Monday 27 March 2023

One tiny stitch at a time and momigami.


See a pin and pick it up, and all the day you'll have good luck.  See a pin and let it lie, bad luck you'll have the day.


It has been a hectic week here at Thimble.  Trying to get some form of order and projects finished.  Lots of photography has been done as well.

Eventually when I got to sit and hand sew it was bliss.  I have been designing little projects which I love to do and now a bit of a pile of stitching lays before me.

The rhythmic process of one stitch after another is a real therapy.  It does not feel like work at all to me, I just try not to think about anything but what I am sewing.  lists are my friend as once I have written down things they are off of my mind which means I can forget that for a while and then just cross things off one thing at a time which enables me to loose my self in the sewing moment.  It stops me panicking and my heart rate slows which is not only calming but fills my soul with happiness.

Procrastination is the thief of time !

When my needles are threaded and my work table has everything set out before me it is such a lovely feeling.  I am able to look at everything and with my sketch that I have scribbled down its a new stitching journey and it fills me with joy.

Collecting all the fabrics or quilt pieces, threads, buttons together along with words, quotes or sayings. I keep a journal on quotes etc or just words in general to use and this journal is always with me on the my work table for reference.

Sometimes I have the radio on in the background or sometimes nothing at all .  If it is
raining ( which has done a lot of this week in Dorset) I love to listen to it tapping on the windows, or if we have a little sun and the birds are busy in the garden then I like to listen to the blackbirds singing or my crows calling.  

As I sit writing this the rain is softly falling and the tip tap on the windows is almost hypnotic , I love the sound however I would love a couple of days, at least, of sunny weather and dry to tackle my over grown garden beds.  The grass needs its first cut of the year but is longer and of course wet .... Things are popping their heads out of the earth and are competing with weeds right now.

I do not have a big garden and it will take me maybe 3 hours to do and when done will make me feel so much better to look out on a tidy little garden but the weather is not playing ball. 

Also this week I have been collecting bits of antique paper and book plates to have a go at 'momigami' which is a japanese art of hand kneading paper.  When you have gone through the process the paper becomes fabric like and is easier to stitch onto. 

It is possible then to add pieces to your stitched art work and it makes for a wonderful mixed media piece, yet looks more like old fabric.  With gorgeous antique papers it

will look really beautiful I think after reading up on it a bit and looking at some photos on the internet.  It has a slightly crumpled look to it but becomes really quite strong.

You keep folding it in and kneading and then smooth it out and repeating in different directions.   Have any of you ever tried it?  If so please comment on here and let me know what you think or how yours has turned out.  I would love to hear about it and have a little chat with you on the subject.

Momigami is pronounced mo-me-go me and dates back to the 10th Century.  It can bring such texture to hand stitched pieces and also be used to cover journal as well. I am very excited to give it a go.  The process takes a while but it also is mind relaxing they say so watch this space.  I will probably have a go at the weekend.

The photo above is some fabrics I have sourced and I love the way they go together, playing around with bits for projects can actually keep me busy for hours, truly.  I am getting together bits with texture and old labels on and thought this might be just the things to go with some kneaded papers.  Making it a slow stitching piece that is just beautiful to me really.  Then I can hand stitch and embroider on it and either make a little wall hanging or indeed frame it.  What do you think.   I am very excited to see how this develops over the weeks to come as this is a piece purely for me!

My darling Mum is more stable this week which means I am able to do more here at
Thimble and then go in a sit with here for a few hours.  I do take in little bits of hand sewing or a design journal and doodle when she is comfortable and sleeping.  I know the difference when she appears to be sleeping but does not want to open her eyes, to sound asleep.  If she is sleep listening as I fondly call it.  Then I talk or read to her other than that I sit there and sketch or stitch.   I like to be there by lunchtime so I can try and coax a little food into her and fluids.

I am looking forward to some dry and warmer days and I can open her patio doors in her room to look out on the garden of her care home.  I get my love of nature from her and then I can talk to her about the flowers and birds.  The home had chickens at one point and a cockerel and I can tell you she was not really keen.  They were very noisy and they re homed them.  Peace restored to the gardens with blackbirds, robins and butterflies after that.

Anyway I must away for now.  I hope you have enjoyed my ramblings today and that you cosied up with a warm drink for your read.

Please remember if you know of or have done some momigami then I would really like to know.

For now take care of you and Happy Stitching!

Sarah XX

Tuesday 21 March 2023

Life and my needle and thread.


Let all your words be seasoned with Grace. And remember a kind word is never wasted.

It has been a few weeks since I posted so sorry but well life sometimes gets in the way. Mum has not been well, very up and down and suddenly two weeks have passed by. I have sat with her and chatted but have been reading Little Women to her, she seems to enjoy hearing my voice and is very calm and dozes in and out of sleep.

The last time I rambled away on here I was off to the Re-Claimed Fair in Chipping Norton and I am thrilled to say I did make it to that.  I had the most wonderful day and very care free.

I arrived before the doors opened and looked at the little queue forming.  There was chatter and laughter with anticipation as to what may lay inside.  Let the truffling begin.  Everyone seems to look for different things and it was so wonderful wandering around.  Meeting up with friends old and new it was perfect.

Lots of people travel a fair way to get to this smaller vintage fair,  In fact Mo was there ( you may be reading this!) and she comes from Scotland.  It was so lovely to see you and then keep seeing you with arms full of goodies.

Wondering around and taking it all in, stopping to hug friends, which after covid is never taken forgranted anymore.  I stopped and had a coffee and a piece of chocolate cake and was able to catch up with a dear friend who was helping out with cakes and

coffee.  Chocolate cake for breakfast was a real treat I can tell you!

All of the stalls looked very beautiful and inviting and there was lots of gorgeous fabrics to rummage through, which you all know is my joy.  Emma of Little Wren Vintage was there too and it was really good to see her as well.

In between all of this Winter returned to Dorset, we had some snow and it was bitterly cold as well.  I was making sure I had something going on in the slow cooker for my supper and that the fire was ready to light when I got in.   I kept telling myself that ..

' No Winter lasts forever, No Spring skips its turn!'

The weather has got a little warmer now and I do feel that Spring is in the air.  The birds seem busy with twigs in their mouth so nests are being built.  And joy of joys I have my birdbath back together.   Let me explain, when I got the keys to Thimble

Cottage and my movers brought my things only half of my large stone birdbath came in.  This was 3 years ago now.  The pillar part stood their in a corner of the garden.  I had asked them to look several times but to no avail.  I kept looking at it and thinking I must go and tip that.  However in the last two weeks the company got hold of me and told me the top part had been found!!!  I could not believe it to be honest, three years and I was going to the tip at the weekend.....   It has been put in place and filled with water.  Nothing was going in it until today when I watched with delight a blackbird having a fabulous time bathing in it ...  Little things that make us smile!
I have been planning my quilt project along with some other bits.  I can now get back to some stitching, sewing gives me a peaceful heart and I really do need to knuckle down for a few days.

Mothers Day was lovely, my daughter and I went to see my Mum and then we went back to her house and lunch was being made for us.  My son in laws Mum was there too and there were 10 of us.  It was a happy day spent in each others company for


Yesterday I was a little drained and so really did not do much at all but today, refreshed and with mum stable again I have a few days ahead of me where I can work happily.

I am looking forward to more vintage fairs coming up over the next few weeks and of course there is Easter too so really must put my head down and sort out my projects to get started.  I had three on the go that were not finished and I have finished two of them.  I will take the third with me to my Mums later in the week but for now I am plotting and planning and yes catching up with you all on here.   

I hope you like the few photos I managed to take of the Re Claimed fair,  There were some beautiful antique bits for sure.  They can not, however, capture the wonderful atmosphere and laughter but believe me it was there by the bucket full.  The happiness of friends getting together with like minded people and of course Cake!!

So the rest of this week it is head down ... fingers crossed and I am able to continue with the plans I have been making for so long now.  The weather is improving and today the sun is out which makes everything seem better.

I have some serious work to be getting on with and I will then be able to chat to you all about that.

I hope you all have a great week and I will be back here within the week hopefully with lots of things to tell you.

Happy Stitching!

Sarah XX

Friday 3 March 2023

The quest for THE QUILT is over!

Quilts are scrapbooks of our hearts.

Simplicity can be so beautiful, naivety of a piece of slow stitching on a old panel of quilt is something to behold.  For me simple things bring me so much joy.  Taking a sandwich by the river watching otters playing or a Kingfisher diving for fish, sometimes nearly as big as they are.  A coffee with a friend and of course some hand sewing on the go.

I was talking to you all in my last blog post about finding a quilt that was worn and a little tattered, with all its life contained in the patches of fabrics pieced together.  Often the fabrics are on their second life because they are cut from old clothes or cloth worn out and good bits salvaged for making quilts and patching of other clothes that will still do if patched .... Make do and mend.

Anyway I decided to tackle a big project and for this I needed a beautiful old quilt that was in need of some TLC.  I put my feelers out to a few vintage dealer friends and most said they didn't right now.  They are getting more and more rare.  Private collectors are just that, we collect and of course we keep.

However I got hold of lovely Emma from Little Wren Vintage and joy of joys she had

just what I was looking for so we met up and I am pleased to say said quilt came home with me all freshly washed carefully .. I do confess to other things as well came home with me including another quilt (grin) The quilt hasn’t been photographed yet so no picture yet!

So now for the planning of my project and I will be filming too for prosperity and for viewing for those who would like to watch and to take part in some way.  You will see what I am talking about when I have filmed the first part.

I am excited and a little scared but very much looking forward to this project and hope you are too. Please let me know on here if you would like to be part of this - It does not involve you doing any stitching because it can not be posted around so where ever you are in the world  it will not matter.

New friendships will be made and lots of chatter with like minded people - If you love antique/vintage fabrics, quilts, slow stitching and threads I think you will enjoy this.  My sketchbook is out to pop ideas down and my camera is at the ready.  

Now one thing I purchased from Emma is a dear tiny bowl.  It has Mrs Tiggy - winkle on it.  Beatrix Potter and there is a little rhyme on there too.

Mrs Tiggy - Winkle's nose went sniffle, sniffle sniffle

 and her eyes went twinkle, twinkle twinkle.

Please let me explain : My sister and I have always called our Mum Mrs Tiggy! before 

she got Alzheimer's she would love to iron.  She thought is was relaxing and the best part of housework.  I can hear some of you shout REALLY! and others of you will be in total agreement with her.  Put on the radio and iron my darling Mum loved it.  I know that some of my best friends love ironing, but we are still friends!  I love ironing if it is vintage fabrics especially paisley .. you can keep your bedding and shirts thank you very much ..

So anyway I had to buy it, to me it is a constant reminder of better times when I would sit chatting to her whilst she ironed and us both having a coffee in her kitchen, laughing and chatting.  I would ask her about family history and all sorts of things and I am so very pleased I did.  Our Mum is still with us bless her, fading but not gone but no longer can talk and we miss that so much.

I thought pin cushion?  I will make a pin cushion with that and have found a very old piece of quilt that will work beautifully.  It did not take me long to select it but it took longer because I can not help myself in going through all my quilt pieces and thinking about where I purchased them and who from.  It really is a joy of mine that I afford myself whenever I can.  It never gets boring to me - a guilty pleasure that I love to do.

Also in my buying time with Emma I bought some exquisite pieces of a very old quilt that had seen better days that she had cut up. The quilt was not patchwork but hand stitched panels red on white.  All the thread has gone  but left little flecks that you can see the original patterns.  Adding to these squares will be such fun and pleasurable.  I

may go around the outline with a  single thread in red to keep the originality of the design, then add  little bits of embroidery.  It will be a little mending and a little add to their history and keeping its original design can only be good in my opinion.

i am going to be very busy for months with what I have in my project book and the finishing of my website to go live. Its been a marathon getting the builders to understand what I do and how I would like it to look.

Hoping you have enjoyed my vintage ramble today and also hoping to hear from you on here, I would appreciate your thoughts all in one place.

As always take great care and Happy Stitching!

Sarah XX

P.S .... Some great vintage fairs coming up that I have to squeeze in as well, I can not miss them.  First one is The Re- Claimed fair in Chipping Norton on Saturday 4th March it starts I believe at 10am.  Who knows I might well see some of you there!


Friday 24 February 2023

Textile travels ...


The act of sewing is a process of emotional repair.

Louise Bourgeois.

The wonder of textile travel sometimes amazes me. I have bought before now pieces of very beautiful old linen pieces or sheets from France or other European countries from a vintage fair all over our English counties, salvaged, sorted and saved by others.

Pieces of antique quilts that have been stitched here in England and ended up in Canada or America possibly brought over to those countries on large ships when pilgrims landed on other shores, only to come back again to their country of origin and

being sold here a hundred or more years later!

In my imagination they have gathered memories and stories along their journey.  If they are in good condition for their age I could never take a pair of scissors to them however if they are weathered and worn, they can be salvaged by cutting them into pieces to create something beautiful and unique to be framed with added little stitches and words in another century or decade to be seen, loved and cherished by others and that can only be good.

I marvel at their beauty and resilience, the fact they are repurposed and seen through different eyes and stuffed into a box in a loft somewhere is a real blessing to those of us who collect and slow stitch.

my days are filled with designing and imagination of how to preserve them and make them beautiful and pleasing to the eye of the beholder and indeed enjoyed in a different form once more.

Antique threads are another addiction to me when I can find them but they have to still be strong and fit for purpose as some can become weak. My go to then is the hand

dyed shaker threads that I purchase in New England or New Hampshire in the States.  I do feel another visit sometime soon to harvest some more of these exquisite threads with such yummy names eg Red brick road. The added benefit is that they are light and easy to get back in your suitcase.

The other love as you all probably now by now (unless this is your first visit to my pages) is hand carved antique mother of pearl buttons.  I have some beauties in my collection over the years and if I am lucky enough to purchase more than one of the same button I use one in a piece of my hand stitched fabric art. 

To me it's the icing on the cake the 'piece de resistance' of any of my projects - I keep moving the button about as my project starts to take shape.  Only when the last little stitch has been sewn do I stitch it in it's final resting place. It does not always end up where you thought it would blend in but stand out with your piece of work.

When a piece of old quilt with it's worn fabrics and wounds of years of love and functionality comes back with me, it is washed carefully and given a new lease of life

which will hopefully be admired, looked at and loved once more and maybe framed for others to gaze at ... well that pleases me and my job is done.  All the care and love that I have bestowed upon it adds, I believe, to it's story.

Now you might think what I am about to say here is a bit looney tunes but pushing aside that possibility I will  write it anyway Old fabric quilt pieces almost speak to me, yes I know but they do!  I look at each piece and instinctively I can see in my minds eye a word, quote or embroidery that would add to its soft fabrics without taking any of it's history or beauty away.  I like to think I embroider a little bit of my heart into the fabric and of course love and like to think that I make each piece simple, naive and primitive but significant.

The days are getting longer and the weather is improving ( not that I mind stitching in a cosy chair by the log burner) Birds are building their nests and flowers are coming up from their Winters nap.  This means sewing in my studio with the radio on low and the top of my of the stable door open.  Smelling the scent of hollyhocks and foxgloves in the air and watching the bees busy collecting sweet pollen on their little feet and the little hum they make.  All soul food to me!

Every great design begins with an even better story

I am really drawn to washed out reds, blues and whites when looking for antique quilt pieces.  I seem to gravitate towards these more that any other colour.  I try to mix it up of course but those colours I can not seem to walk past.  My collection of these colours and hues seems to grow more that others.

At the moment I am sorting out a quilt for a future project and to honest antique quilts are getting harder and harder to find.

Lots are in private collections and no one really wants to sell and pass them on, I know that is true because I am one of them.

I am looking for a particular quilt, well colours and pattern and I think I may have found one so going to see it later this week, fingers crossed.

So dear readers wish me luck in my quest.  I will let you know if i am successful and will keep you updated.

I hope you are all well and you have enjoyed my vintage ramblings.  Take great care and as always Happy Stitching !

Sarah XX

Sunday 19 February 2023

Weathered & Worn, loved and cherished a Victorian quilts final story ..


Quilt - meaning 

A warm bed covering made of padding enclosed between layers of fabrics and kept in place by lines of stitching, typically applied in a decorative design ... Oh but it is so much more than that!

Some might look at this piece of Victorian log cabin quilt in horror, or god forbid think it should be in a rag bag or worse a bin!  Me well I think it is utterly beautiful in every way.  Thread bare? well maybe - OK  yes but oh the textures and colours and so full of history if only it could speak and tell us stories.  Those of us who are fascinated by history and antique fabrics would flock any time of the year with a warm drink in our hands and sit and listen to what something like this amazing quilt piece had to say.  From where all the little pieces of fabrics came from to whom stitched it all together, was it one person or a sewing bee all around the table with the laughter and chatter of that period in time.... 

I have a few pieces from this quilt that I purchased, sadly too worn to adorn a bed any more but having cut (by hand not rotary cutter) it up and washed all the squares they are now ready to embellished by tiny hand stitches and to have a little bit of history added to them from me.

When I look at them they make me smile and idea's  fill my head and warm my soul with such love of them.

Each one is so tactile with their thread bare pieces of antient fabrics and have been patched a little over some decades ago.  Loose threads hang from them all with so much history soaked into the weft and weave .. stunning!

I have photographed each one of them for prosperity and am now having oodles of fun sketching designs and picking out words and quotes that might
be stitched upon them.  I am a wordsmith by nature and find that even one word can evoke thoughts, memories or emotions to a piece of slow stitching.

I often think of my late Dad - I miss excitingly  phoning him or running through their kitchen door to tell him something or another.  He tried to see things through my eyes and rejoiced in my happiness over silly things really, however I think he might struggle with my happiness and delight over what some may see as '"seen better days" fabrics but I know though if he were still here I could talk him round with my enthusiasm and joy.

Picking them up and laying them out on my large work table in different ways. Stroking the delicate and timeworn fabrics and all the time | know I have a huge smile on my face.

So many possibilities lay before me and it is an exciting journey of design and fabric art that lays ahead for them and for me.

Telling a story through fabric and threads is a beautiful and gentle art or indeed no real story at all just a piece that is stitched with little stitches and made into delicate patterns which everyone who looks at it sees something different in it with it gorgeous hues of colour and textures.

Preserved and adding to their beauty they will, I hope, be still loved and

cherished long after me.

One thing is for sure I am loving every moment of this creative process with these gorgeous squares of history from first finding the quilt to cutting it up and washing  each piece carefully and then the design and finally the stitching of them.

The shear joy of slow stitching is good for your soul and creating something unique, beguiling and primitive, to me, is perfection.

With freedom, quilts, books, flowers and the moon who could not be happy!

Oscar Wilde and me!

The Spring is on its way I can feel it in the sunny days that we are now having and my little garden needs some attention after the Winter and all the hard frost that we have experienced.  The last time we had a very hard frost I was in the garden and putting out some seed and worms for the little birds.  I saw that I had left a trowel in the soil and went to pull it out to pop it in my shed and as hard as I tried and pulling with all of my might I could not get it out of the raised border! Then sat perched on the angel that I have in that border was a robin who looked on with mirth and merriment at me .. cheeky little thing.

Save to say I have managed that now and I know that I must get out there this week to sort it out ready for all the little plants that are just peeping out of the soil and would like the weeds, that have prevailed over the Winter to be removed.

Vintage fairs are starting there season now too and I am ever so pleased.  I miss the social aspect of them, meeting up with friends old and new and of course wandering around and seeing all the wonders on each and every stall that is there.

So watch this space for an update on those that I can attend and they are starting in the next couple of weeks and I can not contain  my excitement.

I hope you have enjoyed my little vintage rambling today and hope you all have a great week.

Take care and as always dear friends .. Happy Stitching!

Sarah XX

Tuesday 31 January 2023

Cosy creative February days


Let us welcome February and take every chance to show love to all we meet.

Hello all, it seems like only yesterday that Christmas was upon us and yet it is now February.  I hope that you all had a peaceful one and spent the season happily with those around you.  I had a dear friend to stay for three weeks and we had a lovely time here and incorporated it with my family.  Her family live now in Australia and she will be joining them this year so we decided to make the most of our time together and we really really did.

There has been so much going on through January and also trying to get my website up and running which actually had to hold for a few weeks as my Mum has been very poorly, yet bounced back a bit I am happy to say.

 So today is the start of my new year, a little late but there it is. Yesterday I was going through my basket of  ongoing creations and I was happy that I left everything pretty much in order so that I actually can hit the ground running as it were.

This week I want to get everything ready to film some online courses and then get a few uploaded onto the website.  The website has been a challenge to me as although it is being built by someone else, I am very involved.  The thing is it is getting technical people to understand what I actually do.  They used the word Us in something... I will explain, there is no us, it is me!  I am not a huge business so getting them to understand me and what I do has been a trial.   

As you all know by now I do all my own photography and they were popping in photos that they have in their archives, noooo I said this week, I sent you what I have taken..  The colours of things and all sorts really ... we are now getting there and so fingers crossed this will all smooth out this month.

Don't tell me the sky's the limit when there are footprints on the moon!

It has been extremely cold here and the log burner has been blazing.  Some days I have woken up and thought that it had snowed in the night but actually the harsh

frost has made it look that way,  Jack Frost has been very busy with his brush making everything white and sparkly - it has been really very beautiful but oh so cold.  One day I had a hot water bottle up my jumper I could not get warm at all.  Even so I have walked down by the river to see the beauty that this Winter weather brings.  Feeding the birds with seeds, worms and chopped apple and watched them with delight.

Although we have had cold sunny days most have been dull and the fairy lights and candles have been keeping everything happy and cosy along with my slow cooker so that of an evening I have had a warm meal waiting for me after I finished my day.  Its the cosy hygge feeling I love in the Winter.  In the evenings I have caught up on my reading and have been doing a lot of writing, old school style!  Ideas and little sketches and the odd great film to immerse myself in.   

Watching my little garden I can see the promise of Spring and I have been planning my garden for the lovely promise of Summer days and evenings, loving all seasons myself I try and make the most of everyone.

I had some beautiful antique threads for Christmas from my Mum actually, although now my Sister and I have to choose what we might like from her we make the most of it and always take it in to show her what we have chosen.  This year even though I am told by others that threads and fabrics are basically work tools, its what I chose.  I am making some bits for myself to hang in the cottage and every time I look at them in years to come they will always remind me of my Mum.

In my Threads of Time studio I have had a little radiator heater on low to keep it warm and of course with all the antique fabrics that are in there, its important that it does not get damp and ruin them.  My friend did laugh over her few weeks here that I went down there most days just to check on it all.  She also remarked on the beautiful feeling it has in there with lots of candles and lights too.  I have a project out on the large old table, which has a beautiful old quilt on as a table cloth.  Pin cushions with lots of needles threaded in different colour ways and a pretty tray in the middle with hand covered buttons in it.  I am in the middle of designing a dress for me made from old materials.  The bottom of the dress though is new ish fabric and is from Cabbages and Roses and is in memory of Christina Strutt, the founder of  this gorgeous Company, who sadly passed away in January this year.  It will be worn with pride to Vintage Fairs this year, Christina Strutt has always been a inspiration to so many people with her designs of the most gorgeous fabrics, homewares and clothes as well.  I am getting all the pieces ready and the hand embroidery done ... Then over to a lovely lady who has a sewing shop ( not supplies but alterations and the like) and she is going to sew it all together with fittings in between ....  I am not a dress maker so it seemed the perfect way to do it.

Anyway these are my thoughts and ramblings today and I have missed chatting with you all.  Today is a busy day but this evening I will be curling up with a book by the fire

as ' between the pages of a book is a lovely place to be' and the cosy crackle of the wood burner will keep me cosy.  I am reading one of Kate Morton's books and I simple love the way she writes, loosing myself in her descriptions and story line.  She has a new book coming out soon and I told myself I can not purchase it until I have read this one ... This one came out in 2018 around the August time If I remember rightly and has sat there because of life and what it brings.  So I have decided more reading of an evening and a cut off point for my stitching.

Take care and as always Happy Stitching!

Sarah XX