Friday, 19 September 2014

Open Day at Country Roads Quilters

I think a good time was had by all at Country Roads Quilters' Open Day on Tuesday.  In addition to our usual programme of coffee, chat and stitching we had a visiting trader, Pippins Patchwork, and a talk from Karen Parry about John James needles.  As you can imagine, members and guests enjoyed the opportunity to shop and the expression "bees around a honeypot" was coined more than once in my hearing!
Karen brought a good selection of John James' needles for sale (at very good prices) and told us all about needle sizes and types and about the manufacturing and distribution of needles.  The company used to make the sweetest etui sets of needles, scissors etc, I imagine they would fetch a pretty penny in an antique shop.
Pippins Patchwork brought a good selection of fabrics and notions, including a lot of Christmas goodies.  Is it really that time of year already?
After lunch we had a super "show and tell", a lot of members had been very busy over the Summer break, and then we held our AGM.
As a result of Karen's talk I have a question for you:

How often do you change your needle (hand or machine)?

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Elderberry Results

Here are the pieces I dyed with elderberries and elderberry leaves now they are dry.  I am really pleased with the results. The black spots on the bottom left cotton piece below are the result of a mould growing in my dye bath. Oops. I think they look interesting but can anyone tell me if the mould could be nasty, even though the fabric has been washed?
This last one is my favourite, the fabric is very fine recycled kimono lining silk.

Monday, 8 September 2014

Nature's Riches

I rinsed out all my elderberry dyeing this morning, leaves and berries on various fabrics. 
The leaves gave a woody green, much paler on the silk. The berries gave a rainbow from pink to purple.
These are still wet, I'll post pictures of the best results when they are dry.

Friday, 5 September 2014

Prayer Flags

I have received all the Prayer flags from the latest Global Piecers' swap and here they are together:
This was a quick set up for a photograph, what I intend to do is add the one I made Al for his 70th birthday and the one I made for myself. All seven flags will then be properly strung in the garden rather than quickly pegged to a cane.
Thank you Sandy, Carol, Sal, Ros and Teresa, I love them all.

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Journal for New Zealand

Today I have been doing a variety of crafty things.  
I made up a dye bath using elderberries, it is maturing at the moment.  The colour looks glorious but the dye is apparently quite weak and fades rapidly in sunlight.  While the dye bath looks a rich purple red the fabric may end up being a pale silver lilac. Such is the unpredictability of natural dyeing.
I have also been doing some more surprise stitchery....
And finally, I have been setting out fabric scraps to make a journal cover for my next trip to New Zealand.  It feels a little odd to be using commercial fabrics again but the Kiwiana range is glorious.  I shall hand stitch the journal cover in a similar style to the prayer flags I made and the visitor book cover I made for the Bach. 
The nights are drawing in and it feels very much like Autumn, I am certainly doing more sewing than gardening although Al's veggies are still producing quite prolifically. 

Monday, 1 September 2014


Just seeing whether I can blog from my Kindle ...

If this works it will be easier than using my phone to write posts when I am travelling.

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Secret Stitching

I can't show you much because I am working on gifts but here's a teaser photograph of what I've been working on today.

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Bubbling and Steaming

Bank Holiday Weekend and time to try using the seaweeds I collected in Norfolk.
I'm using some to make a dye and some in a bundle which I'm steaming. Who knows what results I'll get, but things are looking quite brown at the moment.
I now have a dye house! Our greenhouse wasn't getting a lot of use so I've cleared it out and DH is promising me electricity very soon. I've left him a space to grow a few tomatoes so we should both be happy to potter there next Summer.

Wednesday, 13 August 2014


After leaving the bundles until a slight mould had begun to grow, which must surely be long enough, I've just opened these and been quite surprised. 
They are both a mixed bunch of sunflowers and agapanthus but the results are quite different. The "yellow" piece is cotton mordanted with alum, 
the pale piece is silk. I like the greens that have marked the silk fabric 
and am startled by the strength of the yellow on the cotton.  I took these pictures while the fabrics were still wet, I wonder whether they will be considerably paler when they dry.


I'm adding pictures taken today, 14th August, of the fabrics now they are dry. Much paler colours, especially the yellow.

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

International Embroidery Day and a Party

Today has been International Embroidery Day in Sweden, Queenie posted about it here:

So, in honour of IED I announce that I have finished my embroidered flower piece from the workshop at Country Roads Quilters and made it up into a table-topper.

Also, I am sharing a beautiful haori that my friend, Ros, received from Ichiroya last week.  It is covered in tiny French knots and is absolutely glorious.  Even the tacking is wonderful!

Today has also been Piglet's birthday.  Sam has his birthday in the depths of winter, not a lot of fun for parties in the garden and so today, Sam is exactly six and a half and we had a Teddy Bears' Picnic for Piglet!  A good time was had by all.