Friday 23 February 2024

Stitching time and Quarry Bank


A little more laughter

A little less worry

A little more kindness

A little less hurry.

Stitching time is a time to immerse yourself, it is self care time where you can breathe and be as one with the sound of a needle and thread going through the fabric and the whole process of the slow stitch is so calming and healing, my happiest of places to be to just  concentrate on the cloth and thread and no other thoughts come into my head.  I know this all too well because when my mum was so very poorly I just could not pick up a needle for months, it did not work at all. In addition to all of the above you get something beautiful that you have made, hours of love and always a little bit of your heart as well.  I think of that when I am lucky enough to receive a hand stitched gift, someone has taken their precious time to make something from their heart to yours.

Little projects on the go in wee baskets is always a pleasure for me  there is something about it that makes me happy and they are so portable as well.  If I go somewhere for a few days I can just grab one to go.  The beautiful antique quilt that I am currently working on and adding to is just too big to take, to work on, so the the little bits that I am stitching to possibly be stitched on to it are in a basket to be stitched and the things that will be stitched directly onto this very old quilt will have to wait until I return home again.  This way though it still feels that I am still working on my Red Cross Canadian quilt.  I am thoroughly enjoying  adding to its story and wondering what the outcome will be. A already wonderful history contained in this beauty with added history for future generations one day ...

As I am writing this blog today I am looking out into my little garden and it seems that Spring is starting to surface, it is still a little cold out there but for sure the birds are collecting for nests and bulbs are bursting through the soil.  I collect really tiny little scraps from soft fabrics and bits of wool threads and poke them around my miniature apple trees and little birds are collecting it to line nests with.  I used to do this at my old home and it is heart warming to see.  I like to think that their nests are soft and cosy with scraps of vintage paisleys ... 

My log burner is still very much used still of an evening it is so cosy and it warms the whole cottage the candles are lit and it is still a delight but I am happy to say the evenings are getting lighter, I love my seasons and try to embrace each one.  As you know if you are a regular reader that Autumn is my favourite and there will be a little nod to that on the quilt project.

Also since I last posted I have been in Cheshire and whilst there, being a member of National Trust I visited Quarry Bank ... Oh my what a most wonderful place it is.

The mill that Samuel Greg built in 1784 was around half the size of the mill we see today. It was designed as a long, low block with tall windows that flooded the mill with light – however the lower panes were obscured to prevent the workers from gazing out and becoming distracted.

In 1796, the mill doubled in size with a second water wheel added, and a new weir built to feed it.

Around 1820, a new mill block was added, which created space for more spinning and carding machines, with 300 workers operating 10,00 spindles.

After Samuel Greg died, his son Robert added two weaving sheds (and 305 looms) and a cloth warehouse. Various other improvements took place during the 19th century including a new fireproof scutching room, steam engines and a boiler house. By 1855 the major building works at Quarry Bank were complete. (copied and pasted from the website)

Samuel Greg also built a house there for the family and cottages for workers.  Today all but one of those cottages are rented out and one remains for people to visit and look at the cottage as it was then.  There is a little school which remains a working school to this day.

I was in awe and on those very same looms they still produce fabrics and they spin the wool and make their thread .. I was in heaven watching these centuries old machines working their magic today.  Although I very rarely if at all purchase new fabrics I made an exception with this gorgeous linen fabrics because it was made on this antique weaving machines.  I bought some to line my rice bags that I am busy making.

Then I thought ah how about a competition so I have purchased two fat quarters and a

linen draw string bag from Quarry mill and that is the prize.

So to enter you will have to go over to my instagram page which is one.tiny.stitch and follow me on there and write a comment on there so that I have your name to pop into my antique bowler hat and then pick out a name to win this most wonderful prize.

On the instagram you will see photos of the prize and you can not miss it.  The competition is open for two weeks from today.  So pop on over to be able to see the photos of this lovely prize.  Think of the possibilities of what you can create with this oh so very beautiful fabrics.

Well that is enough rambling for today and I hope you have enjoyed your read.

It is back to my hand stitching now and I wish you all a wonderful weekend and please take care.

As always Happy Stitching!

Sarah XX

Tuesday 13 February 2024

A Winters tale in stitches


Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home and slow stitching ..........

The hygge that surrounds me is so cosy, happy and full of contentment and warmth. 

 Right now I do not mind at all about the weather.  Switch on the fairy lights, light a fire and candles in all the darker corners, with a faint smell of cinnamon and design and stitch.

I have been listening to podcasts as well , which have been interesting but equally the sound only of the crackling fire and the needle and thread through the layers of fabrics are very enjoyable too.

Not having to go out to my Mum daily has been both strange (and I do miss her so ) and freeing - my mind is now fully only on one thing and that is to be creative and stitching.

Having several projects on the go is really delicious for me.  Firstly I have been tearing strips of fabrics in different widths to do some wonky log cabin work, yes wonky not at

all perfect and it is so much more beautiful to me than precise strips and using hand dyed ribbon pieces too.  Some raw seams on show it has been a epiphany of sorts.  In my world the more naive it is the more I adore it, tattered and torn and worn with a few battle scars and darning to wonder at.

So the reason I am quietly stitching some wonky log cabin squares is because I would like to also do some hand embroidery on them and then make a Japanese rice bag or two .... Gorgeous to look at and of course you can put things in them so beautiful and useful .

So I have found making a little snip in fabric and then tearing strips very satisfying and mind freeing.  Making a box of light and darker strips.  It is something I can do when it is darker in the early evening and then as the stitching is by hand and running stitch it gives me a break from the beautiful quilt that I am adding to which is more precise in every way. although the fabrics that I am adding here and there on that are antique beautifully worn and wonderful too.

 Some of the fabrics I have chosen are holey and scrappy which adds such charm and wonders in my opinion and because it is not as precise as normal log cabin I can do it

on my lap and not be at my work table it is perfect for later in the day.

I came across a tutorial on how to hand sew rice bags and I was enchanted and the same lady also showed you how utterly beguiling wonky log cabin can look.  It is so tactile as well I am just loving the results.. It has become fairly addictive I have to add, and I can see that I may have to cover a journal in some of these fabulous wonky log cabin squares. You can use frayed edges which you do not turn under and it brings texture and interest and with finger pressing which is encouraged  there is no iron in sight ..

And the other project is book covers, well hand made paper journal covers actually and you know me and my love of journals if you are a regular reader .. by the good daylight it is the Red Cross Quilt and by the time the sun is setting I am tearing strips of fabric with a grin on my face and maybe listening to a pod cast by the fire or indeed watching a film  or maybe listening to Lucy Worsley on a podcast or one of her historical programmes which I simply love.

Winter is a season of recovery and preparation.

 ***  Paul Theroux  ***

Also this year I have told myself I need to sketch and water colour more and my

thoughts are that when the weather gets better and the beauty of nature wakes up a  little that I can combine a lovely walks  and some sketching ... this is my plan this year as well as go on a holiday somewhere later in the year. 

Having the River Stour on my doorstep as well as the gorgeous Jurassic coast line no more than an hours drive away I have the best of both worlds.  Going along a beach walk with rock pools and seaweeds to sketch and of course to dry and press it makes for a long and happy walk, granted not a fast walk but so enjoyable never the less.

A beach is not only a sweep of sand, but shells of sea creatures, the sea glass, the seaweed, the incongruous objects washed up by the ocean.

Henry Grunwald

I have bought myself a seaweed book to identify the types and there are some beauties along that coast line. In the warmer months and during the week before the School holidays will be a perfect time to indulge my new found interest in seaweed to sketch and stitch ..  Who knows if I am very lucky the sea may give up some of her treasures to me such as sea glass and old pottery fragments and some amazing shells

to photograph and draw.

As you can see I have some clear ambitions this year and I intend to honour them too along with as many vintage fairs I can get to.  My first one for me is on Saturday 2 March and it would have been my Mums 80th Birthday.  So I am going to the wonderful Re-Claimed fair held in Chipping Norton.  I am in need of some more delicate antique fabrics for my latest passion of log cabins and English paper piecing!

Well that is enough of my ramblings for today and I hope you have enjoyed your read.

As always take care and Happy Stitching!

Sarah XX


Tuesday 6 February 2024

A quilts journey ...


Welcome February ....the month of love

I have truffled and gathered each little scrap of beautiful vintage fabrics which are worn with time and stories of their own. pieced, snipped, looked at and held with care and with each tiny stitch is a speckle of my heart.

This project has brought peace, tranquility and a smile to my face. I keep thinking about stories that are contained within the layers of this really gorgeous quilt and the snippets of fabrics, words and threads I am adding, which is a wonderful process and is adding to the tales of the cloth therein.

The feeling that I am adding to this quilt and the thought patterns that I have about seasons as well as all sorts of wonderful little things to explore.  Quotes and sayings with flowers embroidered and applique too.

As I have mentioned this quilt is Canadian and I purchased it from Emma of Little Wren Vintage.  She purchased a bundle of them to sell and all but this particular quilt had labels on that they were Red Cross quilts and she is convinced this one is too.

Having done a little research of my own and practically scanning the quilt with a magnifiying glass  I believe it to be as well. So one of the things is I am going to add is a little cross in a bottom corner to honour that piece of kind history.

It was during the second World War that the Red Cross worked on many relief projects to help ease the suffering of so many that were directly impacted by the war.

One of these projects was to send quilts to soldiers or those who lost their homes due to the relentless bombing raids and as a consequence lost their homes and in lots of cases lost family and friends.  These quilts have become very collectable and are known at ' The Red Cross Quilts'

Thousands of these beautiful Canadian quilts were sent to England.  Each quilt were either gifted or indeed made especially and they had a little label attached which read 'Gift of the Canadian Red Cross Society'

The shame ( in my opinion) is the ladies who made them remain anonymous and it was actually forbidden for them to put their names on the quilts they made.  It seems there is no journal or paperwork on actually how many were made or who worked on

them.  A hidden history lays within each and every surviving Canadian quilt.  The history of many families would be enriched by this knowledge I am sure.

We so need these quilts and indeed the women who made these quilts of comfort not to be forgotten, the kindness and the comfort in those dark times needs to live on as those who made them have all but left us and very few if any at all are still alive to tell us their stories which are now hanging by a thread.

I believe this an important part of Canadas and Britain's history as it is thought that over four hundred thousand quilts were made and sent!

For me now it is very important to only add and not take away the tales of this beautiful quilt that I am now a custodian of.  The idea I have had is to make a fabric envelope that I stitch on and to pop in a handwritten little letter inside for future generations.  On it I am going to embroider the words ' Every quilt has a story'.

I would like to applique and embroider a little cottage on there to represent me and a cosy new home that this quilt now lives in and I have spent the last 10 days sketching ideas and words and quotes for ideas to look at.

My decision has been made to stitch bits onto little squares of antique French linen and lay the quilt out on my dinning room table and pin things on it to make sure they look part of this patching of history and plotting where the words may  go as they will be stitched directly onto the quilt.  I do not want to have to unpick anything at all and feel this way is best  This quilt is delicate with some fraying and a few holes that I am not going to mend or cover over... Its battle scares are so important that they should be seen and pondered over as to who it comforted and made to feel safe in such a uncertain time in history.  

This quilt played a part in WW2 and a kind part that should be remembered with pride.

The enjoyment of the sound of the thread pulling through the fabric of the quilt is a sound that is really very hypnotic to me and its part of the mindful process that is slow little stitches.  I will not be rushing this beautiful project and a awful lot of thought on my part has gone into this, not wanting to take away from its beauty and the stunning work of a lady or indeed a few ladies, but to add to its history with care and love of my own.

A quilt will warm your body and comfort your soul.

I really hope you are enjoying going on this quilts journey with me and enjoying my ramblings too.  I have so many thought and ideas and I wonder do you have any ideas? If so please pop them in the comments below I would be very interested on reading your thoughts on it,

Also I have another two smaller projects starting as well that I will show you along the way.  I think it important to leave the quilt for a day sometimes to look at something else and come back and double check that it still looks right in my eyes and then continue on.  I want to add to here and there but not cover another's work with mine as I have said many a time .... to add to NOT take away from.

As always take care and Happy Stitching! 

Sarah XX