It’s time for another dose of nostalgia!

Hello everyone!

Today I have some eye candy crochet to share with you and also something very close to my heart, right at the very end 🙂 I apologise in advance about the length of this post but I hope you will find it enjoyable and maybe you will also visit my previous Trip Down Memory Lane post too.

We (my sister and I) are in the process of moving my parents into sheltered accommodation. It is somewhere they can have complete independence in their own apartment without having to worry about gardening, general maintenance, security etc. They can even ask the chef in the complex to make dinner! This is why my quilting has been put on hold and I’ve only managed a few minutes here and there on projects I can pick up and put down. I am absolutely itching to quilt but, at the moment, the move is taking over my life 😀

I have downed tools for the weekend as I need a break and every muscle in my body is aching! It’s time to whack up the central heating, watch the snow falling outside and get crafting.

My plan today is:

1. Write this post

2. Do some special finishing touches to my blackwork project that I have been stitching along with Claire. I can share the finished project in about two weeks when everyone else is finished 🙂

3. Stitch more of the cross stitch narrow boat. (This might be superseded by putting the binding onto the next quilt in the queue).

Anyway, the house move has meant a lot of sorting and packing and general downsizing which my parents have coped with admirably. The hardest thing for us to cope with has been the decorating of the new flat which my sister and brother-in-law have mostly worked on like Trojans! and all the “stuff” that has been accumulated by my Mum over the years in the current house. Every cupboard has been booby-trapped with an avanche of “stuff”! Would you believe that the only things Mum has discarded in about the last 40 years were her crafting things? All the knitting needles, patterns and wool scraps have gone….given away…about ten years ago 😦 Luckily for me, I did find and old knitting bag which Mum had saved from her sister’s belongings when she died. It had a few patterns and lots of needles inside so I’m so grateful to have those now 😀

When I was about six years old, Mum and I used to visit a very old relative of her’s. Mum has always called her Aunt Yemmy, or that’s how it sounded anyway and that name has been used by the rest of the family too. I have always thought Yemmy was an unusual name and wondered where it came from (yes, I know I have a strange name too and I don’t know where that came from either). Well, I recently had a look into Mum’s family history and it turns out Yemmy was actually Emily. So for all these years we have been corrupting the name Aunty Emmy into Aunt Yemmy!

Anyway, Aunty Emmy used to crochet. I remember my mum choosing and buying crochet cotton, visiting Aunt Emmy to drop it off and then going back to collect crocheted goodies weeks later. Mum never crocheted.

Here are some of Aunt Emmy’s treasures I found this week at Mum’s. I’ve included some close-ups as some of my readers are so talented at crochet that they will be able to have fun working out the patterns 🙂

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The next examples are incredibly fine and heavy. They are only about 7 inches in diameter.

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Some of these pieces were crocheted in the 1960’s. I remember watching the pansies being crocheted. It was like magic! My sister has another set of these with pink pansies. most of the other pieces would have been made in the 1950’s and earlier. The last two examples are incredibly fine with tiny stitches. They are about 7 inches in diameter each and are much heavier and more slinky, if that makes sense, than the rest. All have been boiled and put through the mangle many times. It is a wonder how they ever survived! I hope you like them 🙂

So, last but not least, something I have been trying to find for years!

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I know, it doesn’t look like much….but I made this when I was 10 years old.

ImageEven in the 60’s I loved purple 😀

You would not believe how many times I’ve described this piece of embroidery to Mum in the hope that she would still remember it and hopefully have it tucked away somewhere. She has always denied knowledge of it. There were actually also two smaller pieces (you had to make a set of three) but I still haven’t found those. I wanted to include this in my previous post which was really a tribute to my Primary School teacher, Miss Fox, way back in April but I couldn’t find it. If you’d like to read about my wonderful inspirational teacher and see a few more of my very early creations you can do so here. So where was it?? Right under my nose…..clearing out Mam’s spare bedroom….under the mirror on top of a set of drawers…..still being used four decades later 😀 You have no idea how happy I am to have found it!!!!

Now, I have a question for you all. I believe this technique is called “Huck Embroidery or Weaving” but I hope you will correct me if I’m mistaken. The stitches do not go through to the back of the fabric. They simply weave under the threads which you can see on the close up photo. The white threads are part of the fabric. I only embroidered the purple and green. Does anyone know where I can buy this fabric with the special threads today? I have tried to find it, but not knowing whether this really is huck embroidery or not hasn’t helped. The huck embroidery fabric I’ve found on the internet isn’t like this piece. Maybe you have an old magazine with this pattern in it. Miss Fox allowed me to read her sewing magazines and I have other items I’ve made from them. Some are in the post mentioned above.

So, I’ve thrown down the gauntlet. Let’s see if my wonderful virtual friends can solve this mystery for me 🙂

I’m off to start the 2nd item on my list now!

Have a wonderful weekend 🙂

Avis x

WIP Update

Hello everyone 🙂

The chevron quilt top is now finished.

The only trouble is….I don’t have any wadding left! Never mind, it can sit on the pile to be quilted and I can get on with something else 🙂

I’ve now started work on a new project which is a secret. In fact, there are three secrets on the go at the moment. All will be revealed in good time 😉 It is most unlike me to be working on more than one thing at once.

Here are a few close up shots of the chevrons. I’m off to eat Maltesers…..nom, nom.

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Have a lovely crafty weekend 🙂

Avis x

Quilt contest now on!

Hi everyone 🙂

I was just catching up on reading my favourite blogs and Teje had posted a link to a quilt contest here. There are lots of wonderful creations to see and some fantastic blogs check out. It isn’t just quilts either! Lots of lovely bags, home accessories and clothes to enjoy.

I’ve entered a quilt, my latest….

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My sewing kit……

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And my cushion…..

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Go on, take a long break and pop over to Ellison Lane Quilts. You’ll be spoiled for choice.

Have a great weekend 😀 Avis x

 

A trip down memory lane…..

This post is as a result of my visit to see my parents today. My Mother always likes to see things I’ve made so I took my latest quilt to show her. We got talking about the family members who used to make things and do practical crafts (as we do every time I show her what I’ve been up to) and she reminded me that she still had things I’d made years ago. I started to remember some of them and was surprised she was still hanging on to them. So we went upstairs for a rummage about…..

As far back as I can remember, I was always surrounded by knitting and sewing. My Mother was the knitter (he-he) and my late Aunt Edith was the dressmaker. I now know, because of the lovely work of Occasional Crafter that my Great Aunt Emily did tatting (I always thought it was fine crochet). They were all very inspirational crafting women in their own right. However, the most influential crafter in my life was my Primary School teacher Miss Fox, probably because she did the more unusual crafts, or just ones that I wasn’t familiar with at home. She painted china and did needlepoint, cross stitch and embroidery. In the store cupboard in her classroom, she had boxes full of embroidery magazines with lots of lovely colourful patterns. Miss Fox had a hand-cranked Singer sewing machine in a wooden case which she allowed pupils to use under her supervision. She was my teacher when I was 10 years old and she taught the whole class, girls and boys, how to sew.

Before we could embark on a proper sewing project, we had to make a sewing case. I had completely forgotten I’d made this but my Mother fished it out of the bottom of Dad’s sock drawer!

 It is rather grubby to say the least and it has been in that drawer for the last 40 years. So, here is my very first piece of embroidery. The thread is very thick and I remember Miss Fox cutting pieces from the cones for us, in case we took too much at once. “No knots!” she kept saying “Remember to use the Begin On stitch!”. She had already demonstrated various stitches like cross stitch, with and without spaces, back stitches and so on. She encouraged us to experiment with the colours and stitches. The next photo shows the back. Some of the stitching is now loose.

The next photograph shows the inside which still has all of my old pins and needles exactly how I left them, pin heads and needle eyes around the edge for some reason?? Sewing the purple felt inside was my very first attempt at using that wonderful sewing machine.

The next thing we did was embroider our name onto a ready made “School issue” drawstring plimsoll bag which would later hang on the peg next to my name in the cloakroom. Miss Fox wrote our initials and family names on the front of the bags and we embroidered the letters. I think we used stem stitch for that. I have no idea what happened to that bag.

Next we made an apron from gingham for our cookery lessons. It was a simple rectangle which we had to gather at the top by sewing a line of long machine stitch and then pulling one of the threads to make it the correct size.  Then the waistband was made and attached. There was a large pocket on the front with more cross stitch along the edge. This pocket, we were told, was for keeping laundry pegs in. Unfortunately, the apron hasn’t survived either. However, I do remember still using it during cookery lessons when I was about 14 years old.

So, by this time, I’d now learned embroidery, measuring, pinning, cutting fabric from a pattern, tacking (that seemed to go on for weeks) and sewing on a machine.

I enjoyed the machine sewing, probably because it was so fast, but I also remember, the tacking really bored me rigid! My real favourite was doing embroidery and especially being allowed to read the magazines with all the pictures of table cloths, runners, napkins and placemats etc. I used to return to the same page of the same magazine over and over again. Miss Fox allowed me to take that magazine home. I wanted to show my Mother a table cloth that I really wanted to make. I knew that I would make it one day and I would have to work out a way to persuade Mum to buy the cloth that I needed. Miss Fox told me it was very expensive but she had also promised I could use the threads from the cones if  Mum would buy the cloth. Eventually, it was agreed that we could get the aida cloth but I had to promise to finish the project because of the cost.

This is the result. Sadly, it has seen better days. Some of the stitching is coming away because this table cloth has been washed and put through an electric mangle many times. Sewing with no knots and Begin On stitches didn’t quite stand up to this abuse! When I look at it now, I still can’t believe I was only 10 years old when I followed this pattern in the magazine but I do remember doing the central stitched pattern and being determined to finish it because of the cost.

The stitches are quite large and I was obviously trying to match the early 70’s decor at home with the yellow and brown 🙂

The part that I don’t really remember is that, Miss Fox who insisted everything was done “properly”, must have shown me how to mitre the corners!! Not perfect, but not bad either.

The next stage was to try to embroider without the counting and the holes in the cloth. Miss Fox gave me one of her own iron-on transfers!!! In those days you could buy the table cloths already hemmed which you could put transfers onto. You then embroidered over the transfer design and washed the cloth to get rid of the transfer lines. I remember Miss Fox asking me try to finish the cloth before I moved into the “big school”. Here it is. I was probably given a free choice from those thread cones, judging by the colours I’ve used 😆

A bit closer and you can see how the washing machine has taken its toll again. At least the stitching is all intact on this cloth 🙂

Around the edge, I have the wiggly weaving stitch that I’d stitched on my sewing case.

So, there we are, a potted history of embroidery 1970-71, in an ordinary Primary School with an extraordinary teacher. Miss Fox was nearing retirement when she taught me. She never married or had children and would never have known how much she inspired one of her pupils.

Knitting and sewing at home had always been functional, usually for clothes. It was done to help make ends meet and was much cheaper than buying clothes in those days.

I often wonder what Miss Fox made for herself when she wasn’t inspiring little 10 year olds….

Happy Easter!

I know this isn’t quilting but I thought I’d share it anyway 🙂 This is my card I designed a couple of years ago. I sold a handful of  kits on ebay at the time but they didn’t sell well in the UK. We don’t seem to go for Easter cards here 😦

I don’t do very much cross stitch these days but I do enjoy it 🙂

Happy Easter anyway!

Just rip it!

Well, I’m not the most confident artist in the land but I had a go. What’s more, I had lots of fun at the workshop for this project. It is supposed to be a machine embroidered seascape but my machine only does straight and zig-zag stitches! I wish I’d taken photos of some of the others made with more modern machines.

The teacher kept saying “Just rip it!” when she found me carefully rotary cutting pieces of fabric :-). I’m so used to precision, that I wanted a neat and tidy picture which wasn’t her idea at all. I can fully understand what she meant but I couldn’t bear to tear the fabric (and I don’t like frayed edges but she insisted, that I included some).

My sister came along too :-). She made an African style sunset (again very neat and tidy) with lots of lovely orange, red and gold batiks. Some of her embroidery was done with gold and copper tone metallic threads.

Anyway, we enjoyed the day, met lots of clever artistic people and were secretly pleased with what we had acheived for a first try. I just need to buy a frame now. I think it will have a wide cream mount and pale wood, as if it was washed in the sea.

How long will it be before this one is quilted?

This quilt top is the second one I ever made. I’ve used another photo for my blog header (in case you hadn’t noticed). I love purple!

Anyway, it has been made for about two years now and I still haven’t got around to quilting it.

It is not that I don’t want to do it. It is because I am afraid I might mess it up. I need more experience and then I will go for it.

I think the blocks are called Ohio Star.

I decided to put a dark frame around to set off the stars, followed by a wide border. The thin lilac border will fall over the edge of the bed.

All of the fabrics are by Makower. The white is Essential Scrolls and the lilac and dark purple are Spraytime. I love working with Makower fabrics! Unfortunately, the photos don’t do the fabrics justice. The white one is particularly gorgeous .

I will definitely make other quilts with stars as I really enjoyed making these blocks. They are all 12 inches square.

Maybe next time, I’ll use batik fabrics. Who knows. Don’t watch this space for the quilted version for too long. It is definitely going to be a while before it gets done :-).

Go on, let me into the secret…..

I’ve been trying to put a few tumbling blocks together recently. I watched a Youtube video on how to make them but the presenter cleverly left out all the details so I had to work it out for myself. The strips are ready to go together now. I’ll post another photo when they are all sewn up.

I love all shades of blue. These fabrics were left over from a sampler quilt top which is ready to quilt. It might make a nice wall hanging for a cool bedroom. The pattern was quite a challenge!

Have you ever made tumbling blocks using a sewing machine and how did they turn out? Do you have any secrets to share about how to make them easily in future? All ideas would be gratefully received 🙂

It only takes a few minutes…to write a new post

I thought I’d share some photos of my cushions which I made at a workshop.

I signed up for this workshop, knowing only that I would be making a cushion. My sister had seen the advert and persuaded me to go with her.

Each quarter of the cushion front design is made on a piece of cotton fabric with the sewing lines drawn on. I think it is called foundation piecing, correct me if I’m wrong 🙂

It isn’t quilted at all but still has enough body from the extra layer of foundation fabric. I made the back in a deep envelope style from the darkest fabric which matches the front.

We had a lot of fun at the workshop. It was nice to do something we hadn’t tried before and we were both pleased with our results. One of the best parts was seeing how different colour choices made the designs take on a whole new look.

For some reason my photos disappeared when I first posted this. Here is the updated version!

There was plenty of fabric left to make another one so I swapped the colours around.

I did think about sewing a giant button in the middle but decided to let the fabrics do the talking in the end.

 

 

 

 

Another close up just for good measure. I hope you like them

🙂

A few photos of past projects and UFOs

I thought I’d share a few photos of things I’ve made before I started this blog! So you now have a better idea of my crafting history 🙂

I’ve done lots of knitting, needlepoint, cross stitch, sewing etc. I nearly always design my own pieces and have also sold kits for the cross stitch cards and cushions which are my own designs. Everything pictured here is designed and made by me. I have lots more but these give a flavour of my work. I really enjoyed making everything and just wish I had more time  to craft 🙂

As always, comments are most welcome.

Here goes………

I love this large printed gingham.

I made these personalised ones for a man in America. They were one of his presents to his girlfriend for the Twelve Days of Christmas.

Sing along……On the second day of Chistmas my true love sent to me…….two personalised cushions 🙂

I used 16 count aida across the top and bottom and embroidered the names in cross stitch. The top name is the place in Mexico where his girlfriend was originally from. Apparently, the monarch butterflies migrate from that area every year and his friend also migrated to America. Hence, the butterflies and the names. It was all his idea. How romantic.

He was really pleased and said Mayra loved them too. Awww!

And here’s a table runner that comes out every year 🙂

and another…..

Bunting. Sooooooo pink 🙂 I sold some of these on ebay.

A cushion cover which has “stitch in the ditch” quilting like my table runners. I have to admit that the cushion inner is a bit large. It was the only spare one I had.

This is a quilted table topper which I made for my sister. It is about 25 inches square and I’ve used it for my avatar thingy.

This quilt top is ready to quilt. Its been waiting for quite some time. I love blue and purple!!

And a few cards from kits I designed and occasionally sell.

This one has beads to add a bit of extra sparkle.

I used beads for the baubles and metallic thread for the pot.

I hope this gives a flavour of my projects past. Whatever I do next is sure to involve sewing of some description…………..

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