Monday, 24 December 2012

Merry Christmas everyone

I just want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas from Bella and me. I have put up my artificial tree for the first time and am quite pleased with it. As I did not have a pine smell in the room which I missed I attached some home made gingerbread ornaments that smell divine. 

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Hamadan Rug repaired

Finished repair
 It was a very satisfying moment when I stitched the last buttonhole knots into the edging of the fringe to make sure the new knots don't unravel. As you can see from this section of the repair it is still lighter than the rest, but time will make it the right colour.  The rug was not cleaned prior to the repair and professionals always clean the rugs first so that every piece of wool is the correct colour. 

This was my first rug repair and I am more than pleased with the results. Would I do it again? yes I think I would if it was not too large a hole and I could match the colours again.

Tools and wool used
This was the mess left at the end, you can see I used two tapestry wools for the edge and I also had some wonderful really thick luscious Alpaca wool which somebody gave to me for the side edges.  I am so lucky to have friends in the Embroiderers' Guild who have a network of other friends who share things out when they don't want them and this wool has been in my stash for about 3 years. I used two large needles one with a slight curve which I think I bought many years ago when I upholstered a Chesterfield settee. I also used some very strong cotton and beeswax produced by a friend called Melanie who kept her own bees. The string was bought at W H Smiths and was their fine parcel string but I also used some thicker string I had here too. Two pens were used to add a dot of colour to the knots to blend them in and I dyed the white Alpaca wool with tea as that is what is sometimes done to old rugs to give them a worn look. 

So there you have it, the tools of the job. I also used the internet to research how to do it. The following websites I bookmarked and read as and when I was stuck for ideas.

Rug structure and the Hamadan weave below:

Antique Hamadan rugs

Rug repair and restoration

End finishes

Classic Rug Care

I also looked up cleaning but thought it best to leave this area alone as its specialised, however, using an upright vacuum cleaner with a beater is why most rug edges become torn and worn. You should use an upholstery attachment to clean your rug and get down on your hands and knees. Beaters on cleaners damage rugs, but they can be used on the back when you turn them over if you are careful.

Rugs should really be given a good beating on some sort of line outside and a broom handle works quite well if you don't have an old fashioned bamboo carpet beater. I used to have one but sadly it was in the days when I saw it as a novelty and not a useful home tool. So its back to the broom handle for me.......

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Progress on Hamadan Rug

 Keeping the rug taught so the warps did not hang loose and the knots come undone was a problem. I used a board behind and stapled the warps to it so I could apply tension.

This is the stage I have reached. The new wool is in place and I don't think the colour match is too bad.  I had to do a row of plain navy then a row of red and beige dots and then another row of navy with a final row of red. I have tied in and sewn in the wefts all apart from the last one. I now need to concentrate on the fringe. This is the difficult bit next as this is what will hold the repair and the rug together.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Mending Hamadan rugs

This is not my rug but belongs to a friend with a holiday cottage.  She knows I can repair things so asked if I would look at this.  Well its not embroidery or quilting but I have dabbled with weaving and darning in the past.  Rugs like this one can be repaired by professionals but as its a small area I thought I would give it a go.  Basically, I think it has been caught in a vacuum cleaner and tugged and then the tear on the fringe has become worn and extended over time.  I needed to check what type of rug I was dealing with first and found out from the back of it that its a single weft, Hamadan rug, which means Turkish knots and rough, strong wool and also some camel hair.  The rug smells of very old incense too so it was probably made in a tent or similar. If you look at the dyes most of them are vegetable but I suspect the bright orange is a chemical one, so it's not that old but it is good quality.

You can see that I needed to weave some new warps and wefts into the edge and I also had to stabilise the end warps which were broken so that the knots of wool would not slide off, this required a sort of blanket stitch. I have not quite finished replacing the warps in this photo. I find the rug very heavy to pull onto my lap whilst working so only do half an hour at a time as its quite a strain and also the rug covers me in fine gritty sand.  I will need to give it a good bashing outside with a broom handle and then vacuum it carefully when I am done. All being well I will post again when it progresses. I think a challenge on this scale does depend on a certain degree of luck, and I hope the repair works, time will tell.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Sashiko workshop - October 24th Cumbria Patchworkers

Sashiko workshop at Just Sew, Penrith
 We delved into this technique at our monthly meeting in October, but I must admit it was not for me.  I do like the idea behind the examples below but hated sewing the small white stitches onto the fabric by hand, it seemed to me that I unpicked more than I sewed. But not everyone likes the same obstacles in sewing, at least I gave it a go and I still have my square which might just become something in the future.  I also bought some of the fabric which was on sale downstairs in the shop; some pretty blue with little owls on it, I think it was also one of the fabrics in the design below.

Examples of Sashiko included in a work in progress

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Threlkeld show continued

My wool wadding winter quilt, usually on my bed.....
I was pleased with the hanging arrangements at Threlkeld, especially with one of my quilts which they had hung infront of a window which gave it a jewel like quality.  I must admit I thought seeing the construction seams through it would have been a problem but no I quite like the effect.

Gloria's appliqué

Val Osborn

Maureen Rushton

Liz Beresford

A Baltimore by Gloria Walker - took over 3 years to make
I cannot find any information on these quilts at the moment because we did not produce a catalogue for the show which, with hindsight, is a shame.  It's always good to have a keepsake and it comes in handy for the typist when she is doing her blog update  .........

There are more quilts, embroideries and knitting to see at Threlkeld and tomorrow is the last day, so if this small display has wetted your appetite go along before it is too late. I think the show closes at 4pm.

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Threlkeld in stitches

Today was day one of a three day show of quilts, embroidery and knitting at Threlkeld, a small village which nestles under the mighty hill Blencathra. As I arrived this morning the rain was falling but the forecast was good so I quickly attached my banner to the wall and made a dash for the dry hall.

The place is a typical village hall and the exhibition was organised to raise funds to keep it from falling into disrepair.  Like so many public buildings in Cumbria the local people have to do a lot of work to raise money if they want to keep their facilities going.  Threlkeld village hall is no exception to this rule and a lot of hard work and enthusiasm from a few had gone into organising and staging the exhibits.  Whilst I am on the subject, that means that the ladies have to ask their husbands to hang the quilts and to help with the lifting and carrying and in this case even taking the money on the door.  So before I forget, well done chaps! We could not do it without you.

Once inside it was not long before I too was given a few jobs to do, but it was all for a worthy cause so I was happy to oblige. There was a good atmosphere even though in the early stages we had to wait for the customers to appear. But by lunchtime the place was buzzing. One of the events organised by the ladies was to help make a Linus quilt and in the photo below you can just see the quilt pieces on the left pinned up prior to assembly.  Members of the public were invited to sew a square (quick cathedral window) and this was where they were placed ready for making into the finished quilt.

I was stewarding all morning and I am back again on Monday, if you are in the area, why don't you call into the exhibition, it is well staged and the exhibits are lovely.  I will show you some of them in my next posting hopefully tomorrow.

Friday, 12 October 2012

I have been busy all week

Busy as a bee, but no sewing for me, instead I have been nursing my DH who had a nasty viral infection which knocked him off his feet! He is better now; I don't know what we would do without antibiotics. So I have been doing all sorts of running around jobs but not one of them was scheduled a week ago...

Meanwhile, I have been looking around for a few items which might brighten up my kitchen dresser where I keep all sorts of crockery confections and this might just be what I need. Of course it comes with a ladybird chocolate too....

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Healing thoughts to Diane and Oliver

I was sorry to here the news that Diane Gaudynski and her pet cat Oliver have been injured in a household accident. I tried to send a comment to her site but it would not work, so just wanted to wish her and Oliver a very speedy recovery, our thoughts are with you both.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Bella in my sewing room

Does my head look too big?
I spent two afternoons stripping Bella this week in the greenhouse; only place to do it where the fur can fly!  She does let me do it providing I keep up the snacks and her favourite this time was teeny tiny pieces of parmesan cheese. She is looking very cute though, but the sewing room is not so tidy but then whose is?

This week she has been hunting a hedgehog in the garden and yesterday brought it into the house in her mouth.  She was soon encouraged to drop it and my DD had to replace it over a neighbours garden fence. Bella had a bloody mouth where the spines had got her. Tonight the thing was back and low and behold so was Bella, its starting to become a problem...... The hedgehog needs to eat ready for winter hibernation and our garden is rich in snails, slugs and earthworms because its traditional and I try not to use pesticides too much. Its a normal garden with a lawn and hedges all around hence its perfect for the beastie. It also has two garden sheds one which is the workshop for DD actually so there is plenty of scope for hiding underneath them for the creature. I hope it decides to re locate next door.

Meanwhile I am quilting some experimental pieces because I decided I needed more practice and so I have been steadily improving my techniques but its slow going so nothing to show you.  I did find a couple of new blogs which I am adding to the list though.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Designing again

My grapevine is displaying lovely autumn leaves
And I am sketching them
I have an idea at last!  Sometimes you keep thinking about a little problem and suddenly you see a way forward and I think this might be it.  I love the shape of these leaves and I think the autumn garden is a wonderful inspiration after the summer. Wow, just look at the variety of colours. Thank you DD for leaving me your vine when you went to California. I wish it grew large, edible, black grapes too, but you can't have everything you know.

Saturday, 1 September 2012

International Bacon Day

I found this recipe for international bacon day which is today folks, if you try it let me know what it's like :-)

It might seem strange but these cupcakes take the salty-sweet combination to a new level. Makes 6.

60g unsalted butter, softened
60g golden caster sugar
1 egg
65g self-raising flour
¼ tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp maple syrup
4 rashers of smoked, streaky bacon
For the icing:
50g softened butter
100g icing sugar
1 tsp maple syrup
A drop of milk
1. Grill the bacon until crisp. Set one rasher aside for the topping and finely chop the remaining three rashers. Leave to cool.
2. Beat together the butter and sugar until smooth. Mix in the egg and then the flour, vanilla extract and maple syrup. Stir in the chopped bacon.
3. Divide the mixture between six holes of a silicone muffin tray or use paper cases. Bake at 200°C for 20 minutes, or until cooked through (check with a skewer or toothpick). Leave to cool completely.
4. For the icing, beat the butter and icing sugar in a bowl until smooth. Trickle in the maple syrup and add a drop of milk - a little at a time — to soften slightly. Pipe the icing on top of the cooled cakes. Finally, cut the grilled bacon rasher you set to one side in step 1 into 6 small shards and poke into the top of the iced cupcake.

Maybe you would prefer something a bit more traditional? I know I would, this looks worth trying to me.

Use up any leftover potatoes and veg by making these bacon potato cakes for breakfast or brunch. These are great with black pudding crumbled in, too. Serves 1.
100g leftover mashed potato
Small handful of chopped, cooked greens (use leftovers)
1 rasher of bacon
1 egg
1. Grill the bacon until cooked through and golden and chop into small pieces.
2. In a bowl, mix the leftover mashed potato, grilled, chopped bacon and the cooked greens. Season with a little pepper and salt if you think it needs it (this will depend on how much you seasoned your mash when you first made it).
3. Form the mixture into a patty and fry in a little oil for 5 minutes on each side, until heated through. Top with a fried or poached egg and grind over some black pepper before serving.

I am going to try this on DH soon..... where's the potato masher?

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Quilt exhibition at Temple Sowerby

This week I have been busy adding sleeves to two of my quilts because they are going to be hung at the Temple Sowerby Quilt Exhibition. Actually, the exhibition will feature, quilting, patchwork and embroidery and is taking place at Temple Sowerby Village Hall on Saturday 15th and Sunday 16th September from 10am till 4pm.  Admission is £3 for adults and £1 for under 16's, and this includes tea/coffee.  Other refreshments will be available too as well as mini workshops for £2.  They are:-
Silk painted and embellished postcard Sat 10.30 - 12.30
Folded patchwork squares Sun 10.30 - 12.30
You can also help make a Linus Quilt and there will be demonstrations and sales tables. Phone 017683 61440 for more information or to book a workshop.

View of Temple Sowerby
Whilst there you might like to take a stroll around the village green, which has some interesting relics including this stone.

John Wesley preached from this stone in 1782 - 'The World is My Parish'

A Roman Milestone

It is a lovely village and quiet now that it has a bypass which has taken all the traffic out of the village.

Lastly, if you want to explore the village and surrounding area on foot then check out this link

Monday, 20 August 2012

Garden chimes

The head bobs too

I had a set of bamboo chimes in the garden which came from my DD when she sold her house and left for California. They have been in one of my apple trees for about 8 years, but sadly became so delapidated this year that they had to go…..
The good news is that a market stall on Saturday does lots of interesting ones and this is the replacement, I love it…..

Friday, 17 August 2012

Munros nearly done

Wild campsite- my tent on the right
I am just back from a very wild camping trip in Scotland and the midges were the worst I have ever seen. Yours truly sits here itching madly. I will be blogging about the event on my other blog here fairly soon.  This is just a very quick posting this time as I have still not unpacked from the trip (we arrived back here only yesterday late). Now I need to find all the dirty stuff and put the washing machine on...

The best news though is that after 19 years plodding up the 3000 foot Scottish hills I have only one last Munro left to do.... wow!

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

phew I can type again...

I had a duff keyboard when I came back from holiday on 1st July and it has been a downer to my blogging I can tell you.  The only way I could type a and d was by using the Character Map software built into windows but it was so slow. Then one of my ctrl keys stopped and also a shift key and so it was time to buy a pc and leave my laptop alone. I will be much happier I am sure with this new baby.

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Keswick Embroiderers' Exhibition - 6th July 2012

Hi everyone, I type this under severe pressure with no first letter the key does not I commence with b if you see my point.....It is going to be difficult but I must try.

Our exhibition went down very well with the public, so I intend to show you some of our work.

Only eleven of us could turn up for it but we enjoyed ourselves.

So I offer snippets below with terse comments without the letter before the B ........

Felt work

Close up shot

Still life

3D effect
Needle LAce
 Got one to work there but only coz it's fiddled............
Mixed MediA

Add caption - don't know the medium/technique - sorry

Top two silk pAper

A huge diversity shown here
Stumpwork? or something including goldwork?

A snil - remember I've keybord problems.....

Embroidery on Mini Quilts

Big Quilt  - no embroidery here

Red Squirrel

Mixed MediA

Silk PAper purses

Boxes MAde esy using zig zg stitch
Well I did it; just. If you ever feel like trying it yourself, my only comment is it's blinking difficult....

Now for my next trick I need to get my keybord fixed pronto, coz it's driving me md.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

EG workshop today

Many thanks to Lesley for her excellent workshop today on making boxes quickly using the sewing machine and pelmet vilene.  It was very easy to do because she had cut out all the pieces ready for us so it saved time.  As you can see I did not quite finish mine and I chose very bright cotton for the outside of the box with a subdued inner. I outlined the pieces with some aqua green knitted tape stuff.  I am not sure what it is called or supposed to be used for but it worked well on this project.
Part finished box
I used a Madeira glitter in green to zig zag the edges too.  Anyway, it was good to chill out and listen to the chatter from our friendly group of EG ladies and to catch up with the latest news.  I have to go now as I still need to get back to the jacket and the hat.......

Tuesday, 19 June 2012


The linen needs a good press now
I have just about done it all apart from the sleeve length which I am a bit undecided about so I am having a few days thinking.  The bow is not something I am good at tying (never have been) it always comes out crooked when I tie one. Is there a special way of doing it? I put an insert of black lace around the neck because I want to wear it with a black lace pencil skirt so thought it might help.  I did think my pearls would go around my neck. The mark on the right is natural and its all part of the linen so I don't mind it, there is another smaller one on the back too. Linen does seem to be very fashionable this summer, but I need to think of ways to stop it creasing so much.......

I still don't have much idea for a hat, but made some silk paper today so you never know something might spark in my brain..........

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Update on the jacket

The jacket is progressing faster than I could have hoped for.  I decided to line it of course because it will hang better and I don't like unlined jackets at all. So I just found some cream lining material for the sleeves and back which won't show but chose some matching silk for the front sides.  It's actually a very good match colourwise but the camera has given everything a yellow hue because its in artificial light tonight. So I hope to post some daylight photos to show you the real colours....
Just slipped the lining inside to test it
 I am not too sure about the amount of neck I will be showing, so I am probably going to give it some black lace around the neckline, or maybe some more of the silk, not sure at this stage, but I am having lots of fun playing with the options in my minds eye at the moment.  I keep waking up in bed with new ideas in the mornings, am I the only person on the planet who thinks in their sleep about dressmaking?
How it's shown in the Japanese book
Hatwise I am still experimenting with ideas, but I am making some slower progress there I think. Anyway, tomorrow I am doing the Fairfield Horseshoe with DH and some clients so I won't be in a fit state to sew anything tomorrow night; I just hope the weather is better than today when it poured down.

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Dressmaking for a change

Pity the poor dressmaker who lives in Keswick home of the great outdoors and every type of mountaineering equipment shop you can imagine.  We have one knitting shop or 'knitty norahs' as my DH likes to call it. So I found myself in there looking for black lace and this is all there was.  It might do otherwise I have to drive 20 miles to the nearest shop just to buy a bit of lace......
Snubby cream linen and black lace?
This pattern was given to me by my DD and it is in Japanese so I am hoping I have it sussed. If not I know a very good interpreter who lives in Japan.....
First jacket I have made in ages
It has to be made for a family wedding I am going to at the end of the month, so wish me luck. I hope it works otherwise I am going to be stuck for what to wear. I have this idea about a hat too.  In my distant youth, when I was a teenager, I used to try on hats in the local department store during my lunch break, since then I have not had much chance. My head is small too which makes it difficult to find any that fit properly. Still I might be able to knock up something if I can just settle down to this project first. Looking on the internet at hats, there is plenty of inspiration to be had. DH has been teasing me with comments about 'fruit salad' on my head.....