnest kind of week.

I bought so beautiful strips of fabric from a vintage fair a few weeks ago and I have since added to them from my collection in my sewing room.  I have chosen some that will blend and want to see where it takes me for a project I have in mind.  With sewing on a machine with the light from it, it does not seem to bother me about being dusk.   So I thought I would have a go next week and see what develops .... I love just creating something and it really helps with creative ideas and learning curves.   I also want to do some practise sampler embroidery stitching as well to see if I use a few different stitches how they look together ..... and some larger chain stitch flowers as well onto strips of fabric.

In my 'to do list' is some hand dyeing of some vintage French linens too.  It will be a great time doing this and then ironing them all to be able to stitch on.  I am thinking some light greens and reds so watch this space.   I want to use beetroot for the red and then depending on what green I decide on as to what I use to make the dye water with.  I will stabilise it all with salt and hang it to dry in my kitchen and see ... If you are thinking of doing this, my advice always try out on little bits of the fabric you wish to use, just to make sure of colours when dry.  You may think it is a bother but it really does not take long at all and stops any mistakes with precious larger bits of fabrics.....

Well enough of my ramblings for today and I hope you all have a great day.  I am off to start my day and hope to achieve an awful lot today.  Take care and as always Happy Stitching! XX

Monday 17 October 2016

Stitchery wonderful stitchery!

Sewing small pieces of fabric together
gives a peaceful heart and a quilt
to wrap up in with love buried
in each tiny stitch!

As you can see I am back, having had a really great week with really great friends from across the pond.  We adore their company and when I say we laughed until we could laugh no more because it hurt, you will understand our time together.  They loved our fair land and what we did and I can not believe that is it for another year... We met up with other people as well and have had such fabulous time.  Bath was a huge hit being that the history in that city is vast and the buildings and architecture are with out doubt stunning.  The river and weir of Putney Bridge is so beautiful and I watched their faces as they stared at it.  It was so lovely to see it through other eyes, I never tire of it.  Also we took them to our favourite little wine bar at the back of a wine shop.  We always pop in there when we go to Bath and they loved it ...   So much fun and laughter!

 It has done me the world of good and although I did take some stitching with me for our times in our hotel room I did not take a sketch book but  took the camera and have captured things to sketch and to design from ... so I guess I am always thinking needles and threads! I was pleased of my stitching survival kit and got some stitching done every day.  It is quite amazing how a few stitches in the morning and evening add up ...

Well Autumn is truly here with all its glory and I am hoping for some crisp not rainy nights to sit by the fire pit and have drinks outside and look at the stars along with pizza on the b b q and impromptu dinners and memory makers with friends....  So to keep the old chin up with the move front and the Winter season that will be upon us soon enough I have decided to make the very best of great evenings and with lots of stitching and designing done by day!

It was strange every morning not to be talking to you all, very strange indeed and it is lovely this morning to be getting back into a routine.  As you know I made up a couple of project baskets before this mini break so I can indeed start this week of with a needle and thread in my hand.  I also cut out some hexagons to be stitched and I tidied my stitching room a bit before as well.  So all is ready for me to start my week the way I mean to continue on.

I want to be able to look at all my photos as well and do some light sketching onto paper with ideas written down so that I can do some designs for me to stitch, even if they end up being ideas for next year or magazine work.

I have been looking up old sayings, quotes and poems to write in my journal for ideas to stitch on to some the gorgeous antique patchwork panels that I have bought recently from America.  Just a simple saying and a button as a full stop and framed will, I think, look just the ticket.  I am going to do quite a few and I will be selling some as well, so if you are interested please let me know. I finished one completely whilst away ha ha ha!

Being a lover of history as well as stitchery I decided to learn a little more about the paper piecing hexagon quilts.  Its roots it seems are around the 18th Century and it was immigrants who brought the pattern to the Americas.  There have been some that were found to be dated as early as 1770!  This has led to historians to believe that the hexagon pattern might be one of the oldest pieced patterns. The picture above left was found on google as an example of the Grandmothers quilt garden pattern.

Other names it goes under is Honeycomb, six sided patchwork,mosaic and Grandmothers quilt garden. Hexagon quilts were usually made in the Grandmother's Flower Garden pattern. These contained a centre hexagon circled by six colourful printed or solid hexagons with another row of 12 hexagons around that. The centres were sometimes yellow to represent the flower's centre. Between each flower was a row of coloured solid hexagons to represent the background. A green background might have been the garden while white could have been a white picket fence. It has been so very interesting looking in to this history!

It really interested me and of course these days the paper piecing patterns come in lots of other
designs and as long as they fit together to stitch them, any shape goes ..... there a box shapes, flower petal shape and triangles but I have to say my personal favourite is the simple but effective hexagon!  I stitched some of those whilst away as well and now they have been added to the bag they are all happily sitting in, I can report that there are quite a few.

Personally I am going to stitch with the original and hope that by stitching several of an evening through the colder months that I can gather enough to make something wonderful and pretty with lots of different antique fabrics from different decades and merge them together to look really beautiful.  I am more and more convinced that I love the Grandmothers quilt garden pattern and with the ones that I am cutting from plain antique linen I think it might look lovely.  Also doing my little bit of embroidery on some of them as well.  So a plain piece of vintage linen cut out in a hexagon shape.  Before I stitch around it onto card I have stitched a little daisy in one and another I stitched a heart and another just a word .... some of the linen ones are just plain.  It will be great fun in the end when I tip out the bags of them and start to put together a pattern of Grandmothers Garden and see how it all looks.... It should at least keep me busy in the darker nights that will soon be upon us.

I am going to continue today with the quilt pieces and I will be able to show you some by the end of the week I hope.  I am excited as they are looking really lovely I think.

Well that is it for my first day back in a week, It is lovely to be back and I hope that you have enjoyed having your daily read back as well.  Have a wonderful day and as always Happy Stitching! XX

Saturday 8 October 2016

Danish Knot embroidery stitch ....

Good Morning All and Happy Weekend.

Well our friends have arrived safely and so it is now about us all having some time together to catch up, laugh a lot and for us to show them some sights as well.  Let us hope the weather behaves some what ...

So for my last post until Monday 17th October I would like to show you this fabulous stitch that I have been using on a piece that I am playing with at the moment. It is called the Danish knot and it is a great stitch to use ...

I was sat having a coffee in bed this morning, whilst the house is still quiet and I thought that I had not shown you this stitch before and I am correct ... I hope you enjoy this little tutorial and I will see you in a week.  In the meantime enjoy your weekend and have a really good week
As always Happy Stitching! XX

Friday 7 October 2016

Stunning vintage fabrics, linens, embroidery threads, buttons and delicious vintage quilt pieces!

Cosy cold nights, warm blankets
with hot chocolate and a sewing basket 

Getting my sewing room ready has been my last thing on my list for today, as we speak our friends are in the air and I am very excited about them coming here.  I know when they go back and I want to return to my stitching and another commission that I have said yes to for a magazine idea for next year that I will want to be able to just stitch.  So some serious sorting out today is being done in my sewing room.  

I also know that the clocks will be changing here soon and that means dark short days soon enough so I will want to get everything ready to be able to sit by the fire and stitch.  My husbands hours a long during the week and so I spend a lot of time on my own
waiting for him.  Now I could read, which I do or watch a little television, which is not my favourite thing to do but if I have a warm drink and a blanket over my knees then a bit of sewing with candles going and a table lamp makes my wait for him go quicker ....  So with that in mind I am kind of hunkering down with lots of things already to be able to just pick up.  I would like all the baskets complete to be able to actually complete each project.

I have been doing lots of cutting out of applique pieces and getting the correct threads I want to
match up whilst the light is still very good.  I do not want to second guess anything, just have it ready to go go go!  So today is about sorting through so when I return here on the 17th October it is all neat, tidy and ready for the off.

I do not mind the Winter evenings but it is really is the light and I think I should get myself a daylight lamp ... That would make my stitching a bit easier by 4pm .. It is something I am going to look into soon.

I am loving getting all vintage American patchwork pieces through the post and deciding what to stitch on them for a series I am making to get framed for the wall .. As I have said some will be for sale as well so if you might be interested let me know...  They are so different from what is available here in England and they will make beautiful pictures for our home.  I have have had so much fun researching sayings, quotes and bits of poetry that mean things to me .. I love the button search as well ...

I am waiting to hear when our friends touch down today and can
not wait to leave to pick them up later ... It will be so good to see them. This morning though I am going to try and focus on my sewing room and these gorgeous very old, but new to me patchwork pieces from old quilts ... I can not choose between them as to what is  my favourite right now... too hard for me but I am drawn to red and white and blue and white ...

This piece on the left has a touch of grey in it and that really adds to the appeal of this piece for me.  What is your favourite?

The thing is when the darker colder weather comes later this month and our friends are gone and it
could be a bit of a anti climax these beauties will lift my spirit and I will be able to grab my bundle of quilt pieces and stitch little sayings on and add to them ... then taken to the framers it is enough to lift any blues that may occur!

I also have ordered a few more of my favourite embroidery threads as I was running low on some of the colours and as I am not
personally picking them up in America this year I ordered some to be sent here which 'Happy Days' arrived safely ... I have plenty now of all the colours that I use .. strangely enough the one I use so many of is called Holly Berry and as you know these are the Shaker hand dyed threads.. I love the colour so much and five more have landed on the mat just yesterday .... You can see the colours that I ordered .. so there are five Holly Berry, Apple Cider, Brick Path, Garden Gate, Tradewind & Burlap so I have a good supply of some of my favourite colours and therefore I am not going to run out and then have to wait 3/4 weeks for them to arrive.  I am really proud of myself for doing an inventory and making sure that when that my Winter stitching is not disrupted by lack of materials to finish a project.

Well that is it for today do not forget there is a little blog tomorrow morning with a tutorial so this is not my final one ... It is a really good one so please come back and have a read.  I will miss writing and talking to you all but will be back here Monday week (17th October) so have a great weekend all and a fabulous week ahead.

I did make up a little basket of stitchery to sit beside my bed (for this weekend here) and for me to
pick up and take to the hotels we are staying at  Shhhhhhh  ... I could not help it and my husband thought it highly amusing and said that it was ok... as he said if there is no time, well there is no time but he knows if we were sat in our room for an hour or so and I did not have any stitching! well then I would drive him crazy.

Thing is the little basket grew a bit so I have had to do some culling on it ... I know we will be very busy and it will only be early morning if I wake or early evening before dinner if they would like a rest too. I had a huge bundle and realised that it was far to much ... Three projects are coming with me to finish. Oh well this is it, There is a great tutorial tomorrow so please pop in and have a look. Then that will be me for a week.  I will miss talking to you all.

Take care and as always Happy Stitching! XX